Different types of geckos can be identified by their size, coloration, patterns and markings, and their native habitat. Other forms of identification are whether the gecko can change its color, its temperament and if its toes have adhesive pads.

Other ways to identify a gecko include whether it's more active in the day or more active at night, although most geckos are nocturnal. Many types of geckos can reproduce parthenogenetically, and another way to differentiate between types of geckos is in the amount of time it takes for their eggs to hatch. Hatching can take anywhere from one to three months. Herpetologists also often study the pores in a gecko's skin to determine what type it is. Most types of geckos are able to shed their tails if their tails are pulled, but certain breeds are able to shed their tails at will if they are attacked.

Some types of geckos have more obvious distinguishing features: the flying gecko has flaps of skin between its neck and legs that help it to glide from tree to tree, in a similar manner to flying squirrels, and the crocodile gecko resembles a tiny crocodile because its skin and tail are full of spines.