Night light visitors

When you are up on a mountain slope far from any town, it is inevitable that your lights at night attract moths and other nocturnal insects (if you want to understand why then read this explanation). This gives one a chance to examine the night-time fauna of the area, but it also provides a large number of disorientated insects hanging around in one place. On occasions we have noticed a marble leaf-toe gecko (Afrogecko porphyreus ) taking full advantage of this, walking around on the window taking its pick of the menu on offer.

Marble Leaftoe Gecko (Afrogecko porphyreus) on window

Marble Leaftoe Gecko on window

Close-up of foot of Marble Leaftoe Gecko (Afrogecko porphyreus)

Marble Leaftoe Gecko showing splayed toes (the "leafy" parts are underneath, so not visible)

Leaf-toe geckos are so-called as the ends of their toes have an expanded divided pad that helps the creatures cling to walls and windows. They are nocturnal and, in the words of my field-guide, "rupicolous". That means that during the day, they hide away in cracks and under rocks. The marble leaf-toe gecko is one of the commonest species of gecko in the southern Cape and they apparently live communally but we have only ever seen one at a time.

Having geckos climbing up the outside of your wall's is not to everyone's liking but they do carry out a useful service. They eat insects that otherwise would be buzzing around the house. Of course, if you do not want to attract these insects in the first place, and consequently the geckos, then just remember to close the curtains before switching on the lights at night. Personally, they are one of my favourite reptiles (coming a close second to chameleons).

Marble Leaftoe Gecko (Afrogecko porphyreus) on wall

Marble Leaftoe Gecko on wall

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