Profile of a gecko

Geckos, a type of lizard, can make terrific pets for adults and mature children. Although some geckos require a lot of maintenance, many others are easier to care for. Close to 900 species of gecko are known to exist, so finding the right one for you should be a snap. Take this short quiz to learn some interesting facts about these fascinating reptiles.

Take Our Gecko Quiz

1. True or False: Most gecko species have unusual feet that stick to almost any surface. 
True. Most geckos can climb practically anywhere without falling off, all because of their amazing feet. Although some people may think that this ability comes from suction cups on the feet, some sort of glue-like substance or static electricity, the fact is that most geckos’ feet actually temporarily bond to surfaces at a molecular level through adaptations in their toe pads. The science behind this may be somewhat complicated, but what makes it possible are the half a million tiny hair-like structures these geckos have on each foot that enable them to attach to and climb vertical surfaces without sliding down.

2. True or False: All geckos are nocturnal.
False. Although most geckos are nocturnal, others are active during the day and sleep at night.

3. True or False: Many geckos do not have eyelids. 
True. Although some gecko species have eyelids, most do not but instead have immovable transparent membranes over their eyes. This means that they cannot blink or close their eyes. Geckos without eyelids clean their eyes by licking them with their tongue. Regardless of eye type, geckos have excellent vision, and the nocturnal ones can see quite well at night.

4. True or False: Geckos are herbivores.
False. Most geckos eat worms and insects, such as crickets and cockroaches. Some also feed on eggs, small mammals, birds and other lizards. Certain species do eat fruit and in captivity will consume fruit baby food. Consult a gecko-savvy veterinarian about what to feed your pet gecko.

5. True or False: Geckos can regrow their tail. 
True. One of the gecko’s defense mechanisms is its ability to regrow its tail after the tail breaks off (which often occurs when a predator grabs the gecko by the tail). This is called tail autonomy. If the tail does not come off completely, another one may grow beside the original.

6. True or False: Most geckos thrive in cool climates.
False. Geckos generally require very warm temperatures, on average somewhere in the 75 F to 90 F range, to remain healthy. Depending on the species, some geckos may tolerate or even prefer a somewhat lower nighttime temperature. Leopard geckos, for example, generally require higher daytime temperatures than crested geckos.

7. True or False: Geckos do not grow any more than 5 inches in length.
False. The Tokay gecko and New Caledonian giant gecko are the largest of the species, growing as long as about 12 inches and 9 1/2 inches, respectively. As for the smallest, in 2001 scientists discovered the Jaragua Sphaero, or dwarf gecko, which measures less than 3/4 inch long.

8. True or False: Geckos do not have a “voice.”
False. Many types of geckos make some kind of sound, generally squeaking or chirping. Geckos are unusual among lizards in this respect (most lizards can make only a hissing sound). Male and female geckos make different noises.

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