Out of all reptiles, Geckos are the most species-rich group. There are more than 1,650 species of geckos that are found worldwide. There are so many different geckos to talk about, but let’s just focus on one today – The Electric Blue Gecko. Other names for this species are the Turquoise Dwarf Gecko or William’s Gecko. They are a fascinating and beautiful little species that most people don’t know about. As always, let’s start with some scientific information.
Lygodactylus Williamsi is the scientific name for this little reptile. Adults of this species only reach a snout-vent length of 2 to 3 inches. If these guys weren’t so brightly colored, it would be almost impossible to spot them because of their size. The males have the bright blue color that gave the species their name, while females can range from brown to bright green. Males also have black throat stripes and the females don’t, this is how you can tell them apart easily. These geckos are endemic to one small area in Tanzania. Sadly, this species is critically endangered. There were placed under CITES protection only a couple of years ago in 2015.
It’s sad, but this species is only found in a 3.1 square mile section of the Kimboza Forest and Ruvu Forest Reserves. Outside of these protected areas, there are only two known sites where subpopulations live. One is an area that consists of only fourteen trees and the other is close to being this size. Habitat loss plays a part in this as the forest is cleared for farmland, mining, or from illegal logging. This is not the worst threat to this species. So just what is the biggest threat this species faces?
Illegal Pet Trade
Despite it being illegal to trade wild-caught electric blue geckos, it still happens and they can often be found in pet shops. Normally, they are incorrectly labeled as captive-bred. It has been estimated that just between 2004 and 2009, about 15 percent of the wild population was taken by just one collecting group. To make things worse, the collectors typically cut down the trees the geckos live in in order to reach them.
As a Pet?
I know after reading that last section, the idea of a pet electric blue gecko disgusts you. You won’t be able to find them easily, but there are captive bred specimens available. There are wonderful individuals who dedicate their time to caring for and breeding these little guys. Like the Abronia Graminea, they are trying to help preserve the species.
It’s important to spread information about this little gecko. More people need to be aware of these species and their plight, especially hobbyists. There are many who hope that by spreading information, more people will support the halt of these illegal imports. If someone is going to get one of these guys, they need to support only captive sales and pass on wild-caught specimens. We want hobbyists to be a part of the solution and not just another problem.