When I was a kid, we never saw Geckos, just the standard lizards, green anoles. But since the mid 1990s, we’ve got geckos. Loads of them. These cute little fellows are Mediterranean Geckos, a transplanted species from, well, the Mediterranean area. They originate from the Mediterranean and Red Seas, East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and east to Pakistan

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Tonight we let one in the house on accident; they hang out by the front door and chirp all night long while snatching bugs attracted by the porch light. When we opened the door, he scurried the wrong way. Now he’s hiding out under the crock pot shelf, much to my daughter’s dismay.

The wild crawly things around our home are quite varied, and as quite the fan of critters, I love to see them. Our toads and frogs are often obnoxiously loud, but during this summer heat they seem to be less enthusiastic. Recently we’ve rounded up a blotched water snake from the back yard, seen a dead Broad-banded Water Snake out front, and messed with a couple dozen rough earth snakes in the garden. And what yard is complete without a ribbon snake? They are exceptional creatures, very handsome and for anyone who grew up around here, nostalgic.

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I find even the most common backyard critters wonderful. For a good resource on local Houston reptiles, check out the Visual Key to the Snakes of Harris County, TX. Its a directory offered by a local commercial business, but has some of the best pictures for identification.

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