Namibia is famous as a habitation for a wide range of animals and reptiles. Geckos are one of them. Various kinds of Geckos are found in Namibia with their unique characteristics. One such gecko is a nocturnal gecko found in the coastal sand dunes of Namibia between the sea and desert. Until recently, though nocturnal geckos were known to exist, there were no photographs available.
A South African wild life photographer by passion and a consultant engineer by profession, Mr. Isak Pretorious waited for full three days to finally click photographs of two geckos licking water off their eyes. The gecko licks water from its eyes early in the morning when a mist bank condenses as cool coastal air hits the warm air of desert region.
Basically geckos are lizards and they belong to the family of Gekkonidae. There are around 2000 different species of lizards found throughout the world. Geckos are found in warm climates and are different from other lizards because they interact with fellow geckos by making chirping sounds. Their name ‘Gecko’ is derived from an Indonesian word – ‘Tokek’ -inspired by the sound producing ability of these animals. Geckos eat insects and mosquitoes as their food. Some species of gecko are parthenogenic also as they can produce babies without mating.
The nocturnal gecko:
These geckos are found only in the three mile inland area because the layer of mist stretches only in this area in the wee hours of morning due to its typical topography and unique environment. Mr Pretorious had to work very hard in order to get the photographs clicked. For the first two days he and his assistant could not trace a single gecko in the region. One reason behind this is the fact that these geckos are very small, hardly 4 to 6 inches in length and added to that is the fact that they are of pink color, making it tough to identify them easily in the sand dunes from a distance. Mr. Pretorious followed the tracks created by the gecko in the sand dunes very slowly. The trails were also very small and narrow making it a challenge for the photographer to follow them in sand dunes.
- The most fascinating characteristic of the nocturnal geckos is the way in which they lick water droplets from their eye balls as a drink for themselves.
- This water gathers in their eyes from the morning mist when cool coastal air strikes the warmth of deserts and due to condensation, the vapor turns into water.
- These geckos sport very thin skin which is pinkish in tone. The skin is so thin that it hardly provides them any resistance from hard sun rays.
- Their defense mechanism consists of spraying foul smelling material or their faeces on the attacker.
- In defense, some species of geckos drop their tails also, this phenomenon is known as autotamy.
- Amongst all kinds of lizards, geckos are most colorful ones with various patterns on their skin and various kinds of skin tones.
- Some geckos change their skin color according to the environment as a defense mechanism.
- The mating call sounds of female geckos sounds like a bird’s chirping and it attracts male geckos.
- The toes of geckos are so adapted that they can adhere to almost all surfaces without the help of surface tension or any kind of liquid.
- Many species of geckos have special toe pads which enables them to climb on smooth and vertical surfaces and also enables them to cross indoor ceilings easily.