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The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus)

These geckos might be called satanic, but I feel they are just misunderstood. These interesting reptiles have some fascinating traits and deserve to be studied. So let's find out more about them!

Physical Description and Behavior

These geckos are about 3.5 inches long and can be many shades and colors, from greenish, pale brown, dark brown, or even a rusty red. Their coloration and body shape mimics that of an old unappetizing leaf. Other forms of avoiding predators include flattening their bodies to hide their shadows and opening their mouths wide to ward off threats.

Their tail is also flattened and shaped like a leaf. The rest of their body has spines and curves all over, probably also to mimic the shape of a leaf. While males and females look similar, it is easy to spot a male due to the small bulge underneath their tails.

These geckos are nocturnal, using their large eyes to spot food in the dark. They don't blink as they do not have eyelids; so instead, they use their tongues to lick off any debris that land on their eyes.

Habitat and Location

While they are abundant enough, they are only found in a small area of woodland in Madagascar. They can be found in the central area, close to the shore. Their preference for humid forests and dislike for disturbances means that they rarely stay close to areas subject to logging.

They are considered to be of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List. That said, their decreasing population is a topic of concern. The main threats to them are continued logging and clear-cutting of trees for timber and animal agriculture. The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, lists this species in their "Top ten most wanted species list", which references animals that are put in danger due to the illegal wildlife trade.

Find more information about this gecko by checking out the video below!

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