Why do geckos chirp, bark, click and make other noises? Unlike most lizards, geckos are able to vocalize and produce sounds. Because of this, they’re considered the noisiest lizards, but there is a huge difference between the gecko species and the amount of sound they make. Some geckos make a ton of noise, while others are pretty silent. Occasionally you will hear your gecko make a chirping, clicking, or barking sound. If you’ve never heard it before it might come as a surprise and you might wonder why they make that sound. Today, I’m going to give an overview of the possible reasons why geckos make these odd noises.
If you want a short answer, here you go: Geckos use their chirps, barks, and clicks to communicate. In the wild, they make these noises to communicate with other geckos. In captivity, they use these vocalizations to communicate with their owner. They can use their barks, clicks, and chirps to alert their owner of something they perceive to be a threat or simply to let them know they are hungry.
What do gecko’s chirps, barks, and clicks sound like?
There are many different kinds of geckos and they all make distinct sounds. For instance, the New Caledonian gecko (also known as the Leachianus) is the largest gecko in the world and is incredibly loud. It has a bark that is so loud that it earned him the nickname of “the devil in the trees”. Check out this video to get an idea of the noise these creatures can make, it’s pretty crazy:
Luckily, most geckos are not that loud. Geckos are the most species-rich of any kind of lizard (there are over 1,500 different species!) so they can produce many different kinds of sounds. If I had to compile a list of videos with every possible sound every possible species can make the list would go on and on. The best way to find out what kind of sounds your specific gecko can make is to search for videos of it on YouTube.
To show you an example of what the chirp of a quieter gecko that’s commonly kept as a pet can sound like, take a look at this video of a leopard gecko chirping. You really have to perk your ears to be able to hear it. It kind of sounds like a baby chick or mouse chirping.
As you hear the woman in the video say, she recorded the chirp separately to make it more audible, and even then it was not loud at all. Some other geckos even make noises that are not perceivable by the human hearing at all!
These two videos illustrate the difference there is between the gecko species and the sounds they produce. Some of them are incredibly loud, while others are barely audible at all.
Reasons why geckos chirp, bark and click
In the wild, geckos use their chirps, barks, and clicks for several different reasons. They can use them to attract mates, during fights, to mark their territory or because they’re scared. A single chirp is associated with distress while multiple chirps are used in a social context.
However, in captivity, the situation for geckos is a bit different. There are usually no females around to attract or enemies to protect their territory from yet they still use their vocalizations. Why?
Part of it is that they’re in essence still wild animals and have retained this aspect of their behavior. They’ve evolved for millions of years to make the sounds they make and being kept as a pet doesn’t override millions of years of evolution.
It is also believed that in captivity they can use their chirps and other vocalizations to communicate with their owners. For instance, if they’re hungry and it’s around feeding time, they can use their chirps and barks to let you know that they’re hungry and it’s time for them to eat.
It’s also possible that they’re using their chirps or barks because they’ve been alerted by something. This can be something as innocuous as a fly or a someone (or some other pet) they don’t know walking by their cage who they perceive to be a threat.
Are their vocalizations cause for alarm?
Many animals make noises when there’s something wrong with them. You might be wondering if something similar applies to geckos.
Geckos are the noisiest among the lizards and it’s in their nature to make sounds. There’s a reason why they’re one of the few lizards to have developed the ability to vocalize and of course, they’re going to use this ability. If your gecko is barking, chirping or clicking do not be worried. It’s completely normal and natural for them to make these sounds and your lizard companion might even be trying to communicate with you that it wants to eat some food.
Do geckos make noise at night?
Geckos are mostly nocturnal. This means that they’re asleep during the day and awake at night. Since they can not make their noises when they’re asleep, which is during the day, they make them at night instead. In other words, geckos do indeed make noise at night.