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Standing's day gecko

Scientific name: Phelsuma standingi

Country: Madagascar

Continent: Africa

Diet: Insects- insectivore, fruits- frugivore , nectar- nectarivore. In the Zoo they are given live locusts and crickets, plus an occasional sugar lump with vitamins drops, and calcium in the form of powdered cuttlefish.

Food & feeding: Omnivore

Habitats: Tropical dry forest

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Relatives: Rhinoceros iguana, leopard gecko

Description: The day gecko is a beautiful lizard, bright green in colour, and well camouflaged amongst the leaves of its habitat. It grows to about 22 cm in length. They have no eyelids but can use their long tongues to clean their eyes. The 'adhesive' toe pads allow geckos to climb vertical walls and even glass.

Lifestyle: Unlike most geckos it is diurnal (active by day). They can be found on trunks and branches, usually resting with their heads pointing down the trunk.

Keeping in touch: Geckos can make a range of squeaks, clicks and croaks, which sound more like a frog than a lizard.

Growing up: The female lays two eggs at a time, every four to six weeks. The eggs hatch after about eight to ten weeks incubation. Hatchlings are about 6.5 cm long and are immediately independent, feeding on small insects. They are sexually mature in one to two years.

Conservation news: The day gecko breeds successfully in captivity. Like most creatures that live in Madagascan forests, it is designated as Vulnerable, as so much forest is under threat on the island.

There is a European breeding programme for this species with the studbook being managed by London Zoo. Bristol Zoo Gardens has bred this lizard and most of the offspring have been moved to other zoos around Europe. In 2003 Bristol-bred females that were sent to Poznan in Poland.

Geckos can climb up smooth surfaces because the pads on their feet are covered in tiny hairs. The hairs are so fine that they can get really close to the surface the gecko is walking up - so close that the atoms on the hairs are attracted to the atoms of the surface. Atomic attraction holds geckos up!