Our recent episode "Autotomy: Nature's Dismemberment Plan" dives into the tail-dropping world of lizards, geckos and skinks, so I thought we'd better pause and appreciate the wonder of the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko.
The diminutive Uroplatus schneideri makes its home in Madagascar and utilizes a whole host of crazy defensive strategies. Here's what it's packing:
- Fantastic leaf mimicry, thanks especially to its mottled skin and leafy tail.
- Ability to flatten themselves against the ground to reduce their shadow.
- Defensive display of their wide, bright-red mouth.
- Tail autotomy or defensive tail shedding.
And while biologists fail to mention it, they can presumably call on the power of Satan to protect them from would-be predators.