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Tokay Gecko
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Gekkonidae
Gray, 1825

Geckos are small to middle size lizards. Lizards are reptiles. There are 1196 different kinds of geckos. They live in many warm countries. Some kinds of geckos go into people's houses. People are often happy to have them, because geckos eat many insects.

Unlike most lizards, geckos have voices. A gecko sounds a little like a bird or a frog. In some languages these lizards have names that sound like their calls, for example, both English and Indonesian call one kind gecko (gek KO) and tokay (to-KAY). Another kind of gecko, with a different sound, is called chicak (CHEE chak).

Geckos have no eyelids. Instead, they have a clear membrane (skin) over their eyes. They lick the membrane clean with their tongues. Like most lizards, they can regenerate their tail if they need to.

Many kinds of geckos can walk on walls, windows and ceilings. They can do this because they have special toe pads. A microscope can show that each toe pad is made of thousands of hair-like structures. Each of these structures branches into many smaller ends.[1]


A gecko’s foot, showing toe pads
Three microscopic views of a gecko’s toe pads, at higher and higher magnification.
  1. Autumn, Kellar; et al. 2002. Evidence for van der Waals adhesion in gecko setae. PNAS 99: 12252–12256