Gary is currently in Grand Chute, WI (May 22nd, 2015)

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NEW Caledonia

I’m at the Nadi, Fiji airport and about to leave for New Caledonia.

I’m glad I spent the last two days in Fiji. If I hadn’t, my opinion of Fiji would have only been shaped by Nadi, which honestly, is a shithole. Suva and Lukaota are much nicer cities.

I got my Kiribati visa and some books to read, so my mini Fiji mission has been accomplished.

  • 3 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. I did some reading – between the geckos and skinks, there are at least 45 endemic species on New Caledonia and its nearby sub-islands. The odds of you seeing a crested are pretty low, since they don’t hang around in the cities much. There are also lots of (introduced) day geckos, which may be driving out native species (along with the rats).

    I read there is a road around the periphery of the main island – tropical forest on one side, much drier conditions on the other. Might be nice to take a drive around the island and see what there is to see.

  2. Gary says:

    If there is one image I have that would signify all the pacific islands I’ve visited, it would be the gecko.

    In Samoa, I spent a few hours watching geckos on the ceiling hunt and kill bugs.

    I’ve seen different color and sizes of geckos on every island I’ve been to. Yellow, brown, green and a small silver.

  3. Hi Gary,

    I have a special interest in New Caledonia, because I keep New Caledonian Crested Geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) as pets (we have four of them). They have an interesting history; they were first discovered by science back in the late 1800s, but after that nothing was seen or heard of them. It was thought they were extinct. However, in 1989 they were rediscovered, alive and thriving on the southern parts of New Caledonia, along with (I think it is) five other species of related gecko. The scientific expeditions brought back many individuals, and it turns out they are relatively easy to keep and breed in captivity. Today they are the most popular gecko in the hobby.

    However, only that first set of geckos was taken legally. Since then, New Caledonia has been very protective, and only scientists and educational visits are allowed to collect geckos on the island. There is a bit of smuggling as well.

    Anyway the geckos are interesting, very charismatic, and if you get a chance to see some or (especially) take pictures, do so. The amount of information about their natural habitat is pretty low: hobbyists know what they eat, their preferred temperature and humidity, and that sort of thing, but there is very little known of the sort of environment they prefer: the exact species of trees they like, what fruits they eat (they eat both fruit and insects), how big of a territory any given male will create, that sort of thing.

    A huge percentage of animal species on New Caledonia are endemic (unique) to the island. It’s a great opportunity to see some very rare, poorly-studied and even yet-to-be-described species.


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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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