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No, you don’t need to ‘kill geckos in your house’ – they are harmless

IN SHORT: Claims that you should kill geckos before they kill you are false. These lizard-looking creatures are not harmful.

Several Facebook posts doing the rounds in South Africa warn social media users about the small, often nocturnal, reptiles commonly found in homes, known as geckos.

The posts include a graphic of a leopard gecko and text that reads: “Why you should kill geckos in your house.”

The posts claim that gecko skin is “more dangerous than snake venom” and that the reptile is “the most dangerous killer in the household”.

They also claim that geckos can “kill within 60 seconds if not medically attended to”. 

One of the graphics has made its way into a public group with over 600,000 members.

But is there any truth to the claim that gecko skin is more dangerous than snake venom and that the reptile is the most dangerous killer in the household? We checked.


Geckos found on all continents except Antarctica

Geckos make up six families of the suborder Gekkota, according to Britannica. They are known for their short, stout body with adhesive pads, making it easy for them to climb.

Despite adapting to habitats ranging from deserts to jungles, some species of gecko are frequently in our homes, says Britannica.

National Geographic explains that geckos are found on all the continents, except Antarctica.

There are a few species of gecko in South Africa including the spotted gecko, Wahlberg's velvet gecko and the stump-tailed gecko.

Geckos are mostly nocturnal, meaning they are mostly active at night

Geckos help control insect numbers 

We fact-checked a similar claim in 2019 and found that geckos were not harmful to humans.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has included the gecko in its invasive animal risk assessment and found that these creatures do not pose a threat to human beings.

Geckos are not poisonous, therefore the claim that the skin of geckos is “more dangerous than snake venom” is false. 

There is also no evidence to suggest geckos are “the most dangerous killer in the household”. On the contrary, they can be useful in controlling insect numbers in the home by eating mosquitos and agricultural pests like locusts and cockroaches.

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