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Border Ranges Leaf-tailed Gecko

Saltuarius swaini


Leaf-tailed Geckos are masters of camouflage - their broken outlines and lichen-like patterns render them near invisible in their rainforest homes. At night they emerge to sit motionless on rocks and tree trunks (or on a brick wall in this case), clinging to the surface with spidery limbs and bird-like feet. This association was emphasised by Queensland Museum herpetologists when describing the new genus Saltuarius, which translates to ‘keeper of the forest’. (This was a large specimen. To give you a sense of scale, these house bricks are approx 23cms x 08cms plus a mortar gap of approx 1.5cms)


Found in the coastal ranges of south-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. These geckos are synonymous with Queensland’s rainforests, and that's the type of area surrounding Tamborine Mountain, the place where I shot these photos.


This lovely big fellow took me completely by surprise one evening as he came creeping down the wall. I had absolutely no idea he was there until I looked up, and he was no more than 60cms above my head. Needless to say, my heart almost stopped. To give you an appreciation of scale, unlike the Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko which could fit between the brickwork in the mortar section, this guy was as long as a standard-sized house brick. It was massive! This species of gecko usually lives amongst the bark of trees where they are well camoflagued, but its not so easy to blend in with a house brick. Ultimately, under the cover of darkness, who cares! As it was dark, these images were taken with flash. Unfortunately, some definition has been lost, but I have certainly tried to maintain clarity with some basic editing. They came out reasonably well.

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Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

That's an extraordinary creature. Great set of pics.

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 9 years ago

wow.. Nice series..

ScottHarte 9 years ago

nice series of an interesting lizard

ShannaB 9 years ago

WOW, fantastic!!!!!!

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Nov 13, 2011
Submitted on Apr 29, 2013

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