Geckos - Nature's Masters of Disguise
We all know about chameleons being able to change colors on a whim, however did you know that some geckos (lizards found in tropical countries) can do the same? In fact, they are so good at it, that some of their species haven't even been discovered yet!
For example, look at the picture above - If you missed the gecko that has camouflaged itself to resemble a curled-up dried leaf, you are in good company - Most people do! Called the Satanic Leaf-Tailed gecko because of its 'humps' that resemble horns and red-eyes, the reptile can be found on the islands of Madagascar, where they cleverly blend in with the rainforests.
Besides turning into beautiful autumn leaves, the Satanic leaf-tailed geckos whose normal coloring is gray or brown, can also transform their coloring to yellow, green and orange.
Native to Australia , the Northern Leaf-Tailed gecko, seen in the picture above, is named after its leaf-shaped tail, which can be regenerated,if lost. Unlike other geckos, they do not have the toe pads that 'stick' to surfaces, which is what enables the lizards to walk upside down or sideways. Instead, they have 'clawed toes', which assist them to climb on rough surfaces. These geckos can also turn to several shades of green or yellow, depending on the environment they are trying to blend in.
Though there are over 2,000 species of geckos in the world, not all can change color. These largely nocturnal creatures spend their days blended perfectly to the branches of trees they laze on. With their large eyes, big mouth and awesome disguises, geckos are very good at catching prey - sometimes larger then the lizards themselves.
While gecko's are like chameleons, in that they can change color, they do it for different reasons. Geckos try to blend in, not only to avoid predators, but also, to catch prey. Chameleons do it to communicate or convey emotions and result in becoming even more conspicuous. The color change occurs when cells with different color pigments beneath the lizard's transparent skin expands or contracts. If only we humans could do that!
In case you haven't noticed, each and every picture above has a gecko in it - Were you able to spot them all? If so, be sure to let us know by, adding your comments below.
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