Is it a leaf? Is it tree bark? No, it’s the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko. Cleverly disguised as a rotting leaf, Madagascar’s camouflage king has red eyes, pointy horns, and a taste for night hunting: it’s nature’s most devilish deceiver.
This mini-monster epitomizes survival of the fittest, having adapted gradually to become today’s extraordinary leaf impersonator. Snakes and rats target the gecko – if the disguise fails, the brave battler falls to the forest floor, hoping to disappear in the foliage, or leaps to a higher branch for shelter.
Geckos have sticky toe pads that allow them to cling to polished walls. Each toe is ridged and covered in thousands of tiny bristles, which are divided into billions of microscopic hairs. These hairs lock with
irregularities in the surface the gecko is climbing, giving it grip.