Yellow-bellied house gecko (Hemidactylus flaviviridis)
|Also known as:||Indian house lizard, northern house gecko, yellow-belly gecko|
|Synonyms:||Boltalia sublaevis, Boltalia sublevis, Hemidactylus bengaliensis, Hemidactylus coctaei, Hemidactylus sericeus, Hemidactylus zolii, Hoplopodion Cocteau, Hoplopodion ruppellii|
|Size||Length: 18 – 20 cm (2)|
The yellow-bellied house gecko has yet to be classified by the IUCN.
A relatively large lizard, the yellow-bellied house gecko (Hemidactylus flaviviridis) is an unusual species which demonstrates distinct variation in body colour depending on the time of day. At night, the yellow-bellied house gecko is typically greyish, olive or brown, patterned with indistinct bands on the back and yellowish on the underside; however, when seen during the day, the gecko is usually much darker in colour, with contrasting, chevron-shaped bands on the body (3) (4) (5). The yellow-bellied house gecko is covered in small, keeled scales and the head and body are flattened, while the tail is fat and swollen at the base, with enlarged tubercles (wart-like bumps and ridges) along the upper side (5) (6) (7). The toes have broad pads and small claws (2) (5).
The yellow-bellied house gecko is found throughout parts of the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan and Somalia (1) (8).
The yellow-bellied house gecko is particularly associated with man-made structures such as houses, warehouse complexes, hospitals and schools (3), where it is commonly observed on walls and ceilings (2) (9) (10). During the day, the yellow-bellied house gecko will retreat to undisturbed crevices, often hiding in or behind fixtures and fittings such as air conditioning units and picture frames, or under the eaves of buildings (5).
Active at night, the yellow-bellied house gecko feeds primarily on insects which congregate around sources of light, aided by its extraordinary capability to climb vertical walls and walk on ceilings. This amazing feat is achieved by having specialised toe pads, which are covered in small scales called ‘scansors’. On the underside of the toe, each individual scansor can have up to 150,000 microscopic, highly branched, hair-like structures, known as setae, which form hundreds of saucer-shaped ‘end plates’. This gives the yellow-bellied house gecko an enormous surface area in relation to its body size, enabling it to grip all kinds of surfaces (5) (7) (10). The yellow-bellied gecko has particularly large and sensitive eyes, with pupils which open wide at night to let in maximum amounts of light, giving it excellent vision in the dark. The pupils contract to vertical slits during the day to protect the retina (the light-sensitive part of the eye) from harsh sunlight, while the eyelids of the yellow-bellied house gecko are fused to form a transparent cover, called a spectacle, for additional protection. Any dust or debris in the eye is licked away by the gecko’s extremely mobile tongue (2) (5) (7) (10).
Depending on location, the yellow-bellied house gecko usually mates during March and April, following a brief courtship period. The female lays two eggs which hatch 36 to 39 days after being laid, and the hatchlings grow rapidly, reaching adult size between August and September and breeding the following year (11).
There are no known threats to the yellow-bellied house gecko.
There are no known conservation measures in place for the yellow-bellied house gecko.
To find out more about the reptiles and other fauna in the Emirates region, see:
Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London. Available at:
To learn more about reptile conservation visit:
International Reptile Conservation Foundation:
For further information on conservation in the region, see:
The Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- Keeled: raised ridges or creases on the scales of reptiles, often along the middle.
UNEP-WCMC (November, 2010)
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- Gardner, D. (2005) Terrestrial reptiles. In: Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (Eds). The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
- Nanhoe, L.M.R. and Ouboter, P.E. (1987) The distribution of reptiles and amphibians in the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri region (Nepal). Zoologische Verhandelingen, 240: 3-100.
- Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
The Reptiles Database (November, 2010)
- Iffat, F. (2006) On the Lizards of Karachi Coast. Records - Zoological Survey of Pakistan, 17: 37-40
Gardner, D. (2004) On Geckos. Emirates Natural History Group Newsletter, 218. Available at:
- Sanyal, M.K. and Prasad, M.R.N. (1967) Reproductive cycle of the Indian house lized, Hemidactylus flaviviridis Rüppell. Copeia, 1967(3): 627-633.