The Common Wall Gecko: benefits and disadvantages of wall geckos to human beings, Friend or Foe?

The Common Wall Gecko: benefits and disadvantages of wall geckos to human beings, Friend or Foe?

The small, unassuming wall gecko is a common sight across much of the world, often going unnoticed as it clings to walls and ceilings. While many view these harmless lizards as pests, they actually provide some benefits to humans. However, there are also a few drawbacks to these reptiles sharing our living spaces. This article will explore the pros and cons of living with wall geckos.

Benefits of Wall Geckos

  • Pest Control
    Wall geckos are voracious insectivores, feasting on mosquitoes, flies, roaches, spiders, moths, and more. A single gecko can consume hundreds of insects per day. By controlling pest populations, geckos can reduce the need for chemical pesticides in the home. This natural form of insect control is safe for humans and the environment.
  • Cleaning Service
    Geckos keep our walls and ceilings free of cobwebs by preying on spiders. Their sticky toe pads also grab dust and debris as they climb, essentially providing free cleaning services. Their droppings also feed specialized insects that further clean our homes.
  • Natural Ambiance
    For some people, sharing our living space with these harmless lizards provides a connection to nature. Watching geckos hunt at night can be relaxing, and some even find their soft chirping calls to be soothing background noise. Simply knowing these tiny jungle predators are patrolling for pests can provide peace of mind.
  • Low Maintenance
    Wall geckos ask very little of human hosts, finding their own food and shelter. They don’t need cages, tanks, or supplements. As long as they have places to hide, geckos will take care of themselves and generally coexist with people quite well. Their self-sufficiency is part of what makes them such successful house guests.
  • Potential Medical Benefits
    Some research indicates gecko skin secretions may have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Gecko feet contain proteins that could help develop biodegradable adhesives. These possible scientific applications are still being studied but show promise. Simply put, we still have a lot to learn from our tiny roommates.

Disadvantages of Wall Geckos

  • Messy Droppings
    While it’s true that gecko droppings help feed cleanup crews, they can still be unsightly and difficult to fully remove. Droppings tend to accumulate in undisturbed areas like attics and closets. While fairly harmless, many people understandably don’t want lizard poop piling up in their homes.
  • Noise at Night
    Chirping geckos can be charming background noise or a terrible nuisance, depending on your tolerance. Their nightly chatter may frustrate light sleepers. Closing windows and doors can muffle the noise, but geckos occasionally get trapped inside bedrooms.
  • Allergies
    Gecko droppings and skin particles can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals if there is prolonged, intense exposure. Symptoms are similar to dust mite allergies. This severe reaction is uncommon, but worth noting.
  • Salmonella Risks
    Geckos can very rarely transmit salmonella bacteria if proper hygiene is not observed after handling them. Simple precautions like washing hands effectively prevent any risk of illness. Lizards themselves should never be allowed near food prep areas.
  • Aesthetic Issues
    Some people find the sheer number of geckos that congregate in warm climates to be unappealing, viewing them as an infestation. Repellents and traps can reduce their numbers but won’t control populations long-term. Avoiding overuse of exterior lighting is the best prevention.

Are Wall Geckos Friend or Foe?

The common house gecko is often described as a “frenemy” – not 100% friend or foe. They provide pest control benefits but can also be a nuisance. Ultimately their impact seems to depend on our perspective. To some they are creepy, bothersome pests. To others they are harmless neighbors, or even delightful pets.

With care and coexistence in mind, we can minimize any downsides of living with geckos. Simple strategies like keeping their favored areas clean, blocking access to bedrooms, and using non-toxic insect control can foster harmony. Weighing the pros and cons shows wall geckos do seem to do more good than harm in the homes and lives they share with humans. With a tolerant, live-and-let-live approach, we can comfortably coexist for mutual benefit.

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