Guest Author - Sylvie Leochko
The Web-Footed Gecko also known as a palmatogecko which is the genus to two species: the palmatogecko rangei and the palmatogecko vanzyli. The species that I will introduce to you is the palamatogecko rangei. Both species belong to the Gekkoninae family.
This reptile lives in the Namib Desert, which is located Namibia and southwest Angola. Unlike numerous gecko species, the Web-Footed Gecko is discreetly colored while other species display brilliant colors. This creature's skin is salmon colored and covered with brown stripes. This discreet look allows this type of gecko to camouflage itself easily against the reddish sand of the Namib Desert. Its webbed feet help the gecko to walk on sand at a fast pace and to dig a burrow underneath sand dunes.
This nocturnal carnivore hunts for crickets, grasshoppers and small spiders to feast on. When facing a predator, the Web-Footed Gecko will expel smelly fluids and feces on it. It will also break its tail off to flee the predator. This defense mechanism is called "autotomy".
The bottom of the webbed feet of this gecko is covered with setae, which are adhesive pads. This special feature makes this reptile a good climber. During the breeding season, the female will attract the male with vocalizations. It will then lay two eggs the size of beans that will hatch eight weeks later. Although female geckos can also use parthenogenesis, which is an asexual reproduction, sexual reproduction will add more genetic variation.
The average size of a Web-Footed Gecko varies between 10 and 15 cm (4 to 6 in), making this species medium size. Although this species of gecko is not considered to be endangered, it is facing a few threats that affect their population. One of these threats is the fact they are considered a culinary delicacy by humans. The other threat is the habitat loss due to human encroachment. The life expectancy of the Web-Footed Gecko, in the wilderness, is five years.
Although I never came face to face with a gecko of this species, I must say that meeting another type first hand, years ago, has contributed to my interest in these reptiles. Now that you have learned more about them, I wouldn't be surprised if I teased your curiosity enough to explore other gecko species. Enjoy!
Here are some resources linked to the Web-Footed Gecko!