Texas Banded Geckos are found in west and southwestern Texas, southeastern New Mexico and northeastern Mexico. Habitat includes Chihuahuan desert scrub (Ocotillo, Honey Mesquite, creosote bush, Yucca, Prickly pear) in West Texas, Tamaulipan Brush (Blackbrush, Silver Ceniza, Mesquite, native grasses, Texas Prickly pear) habitat of South Texas.
Adults have alternating irregular brown and yellow bands. They have vertical pupils, eyelids and no toe pads. Their bodies are covered by small granular scales. Juveniles have well defined, alternating reddish brown and yellow bands, which they lose as they mature. Adults are around 2.25 inches from snout to vent, with a total length of around 4 inches. Males have a small cloacal bone that projects from the sides of their tail, while females lack this external sex characteristic.
Banded Geckos hide under rocks and in rock/dirt cracks during the day, but at night they prowl around in search of small invertebrate prey. When excited, they can move quickly for short distances. Sometimes nighttime desert drivers get a surprise as a little gecko runs across the blacktop, but sadly many become roadkill.
Unlike many gecko species, banded geckos are ground dwelling geckos, they don't have the toe pads that allow them to crawl on vertical surfaces.
They have a unique defensive behavior in which they shake their tails to lure their enemies to bite at their tails instead of their bodies. When grabbed a hold of, their tail breaks off and the gecko makes a speedy getaway. Texas Night Snakes are one of the top predators of Banded Geckos.
Banded Geckos (genus Coleonyx) belong in the subfamily (sometimes also given family status) of Eublepharinae. There are six genera in the subfamily, and the most familiar one to the general public is a common reptile pet, the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius). The subfamily contains 25 species while the whole family of Gekkonidae contains over 970 species (Cadwell, Vitt & Zug 2001).