Geckos vs Salamanders: Difference and Comparison

Diversity in living organisms can be experienced everywhere on planet Earth. The organisms vary in their physical appearance, habitat, nutrition, reproduction and many more criteria in general.


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The hierarchy of classification is vast and very interesting when understood. The organisms belonging to the same Kingdom may differ in their Phylum, those belonging to the same genus may differ in their species, and so on.

This results in extreme confusion among organisms. Two such examples are Geckos and Salamanders.

They belong to the same Kingdom and the same Phylum. Despite such similarities, they are very different from each other.

They vary in their Class, Order, Genus and Species.

Key Takeaways

  1. Geckos are lizards with adhesive toe pads, while salamanders are amphibians with smooth skin and no toe pads.
  2. Salamanders have a longer lifespan and can regenerate lost body parts, while geckos cannot.
  3. Geckos are more commonly kept as pets due to their docile nature and ease of care, while salamanders require more specific care.

Geckos vs Salamanders

Geckos are small lizards having scales on their body. They are found in warm climates, including deserts, rainforests, etc. They can detach their tails in case of a threat. Salamanders have smooth skin and are found near rivers, streams, etc. They are carnivores, but some eat plants also.

Geckos vs Salamanders

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGeckosSalamanders
SpeciesThe gecko species diversity ranges up to almost 1500 different types. Whereas there are over 350 different species of salamanders alone.
SkinGeckos have variably smooth and rough skin as compared to salamanders. Salamanders have moist, smooth and sometimes slimy skin.
PermeabilityThey are impermeable to water.Whereas salamanders are permeable.
HabitatMany species have colonized the trees, and a group of species even possess wing-like membranes having gliding ability. Some also live in arid deserts. Many of them never leave the water, unlike geckos. Few species undertake the trees. Moreover, salamanders specifically live in damp habitats.
MorphologyGenerally, these are 1 foot in length. Even the largest gecko species barely exceed a foot and weigh less than 1 pound.A few aquatic salamanders may reach more than 2 feet long, and the world’s largest salamanders, or the Asian salamanders, maybe 5 feet long or more and weigh more than 75 pounds.
ReproductionGeckos practice internal fertilization, and the males use paired hemipenes for sperm transfer. Some of them practice external fertilization, and some perform internal fertilization by juxtaposing their cloacas; without having any external organ.
DietMost species prey on insects, worms and other invertebrates, and a few feed on flower nectar and soft fruits. Carnivorous in nature, they feed on insects, worms etc. Aquatic salamanders feed specifically on aquatic invertebrates, but larger species also hunt fish and other salamanders.

What is Gecko?

To begin with, geckos are small lizards belonging to infra order Gekkota of the order Squamata. These are generally found in warm climates and range from 1.6 to 60cm (I.e. 0.64 to 24 inches) in length.

Most geckos use chirping sounds to interact socially; some species can even make a hissing noise when alarmed or threatened. Some of the species lack eyelids.

So they possess a fixed lens to see in darkness. Since they cannot blink, they generally lick the dust and dirt off their corneas to keep them clean and moist.

On the other hand, Nocturnal geckos, which evolved from diurnal species that had lost the eye rods, have excellent night vision. These organisms can climb even smooth vertical surfaces as they possess sticky toe-pads.

During this process, they tend to generate a stereotyped wall reaction force pattern at all speeds. They alternatively push or pull a mass along a rail or in a vertical plane.

Otherwise known as that group of species-rich lizards, geckos, like most lizards, can lose their tail in defence.


What is Salamander?

Salamanders are a group of amphibians, almost the same as lizards in physical appearance. All present-day salamander families are grouped under the order Urodela.

They are mostly found in cool and damp places such as Northern Hemisphere, the Holarctic, and the Neotropical realms. They generally have more than four toes on their front legs and five on their rear legs, but some species have fewer in number and others lack hind limbs.

Having the capability of regenerating lost limbs and other body parts, they are now considered by researchers for potential human medical applications. The skin of some species contains the powerful poison tetrodotoxin; these generally tend to be slow-moving and produce warnings to advertise their toxicity.

Terrestrial salamanders have a great variety of adaptations that protect them against some predators. Some behavioural patterns include an increase in the apparent size of the salamanders and then placing their anti-predator secretions (I.e. from the granular glands) in the closest proximity to the predator.


Main Differences Between Geckos and Salamanders

  1. Geckos are lizards that belong to Reptilia, whereas salamanders come under Amphibia.
  2. Salamanders reside in water; rather, they rarely leave it, unlike the geckos, which do not even enter the water.
  3. Geckos are mostly found in warm climates (arid deserts), but the case differs with salamanders. They live in damp habitats.
  4. About 1500 gecko species are present in the world today, whereas salamanders have almost 350 different species.
  5. With relatively smooth skin, geckos imperviousable to water, whereas salamanders have smooth and moist skin, sometimes slimy and very permeable to water.
  6. Normally, both creatures are less than 1 foot long, but some species of salamanders can be more than 2 feet long.
Difference Between Geckos and Salamanders
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