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First-time visitors to Thailand may find it interesting to learn a little bit about geckos, since you're most likely to spot them during your trip.

They are very common all over the country and can be found in most buildings.

Normally, geckos come out at night to catch insects. Lit-up walls and ceilings are popular hunting grounds for the little creatures.

Two types of geckos, that are easily seen around Thailand, are small house gecko or jing jok and big house gecko or tokay.

Small House Geckos Or Jing Jok

These tiny geckos are more common than tokays. They're light brown but can change colors to various shades. Their skin is thin and pretty smooth. House geckos grow up to about 4 inches (10 cm) long. They also make quite a loud and unique clicking sound. The suction-like feet enable them to climb and run on ceilings and walls.

When you switch on the lights at night, the small house geckos come out from their hiding places behind cabinets or under the roof to eat small insects. That's the best time to see them.
House geckos are very common in Thailand
Jing jok geckos are harmless. They're used to people, but they run away when you get close to them.

Most people don't like geckos in the house because of the droppings and the disturbing sound. Another reason why geckos aren't welcome inside the house, is that many women are afraid of them. This made clever businessmen come up with the idea of selling live-sized rubber geckos to scare Thai women and children with.

Superstition About Small House Geckos

Some of you may already know that most Thais are superstitious. If a gecko makes a sound when you're about to leave the house, we believe it means bad luck. When this happens, some Thais may change their plans and stay at home instead.

Big House Gecko (Tokay)

Big geckos are more rare than small house geckos, still they can be seen inside and outside buildings. During day time, they like to hide in cool places.
A tokay gecko in Thailand
Their appearance is pretty scary. Tokays have bumpy thick skin that is bluish gray in color with orange spots.

In addition, they have white stripes on the body. A fully-grown one can be up to 15 inches (40 cm) long.

These geckos are harmless, as long as you don't corner them. It's quite amazing to see their red tongue when they're cornered or ready to attack.

If a big gecko bites, it won't let go of the object easily. One way to make a tokay open its mouth is by submerging it in water. After a few minutes, it would have to go to the surface for air.

They make a loud rumbling sound in the throat. Big house geckos are active at night, just like the small geckos, but they tend to stay away from people. Tokays eat bigger insects such as cockroaches.

Superstition About Tokays

A number of superstitious Thais believe that big house geckos are reincarnations of their grandparents, who have come to protect them. If a tokay makes sound during the day, it's a warning that bad luck may come to one of the family members who lives in the house.

Certain Thais also believe that if a big house gecko falls and lands on your body, it would hold on. The only thing that could make the tokay let go is thunder.

Other than that, its unattractive look and mysterious sounds at night can be scary. That's why Thai kids are afraid of them.

In Thailand, adults sometimes tell naughty children, "If you don't stop misbehaving a tokay will come to eat your liver."

Catching A Tokay

Although the big geckos help get rid of insects around the house, many people don't like the way they look. To catch one can be tricky, especially when they're fully alert.

It's quite common in Thailand to try to make the tokay drowsy before catching it. They tie some shredded tobacco leaves or yaa sen at the end of a long stick.

The best time to catch a big gecko is when they come out to hunt for insects at night. Just keep the end of the stick close to the gecko's face so it can smell the tobacco.

During this time, the tokay will start to be affected by the tobacco smell. After awhile, it will get drowsy. That's the time to catch the gecko.

Sometimes, the tokay gets scared and bites the end of stick. If that's the case, it won't let go and the tobacco will have an even faster effect.

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