Spot the Friendly Tukay Lizard

Written by Karl Dahlfred.

tukay gecko lizardWhen I first arrived in Thailand several years ago, a number of people warned me about a certain dangerous lizard.  The tukay (or “tokay”) lizard, they told me, has a lock-jaw so if it bites you it is unable to let go, and you will need to have it surgically removed.  For quite some time, I never saw this creature and began to wonder if the tukay was just a big joke to scary new missionaries.  These were the days before you could just “google it” so I lived in uncertainty about the tukay for quite some time.  

But then I caught a glimpse of one in the shadows behind a refrigerator and became a believer.  Not long there after, I was surprised by one scurrying over the doorframe of a darkened bathroom as I walked into it.  Concerned that it was a dangerous creature, I recruited a friend (another new missionary) to help me get rid of it.  With a large Super Soaker water gun, we blasted it off the wall, across the tile floor, out the backdoor, and off the balcony.  The tukay plummeted four stories and landed with a thud on the corrugated tin roof of the kitchen unit on the ground floor.

Looking back, I probably didn’t need to be scared of the tukay.  They are not vicious creatures but actually rather fascinating lizards.  And while they can be rather hard to convince to let go if they do bite you, they do come off.  I don’t know this from experience but now that I can google it, the Wikipedia article on “Tokay Lizard” has clarified some of the inaccurate information that I had received.  Tukays have a great call.  You can listen via the aforementioned Wikipedia article.  When you hear it, you’ll understand why it is called a Tukay.

Currently, we have a tukay lizard measuring about 10-12 inches living in the bathroom in back of our house.  Since he seems to be a fairly permanent resident, I decided to name him Spot.  Given his coloring, the name just seemed fitting.  While I suppose there might be some danger of getting bitten if I got too close, Spot tends to run the other way when he sees me coming.  So, rather that getting out the Super Soaker, these days I just enjoy watching one of the wonderful and strange creatures with which God has seen fit to bless Thailand (and the bathroom in back of our house).

Here is a short video of Spot cruising around the walls of our bathroom during a recent rainstorm:

If you have trouble watching the video above, click here to view it directly on YouTube

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