Tokek, Tokek, OK, OK

Evidence of Gecko Killing Poisonous Green Viper in West Bali Home Warrants a Revaluation of Welcoming Geckos into your Home
Often decried and too seldom appreciated are the Gekkos, Geckos, or also known as Tokeks – that are a common sight in the gardens, hotels, homes and villas across the island where they tenaciously hang on to walls, tree trunks, or seemingly defy gravity by hanging upside down from a ceiling.

Coming in range of camouflage colors, but locally dominated by a livery of an amalgam of gray-pink-green, Geckos are in fact members of the lizard family found in warm climates around the globe. Equipped with over-sized eyes for nocturnal hunting, Geckos, in fact, have no eyelids, but their long tongues come in handy for keeping their large eyeball moist and clean.

The Gecko’s most often found in Bali range in size from perhaps 12 – 17 centimeters. They have large voices that are onomatopoetic with their names with Indonesia ears detecting repeated echoes of “Tokek-Tokek” and European ears denoting “Gecko-Gecko.” 

The remarkable webbed feet and toe pads of the Gecko are objects of widespread scientific study to determine how their semi-porous construction allows these reptiles to walk upside down across ceilings "suctioned" to the surfaces in a relentless search for insects and other prey.

Somewhat at odds with the loud and familiar mating call of the Gecko is that some species of this reptile are parthenogenetic which means females can reproduce without ever having contact with a male of the species. Think: Virgin birth.

Gecko’s are unjustly feared for the ferocity of their bite. Although in reality they almost never bite any animal or insects they have no intention of eating. Geckos can have as many as 100 teeth that are fused to the jaw bone and can be replaced and re-grown every 3 or 4 months. Gecko bites of humans beings are extremely rare and almost always result from efforts to handle the lizards.

Which, at last, brings us to the point of this somewhat long treatise on the ubiquitous Gecko’s living in Bali. Detik.com reports from the Regency of Karangasem in Bali that a poisonous green python was killed by a fearless Gecko. Reported on Instagram (@Pinsianart) on Friday, May 25, 2018, by I Putu Pingki Sinanta who shared details and pictures of the duel to the death that took place between the green viper and the Gecko at his residence.

That a Gecko is capable of killing and devouring a poisonous snake was confirmed as a scientific possibility by snake herpetologist at the National Research Center (LIPI) due to the fact that the Gecko first devoured and immobilized the head of the snake.

Had the Gecko with its large head and sharp teeth attacked the snake from any other angle, the battle might have ended with the snake ruling the day.

Sinatna said the snake struggled unsuccessfully for hours to free itself from the Gecko’s jaws before eventually giving up the ghost. Gulp.

Many people living in Bali unintelligently try to banish Gecko’s from their living areas, complaining that the reptiles are frightening and leave copious quantities of excrement in their wake. But, given the Gecko’s efficiency of destroying insects and snakes, perhaps it’s time to seek a rapprochement with these reptilian friends who share our living space?