Fun Florida Reef Gecko Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Florida Reef Gecko Facts For Kids

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If you are looking for adorable geckos to keep as pets, then look no further than the Florida reef gecko. While thought to be native to the United States of America, there have been reports that this lizard species was actually introduced in Florida in the 1870s from Cuba. Now, their population range has spread from Florida to the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean.

The scientific name of this species is Sphaerodactylus notatus and it is also known by other names such as the brown-speckled sphaero. There are four subspecies of the Florida reef gecko that are found in their ranges: Sphaerodactylus notatus notatus, Sphaerodactylus notatus amaurus, Sphaerodactylus notatus atactus, and the Sphaerodactylus notatus peltastes. While there are some poisonous lizards in Florida, the brown-speckled sphaero is not poisonous at all.

Scroll down to read more about this gecko. For information regarding other geckos, take a look at the satanic leaf-tailed gecko and the crested gecko.

Fun Florida Reef Gecko Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Ants, annelids, beetles, small invertebrates

What do they eat?

Carnivore (Invertivore)

Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.03 oz (0.88 g)

How long are they?

2-2.5 in (5-6.35 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown with dark spots and stripes

Skin Type

Soft skin

What were their main threats?

Natural Disasters, Rising Sea Levels

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?



North America, The Caribbean









Florida Reef Gecko Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Florida Reef Gecko?

The Florida reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) is a species of small-size lizards that are common to sites in the southeastern parts of Florida, especially the Florida Keys area. They are also found in the Bahamas and in parts of the Cuban mainland.

What class of animal does a Florida Reef Gecko belong to?

The Florida reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) is a lizard species that belong to the class of Reptilia to which all species and subspecies of lizards belong. This Florida native gecko is part of the genus Sphaerodactylus and the order Squamata.

How many are Florida Reef Geckos there in the world?

Native to regions of Florida and the Caribbean islands, the Florida reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus), with its overlapping and strongly keeled scales, are tiny reptiles that are found in vast numbers. Even though they have been classified as Least Concern by many international, national, and state conservation organizations, the exact number of this species remains unknown. Still, it has been estimated to be more than 100,000 geckos. Yet, a major cause of worry for this species and their subspecies is the rise in sea level in their native range. This could be a major problem for the size of the Florida reef gecko population.

Where does a Florida Reef Gecko live?

With their overlapping and large, strongly-keeled scales, the Sphaerodactylus notatus can be seen in a range of areas. As is obvious from their name, this reef gecko is common in the state of Florida. This species of reef gecko is commonly found in places like Florida Keys, especially Key West, and beaches, and some protected areas that are home to a wide range of reptiles and amphibians. Apart from this, the subspecies of these geckos are found all over the Caribbean. They are found in the Bahamas and Cuba, including Cuban islands like Isla de la Juventud.

The Sphaerodactylus notatus and other geckos from the same genus have notoriety as rapid colonizers. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that species specimens are found in sites like Jamaica and El Salvador. The Cuban archipelago of Canarreos Islands also has a population that is thought to be taxonomically different from the Sphaerodactylus notatus found in mainland Cuba.

What is a Florida Reef Gecko's habitat?

The tiny Florida reef gecko, or Sphaerodactylus notatus, can survive in various different habitat ranges. Both artificial and natural spots are part of the Florida reef gecko's habitat. This Florida-native gecko is thought to be very secretive and is commonly seen hiding beneath tree litter, stones, dead trees, and plants. Their habitat also includes parking lots, vacant caves, pinelands, and hammocks. The one interesting plant associated with the Sphaerodactylus notatus habitat is the prevalence of seagrape.

Also, there have been reports that the Sphaerodactylus notatus is mostly found active during dusk- they are basically ground-dwelling crepuscular lizards.

Who do Florida Reef Geckos live with?

The information regarding the lifestyle of these small lizards isn't quite known. But, it has been observed by people who keep animals, reptiles, and amphibians as pets that it is very common for the tiny reef geckos to be solitary. Sometimes, males and females have also been paired up together in captivity. In the wild, the Sphaerodactylus notatus can live with other species of its genus.

How long does a Florida Reef Gecko live?

These tiny geckos usually stay hidden in the wild due to their dark-brown keeled scales with small spots. As a result, they can live for a fair bit of type in the wild. However, due to their size, they are frequently hunted by other reptiles and amphibians. In light of that, the lifespan of these geckos can be cut short quite early. Yet, when in captivity they can live anywhere between 10-20 years with proper care given to these tiny reptiles. African fat-tailed geckos have similar lifespans as well.

How do they reproduce?

This native gecko from Florida, the Cuban and West Indian islands usually have their breeding period during the months of March and December. Some other studies have put this period between December and June. The litter size of the females is almost always one. This single egg is quite large compared to the geckos' small sizes, with the eggs recorded to be almost a third of their body weight. Interestingly, the Sphaerodactylus notatus females have nests that other females of the species use. These communal nests can have as many as 280 eggs in them. The eggs that the females lay hatch after 65 -75 days.

What is their conservation status?

While the dark-brown Sphaerodactylus notatus geckos are quite common in the islands that they are found, there have been calls in places like Cuba and Florida to have them protected. This is so that this tiny gecko can survive the rising water levels. However, the Sphaerodactylus notatus gecko is currently classified as of Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN) in their Red List.

Florida Reef Gecko Fun Facts

What do Florida Reef Geckos look like?

Sphaerodactylus notatus have a large range and are common in their habitats.
We've been unable to source an image of a Florida reef gecko and have used an image of a leopard gecko instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Florida reef gecko, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

The brown-speckled Sphaero is a tiny gecko that is difficult to spot in the wild. This is because they can take cover in foliage owing to their dark-brown scales. Part of the dark-brown body scales, the scales on the back of this gecko, are overlapping, large, and strongly keeled. However, the chest scales are not keeled. They have stripes that start from the head and fade when reaching the overlapping scales covering the back. Small dark spots are also common on their brown body. Interestingly, the juveniles and the females have two white spots that resemble an eye just below their head. The head also has three dark stripes that are light-centered.

The juvenile has a white-tip tail which changed into a brown one as they grow up. The tail of an adult has orangish underparts.

How cute are they?

While they are not as unique looking as gargoyle geckos, the small size of this species can add to its cuteness quotient.

How do they communicate?

Geckos are known to communicate via various auditory cues like chirping and clicks!

How big is a Florida Reef Gecko?

Florida reef geckos aren't large at all. They measure around 2-2.5 in (5-6.35cm). The golden-tailed gecko is similar in size to this species.

How fast can a Florida Reef Gecko move?

Owing to their size, the brown-speckled sphaero can move quite fast. However, their exact speed is not known.

How much does a Florida Reef Gecko weigh?

The weight of the brown-speckled sphaero is thought to be around 0.03 oz (0.88 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different, distinct names for the males and females of the species.

What would you call a baby Florida Reef Gecko?

All baby geckos can be called hatchlings during the first few days of their lives. As they grow up, they can be referred to as juveniles.

What do they eat?

The Florida reef gecko diet consists of small insects, ants, annelids, and beetles. These geckos mostly feed on invertebrates and are thus called invertivores.

Are they poisonous?

No, of course not. The brown-speckled sphaero is not poisonous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

For people who usually keep amphibians and reptiles as pets, the brown-speckled sphaero can be a great option to keep as pets.

Did you know...

There is a unique Florida reef gecko adaptation concerning the eggs that females lay. The Florida reef gecko eggs have been observed to be more salt-tolerant than many other geckos. This helps them survive a host of different native habitats.

The brown-speckled Sphaero has predators like centipedes and other bigger lizards.

What is unique about a Florida Reef Gecko?

One of the most unique things about this species is the fact that they are rapid colonizers. Even when re-introduced to areas that they had gone locally extinct from, the brown-speckled Sphaero rapidly increased in numbers.

Are Florida Reef Geckos endangered?

No, currently the brown-speckled Sphaero are not in danger of being endangered. However, rising sea levels have seen many conservationists call for the protection of this species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our Texas horned lizard facts and common house gecko facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable gecko coloring pages.

We've been unable to source an image of a Florida reef gecko and have used an image of a leopard gecko instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Florida reef gecko, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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