Here in south-east Asia we have these magnificent tokay geckos. They like to live in your house and eat all the insects, and I think they’re absolutely adorable. For Australian audiances, it’s like having a bluetongue on meth living in your house.

They grow up to 30cm long but it’s the sheer muscled density of these creatures which strikes you. Like lizard bulldogs, their necks are almost the same diametre as their bodies, and it’s all pure cold blooded muscle.

Thai people are almost universally terrified of them.

It took me a long time to understand this.

‘But they’re magnificent!’ I’d say. ‘And they eat the mosquitos for you. And LOOK HOW ADORABLE THEY ARE.”

(Someone said that this looked like David Lee Roth got reincarnated as a gecko, and I can’t argue.)

True this is a baby gekko, but you get the picture.

The one which resides in my current mountain top lair is so big that I have christened it Baby Dinosaur, and occasionally I hear it thumping about in the cornices at night. Presumably something exciting is happening, by gecko standards at least. For the most part, however, it’s quite shy – obviously, otherwise I’d be spamming you with photographs right now.

But back to its fearsome reputation. All my Thai friends tell me it will bite me, and apparently when you’re a child it’s sort of like the boogey man: if you don’t do as your parents tell you, the dtok-dto will get you! I am cautioned that Baby Dinosaur may, at any time, launch itself from a wall and bite me on the neck, vampire style.

To really top things off, apparently there was a Thai horror movie made years ago – sort of a gecko version of Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Talk about reputational damage. I always tell my friends, ‘Don’t worry, it isn’t interested in attacking you: you’re much too big for it to eat.’ Of course if a fully grown one bit you, then I’m sure you’d be unhappy: apparently they have exactly the kind of bite force that you’d expect from a lizard that looks like it ate a pitbull. But I reckon you’d have to make it pretty unhappy first.

So, whenever people ask me if I am afraid, sleeping alone on mountaintops, I always reassure them that I have the protection of savage guard geckos to keep me safe.

Having said all that, a friend pointed out to me the hypocritical gulf which exists between my feelings for geckos (nawwwww so cute!) and my feelings for tarantulas (which, as you may recall, sent me into conniptions of horror simply by presenting, pre-deceased, near my motorcycle). For this I have no rational response. Sorry, tarantulas: stay awesome, but please stay away from me.

As you’ve probably noticed, I survived my little jaunt around Issan (eastern Thailand) on the CBR, and what a nice jaunt it was. New friends, old friends, and even the odd breakfast beer (cheers). I also survived Christmas (also cheers), which mostly consisted of me remotely day drinking with my absolute best mate in Australia, with the assistance of video chat. Damn, I love technology sometimes. I mean, teleporting would be better but for now, video chat will do.

Remember when you were a kid and you had to telephone overseas relatives on Christmas Day, and everyone took turns yelling ‘HELLO HOW ARE YOU GOODBYE’ because the call cost so much? Showing my age.

Anyway, I hope everyone has had a good or at least manageable Christmas. The new year is upon us, motorcycles still exist, it can’t be all bad.

With love from the road,

9 thoughts on “Complimentary House Dragon

  1. Freek says:

    Nice story, thanks for using my photos.

    1. Thank you so much for the photos, they are just great. Much appreciated ????

      1. Freek says:

        I got many pics of animals, let me know if you need some.

  2. geoffkeys says:

    I’m always happy to see those little dudes on the wall of my room, munching the mossies.

    1. Freek says:

      “I’m always happy to see those little dudes on the wall of my room, munching the mossies.”

      I think you mean Tjin Tjok, they are small and run over your wall in the house. Is a different Gecko species.

      1. The little ones I am referring to are (I believe) hemidactylus frenatus whereas the big tokays are gecko gekko. Is that correct?

      2. Freek says:

        Hemidactylus sp. The Tokay is Gekko gecko

        1. Gekko gecko not gecko gekko… I will remember that the right way around eventually! What is the story behind the different spellings of gekko, do you know?

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