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Rare Twins Born at Wellington Zoo

12 August 2005

Rare Twins Born at Wellington Zoo


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Background

A rare set of Day Gecko twins and a third baby Gecko are the latest native births at Wellington Zoo.

Currently home to three yellow and two green adult Day Geckos, the births are an addition to an endemic species that is endangered in New Zealand because of deforestation and predation by cats and stoats.

“There is at this stage no formal DoC breeding programme for Geckos. However there is an advantage to being able to breed these common Geckos as it will help us to gain valuable experience in the husbandry of Geckos should we ever need to breed an endangered species,” says Wellington Zoo Keeper, Laurent Van Ham.

Born either green or yellow, Day Geckos get their striking colour traits from their extended family. While aunty or grandma may be green, babies a few generations down the line could still be green or yellow, although green is more common in the wild.

In addition to their bright colours, these reptiles have another unique ability.

“New Zealand Day Geckos use their tongue to drink water drops from their eyes when it has been raining. Like snakes, Geckos can’t close their eyes, so they have a transparent scale that they regularly shed and replace like they do with their skin,” says Laurent.

Born live (rather than in an egg), Geckos grow inside their mothers in a placenta-like sack similar to humans. They eat mainly insects, flies and moths, as well as the occasional berry or flower.

Day Geckos mature sexually at about four to five years old and usually give birth to one baby, with twins being less common.

While the Geckos are currently off-display due to a shortage of space, the Zoo anticipates that they will go on display soon, providing another New Zealand native experience for visitors.

ENDS

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