Tarentum of Mauretania - Origin, characteristics and habitat

Mauretania taranto or common taranto: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Mauretania tarento (Tarentola...

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The Mauretania Tarentum (Tarentola mauritanica), also called Mauretania Taranto, South Taranto or Common Taranto, is a reptile belonging to the gecko family (Gekkonidae). They are present in the South of France, in the Iberian Peninsula, in Italy as well as in many other countries. Due to their curious morphology, some people wonder if tarantos are venomous. Well, no, it's a completely harmless animal. In the following PlanetAnimal fact sheet, we explain everything there is to know about the common taranto, its origin, its characteristics and its habitat! Read on and find out absolutely everything about it!


  • Europe
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Portugal

Origin of the Tarentum of Mauretania

Although it is currently scattered around the world, mainly due to commercial activities that have brought it to distant and exotic places such as Africa and America, the Mauretania Taranto is native to the western Mediterranean. She also reached the Balearic Islands and the Azores through humans. Moreover, thanks to its morphological characteristics, it has been able to adapt wonderfully to new climatic and geographical conditions.

The variety present in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands is called Tarentola mauritanica mauritanica. Although there are three different genetic lineages at these locations, they all belong to the same subspecies.

Characteristics of Common Taranto

Some of the characteristics of this gecko are:

  • The gecko is a small reptile: it is generally between 80 and 90 mm long, reaching 190 mm if we take into account its particularly long tail.
  • Its tail is extremely long: it usually represents between 44% and 51% of the total length of newborns, as well as 50% and up to 56.5% of the total length in adults.
  • " Geckos have a flattened tail, body and head, i.e. they have a rather flat stomach and back. This allows them to move around easily and get into nooks and crannies that are hard to reach for other animals."
  • It can regenerate its tail, after it has fallen off for one reason or another: it appears bumpless, smooth and soft to the touch.
  • The common taranto has 12 adhesive sub-digital lamellae: its legs end in five laterally enlarged toes where these lamellae are located.These allow them to climb even the flattest and most slippery surfaces, such as glass or metal.
  • Only female geckos have claws on all five toes: males only have them on the third and fourth toes.
  • They have polygon-shaped scales: these are on the head, which is large and triangular.
  • It has a pronounced throat: it is found on the neck.
  • He has large, prominent eyes with vertical pupils and marked nostrils.
  • Geckos can be brownish-grey in color: they can have great color variability that can range from almost white gray to a gray so dark it looks black. The ventral area is usually much lighter than the rest of the body. A peculiarity regarding the color is that it changes from day to night, being darker during the day to better tolerate the incidence of the sun's rays.

Common Taranto Habitat

Although it is distributed over a wide variety of geographical areas, the common taranto prefers temperate or tropical climates, as it does not tolerate excessive cold. This is why it is normally found in places below 600 meters altitude, although populations have been found to settle in places over 2,350 meters above sea level, such as this is the case of Sierra Nevada, in Granada.

Common tarantos don't need much to live on, only available shelter in logs, rocks, or buildings, like houses and walls. They are usually seen in scrub areas, but not so much in forests or cultivated areas and plantations. It is common to see them even in big cities, as they easily find places to shelter.

Reproduction of the common taranto

How do common tarantos reproduce? The Common Taranto's breeding cycle begins in January, when the males begin to feel stimulated to seek a mate to mate with. But it is in spring that copulation takes place, more precisely in the south of France, between March and July. A curious fact about the reproduction of tarantos is that during this process, the male bites the female in the stomach.

The female can lay 6 to 7 times about 1 or 2 eggs which measure around 10x12 millimeters. Eight cases have been recorded in which several clutches of different females are concentrated in the same space, for a total of more than 50 eggs.

Laying eggs usually takes place in a sheltered place, such as holes in logs or in wall cracks buried in the ground. Female geckos incubate their eggs between 45 and 70 days, depending on the length of incubation and temperatures, this duration being less under favorable climatic conditions.At hatching, the young measure 40-58 mm in total length.

Mauritania taranto diet

Common Tarantos are primarily insectivorous animals, but in times of famine and resource scarcity they are perfectly capable of being cannibalistic and eating smaller smaller geckos. The insects they feed on the most are flies and mosquitoes, moths, spiders, butterflies or crickets.

As nocturnal animals, their peak activity is at nightfall. Although it is not common to have a common tarento as a pet, if you decide to have one at home, you must provide it with a terrarium that meets the basic needs of space and hygiene. Its diet should be based on the consumption of insects such as flies, crickets and others.

Discover other nocturnal animals in this article from PlanèteAnimale that we recommend.

How long does a common tarento live?

If you are wondering how long does a common taranto live, for sure the answer will surprise you. Indeed, the gecko's life expectancy is between 6 and 12 years approximately, a truly extraordinary figure given its pace and standard of living.

Photos of Tarentum of Mauretania or Common Taranto

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