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An Indonesian Village Hunts And Roasts Thousands Of Cicaks To Use In Cosmetics

Its largest buyers are from China and the US.

Cover image via Vice Indonesia

We see them everywhere and pay little to no attention as they climb on the walls of our homes

The common house gecko may seem like just another pest in an Asian household. But for one Indonesian village, these critters have been good moneymakers.

For more than a decade, a village in Indonesia has been making money by hunting and roasting geckos or cicaks to use as an ingredient in make-up

Vice Indonesia visited a village in Kapetakan, West Java, where it discovered thousands of dead geckos lying in piles.

Image via Vice Indonesia
Image via Vice Indonesia

Villagers hunt for the geckos at night with only a flashlight and a stick smeared with glue

They go around residents' homes looking for lizards, catch them with the stick, and put them into a basket to deliver to the head of operations' home.

The head of operations, who goes by the name Sugandhi, pays hunters IDR40,000 (RM11.82) per kilogramme. He has hunters across six villages.

Image via Vice Indonesia

The lizards are then rinsed with water and the slimy coating on their bodies are removed with a kind of powdered detergent

Image via Vice Indonesia

The critters are then roasted for a couple of hours before being placed out in the sun to dry and finally packaged to be sold.

Vice discovered that the village also dabbles in the frog and snake business. However, the little geckos are their biggest moneymakers. They are sold for IDR250,000 (RM73.89) per kilogramme.

Image via Vice Indonesia

According to Sugandhi, their biggest buyers are from China and the US

The lizards are apparently used for medicinal purposes, such as skin allergies and itchiness. However, there is no scientific evidence that it works.

It is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics.

Image via Vice Indonesia

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