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Tokay Gecko Morph Interview with NERD

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We had the opportunity to interview Kevin of New England Reptile Distributors, asking him about the amazing Tokay Gecko morphs they are working with. Here is what Kevin had to say:

Who exactly is NERD and how did they start?

I started out as a hobbyist with a decent collection of snakes and such…..a very strong interest in any types of herps. I used to have a good job and had my animals as my hobby. Eventually I left the high tech field to pursue my “dream”. That was around 15 years ago and I started NERD from my original collection and a bit of money I had saved up. Lots of learning and lots and lots of mistakes later I ended up building a new facility where we are today.

My primary focus has been snakes with a strong focus on Pythons, I have also done a fair bit of fiddling with keeping Monitor Lizards. NERD is now focused on breeding Albino Water Monitors and we should see some CB Albino babies this coming year.

I have always liked Tokay Geckos.  Just as they stand they are amazing to look at and so inexpensive. Back in the mid 90’s I felt this way about ball pythons and focused on breeding and creating new crazy mutations. To date we have made a plethora of new ball python mutations and I see Tokay geckos as having great potential for a similar thing.

Tokays are easily overlooked and misunderstood. I keep lots of Reticulated Pythons which are also in a similar situation. Retics are amazing, smart animals and once they are understood a keeper can have lots of fun with them. I regard the Tokay as a Retic in a Gecko’s body, very smart, high strung and an animal that deserves respect. I tend to get interested in things that other people don’t seem to notice or appreciate.

The Tokay came onto my radar a few years back as a “dinking” project; I found myself not understanding much about this lizard initially. I had very poor success breeding them due to my limited knowledge of the species. As time passed and the new building was built I rethought the Tokays and decided that I had better focus on them or get rid of them. I stopped having employees taking care of them and did it myself. Within a short period we started getting some breeding which encouraged me to jump in further and expand on color variants from the wild.

My strong interest in them encouraged a friend, Darren @ Crystal Palace Reptiles over in the UK. We started to utilize a new contact over in Indo and encourage them to be on the look out for any interesting Tokays. We started being offered some crazy animals for equally crazy money. We basically bought everything we could get and it cost some decent money. I was having some success at breeding them but was getting and still am confused by all of the weird mutations we are seeing…. This helped us continue acquiring more unusual animals. I wanted to get as many cool animals that I could get for our collection, trying to pair up animals and create projects. Then some of the Albino stuff came along which was what I was after, we spent the money and started getting some very important animals for the collection.

blueberry-and-albino-tokay-gecko

What geckos does NERD currently work with?

I mainly breed Tokays… we may fiddle with other geckos but I have learned it is better to focus and understand your captives. I have spent many years dividing my attention and not being as productive as I would like. Best to work with a core group of species but do them well.

Where did the Tokay Gecko morphs originate and what current Tokay projects are you working with?

We basically have all of the Tokay mutations that we know of represented in the collection. There are MANY variations of Tokay, we have proven out a number of them and many more to go.

This includes Powder Blue, Melanistic, Blue/Green, Olive Patternless, Blueberry, Calico, Leucistic, Psychadelic, Super Red – multiple forms, Powder Blue Red Spot, Super Yellow, Multiple forms of Caramel, Amelanistic Albino, Pied, Pinto, Blue Granite, Blue Granite Orange Spot, Grey Black Granite, Charcoal Orange spot, Lavender, Albino Pied…….plus others I have no idea what to call them…

What do you see in the future of tokay geckos?

I see a big future and we are just at the beginning!!!! Once people find out how many variations they come in it will get more and more attention. Once we start having Captive Bred Tokays to work with people will do far better keeping and breeding them and having friendly Geckos.

Why would you recommended tokay geckos as a pet with their reputed poor disposition?

Tokays are very interesting in the fact that most keepers consider them aggressive and unsuitable pets. The reality is that they make great pets and you have to earn their trust and work a bit to tame them. I have been fairly good at taking wild caught animals and taming them. Although not quite a Leopard gecko, they can be very tractable. A big Tokay is about as impressive a gecko as they get.

They can be tamed but it is best done by a person with some advanced keeping and handling experience…… Once we understand what makes them tick and what to do to tame them it works quite well.

Its all about TRUST!!!!! I have a way to tame them that seems to work well.

That’s a wrap!

Thank you very much to Kevin for his time! Be sure to visit NERD online at newenglandreptile.com.

Why not leave us a comment and tell us what you think about Tokay geckos and their morphs that are being developed!

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Written by Matthew

I've been keeping odd pets since I was 14, keeping and breeding a variety of species from viper geckos to poison dart frogs. Now living in Georgia, working in online advertising.

27 Comments

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  1. I was stunned whilst reading this article about Tokay Gecko’s! I have kept and successfully bred Leopard Gecko’s for 7 years now and have always looked at Tokay’s as being an aggressive species but now I am reconsidering their nature and realising their potential.

  2. I currently have 3 Tokays and am always looking for more. They are gorgeous animals and although mean and love to bite, I still love mine. They are fun to watch and I get them out and play with them when I can. I used to have a juvie who passed away and she would ride around on my shoulder. I could even walk around the b;ock and she would move from side to side but never jumped off, have fun with the Tokay!!!!.

  3. In the 90’s a co-worker gave me a 10 gallon tank with a pair of Tokay gekos in it, saying since I lived in the woods maybe I could find them food. The smaller one was so dehydrated it looked dead. With no internet like we have now, I went to the encyclopedia, library, and pet store for answers. I am sure some were wrong, but I separated the gekos and the big one got bigger prettier and more “vocal”. They actually sort of chirp/croak when upset. They can walk on ceilings and drapes, as the big one would get out and make a run for it all the time. Sadly the smaller one never recovered.
    After 4 months of fighting with the larger one, I quit trying to catch him when he got out. My cockroach population disappeared. When we watched TV he would come out to the curtains and croak at us and I would fill his water dish. I left the tank open and he would go in for drinks rarely, every once in a while he slept there. Two years later I found him dead in the corner of the same room. Ignorance did not help those gekos, but while the fellow was around, he was great entertainment and a great friend. I am highly allergic to roach poisins, but can easily vacuum up geko refuse. Never owned one since. I own two bearded dragons and they live in the 40-60 gallon tanks eating the superworms, meal worms, and other insects I find to feed them with their salads. I often wonder if that is what the gekos really needed, a salad. Didn’t know much about them then. Wish you luck with your morphs. (My beardies have never actually latched on like the tokay did, so I know why people think they are aggresive. It never bit when it ran wild though,lol).

  4. i just got a gecko my sister rescued it from an evil man who abandened her in her cage and was about to die she brought it back to a healthy sweety , it gets real cold in Arkansas, she brought it to me here in Vegas , she thought it was a leopard gecko , untill i got an reptile encyclopedia i found that it looks like a tokay , im doing all the research i can so this creature will be the happiest… im sure she will , i spoil all my animals..i didnt think i was going to keep her but i am…soo damb cute ..

  5. Hi I have a little tokay gecko just got it from my friends recently, he look cute but very poor and sad condition, I feed him with cricket and some insect as I could get around me, until now I still not happy with what I did actually. I need some advise on how to apply the right organic vitamin that can help my tokay gecko look healthy and breed faster as possible. any advise is really great. Thank you in advance

  6. I have passion for tokay gecko .I am rearing 30 ocs at my backyard .They produced To Kay sound at night ..mayb courting , hungry or depress .I lived in Kuching Sarawak Malaysia.Now stil exploring what the best nutrient for them .Now feeding with crikets , worm and powdered meal ( corn) .I welcome any good advice to fatten and make my tokay grow faster. u can reach me at [email protected] Best regs Boh

  7. hello there,

    So i see why all people in my town went crazy trapping every gecko they could find, this kind of business is getting viral here, and these people are misleaded and stupified by the unbelievable gecko prices they are being offered.—( TOO BAD FOR THESE GECKOS!) believe me, this issue has really started yet another indiscriminate animal huntings. please message me back if you feel like to.

    thanks.

  8. I am rearing 45 tokays now . They love crikets , worms and coconut water.
    Still searhing for right nutrient. Im experimenting in honey and strawberries now.

  9. I see some potential with tokay geckos, but not as much as other gecko species, like gargoyle and cahoua. The fact is, people also want to deal with a less agressive species. I love my tokays, but they are very nippy and new breeders, or owners may be turned off by this. Interesting article though 🙂

  10. I had a wild tokay living in my home classroom up until a few weeks ago. He came in a window a couple of years ago and found the space behind my bookcases very much to his liking and the number of escaped crickets in the room were more than welcome.
    I live in Thailand and many Thais are terrified of tokays so it made some of my students extremely nervous when he would come out from under the shelves looking to be handfed superworms.
    At one point he was joined by another male who ‘moved’ in with a male bearded dragon. He lived behind the beardie’s cage and crept in at nigh to look for uneaten superworms. Eventually he moved on and, after a few months, was followed by the original gecko. I still hear a tokay announcing his presence to the world in the evening so I assume he is still around.
    One of the great things about living in the Bangkok suburbs is the amount of reptilian life that lives around us. There are cobras, pythons, monitors, turtles, frogs, toads, skinks – and that is the list of creatures we’ve found in our kitchen. What more could you ask for in life? 🙂

  11. I had a Tokay in the late 90’s that I had for over a year, she was loose in my house as pest control. One day I noticed she was turning white and her eyes were going black. I hit the forums and inquired about diseases. Thankfully I found that she was not sick but was just changing color. After a few weeks NERD contacted me and bought my mutating tokay. 🙂 Hopefully she has been a fun introduction to their breeding collection. By the time I shipped her out, she looked almost entirely leucistic. I have some cool pics of her morphing from normal to that color.

  12. I have two tokay’s a male an a female ny male I have trained an he doesn’t bite at all unless in fear for his life my female I’m having a hard time with . I love my tokays there the best … They are good pets an beautiful creates… Can anyone tell me how to make the female eat I’ve tried it all .. An nothing is working…. Plz any knowledge would be nice

  13. All tokays can become super tame wether you beleive it or not, but regardless they all behave an act nothing alike as far as personality an behavior I’ve been handling exotic reptiles my whole life, 32 yrs. if you want to be one with your subject be pateint an gentle for starters , then get to know the body langauge of your subject , I have many techniques I use they all work with AMAZING results if administered as I do. I’m currently working with my first set of tokays which are both females there just over one year old. I take my gecko with me all over people trip out since most will never see them like this, I thought of maybe taming them for sale to get them out there regardless they may bark or snap at you only out of there territorial instinct as you slide your hand under them they go right back to tame, I trust my geckos now, a year ago they were 48 grams now close to eighty

  14. Hello everyone. On two separate occasions I have had a tokay move into my home from the wild – once in Hong Kong and once in Thailand. Both became hand tame and would take food from my fingers. They pooped in the same spot every night so I put a sheet of paper there every evening and cleared it away every morning. I kept a number of other reptiles so there was always a supply of live-food available. Plus, of course, the cockroaches that came in from time to time.
    They remained for about two years before moving on. I still hear one shouting outside my current home in BKK but I’m not sure if it is the same one.
    I found them to be very interesting and alert. They checked out any changes in the room and seemed to be very comfortable about living there. I assume that the supply of food was the main attraction as they didn’t seem to react much to the TV programmes I watched or the music I listened to. But you never know…:)

  15. I am Canadian however I live in Thailand. Sadly the beautiful Tokay’s have disappeared because of some BS belief that they cure aids.I remember seeing huge Tokay’s on the walls of our home. It was an amazing site watching them gorge themselves during the termite breeding season.

    I miss seeing them and hearing their calls.

  16. Heh I got 3 today’s and 1 of which LOVESICK being handled and threatens, but no longer does, bite. I just love them and of course I got another female and 1 male c: the male (Barker), HATES. MY. GUTS. and so does that other female (Windstorm). Any suggestions on how to tame then? I tried doing what I did with the first one (Aqua). I have a daughter who wants to touch them but they’d bite her and last thing I need is THAT!

  17. I have just had a small tokay wander in from outside and set up home in my house in Bangkok. It will be interesting to see how long it stays. It is quite a young one and has already lost part of its tail. The last one that came in stayed for about two years before moving on.

  18. I have owned two tokays for over a year now. The local petland store actually gave them to me for free as the workers couldn’t handle them. I’m a seasoned herp owner ..adding the geckos to my collection of nearly 20 different lizards, tortoises and snakes.. The Tokays are beautiful but I have been unable to hold them. They are doing well probably close to 8 inches in length. I would like to handle them to sex them, but it’s just not possible. They are either two females or a m/f pair as they are always together without fighting.

  19. I would assume your best bet is to hope they end up on the side of the cage facing you so you can look, or else get a pair of good gloves. Good luck.

  20. It’s cool how many morphs there are of these now. I wouldn’t have expected tokays to get to leo levels of genetic diversity with all the morphs!

  21. Loved the article! Before this all my attention was on my leopard gecko, now I realize that there are others that I could look into. But from what I have heard so far about today’s is that they are excessively aggressive and tend to climb more. I was also wondering if they tend to poop everywhere I the vivarium or if they choose a spot and only go there?

  22. U could answer that yourself. If the ‘vivarium’ is large enough and tokay comfy…it will usually go in one area. So if it keeps sh*tn all over, you’ve learned something.

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