The first time I had ever heard of Pristurus carteri, better known as Carters scorpion tailed gecko, was back in 2008 when I was researching Japanese Goniurosaurus and happened upon Phil Trempers website. As I was scrolling down the page to find Goniurosaurus I came across this peculiar looking gecko that had a almost bird like face, long delicate legs and a strange curled tail covered in little fleshy spikes. I was hooked at first sight!
|Pristurus carteri posing|
After doing some research on them I contacted Mr. Tremper for the first available pair. After a little bit of a wait I finally got two of these strange little geckos twords the end of 2008. This is where the obsession begins. I was expecting this species to be just like most other more common terrestrial geckos with the exception of being diurnal. I assumed like most they would sleep and hide a fair amount only occasionally getting up to wander about the enclosure. Boy was I surprised when I got them!
Not only was I wrong on the assumption of their behavior but I was not expecting it to be nearly as fascinating as it really is! This species is very alert, very active and very spunky! They almost never retreat to their hides and are usually found out in the open sleeping. Pristurus carteri have full motor capability of the tail and use it for both defense and communication between the species
Pristurus carteri get their common name scorpion tailed gecko from the defensive behavior of arching and curling the tail over their backs similar to how a scorpion would when threatened. The ability to curl the tail and waive it side to side is a good way for the species to communicate in the rocky outcrops of their natural habitat in Oman. The males are often found displaying this behavior while perched on top of the tallest rock so all the ladies can watch him strut his stuff. As they grow into adulthood the males develop little fleshy spikes on the tail and start to get a little yellow on the tip while the female tails remain the same.
(all photos by the author)