Gecko Symbolism: It’s Not Just About Car Insurance

shaded pink gecko standing on sand main

Geckos are small nocturnal lizards found in warm moist places around the world. Geckos symbolize transformation (shedding their skins), flexibility, good fortune, protection (including from insects), and wisdom. They do at times have a bad reputation as not kosher (for Jews) and cunning tricksters. GEICO has one as a popular mascot.  

Ah. It’s another GEICO car insurance commercial with our friendly green friend with that funny accent.  He is a gecko, often a charming animal, but not usually knowledgeable about insurance.  So how did a small lizard become their spokesmodel?  Let’s talk geckos!  

Basic Facts 

Geckos are small (one to six inches) nocturnal (up at night) lizards found on every continent except for Antarctica.  They like warm, moist areas.  Geckos mostly eat insects.  

Geckos make noises such as chirping, barking, and clicking as a way to defend their territory or attract a mate.  Reptiles are not normally such noisy animals. Their name supposedly is an imitation of their cry.  No, they do not say “15% off” or other insurance terminology.  

Geckos are known for their large head and distinctive eyes.  Their feet are well suitable for climbing with pads on their feet.  Geicos often shed their skins.  

Are Geckos Mentioned In the Bible?

Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skunk, and the chameleon.  

Lev. 11:29-30

Geckos are considered “unclean” (not kosher) in the Hebrew scriptures.  Ancient Israelites were aware of these desert dwellers, who live in the biblical lands of the Middle East.  

Muslims also sometimes find geckos troublesome, and there are some references to certain types being pests. But, all monotheistic religions teach us to treat animals kindly.  

Geckos are still respected by these religions as God’s creatures.  

Geckos As Protectors 

My name is Adnoartina. I am a gecko, protector of the Uluru and all of the ancient spirits who reside there. Today, however, my mission is to teach you.

Australian Aborigines tell stories about Adnoartina, a sacred being that took the form of a gecko.  This sacred being not only is the creator of a famous local landmark but also a part of peace ceremonies.  This shows the special respect the locals have for the animals.

Hawaiians also honor geckos as guardians and protectors.  Geckos are respected as gentle animals that should not be harmed.  They have the ability to change colors when threatened.  Geckos also are practical since they eat troublesome bugs and insects (maybe the same thing!). 

In the Philippines, it is considered lucky to have one in your bedroom.  They are allowed to run around wild as in-house pest exterminators.  I am told they have very good rates.  

Transformation and Rebirth 

Geckos like snakes regularly shed their skins.  If necessary, a geico might even lose its tail, which can grow back.  Both traits help them symbolize transformation and rebirth.  

Geckos symbolize change and new beginnings.  

They symbolize the circle of life (birth, death, rebirth) with special spiritual significance.  

Geckos are “dream animals” that reside in a special state between normal existence and the other realms.   They are often totems (symbolic animals) of Native Americans.  

They also are flexible and tricksters. Geckos can adapt to their environments, including camouflage, and sometimes even change colors.  They are both wise and cunning.  

Good Luck

They are good luck, a sign that good times are right around the corner.  

Cultures as diverse as Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese agree.  Egyptian hieroglyphics (picture writing) use lizards (including geckos) to represent “many” or “‘plentiful.”

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity, is also associated with geckos.

Nature’s Charmers 

A few cultures are concerned about geckos.  We saw how ancient Israelites thought they were impure.  And, those crafty, sometimes very fast, lizards can be troubling tricksters.

Most people respect them as harmless, often useful, symbols of nature.  Geckos are familiar presences closer to home at times.  But, for many of us, they are “out there” in nature.  

GEICO Gecko 

Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) is an American car insurance company, which originally sold insurance to government employees.  The name sounds like “gecko” and people often confused “GEICO” with “gecko.”  This made a gecko a logical spokesperson.  

The GEICO is a product of the Martin advertising agency and his name is “Martin.”  Most people are just familiar with his polite attitude and Cockney accent. The accent provides an average guy feel, the accent the same as British working-class people.  

The Lovable Gecko

Insurance advertisements these days have so many plotlines that you might lose track of them all.  The GEICO gecko for over twenty years has remained a lovable mascot that stands out.  

Geckos, I think, are quite lovable.  They are cute and a bit mysterious.  Geckos are lucky to have you around, and not just to give you insurance advice.  

Kermit the Frog is a popular green animal.  Geckos also deserve some more love.

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