Velvet Gecko (Madagascar Giant Velvet Gecko)

Location

In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Blaesodactylus boivini
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Genus: Blaesodactylus

Size

Male

Female

Height:
Length: 10-14 inches 10-14 inches
Weight: 160 grams 160 grams
Maturity:

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Omnivorous
Activity Timeframe: Nocturnal
Interactivity: Solitary
Sexual Dimorphism: Yes
Gestation:
Lifespan in the Wild: 10 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 10 years

Geographic Range

Northeast Madagascar

Conservation

Status in the Wild: Vulnerable
Threats: Habitat Loss

Characteristics

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.)

Species Specifics

Sexual Dimorphism. Females tend to be slightly larger and heavier than males, as well as sport large, obvious calcium sacs.

Physical Characteristics

- 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

Ecology

Habitat

These species resides on tree trunks and amongst rock piles with a preference for dry, deciduous forest habitat.

Distribution

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.

Diet

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.

Ecological Web

Secondary consumer.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Nocturnal. During the day, hides in deep cracks and crevices.

Behavior

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Social Behavior

Reproductive Behavior

Offspring

Conservation

Status

Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN.

Historical

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

How You Can Help

Fascinating Facts

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.)

References

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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