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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gecko

Photo Credit: Thierry Caro
The gecko family of lizards include hundreds of species found in rainforests, mountains, and even deserts. Many have unusual markings, and some give distinctive calls.

Geckos have small, plump bodies with large heads and eyes. Many species are vividly colored, and some even change color. Because of geckos' unusual appearance, some people think they are dangerous. But these reptiles do not hurt humans.

Geckos live in a wide range of habitats including tropical rainforests, parched deserts, and icy mountain peaks. They are not afraid of humans, and some species have expanded their range by stowing away on ships. For example, the common gecko originated in north Africa and was carried unknowingly by humans to southern France, the Canary Islands, and even islands in the South Pacific.

Most geckos hunt at night. The common gecko eats beetles, butterflies, millipedes, crickets, and cockroaches. Many larger species, such as the Caledonian gecko, pursue young lizards, mice, and small birds. They track their prey before pouncing. Then they take it in their mouth and strike it against the ground.

Did you know?
  • The gecko is only one and a half inches long. It is the world's smallest reptile. 
  • The tokay gecko gets its name from one of its calls: "to-kay, to-kay." 
  • Sometimes a gecko's tail heals instead of breaking off completely. A new one also grows in, leaving the animal with two or even three tails.

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