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Geckos vs. Salamanders: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 28, 2024
Geckos are small to medium-sized, nocturnal lizards with adhesive toe pads, while salamanders are moist-skinned amphibians, often found in or near water.

Key Differences

Geckos are reptiles belonging to the family Gekkonidae, known for their unique ability to climb smooth surfaces thanks to specialized toe pads. These nocturnal creatures come in various colors and patterns. Salamanders, part of the amphibian class, are distinguished by their smooth, moist skin and are often associated with aquatic or damp environments.
The habitat of geckos varies widely; they are found in warm climates and can inhabit trees, rocks, and even human dwellings. Their diet primarily consists of insects and small invertebrates. Salamanders, on the other hand, typically reside in moist habitats like forests, marshes, and streams, feeding on a range of small aquatic and terrestrial organisms.
Geckos reproduce by laying eggs, with some species exhibiting unique reproductive traits like parthenogenesis. They are known for their vocalizations, which are uncommon among other lizards. Salamanders have diverse reproductive strategies, ranging from laying eggs in water to live birth, depending on the species. They are generally silent creatures.
An interesting aspect of geckos is their ability to lose and regenerate their tails, a defense mechanism against predators. Their skin is typically dry and covered with small scales. Salamanders possess the remarkable ability to regenerate lost limbs and other body parts, a trait not found in geckos. Their skin is smooth, glandular, and lacks scales.
Geckos are often welcomed in homes in tropical regions as they help control insect populations. They are also popular in the pet trade. Salamanders, while less common as pets, play a crucial role in the ecosystem, particularly in controlling insect populations and serving as indicators of environmental health.

Comparison Chart


Reptiles (Gekkonidae family)


Warm climates, diverse environments
Moist environments, near water

Skin Type

Dry with scales
Moist, smooth, glandular, no scales


Egg-laying, some with unique traits
Diverse, egg-laying to live birth


Insects, small invertebrates
Small aquatic/terrestrial organisms


Tail regeneration
Limb and body part regeneration

Activity Period

Mostly nocturnal
Varies, often nocturnal or crepuscular

Geckos and Salamanders Definitions


A small to medium-sized nocturnal lizard.
The gecko on the wall caught insects attracted to the porch light.


A moist-skinned amphibian often found near water.
We discovered a salamander under the wet leaves by the stream.


Wide variety of species with different colors and patterns.
We saw a brightly colored gecko during our tropical vacation.


Known for regenerating lost limbs.
The salamander in the lab regrew its tail after an injury.


Capable of vocalization, unusual for lizards.
At night, we heard the distinct chirping of geckos.


Varies in size, color, and habitat.
The forest salamander we found was small and camouflaged against the forest floor.


Popular in the pet trade.
My friend keeps a leopard gecko as a pet.


Plays a crucial role in the ecosystem.
Salamanders in our garden help control the insect population.


Known for adhesive toe pads.
The gecko easily climbed the glass window, thanks to its toe pads.


Exhibits a range of reproductive strategies.
Some salamanders in the area lay their eggs in water.


Any of various chiefly nocturnal tropical and subtropical lizards of the family Gekkonidae, characteristically having toe pads covered with numerous tiny bristles that adhere to vertical surfaces.


Any of various small, tailed amphibians of the order Caudata, having porous scaleless skin and usually two pairs of limbs of equal size, found chiefly in northern temperate regions.


Plural of gecko


A mythical creature, generally resembling a lizard, believed capable of living in or withstanding fire.


Infl of gecko


In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being having fire as its element.


An object, such as a poker, used in fire or capable of withstanding heat.


(Metallurgy) A mass of solidified material, largely metallic, left in a blast-furnace hearth.


A portable stove used to heat or dry buildings under construction.


Plural of salamander


What makes geckos' toe pads special?

Their toe pads allow them to adhere to and climb smooth surfaces.

What do geckos eat?

Geckos primarily eat insects and small invertebrates.

What is the habitat of a salamander?

Salamanders typically live in moist environments near water.

Are geckos reptiles or amphibians?

Geckos are reptiles.

Are geckos nocturnal?

Most gecko species are nocturnal.

Can geckos regenerate their tails?

Yes, geckos can lose and regenerate their tails.

Can salamanders be kept as pets?

Some species can be kept as pets, but they require specific care.

What class do salamanders belong to?

Salamanders are amphibians.

What do salamanders eat?

They eat small aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

Do geckos live in groups or alone?

Most geckos are solitary.

What is the lifespan of a gecko?

It varies by species, but many can live for several years.

Do salamanders have scales?

No, salamanders have smooth, moist skin without scales.

What is the biggest threat to geckos and salamanders?

Habitat loss and environmental changes are significant threats to both geckos and salamanders.

Are all geckos able to make sounds?

Not all, but many geckos are capable of vocalizations.

Do salamanders hibernate?

Some species of salamanders do hibernate, especially in colder climates.

Can salamanders regenerate body parts?

Yes, salamanders can regenerate limbs and other body parts.

Are salamanders good for the environment?

Yes, they play a crucial role in ecosystems, particularly in controlling insect populations.

Are geckos found worldwide?

Geckos are found in warm climates around the world.

Do salamanders need water to survive?

Yes, they need moist environments and some species are entirely aquatic.

How do geckos adapt to different environments?

Geckos adapt through their climbing abilities, diet, and nocturnal lifestyle.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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