What are Geckos

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Geckos are lizards so they are cold-blooded, scaley and have five fingered limbs.  Geckos have big heads and large, snake-like eyes, without moveable eyelids.  Instead, in most species, the eye is protected by a transparent covering that is shed with the skin.  Geckos have a thick fleshy tongue and they use this to keep their eyes clean.  The pupils are vertical slits.  Most geckos also have external ear openings and they are the only lizards that have a voice.  Geckos can hiss, growl and even bark like a little dog.

The family is found world-wide in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate regions. Habitats include rainforests, grasslands, deserts, swamps and marshes. There are over 600 species of these small to medium sized insectivores.  Some are arboreal and some live on the ground.  A few have adapted to humans and become house geckos.  Here in Australia, my house has a large population of little pink geckos with purple spots.  They live behind every painting, mirror and wall hanging and come out at night to chase insects and each other.  The males hiss, bark and fight but otherwise they are quiet, innocuous and they eat a lot of insects and spiders.

Geckos have big toes with bristled pads that help them cling to even the most slippery of surfaces.  Many can alter their coloration in order to blend in with their environment and camouflage them from predators.  Like many lizards, geckos can practice autotomy or voluntary tail loss.  If a predator grabs their tail or chases them, they can shed the tail and later grow a new one.

Most geckos lay eggs although one New Zealand species at least bears live young.  The female lays clusters of sticky eggs in small crevices.  Once they hatch, the babies get no care and are entirely on their own.

Geckos are hardy little creatures and many adapt well to captivity and being kept as pets.  Geckos can live up to fifteen years although in general, they do not live that long in captivity.  The most common pet gecko is the leopard gecko.  This website as information on how to keep these animals as pets:  http://exoticpets.about.com/od/geckos/Geckos.htm 

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