Fat-tailed gecko's camoflauge and tail-shedding tricks

The fat-tailed gecko is an amazing wonder of nature, who can blend in with his surroundings and shed his tail when attacked by a predator. Read more.
By Ted Brewer

He’s an animal best known for the GEICO car insurance commercials—the British-accented amphibian who makes pithy comments, usually about other animals.

Gecko's camouflage tricks

Wild Friends, the wildlife rehabilitation center at Best Friends, now cares for an actual gecko, but one a bit less chatty than the one on television. Wild Friends manager Carmen Smith has named him Bark, since he tends to blend in quite well with that particular element of nature.

Lizard loses his home

Bark came from Phoenix, where he was someone’s pet. When he lost his caregiver and needed a new home, Carmen saw no reason why he couldn’t come to live at Best Friends.

Natural dense mechanism: Shedding the tail!

The fat-tailed gecko is indigenous to Africa, and has a fascinating natural defense mechanism built into his biology. When attacked by a predator, the amphibian automatically sheds his tail, leaving that portion of his body to the predator and saving his life in the meantime. What also helps the gecko is the form of his tail—it’s shaped like his head, and that makes it difficult for predators to decide which end to attack.

As for Bark, it’s not that difficult to distinguish the head from the tail, because every time he prepares to eat, his tail shakes. And with his big, bulging eyes, you can’t help but feel instantly charmed by him.

Read about Wild Friends at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Photo by Sarah Ause

Wildlife and Other