The Extra-Pupiled Species: Web-Footed Geckos

With its transparent scales, a way to obtain water from its eyes, and the ability to detach its own tail, the web-footed gecko is one of a kind. The web-footed gecko is a lizard from the Namib Desert located on the southwest coast of Africa.

The web-footed gecko has an extra pupil that allows it to see in the dark. Their dark pupils allow the lizard to distinguish between dim lights as well as focus at night. In response to light, its pupil gets small during the day to protect its retina from sun damage.

The web-footed gecko hunts by night, when it is not too hot. Because it lives in a desert, it is very warm during the day and cold at night. The darkness helps the lizard senses its prey by movements. Once the web-footed gecko senses its prey, it rushes to snatch it, crushing it with its jaws. It eats insects, flies, beetles, crickets, and spiders.

The web-footed gecko is a resilient lizard with interesting strategies that help it escape its predators. For example, If a pedator grabs the web-footed gecko’s tail, it detaches its tail. The tail then twitches and distracts the predator while the web-footed gecko looks for a way to escape. While the predator eats the tail, the web-footed gecko buries itself in the sand. Over time, the tail will grow back.

There are at least 830 species in the gecko family. Many geckos are climbers and have toe pads to help them cling to smooth surfaces. They come in a range of sizes. The gecko family contains the smallest lizard in the world, the sphaerodactylus parthenopion, measures around a half-inch. It also includes its cousin, the six-lined racerunner, which measures up to ten inches long.

The gecko is a rare lizard with great hunting skills and ingenious ways to get out of trouble. It can survive the burning heat and the freezing cold of the desert. Too bad the gecko only lives for three to five years.

[Source: Wildlife Explorer]