Exotic Pet Profile - Geckos
A type of lizard, geckos can make terrific pets for adults and mature children. Although some geckos require a lot of maintenance, many others are easier to care for. Close to 900 species of gecko are known to exist, so finding the right one for you should be a snap. Take this short quiz to learn some interesting facts about these fascinating reptiles.
All geckos are nocturnal.
False. Although most geckos are nocturnal, others are active during the day and sleep at night.
Geckos are herbivores.
False. Most geckos eat worms and insects such as crickets and cockroaches. Some also feed on eggs, small mammals, birds, and other lizards. Certain species do eat fruit and in captivity will consume fruit baby food.
Most gecko species have unusual feet that stick to almost any surface.
True. Most geckos can climb practically anywhere without falling off, all because of their amazing feet. Although some people may think that this ability comes from suction cups on the feet, some sort of glue-like substance, or static electricity, the fact is that geckos’ feet actually temporarily bond to surfaces at a molecular level. The science behind this may be somewhat complicated, but what makes it possible are the half a million tiny hair-like structures that these geckos have on each foot.
Most geckos thrive in cool climates.
False. Geckos tend to enjoy very warm temperatures, on average somewhere in the 75°F to 90°F range. Depending on the species, some geckos may tolerate or even prefer a somewhat lower nighttime temperature.
Many geckos do not have eyelids.
True. Although some gecko species have eyelids, others have immovable membranes over their eyes. This means that they cannot blink or close their eyes. Geckos without eyelids clean their eyes by licking them with their tongue. Regardless of eye type, geckos have excellent vision, and the nocturnal ones can see quite well at night.
Geckos can regrow their tail.
True. One of the gecko’s defense mechanisms is its ability to regrow its tail after the tail breaks off (which often occurs when a predator grabs the gecko by the tail). This is called tail autonomy. If the tail does not come off completely, another one can grow beside the original.
Geckos do not grow any more than 5 inches in length.
False. The Tokay gecko and New Caledonian giant gecko are the largest of the species, growing as long as about 12 inches and 9 1/2 inches, respectively. As for the smallest, scientists in 2001 discovered the Jaragua Sphaero, or dwarf gecko, which measures less than 3/4 inch.
Geckos do not have a “voice.”
False. Many types of geckos make some kind of sound, generally squeaking or chirping. Geckos are unusual among lizards in this respect (most lizards can make only a hissing sound). Male and female geckos make different noises.