In houses in the tropics the little lizards called geckos come out of their hiding places in cracks in walls or other places as soon as the lights are turned on at night. There are many species, or kinds of gecko and most have an arrangement of small pads on the undersides of their fingers and toes. These pads are covered with microscopic hairs, and when pressed against a smooth surface they cling by means of suction. Thus the gecko can go up smooth walls and run upside-down on a ceiling.
Geckos are harmless and live on insects. They are widely scattered over the warm parts of the earth and one kind, Brooks' gecko, which originally lived in West Africa, has found its way round the world by hiding away in bales of produce on ships. Every year some of these geckos, having stowed away in bunches of bananas, find their way to England.
Certain geckos can make quite loud calls, among them the large house gecko from the eastern tropics, which has a cry that sounds very much like 'Tock-ay'. Like many other kinds of lizards, geckos are able to lose their tails, but these grow again quickly. All geckos lay eggs, except two species from New Zealand whose young are born alive. The eggs are laid in pairs and house geckos choose all manner of odd places in which to lay them, such as the keyholes of doors.
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