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The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko Isn’t as Devilish as It Looks

posted: 10/28/15
by: Danny Clemens
Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
reptiles4all/iStock

Don't be fooled by its name, its piercing gaze or the two horns above its eyes: the satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) isn't as devious as you might think.

The only satanic thing about the small creature is the fact that it can camouflage itself so masterfully. By the time it reaches adulthood, the gecko's body and tail are mystifyingly similar to a decaying leaf. U. phantasticus's deft disguise makes it nearly invisible to trick-or-treating owls, eagles and snakes who are looking for trouble.

Endemic to Madagascar, the tiny creature grows up to six inches in length. At birth, however, the gecko is about the size of a piece of candy corn (which, for the record, is our standard unit of measure around Halloween). The Dallas Zoo recently welcomed three baby geckos into the world, taking to social media to share a snapshot of their new youngster:

HALLOWEEN BABY!: We're squashing myths that the satanic leaf-tailed gecko is a devilish critter as we welcome 3 babies...

Posted by Dallas Zoo on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Unlike humans, U. phantasticus isn't munching on candy corn by the handful -- small crickets and roaches are the gecko's Halloween haul of choice.

Fun fact: like other geckoes, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko lacks eyelids; instead, the reptiles have a long, mobile tongue that keeps their eyes clean and free of debris.

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