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Re: Taming the Tokay

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Posted by TazziesMommy on April 14, 2003 at 17:59:00:

In Reply to: Taming the Tokay posted by BeDreamin on April 13, 2003 at 19:14:48:

Taming an adult tokay is, in my experience, largely a matter of time and patience. Some will never become truly tame, but of my 6 tokays, most have become tame and the rest are at least tolerant of me for cage cleaning and basic care. I acquired an unusually large, adult male who was initially quite aggressive. It took about a year to complete the transformation, but he is now very gentle, loves to cuddle and actually seeks out my attention. He goes to the top of his tank and barks when he wants to come out and cuddle!

This is the process I use to tame tokays: I talk to them quite frequently in a quiet, soothing voice. I provide them with lots and lots of hiding areas to feel secure. I keep their enclosure completely covered with towels for the first couple of weeks until they settle in and then remove the towels - one at a time - for progressively longer periods of time. When they tolerate my voice and my presence, I wait until evening, dim the lights in the room, talk to them and "pet" them through the glass. Once they are comfortable with that, I get my long wooden tongs and offer them special treats. At the first glimpse of those tongs, most of my tokays now climb to the top of their tank and eagerly await their treat! I don't use gloves with any of them because they tend to get scared and defensive when they see the big bulky gloves come into their tank. I was bitten twice early on - but both times were, in retrospect - my fault. Even the most aggressive tokay reacts from fear and defensive reasons - not true aggression. If you get to know them and learn their moods and behaviors, you can safely care for any tokay and, with time, interact with most. Keep your movements slow, but purposeful, and pay attention to what they are telling you. If they are in a crabby mood, back off and come back later.

The only sexing guideline I have is purely anecdotal - but it works for me. All of the males (adults or large juveniles) I've seen have two tiny black pore-like spots at either side of the base of their tail - right below where the skin folds. The males also have a more prominent "v" shaped row of pores common to male geckos of other species. However, unless you see a male and female hanging on the glass side by side, I find it almost impossible to discern their sex by that method. The little black spots have so far been the only reliable method I have found. If you're unsure though - you have to keep them separated. Male tokays fight fiercely with each other and trying to separate two fighting tokays is intimidating at best!

Good luck with your tokay! Don't let their reputation or defensive bravado scare you off. They are worth the time and effort to tame them down!


:I just acquired an adult tokay from a friend who had to get rid of it. Prior to being w/ me he was given to a science teacher at school, and we can all understand how a tokay is a huge liability in a school, so now it's with me. (I've read up on care and all, don't worry). I would eventually like for him (actuall, sex unknown, are there unintrusive ways to tell?) to be tame, if only to the point of relatively low bloodshed when it's cleaning time. Any particularly good methods, or big don'ts?
:Thankfully I haven't been bitten on bare skin yet, knock on wood :)

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