Tokay Gecko

Why Is My Tokay Gecko Changing Colors?

The tokay gecko is quite the intriguing reptile, though most owners admire these territorial lizards from a distance when they’re in their tank. Tokay gecko owners may notice that their lizard has a habit of changing colors. 

While one might initially be concerned when they see their gecko change colors seemingly in front of their eyes, many of the reasons tokay geckos do this are innocent. Others may be an indication that your gecko is experiencing some kind of distress. 

Being able to differentiate between normal and irregular color change can help you decipher whether or not your tokay gecko needs additional care. 

Why Did My Tokay Gecko Change Colors?

Some reptiles, including tokay geckos, will change color as a way to blend into their surroundings. They might do this in an effort to hide from others, either for protection or so they won’t be disturbed. Even though your gecko is likely alone in their tank, they may exhibit this behavior anyway. 

Geckos are able to match their color to any surface due to receptors built into their torso. They don’t have to see an object in order to take on its coloring. 

What Color Are Tokay Geckos Usually?

The most recognized tokay gecko is one with a light blue or light gray body and orange spots. Some will seem to be a lighter blue, while others will appear to be gray or cream colored. Their spots will often range from lighter yellow or darker red. 

Some tokay geckos, however, have black spots. Female tokay geckos tend to be more muted in their coloring than their male counterparts. 

Do Tokay Geckos Change Color With Age?

Tokay geckos are known to change color as they get older. Sometimes, these lizards will become duller as they age. They may also decide to take on permanent color changes, or may no longer feel the need to change color, especially if they’re domesticated. 

What Does It Mean When Tokay Geckos Turn Black?

Tokay geckos tend to opt for darker coloring to let you know they are experiencing some type of distress. In some instances, they will appear black. If you’ve recently brought them home or changed their tank, they may just need time to get used to their new surroundings. They should start to return to their natural coloring after a couple of days. 

A black tokay gecko is a very unhappy gecko, so you need to try and discern what’s bothering them. In many cases, they might need the temperature changed in their tank, they might need their tank cleaned, or they might not be feeling well. 

If only their toes and tail turn black, or you notice black spots that aren’t a regular part of their coloring, it’s possible that your gecko is sick. You might want to consider taking them to the vet to verify. 

Should I Be Worried If My Tokay Gecko Changes Color?

Color changing is normal for tokay geckos, but there are some instances where you may want to watch them a little more closely. If they seem to be distressed in any way, and you notice that they’re exhibiting behavioral changes, they might be stressed out. Try to pinpoint what is bothering them so you can help eliminate the trigger. 

If your tokay gecko seems to be going dark, they may be uncomfortable with their surroundings or their tank. This may be due to the temperature, as these geckos are very particular with how warm they like their tank. 

Final Thoughts 

The first time you watch your tokay gecko change color, you may experience a variety of emotions. Most often, your gecko is simply becoming one with their environment, or are making an effort to relax and unwind. The general rule of thumb is the darker they turn, the more likely they are experiencing some kind of negative emotion that needs your attention.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.
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