Facts About the Real Gecko
There isn’t just one type of gecko. The Geico gecko has numerous relatives. There are, in fact, over 2,000 species of geckos around the world. Although geckos have the classic reptilian appearance with a long, slender body and a significant tail, there is great diversity in the exact physical appearance of geckos.
Common Physical Traits of Geckos
Geckos are properly classified as “lizards,” included in a larger group of reptiles known as squamata which includes less friendly relatives like the large and dangerous Komodo dragon and the poisonous Gila monster. The typical gecko is much smaller than its larger cousins and not to be feared by humans. Species range in size from less than an inch to over two feet as adults. Color variations and patterns vary widely and offer good camouflage depending on the environment of the particular species. The best way to appreciate the diversity in appearance is to look at different geckos. Some species can change color like garden chameleons. Geckos come in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures.
Unlike most lizards, geckos can make chirping sounds similar to bird sounds. These sounds are generally associated with the mating ritual. The diet of most geckos consists of a variety of insects, although some feed on fruits. They are skilled climbers with special, microscopic structures that allow them to scale most surfaces, including glass and smooth walls. Geckos can even climb across ceilings without falling.
They have no true eyelids. Instead a thin, transparent membrane protects the eye. They prefer darker habitats as their eyes are quite sensitive. Geckos are nocturnal, preferring to hunt at night. They are common in tropical regions where temperatures remain warm to moderate all year.
Geckos as Pets
Geckos – particularly the leopard gecko – are prized as pets. Some people are surprised that lizards can be expensive, as geckos can cost as much as $250, with $60 being a common price. They can adapt well to people and make interesting pets, living for 10 years or more when given proper care.
Geckos prefer not to live alone and thrive in a roomy environment. A 20 gallon aquarium or larger is a good size for two or three geckos, but only one should be a male to avoid competition for female attention. Obviously, because they are skilled climbers, they require a home that is enclosed all around. The crickets, meal worms and similar insects are appreciated as is a container for water.
Geckos have adapted well to tropical regions around the world and require temperatures characteristic of the tropics. Temperatures from 75 degrees to 88 degrees are well-tolerated with brief cooler periods not below 73 degrees. They like a sandy ground to walk on.
The Geico gecko resembles the Wellington Green gecko of the northern island of New Zealand, The accent might be genuine if one made the short trip to Australia and hung out with the locals there.
Geckos are unique among the lizard world with the abilities to chirp and climb straight up flat surfaces. They are tropical animals, and species are found around the world. Some species make good pets and may live for a decade or more.