It is one of the world's most unique creatures -- a lizard that has a number of adaptations to live in the environments in which it does. In fact, these lizards are so prolific at adapting to their environments, there are now more than 2,000 different species of geckos living in various parts of the world. Each one has altered its appearance, or other physical features, in order to survive in a hostile world.
The Amazing Gecko
The gecko has a number of adaptive features to confuse or escape predators. The gecko's tail can be severed in the event a predator catches it by the tail. This is one of the most commonly-known features of the species. Some geckos also have the capability of changing colors to blend in with its environment. This feature can cause the gecko to move between backgrounds of many different colors in order to throw predators off.
The gecko's movement is another interesting feature. It can not only move up and down walls, it can also walk upside-down, clinging to the underside of ceilings and tree branches as it moves along. It has tiny hairs on each of its feet. These hairs split into ends that are only hundreds of microns apart, able to grab onto even the smallest of holds. The tail also aids in balance if a foot slips off.
Though most geckos live feasting on bugs, some geckos may find themselves in a famine situation from time to time. To survive, they may need to use their tails. But this time, instead of using their tails for motion or to escape predators, they purposely sever it and eat it. As it is rich in fat, it can provide needed relief until another food source arrives. Geckos may also eat their shed skin if other food sources are not available.
Geckos have another unusual feature for reptiles their size. They can actually make noise through a series of squeaks. This may be used to communicate with others of the species, but geckos may also use this feature to scare away other prey in the event the animal feels it is cornered.
Other Environmental Adapations
Geckos often live in harsh environments where it is hot and dry much of the year. in some cases, they live in deserts. As such, they must have some protection against the elements. This may explain why their skin is so thick. The thicker skin keeps it from drying out. Further, their speed makes it possible for them to skip across the hot desert skin with less risk of being burned.