Big geckos head to new home

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 10:55 26/03/2014

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Super-sized geckos are shipping out of their Coromandel island home for a new residence closer to the big smoke.

Aucklanders will now be able to visit the country's largest species of gecko once they settle into Motuihe Island, a recreational reserve 16 km from Auckland, this Sunday.

The 100 geckos will join their other threatened wildlife friends,  including tuatara and the little spotted kiwi, at the pest-free island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Motuihe Trust spokesman Matt Baber said the geckos can pack a bite but fortunately have no teeth.

The Duvaucel's geckos could once be found around New Zealand, but are now considered at risk.

"They were once really common but got really hammered by rats and feral cats so are nearly extinct on the mainland."

Growing up to 30cm in length and weighing up to 120 grams, the lizard is among the world's largest geckos.
The group of geckos will travel via road and sea from their current home on the Mercury Islands, off the Coromandel Peninsula coast.

Duvaucel's geckos live in the forest and are mostly nocturnal, feeding on insects.

The geckos will increase biodiversity in their new home and play an important role in ecosystems as predator and prey, as well as dispersing seeds and pollinating plants.

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