Madagascar’s Amazing Geckos is a blog post from the Madagascar category.

Madagascar’s Amazing Geckos

Posted by Will on

Madagascar is home to a diverse array of gecko species. Geckos are unique among lizards as they have the ability to stick to almost any surface! This is because gecko feet have special adaptations which are believed to generate attractive van der Waals forces between their toes and the surface they are on. Apparently, these forces are so strong that a gecko can support about eight times its weight hanging from just one toe on smooth glass! This is just one amazing gecko fact, read on to find out more about some of the incredible geckos that we photographed in Madagascar…

Gecko Silhouette
Bright Green Day Gecko

The most conspicuous geckos in Madagascar are the luminous-green Day Geckos. As their name suggests, these geckos are diurnal. Different species range in size from around 7cm up to 30cm. We dedicated a whole day to photographing them in the area around Amber Mountain National Park.

Madagascar Day Gecko

We particularly enjoyed focusing in on their beautiful abstract back patterns…

Day Gecko Back Texture
Day Gecko Back Pattern

We found the day geckos were quite skittish and therefore a challenge to photograph. However, Madagascar has another group of geckos where just managing to spot one is challenging enough! Can you see the leaf-tailed gecko in the photograph below?

Camouflaged Leaf-tail Gecko. Click Next to reveal the hidden gecko!

Well done if you spotted the gecko camouflaged against the tree trunk! If you didn’t, click here to reveal it. Leaf-tailed geckos are true masters of camouflage! They can change their colour to blend in perfectly with the tree they are on. They also have frills to break up their outline. We were never able to spot them in the gloomy rainforest, but our guide had an extraordinary ability to spot them from up to 10m away… apparently, the trick is to look out for the telltale shape of their eyes.

This is a close up of the Leaf-tailed Gecko shown in the previous image.
Leaf-tailed Gecko / Uroplatus Sikorae on Tree
Leaf-tailed Gecko / Uroplatus Sikorae
Leaf-tailed Gecko / Uroplatus Sikorae

The leaf-tailed geckos shown above are all Uroplatus Sikorae. There are several other species of leaf-tailed gecko that have different strategies for blending in. The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus Phantasticus), for example, resembles dried leaves. We found this one while it was out hunting at night…

Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko / Uroplatus Phantasticus Hunting

Aren’t leaf-tailed geckos just the most amazing animals?!

Unfortunately many of Madagascar’s unique geckos are under threat from habitat loss and over-collection for the pet trade.

Please visit our Gecko gallery for more pictures of these remarkable creatures.

12 Comments

  1. Laura said: October 28, 2010 at 10:14 am

    That camouflaged gecko is amazing! How did you find it?

  2. Jackie said: October 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Beautiful photographs! :)

  3. Deborah Flowers said: October 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I did not know that about geckos! Excellent information.
    I thought I had swpotted the leaf tailed gecko but wanted to see a close up, When I clicked to reveal it, what I though I had sotted as the lt gecko, was in fact.. just leaves. That guy is amazing! Crazeee camo! WOW!

  4. Nathan said: October 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t follow many blogs consistently, but I thoroughly enjoy getting your newsletter in my inbox. The photos are always exquisite and unique and just a pleasure to pour over. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Will said: October 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks guys :)

  6. Megan said: October 29, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Your gecko photos are stunning, the colours absolutely zing my eyes. Awesome work

  7. Mark W. said: October 30, 2010 at 5:10 am

    I was last in Madagascar in 2001, and miss it very much. After a week or so in the rainforest, I was finally getting my eyes attuned to look for these Uroplatus geckos. All that skill is long-gone now though! Great photos and jealousy-inducing

  8. Sharron Clemons said: December 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks guys :)

  9. Tad said: January 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Good job thank you.
    Tadeusz.

  10. Marianne Wändahl said: March 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    That was AMAZING!!!! So FUN!!!

  11. Lauren said: June 16, 2011 at 2:25 am

    OMG the geko is soooooo long lolz

  12. Radu said: November 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I found and shot a gecko , but at night. Had to search for a bit before I could find it!

    Here’s one of the pictures:
    http://i48.tinypic.com/16j7o8.jpg

    This is from Andasibe.

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