Tag Archives: geckos in the garden

Focusing on the detail – Glenys is back

For the past eleven years, the gecko we call Glenys has made regular summer appearances

Glenys is back. When she first appeared in 2011, Mark initially named it Elvis (“In the Ghetto”, gecko, geddit?). A kind enthusiast from the herpetological society advised us that it was almost certainly a pregnant female, hence the name change. He also identified her as Hoplodactylus pacificus and was as excited as we were by our observations of a breeding female here.

Overseas readers may be baffled by our excitement at having resident geckos but they are rarely spotted here, not unlike our two species of rare bats that nobody I know has ever seen. We only have three native reptiles – skinks are common enough, everybody knows about tuataras but the geckos are shy, retiring and not seen widely at all.

I assume we have several resident geckos, or at least three. For Glenys to be pregnant, there must be a Mr Glenys around and a couple of years ago we had two sunning themselves on the dead pine tree. We think the second, smaller one must have been Glenys’s daughter.

Hoplodactylus pacificus but we call her Glenys

This is a summer sight. NZ geckos are most unusual in that they give birth to live young – usually just two and apparently they look like matchsticks on legs. The pregnant females use the warmth of the sun to incubate the young which is why we only see Glenys in summer, out in her discreet sunbathing spot. Geckos have a long life span – anything from 20 to 50 years but I guess it is hard to measure the life span of geckos in the wild. Glenys may be with us for a while yet. If she lives to 50, she will out-live us.

I skipped my usual Sunday post. I didn’t think many would notice (thanks, Jane in Australia). I just couldn’t think of anything to say around the start of a new year. We all hope 2022 will be better than 2021 and 2020 but the signs are not good. In New Zealand, it is like living with the sword of Damocles poised above us. We are on track to achieve the impossible – the elimination of Delta (just 14 cases of community transmission across the whole country yesterday although the number yo-yos up to the 40s some days) but Omicron is hovering in the wings, looking for its chance to unleash itself. We know that but the longer we can stave it off, the better prepared we will be. These are not easy times we are living in, even less so for those in Australia, France, UK, USA and other countries near paralysed by this latest wave. I find thinking small, looking at detail and the natural world keeps me focused and reduces the catastrophising.

All I have to offer is the detail, in this case of Glenys. We have to be sharp-eyed and quiet to spot her; she can disappear back into her hidey-hole beneath the bark in a flash at sudden movements or loud noises.  

That is Glenys, pretending to be a bit of bark on her tree. We tread quietly around this area.