Sunday 19 April 2015

New Caledonian Giant Gecko

Image: Smithsonian's National Zoo
Rhacodactylus leachianus
Probably the biggest gecko in the world!

It's the New Caledonian Giant Gecko, a name which tells you approximately everything.

Image: Florence Ivy
They're found only in the humid forests of New Caledonia, a collection of tiny paradise islands in the Pacific Ocean.

They're giants! Not quite Godzilla giant, although those gecko-feet would've been a huge help for King Kong when he was scaling the Empire State Building. Poor guy.

Video: TheMass33

A particularly large New Caledonian Giant Gecko can reach as much as 36 cm (14 in) long, making them just about the longest geckos in the world. Despite their loose, wrinkly skin they're not slim, either. These guys are thick-bodied and stocky, and their tails are much shorter than those of most other geckos.

New Caledonian Giant Geckos live in forests at elevations of up to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). They sport classic, sticky gecko-feet which they use to climb high up in the forest canopy.

Image: Josh More
They spend the day hidden away in tree hollows or clinging to the underside of branches, making use of their camouflage.

At night they wake up and look for something tasty to get their teeth into. During the summer months this will mostly be ripe, yielding fruit. Come the more chilly, winter months and our giant geckos must turn their attentions to crunchy, flighty insects. They can also feast on small lizards and even the occasional bird.

Image: Florence Ivy
Basically they'll try their luck on anything that looks like it'll fit in their mouth. And they're giants, so that's a lot!

Apparently, some of the locals in New Caledonia call their giant geckos "the devil in the trees". Why exactly?

Video: ciliatus

Just listen to an angry gecko! Imagine that furious, feral growl descending on you from the tops of dark, nocturnal trees. Spooooky!


TexWisGirl said...

so very cool!

Porakiya said...

the one in that last video is so cute while growling <3

Crunchy said...

So much gecko...

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: Aren't they just!

@Porakiya Draekojin: Haha! It's fine when it's just hanging out in broad daylight!

@Crunchy: More than a handful!

Joseph JG said...

Yes, alas :(