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How Do Geckos Climb Walls?

Geckos climb walls with sticky hairs on their toes known as seta. The hairs on the small lizards’ toes have a mechanism that can turn the stickiness factor on and off at will, which allows geckos to first grip and then quickly scale walls. Geckos use their seta as a means of hiding and running away from predators. They can travel at approximately 20 body-lengths every second by scaling surfaces. In addition to giving geckos speed, their toes’ adhesive system is strong—it is estimated that when geckos hang upside down, their seta would be able to support 50 times their weight.

More about geckos:

  • The name gecko is from the Indonesian language Malay and is based on the sound geckos use to communicate with one another.

  • Geckos don’t have eyelids and use their tongues to keep their eyes clean.

  • A common defense mechanism for geckos is to shed their tails in order to distract predators and escape. Some species of gecko are actually able to grow a replacement tail made of cartilage but no bone.

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