Velvet Gecko (Madagascar Giant Velvet Gecko)
|Scientific Name:||Blaesodactylus boivini|
|Length:||10-14 inches||10-14 inches|
|Weight:||160 grams||160 grams|
Lifestyle and Lifespan
|Lifespan in the Wild:||10 years|
|Lifespan in Captivity:||10 years|
|Status in the Wild:||Vulnerable|
The Giant Madagascar Velvet Gecko is a hidden gem of Madagascar. These large, active, arboreal geckos range across the island of Madagascar, with the highest population densities occurring mainly in the northeast, with pockets of animals on off shore islands, and an isolated subpopulation located further south. These species resides on tree trunks and amongst rock piles with a preference for dry, deciduous forest habitat. (They will also hang around human habitation to take advantage of pest species as prey.)
Sexual Dimorphism. Females tend to be slightly larger and heavier than males, as well as sport large, obvious calcium sacs.
- Geckos are known for their ability to run on smooth vertical surfaces. Their toes are splayed at the end and the pads thus formed are covered with numerous microscopic bristles. It is assumed each bristle (setae) finds a tiny irregularity and attaches s
These species resides on tree trunks and amongst rock piles with a preference for dry, deciduous forest habitat.
These large active, arboreal geckos range across the island of Madagascar, with the highest population densities occurring mainly in the northeast, with pocks of animals on off shore islands, and an isolated subpopulation located further south.
Omnivorous. These geckos are partially frugivores, and will consume some soft fruit in addition to the bulk of their diet which consists mostly of insects, spiders and small reptiles.
Activity and Behavior
Nocturnal. During the day, hides in deep cracks and crevices.
Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN.
How You Can Help
Nearly two-thirds of gecko species, including this one, have adhesive pads on their fingers and toes.
Geckos do not like Teflon. It has a low surface tension and as a result geckos find it difficult to stick to Teflon for any amount of time or effectively. Fortunately their natural surroundings are usually Teflon-free!
The gecko family Gekkonidae is huge. It includes about 1,000 species, or well over 10% of all squamate species on Earth. And like any big family, it displays a lot of variety in size, in shape, in activity pattern. Some family members are active at night, and some during the day; some have eyelids, and some don't; some don't even have legs!
Geckos first emerged during the earliest days of the dinosaurs, between 180 and 225 million years ago. Since then, they have spread across the world. By the cretaceous period, when the dinosaur reign was closing, the geckos had already evolved their adhesive feet, as we know from a beautifully preserved fossil entombed in amber
Some species of geckos have no legs and look more like snakes. (There are upward of 35 species of lizard in the Pygopodidae family. This family fall sunder the cade of Gekkota, which includes 6 families of geckos. These species all of which are endemic to Australia and New Guinea lack forelimbs and have only vestigial hindlimbs that look more like flaps.)
Geckos use their tails to store fat and nutrients for lean times. (Because of this, for many species a plump, well-rounded tail is a good way to gauge the individual gecko's health. Depending on the species, a thin tail might indicate starvation or illness.)
Davies, Robert and Valerie. The Reptile and Amphibian Problem Solver. 1997. Tetra Press, Blacksburg, VA.
Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. 1989. Facts on File Inc, New York, NY.
Supreme Gecko. 2012. Online. Accessed at http://www.supremegecko.com/most-underrated-geckos-35-blaesodactylus-boivini
Yong, Ed. "The dance of the disembodied gecko tail." National Geographic. Online. Accessed March 28th, 2017 at http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2009/09/08/the-dance-of-the-disembodied-gecko-tail/
Behrens, Ken and Barnes, Keith. Wildlife of Madagascar. Princeton University Press. 2016.
Yong, Ed. "Geckos use their tails to stop falls and maneoeuvre in the air." National Geographic. Online. Accessed March 28th, 2017 at http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/17/geckos-use-their-tails-to-stop-falls-and-manoeuvre-in-the-air/
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