mossy leaf tailed gecko

bogglocity  asked:

I would like to please see the gloopiest looking liz you can find.

it’s melting

Or, wait, no, it’s not melting. Nope. That’s the mossy leaf-tailed gecko, Uroplatus sikorae. It is a species endemic to Madagascar and while threatened by the pet trade and habitat loss, it isn’t in any critical danger. This species’ gloopiness is actually part of its incredible disguise; this is one of the best camouflage techniques in the entire animal kingdom.

The mossy leaf-tailed gecko has lichen-like markings and is next to impossible to see. It, like many other geckos, can change color. Their skin, especially the skin on their flanks, is dense with proteins called opsins. These proteins are also found in the eyes and are the basis of animal vision- they react to light, see. Researchers working with Moorish geckos (which also “fire up” and “fire down” suggest that these proteins might detect light and change the animal’s color automatically- they can change colors while blindfolded! In addition, the mossy leaf-tailed gecko also has a dermal flap- that ridged, bumpy skin along their sides. They spread this out on the tree and it breaks up their outline. Their pupils are string-of-pearl shaped, which makes them difficult to register as eyes- if the mossy leaf-tailed gecko doesn’t want you to see it, you probably won’t.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3


Two rare reptile species native to two delicate island ecosystems—the black tree monitor, native to the Aru Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea; and the mossy leaf-tailed gecko, native to Madagascar—are now thriving at the San Diego Zoo. The latest milestones in a long history of successful reptile breeding, the new arrivals offer hope for two little-known, yet important species. Read more. 


Male satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) and mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) by Paul
Via Flickr:
Photo from Ranomafana national park, Madagascar.

very cool composition. and it took me a bit t realize where the 2nd gecko was.

EDIT: for those of you wondering where the 2nd gecko is, it’s on the trunk of the tree looking like moss. be sure you’re looking at the full picture. you can make out the right foot, head, and eye at the bottom.


The leaf-tailed geckos (genus Uroplatus) of Madagascar deserve their own separate post with their crazy camouflaging abilities. These reptiles are noctural and spend most of their day staying still and looking like a dead leaf or tree trunk.

The first three pictures are of three individuals of mossy leaf-tailed geckoes: The first one is slightly deattached from the trunk but still well camouflaged. The second one is displaying how incredibily difficult it can be to see these geckoes when they really try blend into the trunk. In the third picture, the gecko is disturbed and moving along the trunk, so it’s easy to see. They can change their colors a bit too, and they seemed to turn lighter-colored and easier to spot when they were stressed.

The next picture has a satanic leaf-tailed gecko, but I’m not sure which species the gecko in the last picture is. Either way, these two were hanging right next to each other but it took a while before anyone even noticed the second one. They had chosen their spot perfectly too, in a branch full of brown and grayish dead leaves.

Other posts from my Madagascar adventure

Hi everyone! So I just recently purchased a mossy leaf-tail gecko. I’ve seen a lot of different care advice online so I’d like to get some insight on those who are more experienced with these little guys.
I have mine housed in an 18x18x24 inch Exo Terra tall tank. I keep his humidity at about 70-90%, with multiple misting throughout the day. I keep his temperature between 72-78 degrees, as I’ve heard temps above 80 degrees can be fatal to them. I do not have any lighting for him currently, as I’ve also read they don’t particularly need UVB lighting. I have lots of foliage & leaves, as well as lichen sticks and bark logs, and vines all around the tank. For bedding I have him on coco fiber bedding as well as lots of moist moss spread on the ground for him to blend in to as well. I feed him calcium dusted crickets (dusted every other day). I’ve read a lot of controversial issues on feeding these guys mealworms, so right now I just have him on crickets and he seems to be doing fine. I also have a water bowl in his tank, but he doesn’t seem to want to drink from it.
I just want to make sure I’m doing everything correct so far, since there’s a lot of different info on the internet. any feedback would be appreciated, feel free to message me, tag anyone in this post, add on to this post, etc!! thank you everyone!! :)