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Web-Footed Gecko

Palmatogecko rangei

Photo: A web-footed gecko eating a dune cricket

Photo: A web-footed gecko eating a dune cricket (View larger version)

Photograph by Roger Bannister/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes

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The ghostly web-footed gecko is nearly translucent with a pale, salmon-colored undertone and light-brown stripes. Their color provides perfect camouflage among the powdery reddish sands of the Namib Desert, their primary habitat.

These geckos have adapted their webbed feet not only to help them stay atop, but to bury beneath the dunes of the Namib Desert. Strictly nocturnal lizards, they spend the day in self-dug burrows and emerge at night to feed.

Their bloodshot-looking eyes are massively oversized to help them detect prey, which includes crickets, grasshoppers, and small spiders. They move surprisingly quickly across the sand, and adhesive pads on their toes make them excellent climbers.

Web-foots are considered medium-size geckos, reaching an average size of about four inches (ten centimeters) in length. Males are slightly smaller than females.

People sometimes hunt these tiny lizards for food, and human encroachment is destroying some of its habitat. Their estimated lifespan in the wild is about five years.