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Urban Safari: Geckos at the MOS

The Museum of Science unveiled a new exhibit last week. Geckos: Tails to Toepads is a traveling exhibit created by Peeling Productions, part of Clyde Peeling's Reptiland. With over 60 living exotic geckos, it is the country's largest and most advanced exhibition of its kind. RainyDayMagazine was on hand for the preview and it was amazing! "We are excited to introduce our visitors to the fascinating world of geckos," said Paul Fontaine, Museum of Science VP of Education. "The exhibit allows visitors to take on the role of biologist and observe these intriguing creatures in naturalistic habitats. By immersing themselves in the geckos' world, visitors will enjoy a unique educational experience that includes night vision, sticky toepads, and even disposable body parts, as they study these charming creatures." 

The one striking thing we realized when walking through the various displays was we had to look VERY carefully. Some of the geckos were right out in the open, but many of them were often hidden in plain sight. How many of them can you find in this photo? We found three.

The typical gecko is kind of small and shy, but the Tokay gecko is big, bad, and has an “in-your-face” attitude, especially when other geckos are around. The Tokay can grow up to 13 inches, will eat insects, snakes, small birds, and even other geckos. It is a native of Southeast Asia, but now can be found in Belize, Hawaii, and even Florida. The Tokay gecko will emit a startlingly loud cry which sounds like its name (toe-kay). If you do come across one in the wild, be careful as it will give chase and can deliver a surprisingly painful bite!

What is the secret to the amazing climbing abilities of geckos? There is a short video, Geck-noloy:The Secrets of Gecko Adhesion, which explores and explains the science behind what enables geckos to walk on glassrocks, and pretty much any surface they wish. By understanding how geckos accomplish their amazing feats, scientists hope to use it to revolutionize the future of adhesive technology. Who knows, maybe someday “gecko-inspired” gloves will enable anyone to catch a football like Rob Gronkowski.

When most people hear the word ‘gecko,’ many think of the cute little GEICO spokescreature with the Cockney accent. That famous icon, with its emerald green skin and crimson red highlights, was modeled after the Giant Day Gecko. Like the GEICO gecko, the ones at the MOS exhibit were quite photogenic, not at all shy, and were happy to pose for pics all day long.

The Geckos: Tails to Toepads exhibit will be at the Museum of Science from January 22 through May 6, 2012. For schedule info, click here. This special exhibit is included with the regular Exhibit Halls admission ($22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $19 for children). We had a lot of fun at this exhibit and we think you will too. Dollar for dollar, it is a fantastic value for the money. Don’t miss it!!!

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