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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2023



Cat Gecko

Family : Eublepharidae
Species : Aeluroscalabotes felinus
Size (snout to vent) : 11.4 cm
Size (total length) : up to ~19 cm

Aeluroscalabotes felinus, the Cat Gecko (or 'Fox-faced Gecko'), is a unique species of forest-dwelling lizard from the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra(?) and Borneo.

It occurs in mature, lowland and hill forest. It is fully arboreal and nocturnal in habits, and is typically encountered on low vegetation, often near forest streams, although its presence higher up is hard to detect as this is a slow-moving lizard whose pattern and colouration resemble dead vegetation.

This unusual gecko is unmistakable in appearance; it has an elongated, flattened head, large eyes, elongated body, slender limbs and prehensile tail. It is mainly dark brown in colour, with bold orange markings on top of the head and along the vertebral line. The lips and throat are pale.

Like other geckos, the distal part of the tail is easily shed when under stress, but it will regrow.

The precise range and distribution of this somewhat cryptic lizard appears uncertain. It is clearly present in southern Thailand, parts of Peninsular Malaysia and forested areas of Borneo. It may also occur in parts of Sumatra (i.e. Riau Province ?), but well-documented records are hard to locate.

The first scientific description of this lizard was made by Albert Gnther in 1864, from a specimen captured in Singapore. Specimens were also acquired from the Singapore Botanic Gardens in the early 1900's, but since that time there have been no unequivocal records in the whole country. It is locally categorised as 'restricted, rare'; if it is still present it will have a limited local range, and  probably only occurs in mature forest.

Figs 1 and 2 : Typical example from streamside vegetation at Kubah, Sarawak, Borneo. Photos thanks to Law Ingg Thong.

References : H10, H11

Links :

Wikipedia - Albert Gnther

Thanks to Kelvin Lim for assistance.

Fig 1
ゥ  Law Ingg Thong
Fig 2
ゥ  Law Ingg Thong