What Is a Knob-Tailed Gecko?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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A knob-tailed gecko is a reptile native to the deserts of northern and central Australia. Commonly bred in captivity, characteristics of knob-tailed geckos include a wide tail with a tiny knob at the tip, and large round eyes. There are various sub-species of knob-tailed geckos, including the rough and smooth varieties. Knob-tailed geckos average approximately 4 inches (10.2 centimeters) in length.

The diet of the knob-tailed gecko consists of crickets and other small insects, as well as worms. These lizards are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. As nightfall approaches, this reptile will forage for food in wooded areas and on the sand.

Many color variations and patterns exist in knob-tailed geckos. The centralian knob-tailed gecko is the largest of the species, with many adults growing to more than 5 inches (15.9 centimeters) in length. Female knob-tailed geckos are generally larger and heavier than males. The centralian sub-species of knob-tail gecko acquired the name from its native region of central Australia.

The color of the centralian knob-tail is typically brownish-orange. The body of this knob-tail is covered with small, white nodules. Although insects and arthropods are the preferred diet of the centralian knob-tailed gecko, it is not uncommon for these reptiles to devour smaller species of gecko when other food sources are scarce.


A banded knob-tailed gecko has approximately four or five distinctive bars on its body. The skin on this reptile is dry and rough. These sub-species of gecko can be found in arid regions of western Australia. This desert-dwelling reptile will often use sand to disguise its appearance, protecting it from predators.

Although knob-tailed geckos are commonly bred and raised as exotic pets, this species of gecko may not be the ideal choice for households with young children. The knob-tailed gecko is not fond of being touched, and excessive handling may cause them to become stressed. Leopard geckos and other species are more suitable for pets, as they do not mind being handled and are more docile. The average lifespan of a knob-tailed gecko kept in captivity is approximately eight years. Wild knob-tailed geckos tend to live 12 years or longer.

Through selective breeding, variations of color and patterns are often achieved. If kept as a pet, proper housing and care is required to keep the knob-tailed gecko healthy. Adequate heating for knob-tailed geckos is essential, and humidity levels inside the tank must be properly maintained.


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