Diurnal gecko (Phelsuma).—Anthony Bannister/EB Inc.

Any of about 1,000 species of harmless but noisy lizards in the family Gekkonidae. Geckos are small, usually nocturnal reptiles that have soft skin, a short, stout body, a large head, and weak limbs often equipped with suction-padded digits. The pads contain tiny hairlike projections that cling to surfaces, allowing geckos to climb absolutely smooth and vertical surfaces and even to run across ceilings. Most are 1–6 in. (3–15 cm) long, including the tail, and they are usually drably coloured, with gray, brown, or white predominating. They live in warm areas worldwide in habitats ranging from deserts to rainforests. They are sometimes kept as pets in houses or apartments and are beneficial to humans by eating undesirable insects.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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