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All About Geckos
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Anatomy: Geckos have short, wide, fleshy toes with large, backward-curved claws. Most geckos have sticky toe pads, composed of microscopic Velcro-like hooked bristles (called setae) on the bottom of the feet; the bristles allow them to climb well, even on smooth surfaces or upside down. Desert geckos have fringed feet that let them run across sand very easily. Flying geckos (genus Ptychozoon) have wide flaps of skin extending from the abdomen and have webbed toes, legs, and tail that help them glide gracefully through the air.
Geckos range in size from 1/2 inch to about 14 inches (1.5 to 35 cm) long; the largest gecko is the tokay gecko (Gecko gecko). The wide tail stores fat. The gecko's eyes are covered and protected by a transparent membrane; the gecko cleans this membrane with its long tongue.
Diet: Gecko are carnivores (meat-eaters). They eat mostly insects (like crickets, springtails, and cockroaches) and mealworms, but they also eat young birds, eggs, and tiny mammals, hunting for their prey at night.
Predators: Snakes are geckos' main predators. When a gecko is caught by its tail, it releases the tail, which twitches for a while, allowing the gecko to escape capture. The gecko will later grow another tail.
Habitat: Geckos live in a variety of warm habitats, including rainforests, deserts, grasslands, and marshes. They are now found all over the world as pets (especially the tokay gecko).
Reproduction: Geckos hatch from eggs. Females usually lay 2 white, sticky eggs. The eggs are soft at first, but harden quickly. There is no parental care. Geckos will sometimes eat their own eggs.
Classification: Class Reptilia (reptiles), Order Squamata (lizards and snakes), Suborder Lacertilia (lizards), Family Gekkonidae (geckos), about 400 species.
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