Unsung Animals Wiki


The southern leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius swaini) is a subspecies of leaf-tailed gecko most well known for its extraordinary camouflage ability. This species is endemic to the north east coastlines of Australia where it is found within mountain ranges along southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. This animals lives in densely forested regions with lots of trees in which it inhabits. These animals have excellent camouflage, being able to blend in with a rock or piece of tree bark flawlessly, often fooling humans. The Australian Museum states that the southern leaf-tailed gecko possesses has rough and scaly skin, similarly to other geckos. The colouration is a brown or grey colouration with a very mottled pattern that possibly reflects the sandstone region in which they inhabit. These small geckos will only ever reach around 15 cm (5.9 in), which is quite large for a gecko, seeing as Australia largest gecko the New Caledonia Giant Gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus), has a body length of over 20 cm (7.87 in). The southern leaf-tailed gecko is often found lurking around in family home backyards, making them very common to appear within urban environments.


All leaf tailed geckos are known insectivores that specifically only eat invertebrates. This species is a nocturnal hunter and will leave its daylight resting spots to look for prey.

Conservation Status[]

Because of the southern leaf-tailed gecko's IUCN status of least concern, there are no true major threats to the gecko population along the northeast coast of Australia. It has been observed to be a subject of illegal collection, which is much more localised in more accessible parts of the southern leaf-tailed geckos range. This species is present in protected regions due to national conservation acts in Queensland. However, because of the southern leaf-tailed gecko's least concern evaluation there are no conservation acts in place for this species specifically.

Range and Population[]


The distribution of the southern leaf-tailed gecko.

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Zoomed out version.

The current population of the southern leaf-tailed gecko is unknown, though their range is known to be present along the northeast coast of Australia. The extent of this species' range is observed to distance from northeastern New South Wales to southeastern Queensland.


The southern leaf-tailed gecko is a nocturnal animal, meaning that its predominately active during night. Much of the food the geckos consume is hunted at night. Geckos are told by local communities that they shouldn't be handled, as they do not enjoy being handled. Like other geckos the southern leaf-tailed gecko is also observed to detach its tail from its body when it is in danger or feeling threatened. This tail will regrow and the detached tail will break down after dropped.

Relationship with Humans[]

As briefly mentioned previously, the southern-leafed tailed gecko is often seen in urban areas, in backyards and garages around the city of Sydney. According to Australian Museum the southern leaf-tailed gecko is often described by people who encounter it as a leaf-shaped 'creature', due to its immense camouflage.

In Captivity[]

According to ZOOINSTITUTES there are no current results of the southern leaf-tailed gecko in captivity