fun facts about geckos

20 Fun Facts about Geckos To Get To Know Them Better

Geckos are basically lizards, which are included as the cold-blooded reptiles. There are at least 1000 species of geckos in the world. The only place in the world where you can’t find geckos is in Antarctica. They are mostly nocturnals and live in deserts, jungles, and at home or other human places. Insects are their main food and they grow from as small as 2 cmn to as big as 35 cm.

Their main differences with lizards in general is they lay eggs in pairs while lizards usually lay eggs in bulk and their vocalizing ability which other lizards don’t have. Here are 20 fun facts about geckos that you need to know. 

1. Gecko is a Malay-Indonesian Word 

1. Gecko is a Malay-Indonesian Word 

The word gecko itself is believed to come from the Malay-Indonesian word “gekok”. This word sounded similar to the gecko sound, thus that is where the name comes from.

2. Tail Drop 

Tail Drop 

One of the most famous things about geckos is their ability to drop their tail in times of danger. Then, they will easily regrow their tails through time. However, geckos don’t actually like doing this. It requires energy to regrow their tails back and most importantly their tails are actually where they store nutrients and fat for times when they can find any food. 

3. Geckos Have Great Vocals

Geckos Have Great Vocals

Have you ever heard the sound of geckos before? Geckos have a sophisticated vocal communication system just like mammals and birds. Geckos do make sounds like chirps, barks, clicks, and other sounds to communicate.

This is what makes them different from other lizards. They make sounds to warn intruders from their territory, to avoid direct fighting, or to attract mates. 

4. Geckos Don’t Enjoy Music

Geckos Don’t Enjoy Music

Even with their great vocals, geckos don’t enjoy human music. WIth their spectacular communication system, geckos have sensitive ears. However, they are trained to hear small quiet noises in the wild making hearing even the calmest songs bothersome for them.

Your music is just loud noise and chaos to them. If they happen to be exposed to loud and sudden sounds, it might actually hurt their health. 

5. Sticky Feet

Sticky Feet

The reason why geckos can stick on walls is because of their nanoscale hairs called setae. There are 6.5 million of these hairs on each gecko to help them stick to surfaces so they can climb easily. This amount of hair could hold the weight of two human beings. The only place that geckos cannot stick is on dry teflon.

6. Differentiate Color in Dim Light

Differentiate Color in Dim Light

Naturally nocturnal creatures, geckos vision are 350 times better than humans at night. They have highly sensitive retinas enabling them to have wonderful night vision. Gecos have vertical pupils and close tiny slits to protect these delicate light sensors from damaging rays. 

7. Geckos Lick Their Eyes

Geckos Lick Their Eyes

Interesting habit that geckos have is licking their eyes. They do so because most geckos don’t have eyelids causing them to not be able to blink. Just like when you do the no-blinking game, your eyes would sometimes feel hurt and tears start flowing.

The geckos do this game all day every day for their entire life. In order to keep their eyes moist, clean, and clear, they need to lick it. 

8. Able to Camouflage

Able to Camouflage

They do their camouflage by sensing their surroundings instead of seeing what their surroundings look like. The light-sensitive proteins or opsins in their skin also enables them to mimic their surroundings. Some species have patterns that mimic stones, lichen, dead leaves etc. enabling them to blend in with their environment easily. 

9. Flying Gecko

Flying Gecko

Southeast Asia is home to the flying geckos. They have the ability to glide with their flaps of skin on their feet and flat rubber like tails for 60 meters in one go. Thus, they look like they are able to fly. These flying geckos are not truly capable of true powered flight, they just try to stretch themselves as much as they can and glide from tree to tree. 

10. Legless Gecko 

Legless Gecko 

Some species of geckos are limbless. They look almost like snakes which gave them the names: legless lizards, snake-lizards, or flap-footed lizards. They only have hind limbs which look more like a flap than limbs. The reason they are legless is because they don’t actually need one.

These geckos spend most of their time swimming through sand and soil, thus they don’t actually need their legs. Studies even show that having legs might be a hindrance for them to operate like their usual self. 

11. Shed Skin to Remove Scent  

Shed Skin to Remove Scent  

The Leopard Geckos is native to dry and semi-desert places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and northwest India.  For the last 30 years, they have been kept and bred as pets due to their docile and relatively easy to care nature as long as you make their terrarium look like their native homes.

In nature, they need to be aware of predators, other than doing their famous drop-tail method, the Leopard Geckos would also shed their skin to prevent predators from detecting their scent. 

12. Geckos Survive Living in Snow Too

Geckos Survive Living in Snow Too

Geckos and snow seem to be a little off. Well, most geckos do live in tropical weather. However, the Atlas Day Gecko has successfully adapted themselves to live in mountain tops throughout winter. Their strategy is to gather heat and energy as much as they could during the day, even in winter, so that they could have enough heat to survive the cold winter nights.

The cold weather also makes this Atlas Day gecko to be more social, they either found basking under the sun together with other animals or they do communal egg-laying. It is interesting to see that the higher the altitude, the bigger the Atlas Day geckos.

13. Maturity Based on Size 

Maturity Based on Size 

Geckos’ maturity is simply determined by their size. You can determine their age by looking at their size. They are considered adult geckos once they reach 8 months old. 

However, they will continue to gain weight until they are 2 years old. However, being an adult gecko doesn’t mean that they can start reproducing. Sexual maturity in gecko is determined by their weight. Usually, they need to reach about 35 g before they can mate and reproduce. 

14. Gender Determined by Temperature

Gender Determined by Temperature

There has been studies on temperature-dependent sex determination in the Leopard Gecko. So, when a Gecko mom lays eggs, the incubation temperature will determine the gender of the baby geckos. If the eggs are incubated at about 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), most of them will be females. In between 85 to 87 degrees fahrenheit (29 to 31 degrees Celsius), an equal number of males and female baby geckos will be produced.

Most males baby geckos will be produced in incubation temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).  Studies found that higher temperatures, in the range of 93 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (34 to 35 degrees Celsius), will produce more female baby geckos. 

15. Mourning Geckos Don’t Need Male to Reproduce 

Mourning Geckos Don’t Need Male to Reproduce 

Mourning Geckos are one of those geckos that are very loud when they communicate with one another. They are believed to be super loud cause they are all female and all of them mourning over the loss of their mates. Male mourning geckos are very rare and not necessary in nature and even existing ones are sterile.

Mourning geckos don’t need males to reproduce. They reproduce through parthenogenesis which is a type of assexual reproduction, where they basically make clones of themselves, thus only females mourning geckos are produced. 

16. Geckos Will Always Land on Their Feet

Geckos Will Always Land on Their Feet

Just like cats, geckos will always land on their feet after their fall. When falling from a non-desirable place as they are climbing, their tail will do a quick snap to ensure that they will land on their feet.

However, their sticky feet will help them stick, lowering the probability of falling. If their sticky feet do not do its job well, their tail will actually keep them from falling first. Falling from a certain height and into rough or hard surfaces can cause geckos to be seriously ill. 

17. Geckos Have Feelings 

Geckos Have Feelings 

The thing that geckos could actually feel is fear and aggression. These are the two feelings that are hard wired into them. Being relatively smaller than other lizards and predators, they have a sense of alertness and awareness to keep themselves safe from threats. They can feel happy and delighted when they are well fed. 

18. Geckos Tolerate Being Petted

Geckos Tolerate Being Petted

Geckos have now been considered as pet options aside from dogs and cats. Similar to ways when you pet your dogs and cats, you also want to treat your pet gecko the same way. Well, geckos in general don’t hate being petted, but they don’t particularly like it.

It is safe to say that they tolerate it. It is also not recommended to have them being held too much. Some geckos considered being held in your hands a new adventure where they can explore safely, but most find it stressful 

19. Geckos Can Survive 2 Week Without Food

Geckos Can Survive 2 Week Without Food

Young geckos could survive for about 10 days without food and the adult geckos could survive 14 days without food. The reason they could survive is the extra nutrients they keep on their tails.

Thus, their tails do play some crucial aspects of their life. One for defense and the other is to keep their extra supply. That’s why it is a common sight where geckos eat their tails after dropping it off. 

20. Geckos love Human and their Homes

Geckos love Human and their Homes

Many times, homes have geckos especially if you live in places with warm weather. Geckos apparently love to be around humans or live rent-free in their homes. Since they feed on insects that are found easily in human homes, they find it easy to live with humans. Unlike many reptiles, geckos actually thrive living around humans. 

Well, not everyone fancy geckos. If your interest in geckos grows after reading these facts, you may consider getting one of them as pets. Or maybe you can just be their loyal observer.

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