The Tropical House Gecko (Mabouya)

If you’ve ever heard about the tropical House Gecko also called “Mabouya” in creole when visiting Guadeloupe Archipelago, there is a very good chance that there is a scary popular belief about it. When I was younger, I do remember being frightened by seeing multiple mabouyas on the ceiling of my veranda. Indeed, they are not good looking as most of the reptiles. Today we are going to find out more about the “mabouyas” and how people perceive them in Guadeloupe Archipelago.

Origin & Description

The tropical house gecko is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is also currently found in North, Central & South America as well as multiple Caribbean islands. In terms of size, the species varies from 7 to 15 centimetres. They have a triangular-shaped head, small ears and huge eyes which are useful in spotting prey in low light conditions. Their toes are broad and padded and their tails are long with glossy scales. Tropical house geckos are greyish white to pale yellow, which make them noticeable as they are nocturnal reptiles. At night, they are becoming active hunters of flying and crawling insects to feed themselves. You can mostly see them on ceilings or walls near the lights, they also like to hide behind paintings or wardrobes.

The Tropical house gecko in Guadeloupe Archipelago

The Tropical house gecko has been introduced in Guadeloupe Archipelago during the 18th century, the exact date being unknown. There is another species of Gecko that are living under the rocks or alternatively in Coconut trees. In some Caribbean cultures, if you have a tropical house gecko residing in your home it is considered as good luck. In addition to that, they will help you get rid of household insects. In Guadeloupe Archipelago, there are many folk beliefs that are animated our lives since the slavery period. There is a popular belief saying that if a Tropical House Gecko fall down on you, it will stick for a while unless you use a mirror. I guess that seeing its reflection will make it run away.

Be aware that you may meet a Mabouya when visiting Guadeloupe Archipelago. But it is alright, you don’t have nothing to worry about.



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