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What Is a Flying Gecko?

Karize Uy
Karize Uy

A flying gecko is a species of gecko that originated from Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It belongs to the genus Ptychozoon and six species of this gecko have been discovered, such as the Ptychozoon kuhli and the Ptychozoon lionotum. This reptile is also known as the parachute gecko.

In the most literal sense, the flying gecko does not actually fly; its stance in the air just makes it seem that way. This gecko has extra flaps of skin tucked underneath on its side, legs, feet, and even on the sides of its cheeks and tails. Its feet are also wider and larger, with webs of skin connecting the toes with each other. When the gecko bounds from one tree to another, the air underneath the reptile fills the skin flaps, which billow out, just like when a parachute is filled with air. This enables the gecko to glide through the air, instead of flying, when transferring from tree to tree.

Southeast Asia gave rise to the flying gecko.
Southeast Asia gave rise to the flying gecko.

Aside from the skin flaps, the body of the flying gecko is generally flatter, making for an easier gliding. Just like all geckos, its toes have bristles underneath called “setae,” which works similarly to a Velcro®, helping the reptile land and cling safely on the tree. The setae also accounts for why geckos are hard to remove when they cling to surfaces or even a person.

The flying gecko is not only adept at gliding, but also an expert in hiding and escaping. For one, its skin color that ranges from gray, green, to brown is an excellent camouflage, and its random patterns make it easier to blend with tree trunks, leaves, and rocks. It can also press itself on trees, owing to its flat body, so it can appear like moss or lichens growing on the trunk. They are also very fast and elusive.

Rainforests in Southeast Asia are home to many flying geckos. These reptiles usually prefer warmer temperatures and benefit from the abundance of trees, from which their diet of insects, worms, and sometimes fruits come. Unfortunately, the flying gecko may be a potential host to some parasites like mites, as its skin flaps are excellent hiding places.

Prospective pet owners should take great care in mimicking the natural habitat so that the flying gecko can live longer. Not only should the cage or aquarium have plenty of vegetation, the cage itself should be tall enough for the gecko to enjoy gliding. Experts also recommend supplementing the reptile with calcium by dusting the powdered mineral on the insects it is fed with.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flying gecko and how does it "fly"?

A flying gecko, belonging to the genus Ptychozoon, is a species of gecko that has adapted to glide through the air. It doesn't truly fly but uses skin flaps along its limbs, body, and tail to catch the air and glide from tree to tree. This adaptation helps it escape predators and move efficiently through its arboreal habitat.

Where can flying geckos be found in the wild?

Flying geckos are native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, including countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They thrive in humid, tropical environments where they can blend into the foliage with their camouflaged skin, which helps them avoid predators and hunt for insects.

What do flying geckos eat?

Flying geckos are insectivores, primarily feeding on a diet of insects and other small invertebrates. Their diet typically includes moths, crickets, and other small arthropods they find in their treetop habitats. Their adept climbing skills and ability to glide allow them to effectively hunt for food in the canopy.

How do flying geckos camouflage themselves?

Flying geckos possess mottled, leaf-like patterns on their skin that provide excellent camouflage against the bark and leaves of trees. This natural disguise, along with their ability to flatten their bodies to minimize shadows, makes them nearly invisible to both predators and prey in their natural environment.

Are flying geckos endangered?

While flying geckos are not currently listed as endangered, they face threats from habitat destruction due to deforestation and land conversion for agriculture. Conservation efforts are important to ensure their survival, as their natural habitats continue to be impacted by human activities.

Can flying geckos be kept as pets, and what care do they require?

Flying geckos can be kept as pets, but they require a carefully maintained environment that mimics their natural habitat. This includes a vertical space with plenty of foliage for climbing, a temperature-controlled enclosure with high humidity, and a diet of live insects. Prospective owners should research and commit to providing specialized care for these unique creatures.

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    • Southeast Asia gave rise to the flying gecko.
      By: patrimonio designs
      Southeast Asia gave rise to the flying gecko.