Many of us think of the eerily translucent, wide-eyed type of lizard when we hear the word gecko. However, the gecko infra-order is one of the largest in the order of lizards, with 1 500 different types identified.
The main difference between geckos and other lizards is that many types of gecko cannot blink. In fact, only one family of geckos have eyelids, namely the Eublepharidae. Since they have no other way to clean their eyes, most geckos remove dust and debris from their eyes by wiping their tongues across the corneas.
Geckos have the largest vocal range of any lizard, using different clicking and chirping sounds to communicate.
Many types of geckos are kept as pets and as such, it’s easy to study their habits. We know that they can scale walls and ceilings thanks to tiny bristles on their toes and that some of them can glide thanks to webbed feet and skin flaps. A more recent discovery has the scientific world all in a fluster though.
It seems that the humble gecko can also walk/run on water and it can do this almost as fast as it moves on land.
During your South African safari with us, you’ll probably see several of these little guys around camp. They’re fond of sheltering under rocks and tree bark and even lie up in bird nests from time to time.
The species which makes its home in Thornybush Private Nature Reserve is called Wahlberg’s Velvet Gecko or Homopholis wahlbergii. It’s endemic to the miombo and mopane bushveld of southern Africa, so we’re pleased to have it around.
As the name implies, this is an attractive lizard with a plush outer appearance that does indeed feel like velvet. Wahlberg’s Gecko is dark grey to grey-brown in colour and usually has pale chevrons, mottles and crossbars along its back and spine. They can grow up to 21 cm long, but most only reach about 14-18 cm in length.
They’re not just great looking lizards either, our geckos are expert bug catchers and do worthy work in keeping the mosquito population under control. They’re fond of beetles and butterflies too and will snack on millipedes if the occasion arises.
If you see one of them in your room while staying with us, you’re in luck. They don’t bite or carry disease and you can rest assured that you have a pro-pest-controller in residence.
Get to meet more of our denizens great and small when you book your South African safari at any one of our luxury safari camps. Call us today to make all the arrangements.