Geckos are chiefly tropical and subtropical in their distribution, but species range as far north as the southwestern United States, southern Europe, and southern Siberia. To the south, geckos reach Stewart Island in New Zealand and approach the southern tip of South America. Although they are most common at lower elevations, geckos are found up to 12,000 ft (3,700 m) in the Himalayas. Geckos also have reached most tropical and subtropical islands and, along with skinks, are often the only land reptiles on remote oceanic islands. Some species, such as the house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) and the mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) have wide distributions, but most species are restricted to small geographic ranges. Many geckos are substrate-limited and prefer only particular types of rocks, trees, or soils. Gecko diversity is especially high in arid and semiarid habitats in Africa and Australia and in forested parts of Southeast Asia and Madagascar. Few species live in North America, Europe, or temperate Asia. Some geckos live commensally with humans and are transported easily. The Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) has been introduced into many places in North America, and a colony survives as far north as Baltimore, Maryland.
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