Friday, March 21

Noisy Lizards!

Remember this post? The last part described a funny bird sound I was constantly hearing, but could not locate.

I finally discovered what creature was making this peculiar sound... and it's not a bird.

It is a lizard!!

While I still have a hard time believing it, every Filipino I ask gives me the same answer. They call it a "toko", because it makes the sound "to-ko, to-ko". This is the same sound I described as "eh ah". So, I was a little off the mark, but I had the general idea.

I also found this newspaper article about a Frenchman named Guillaume Joseph Hyacinthe Jean Baptiste Le Gentil de la Galasiere (whew... what a name!) attempting to describe the lizard sound in a book he authored titled, A Voyage to the Indian Seas. Towards the end, the news article states:

"Reading Le Gentil, however, often results in amusement, because you see him trying his best to convey to his French readers what he saw and experienced in the Philippines, like the "tuko" [gecko] that he had not seen but heard. He cited a Spanish source who described it as a peculiar lizard with nails so sharp it could actually run on the face of a mirror. He wrote:

“I have never seen these animals, but I have often heard them in Manila. They ordinarily live in houses. One first hears them utter two or three cries in a trembling voice -- something like the cry of an owl, but stronger and quite loud enough to make their presence known throughout the whole house, however big it might be. Then it says quite distinctly, ‘Toco, toco,’ and repeats this sound ordinarily seven times in succession, but sometimes as often as 11, allowing the tones of the voice to drop toward the end of each sound; so that the last cry the creature gives is not so loud as the first, and in a much lower key.

“I have not seen this animal, as I have said, although I have frequently heard it; and I have been given a picture of the creature that looks like the picture of a lizard. Notwithstanding this, however, I have always found it difficult to believe that the creature I heard was a lizard, for I could not believe that there are any lizards that could sing.”

Unlike Le Gentil, all Filipinos know the tuko. Reading about our country and people from a foreigner’s eyes can be very delightful and informative."


So, there you have it! My mystery has been solved. I would have never in a million years guessed that this very loud, distinct call would have come from a lizard. But, I am learning all sorts of interesting and creepy facts about living in the jungle. And, for the most part, I am enjoying it!

4 comments:

Feeny Family said...

Oh my goodness Mrs. Espinosa, is that picture of an actual gecko? They look so weird. How I would freak out if I was found in the same room with one of those! The ones here in our neighborhood are just plain gray...

Sarah F.

Amberly said...

I found that picture online. It is a gecko native to the Philippines, but I did not actually see that particular gecko in my home. The ones I see are just like the ones back home... kinda pale & translucent.

AKILEZ said...

Just Be careful with those Lizard or Toko. Because sometimes they jump on you and grab your skin like a duct tape, sometimes they are very hard to remove I think you have to used a knife to scarp their feet off from your skin..

Anonymous said...

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