Do lizards scream?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Geckos, including leopard geckos, are unique among lizards in their ability to produce a variety of vocalizations, some of which can be described as screams or shrieks. Unlike other lizards that primarily hiss or make clicking sounds, geckos have evolved the ability to vocalize in a more diverse and complex manner.

One of the most well-known vocalizations of geckos is a chirping or barking sound. This sound is often heard during territorial disputes or when males are trying to attract females. It can be quite surprising to hear a small gecko emit such a loud and sharp noise. In fact, the first time I heard a gecko bark, I was taken aback by its resemblance to a tiny dog!

In addition to chirping or barking, geckos can also produce squeaking sounds. These sounds are usually emitted when they are feeling threatened or agitated. The squeaks can vary in intensity and pitch, and they serve as a warning to potential predators or rivals. It’s fascinating to observe how geckos communicate through these vocalizations, using different sounds to convey specific messages.

While chirping, barking, and squeaking are the most common vocalizations produced by geckos, some species have been reported to make even more intense and alarming sounds that can be described as screams or shrieks. These loud and high-pitched vocalizations are usually associated with extreme distress, fear, or pain. It is believed that geckos use these screams as a last resort to deter predators or to call for help from other geckos in the vicinity.

I remember a memorable encounter I had with a screaming gecko while on a nature hike in the rainforest. As I was walking along a path, I suddenly heard a piercing scream that sent shivers down my spine. I quickly located the source of the sound and found a small gecko being chased by a snake. The gecko’s desperate scream seemed to startle the snake, giving the gecko a chance to escape. Witnessing this intense vocalization in a moment of life-or-death added to my appreciation for the remarkable abilities of these creatures.

It’s important to note that not all gecko species have the ability to produce such intense vocalizations. The ability to scream or shriek is more commonly found in certain species of nocturnal geckos, like the tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), rather than in diurnal species like leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius). Each species has its own unique set of vocalizations, and the specific sounds produced can vary within gecko populations as well.

While lizards in general are not known for their vocal abilities, geckos stand out with their wide range of vocalizations. From chirps and barks to squeaks and even screams, geckos have evolved a remarkable variety of sounds to communicate with each other and with their environment. These vocalizations add an extra layer of intrigue to the already fascinating world of these reptiles.