The house gecko and rubber bands

posted in: Amphibians-Reptiles | 0

A house gecko.

For sometime, my helpers Estela and Generose had been encountering a rubber band at various locations in the house when they were mopping the floor. They suspected that a resident house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) must had removed the rubber bands from an open pile or those hung on the wall of the kitchen. Probably finding them inedible, they were then abandoned on the floor.

Rubber bands on the kitchen counter lying on a thin layer of flour (red arrow). Note a rubber band hanging above (black arrow).

These geckos are nocturnal creatures and unless we keep awake at night we would not be able to catch them red handed taking the rubber bands. First, we placed a few rubber bands on the kitchen counter and lightly scattered flour over them, hoping to see the gecko’s “footprints” should any try to retrieve a rubber band. For a few days nothing happened. We then realised that the flour must have kept the geckos away. We then thought, why not scatter a thin layer of flour “inside” the rubber bands. Should a gecko retrieve a rubber band, the flour would be disturbed and we would have the evidence.

Right: rubber band with flour “inside” and Left: rubber band had been removed by a gecko.

After a few nights without any results, one morning we found the flour showing signs of disturbance (above). The rubber band was found on the floor. We also found rubber bands hanging on the kitchen wall lying on the floor.

Displaced rubber band on the floor.

Problem solved! Now we needed an Image of a gecko in the process of pinching a rubber band. This was the hard part of the study, that is, until I googled the net. Lo and behold, I found an article with a fascinating image of a gecko with a rubber band between its jaws photographed by  Ong Ah Huat, who believes that geckos only take red rubber bands. I further learnt that geckos are attracted to rubber bands in many houses all over Singapore.

House gecko caught in the act stealing a rubber band (Image courtesy of Ong Ah Huat).

 

YC Wee, Estela V Acierto & Generose V Acierto

Singapore

2nd September 2022

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