Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko Phyllurus platurus Click to enlarge image
The Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus platurus) is common in sandstones of the Sydney Basin, and sometimes inside houses and garages. Image: Stephen Mahony
© Stephen Mahony

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    platurus
    Genus
    Phyllurus
    Family
    Gekkonidae
    Suborder
    Lacertilia
    Order
    Squamata
    Subclass
    Lepidosauria
    Class
    Reptilia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    15 cm

Introduction

People often come across strange, leaf-shaped 'creatures' in their backyards. These usually turn out to be the tail from a Leaf-tailed Gecko.

Identification

The Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko has rough, scaly skin and a brown or grey, mottled pattern that resembles the sandstone habitat where it lives.

Habitat

The Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko lives in urban areas and coastal sandstone heath. It is quite common in Sydney and has been known to enter garages and houses in urban areas.

Distribution

The Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko is found in the Sydney Basin and surrounds.

Feeding and diet

The Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko feeds at night and shelters during the day in crevices or under rocks.

Other behaviours and adaptations

When the Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko is threatened or attacked, it discards its tail so it can escape to safety. It will re-grow another tail and the missing tail will decompose.