Some wild species have mastered the art of disguise in order to keep their numerous predators away, but among all there is one sub-species in particular whose way of camouflage is definitely otherworldly. Everyone, meet the leaf-tailed gecko!
Just as their name suggests, this species of gecko “turns” their tail, and their body, into a dry leaf. A trick that helps them stay alive! Also known as the satanic leaf-tailed gecko, the Uroplatus phantasticus has also been nicked-named the ‘fantastic flat tail,’ and it’s pretty easy to understand why.
Native to Madagascar, where actually live all the 14 known leaf-tailed gecko sub-species, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko spend their day hidden in the leafage, and just as the majority of the small reptiles, they feed themselves over the night. They eat mostly insects, but even for the wildlife scientists is hard to figured out what their full diet might include.
“They [the satanic leaf-tailed geckos] feed on almost everything they can overwhelm, including crickets, flies, spiders, cockroaches, and snails,” said Frank Glaw, with the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in München, Germany.
While, there aren’t so many things known about this tiny geckos, one thing is certain – they are the masters of disguise in the animal world. But, judging by their large number of predators – including birds, snakes or rats, they the good reasons to do it.
“A light line along the back together with leaf-vein-like lines and skin structures on the body can complete the perfect imitation of a dead leaf,” Glaw said. “ They came in all shades of beige, grey and brown, often with a mixture of lichen-like or even greenish spots which look very much like moss. This variability ensures that they have an adapted outfit for the different structures in their habitat.”
But these leaf-tailed gecko doesn’t always look like a leaf, they can also be “satanic” as well, just as their name say!