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Gecko Adaptations (9 Ways They Adapt to Their Environment)

Gecko Adaptations (9 Ways They Adapt to Their Environment)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you planning to get a gecko?

Geckos are amazing animals and are pretty easy to take care of, so they’ll work for you if you’re a novice pet owner.

So, you need to understand more about your pet gecko and how it can live comfortably to provide it with a healthy and safe enclosure.

In this article, we’ll tell you about gecko adaptations and how these animals blend with their environment for safety. Keep reading to learn more about them.

How Do Geckos Adapt to Their Environment?

Geckos are small animals with various exceptional abilities.

These tiny reptiles have developed several physical traits to help them blend seamlessly with their surroundings, allowing them to look for their prey without being detected.

Moreover, these successful adaptation techniques help geckos escape danger as predators are unable to detect them.

In addition to blending with their background and habitat, geckos learn to adapt their bodies to survive as their environment changes in their habitat or enclosure.

This probably explains why these tiny animals are able to survive for years in the wild and as pets.

1 – Camouflage

This is probably the most effective adaptation technique that a gecko follows.

Geckos can help keep themselves concealed as they usually come in a color that resembles the different elements in their natural habitat.

For example, geckos that live on trees are usually bright green, so predators are unable to see them.

Some geckos are gray to resemble the substrate color, so predators won’t be able to detect them when they move on gravel and sand.

These blending abilities can come in handy when the geckos are sleeping, and their predators are actively looking for food.

The Moorish gecko has a unique feature that allows it to change its body’s color. This means that this animal will look different wherever you place it.

If you keep one as a pet, it will change its color as it comes in contact with different items in its enclosure.

Yet, only a few geckos have this ability. Most of them already come in colors that match their surroundings, so they stay undetectable.

Some geckos can also change the tail’s shape to be more challenging to detect.

For example, the leaf-tailed gecko has a tail that can change to look like a tree leaf. When a predator is busy looking for a gecko, it will probably miss this animal because it looks like a leaf.

2 – Movement

Geckos live in various habitats, and their bodies should be able to support them, allowing them to move quickly in case of danger.

This is why every gecko species has its feet and toe pads specifically designed to allow these cute animals to move safely and quickly.

For example, geckos that originally live in rainforests have different toes from the ones that live in deserts and move on the sand.

The toe pads and toes come in different shapes, depending on the substrate where they live. Their feet allow them to run fast to escape predators or catch prey.

Moreover, they have lamellae on the bottom of their feet, and they act like tiny suction cups. They secure the gecko in any position to stay concealed for hours.

As a result, geckos can move upside down and even attach themselves to roofs, thanks to the tiny protrusions on their feet that allow them to grab onto any surface.

This means that they actively distract a predator by hanging on the underside of a branch, thanks to the sticking force of their feet.

On the other hand, terrestrial geckos that live in sand and dirt don’t have toe pads, as the dirt can get trapped between these tiny protrusions.

Some geckos, like the Kotschy’s gecko, don’t have these toe pads or tiny hair-like protrusions, but they can still climb trees successfully. They pick trees with peeling back, and they can grip onto this peeling back with their toes.

The lamellae on the big flat toes of geckos allow them to stick onto man-made surfaces.

So you can see a gecko safe and secure on a ceiling, hanging upside down for hours without falling.

In an enclosure, geckos can also stick to glass walls and won’t slip.

3 – Disposable Tail

Being small animals, geckos represent tasty prey for various mammals, birds, and even giant spiders.

This is why these animals have developed a successful escape mechanism that allows them to escape predators and stay safe.

This happens when the predator attacks a gecko, and the animal drops its tail, so the other animal will chase it instead.

Moreover, when the predator cuts the gecko’s tail, it starts moving on its own to grab the predator’s attention, while the gecko will stay still.

This will prompt the other animal to chase the tail while the gecko stays safe.

A gecko’s tail is essential for balancing its body and carries fat and all the vital nutrients, so it literally can’t survive without one.

Yet, this amazing animal has the ability to grow a new tail. It won’t look as pretty and streamlined as the original one, but it serves the same purpose.

4 – Hissing

In order to scare predators, geckos have developed some voice skills to help them sound bigger and more dangerous than they really are.

They will hiss at bigger animals, who might not be able to see them clearly, but they can hear the hiss and assume that this is a much bigger animal.

They can also bite their predators before running away. Although the bites are small, they can still be painful.

5 – Night Adaptation

Thanks to their fantastic night vision and good hearing sense, geckos are able to locate their prey and predators before they get too near.

Geckos are naturally nocturnal animals and will hunt by night, so they can depend on the faint light of the moon for visibility.

However, in an enclosure, it’s best to provide a suitable light source to help these animals see more clearly. Moreover, a heat lamp or UVB lamp is essential to provide them with warmth.

6 – Heat Adaptation

Geckos are highly adaptable, and their bodies have evolved to withstand harsh conditions.

These animals thrive in warm, humid weather but don’t survive when temperatures are extremely high.

The adequate temperature for a gecko should be between 77 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or the animal will die.

Over the years, this little animal has adapted its body to withstand high temperatures.

For example, leopard geckos usually burrow themselves underground to keep their bodies cooler, or they hide under different structures to shade themselves from the strong sun.

When you have a pet leopard gecko, it will do the same to keep itself cool and safe and protect itself from heat strokes.

This is why you need to make sure that your enclosure has enough hiding places where this animal can hide to protect itself. It should also be able to dig into the substrate.

Moreover, you should keep a thermostat in the enclosure to help control the temperature and maintain it at an appropriate level. This will come in handy, especially if you have heating mats or lamps in the enclosure.

7 – Cold Adaptation

Geckos can’t tolerate freezing weather, either. So, they’ve adapted their bodies to escape this cold weather by keeping themselves warm.

This happens when the animal becomes dormant.

It eats less because food is naturally scarce in cold weather, and it moves less. In some cases, it might not eat, but it will still stay alive.

In most cases, the animal won’t move until springtime, when the temperature increases one more time.

Geckos go through brumation and not hibernation because their bodies don’t shut down completely.

They still stay somehow active and will eat, drink, and move slowly.

So, if you notice that your gecko is hardly moving or eating, it might be getting ready for the cold weather.

How Can I Help My Gecko Adapt?

When kept as a pet, it’s your job to make sure that your gecko is living in a comfortable and healthy enclosure that allows it to adapt to different environmental changes.

Here are some tips to help you create the perfect enclosure for your gecko.

  • Set up a suitable enclosure and make sure that it’s not too hot.
  • When you first move a gecko into an enclosure, allow it to adjust for a few days.
  • Provide the gecko with a cooling spot and another spot for soaking, so it can lower its body’s temperature.
  • Make sure there’s a hot spot for the gecko to warm up whenever needed.
  • Keep terraced rocks inside the enclosure to give the gecko various objects to climb.
  • Try to keep things stable in the gecko’s enclosure, as this animal isn’t fond of changes.
  • Make sure that you provide your gecko with a healthy, varied diet that contains all the essential nutrients. Most geckos feed on insects, but some, like the day gecko, feed on fruits.
  • Find a good vet who has experience with reptiles to check on your pet gecko and treat it in case of an emergency.
  • Remember that your gecko is delicate and fragile, so handle it with care.
  • If your pet gecko is facing trouble while shedding its skin, don’t pull the skin. Instead, offer a bigger soaking spot, so shedding can be easier.

Final Thoughts

Geckos are small animals with incredible abilities.

These animals have amazing adaptation skills that allow them to survive in the wild. They retain these abilities when they live in an enclosure as pet geckos.

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