I’ve Only Got Eye(lid)s For You

by DFS-Pet-Blog on September 21, 2009

"Can't take my eyes off of you..."

"Can't take my eyes off of you..."

**Guest post from Keith G.**

I mentioned at the end of my first post on Leos, albeit with a pretty tacky joke, that leopard geckos have an interesting trait that separates them (Eublepharis macularius) from most other species of geckos. And no, it’s not their inability to sell you car insurance.

Unlike many other species of geckos, leopard geckos lack “sticky feet.” Some species have very small hairs on their feet called setae which, in combination with van der Waals forces (remember physics class?), allow them to cling to surfaces such as trees or the side of a terrarium.

As noted in this post on Discovery News, gravity and body orientation help cue geckos as to when to engage those tiny hairs for their sticky purposes. Some, such as Keller Autumn, a biophysicist at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon (aka the guy who first discovered how geckos stick), also believe geckos [quote]: “might have structures in their ears that tell them when they need to risk damaging their setae for the sake of hanging on,” although no one has studied that yet. Pretty cool, right?

One thing that IS for certain is that leopard geckos do not have these setae, likely as a result of taking a different evolutionary path than some other species of geckos.

While they don’t stick around like some other species of geckos, Leos do have one distinct feature that most others don’t: eyelids. Most researchers believe leopard geckos developed these translucent, movable eyelids because of their natural habitat, (rocky, desert-like parts of the world such as Afghanistan and Pakistan) where a certain genetic trait such as eyelids would come in handy against dust, sandstorms, etc. An interesting behavior that I have witnessed with my Leos is that they will lick their eyelids to keep them moistened. Now that’s talent.

As you can probably tell, I’m quite fascinated by leopard geckos. If you share my passion for reptiles, can lick your eyelid (showoff!), or have any other interesting stories about your geckos or reptiles that you want to share, I encourage you to post them in the comments.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

EB January 4, 2010 at 10:56 am

Question: We went away for a few days. I did have some one come in to check my gecko. I fed it Friday. They came Sat. and gave it crickets the yelled at it because it ate two too fast. He has been constipated since. He used to deposit almost everyday. it has been at least 4 days now. I took him to a vet and they did not think he was impacted. So what do I do?? Any Help??

Keith G. January 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm


Glad to see you as so attentive to your gecko’s patterns, but I guess if your vet didn’t see a problem I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this point unless things don’t improve soon, then another call to the vet might be in order. Reptiles can sometimes get stressed, especially if their feeding pattern changes, so that might be a reason for the change in deposits. It might be worth your while to pick up some Reptile Bene-Bac (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=6016+6057+6422&pcatid=6422) and see if that helps restore digestive order, so to speak. It should help balance the digestive system and certainly won’t hurt your gecko. Keep an eye on things, make sure he’s eating and drinking as normal, try the Bene Bac and if things don’t change in the next week maybe contact your vet again. That’s the way I’d handle it. Let us know how it ends up. Thanks.

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