Reader Eric Danell is a Swedish plant physiologist, now working in Thailand, who has his own website, Dokmai Dogma. He already published these pictures on his site but I thought I’d reproduce them here (with permission) along with his commentary. It shows one of the innumerable life-and-death dramas that are always taking place in nature, even in hotel rooms:
In Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia the barking tokay gecko lizards are hunted to support the superstitious Chinese medicine with raw material. I spoke to a Swedish lady who has a lot of experience from keeping terrarium animals, and I asked her what she thought of the tokay as a terrarium pet? She said its ferocious behaviour made it so dangerous it should not be allowed as a pet at all. It is like a small crocodile, running up and down the walls attacking anything it can swallow. Is it of importance to man?
Yesterday evening, towards midnight, I walked to the bathroom at Dokmai Garden. To my great surprise I saw the silhouette of a giant scolopender hanging from the roof tiles. Using a flash light I realized this poisonous centipede was caught between the jaws of a tokay gecko.
As described earlier, such scolopenders may inflict a very painful and poisonous bite. Having a blue chap with a clown face taking care of such pests makes me feel safe. He watches over me while I am asleep, and his poo will become orchid fertilizer.
The part to the left is the scolopender’s rear end. The scolopender’s head with its powerful curved ‘jaws’ (they are in fact modified legs) is seen to the right. Both animals are big. In this photograph they are slightly smaller than natural size.
You can read more about Tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) at Wikipedia; they are the world’s second largest gecko, and can be up to 15 inches long. The description includes this gem:
When the Tokay bites, they often won’t let go for a few minutes or even up to an hour or more, and it is very difficult to remove without causing harm to the gecko. For this reason, it is considered to be best as an ornamental animal for experienced reptile owners.