The Houston Zoo is showing the world a very tiny gecko called Fantastic, or the Satanic leaf tailed gecko, that was born on Feb. 17. The zoo revealed photos showing the animal sitting on a pencil top . The Houston Zoo says that the gecko is not much larger than a pencil eraser and that it gets its name from its brow ridges. Brian Hill, a spokesperson for the zoo, said the gecko is not in his own exhibit yet because he has got some growing to do first. Staff members at the zoo say that the animal lives only in Madagascar, is active at night, and has a diet of mostly insects.
The species is shrinking because its natural habitat is being destroyed by agriculture, grazing cattle and logging. Fantastic geckos were born without eyelids, so they clean their eyes with their tongues. Hill says the animal only grows to be four to six inches long and it blends into its surroundings so it might be difficult for visitors to find the gecko once he is on display. The gecko has learned to camouflage itself to look like dead twigs and leaves. The animal’s legs help it become camouflaged because their legs have leaf-like veins as well as a ragged look so they resemble a dead leaf. Aside from the photos that were revealed by the Houston Zoo of the gecko, the zoo is also home to the world’s smallest monkey.
The Pygmy Marmoset, also known as the world’s smallest monkey, was born at the zoo in July to parents, Per and Oko. The monkey was larger than its siblings and weighs .08 pounds. The animal is normally born as a set of fraternal twins but some are born alone as a singlet. A singlet is normally larger than a baby who was born as a twin. The baby is weighed by taking the weight of both the father and the baby, then subtracting the father’s weight. These animals live in the Amazon basin of South America and are threatened by the pet trade. It can grow to be between 4.6 to six inches and can live up to 12 years if they live in the wild. If the animal lives in a zoo, they can live up to 18 years. The animal’s tail helps it to move through the tree tops and keep its balance.
The Pygmy Marmoset’s diet consists mostly of tree exudates, the resin, latex, gum or sap from trees, that the monkeys can get to by using their thin incisors. The animal’s pointed claws help them grip trees so they can get to the exudates easier. When Pygmy Marmosets are born, they spend the first two weeks of life riding on their parent’s back and later stay in a hole while their parents find food. Their tails are longer than their body, have black and tan rings and are about eight inches long.
The Houston Zoo is housing some small animals after it revealed photos of the Fantastic gecko and is home to the Pygmy Marmoset. The gecko can camouflage its body to blend in with trees and leaves. It can also lose its tail if it feels threatened by a predator. Fantastic geckos can also flatten their bodies to show off their red eyes or reduce their shadows when they are face to face with a predator. The Pygmy Marmoset can also live in Columbia, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.
By Jordan Bonte