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Basking Beartrap Gecko

Updated on March 16, 2011
Basking Beartrap Gecko, rickzimmerman 2010
Basking Beartrap Gecko, rickzimmerman 2010

This creature is a far cry from that cute little fella with the distinctive accent who’s always trying to sell you car insurance in 15 seconds or less.

For one thing, our basking friend, Gordon, is quite a bit more imposing, greater in size than even the largest other gecko ever previously found: the Kawekaweau of New Zealand, a mere 24” long. For at a nearly mature 1-1/2 years of age, Gordon here has grown to a full 67” in body length, plus another 50” or so of nasty-toothed jaw length.

Gordon and his ilk are called Beartrap Geckos not merely for the imposing appearance of their jaws, but also for the fact that the creatures have indeed been used occasionally (and quite effectively) to trap bears throughout portions of the American west. Needless to say, snapping such imposing jaws onto so potentially daunting a prey as a full-grown grizzly requires a substantial amount of energy. The Beartrap Geckos must therefore bask in the sun for quite a lot longer than their smaller relations to recharge their batteries. (Whereas your typical 4”- to 6”-long gecko might bask for an hour or less early in the day, the average Beartrap Gecko must bask from May until about early August before being much good to anyone.)

As you can see, Gordon is a finely proportioned and fairly handsome representative of his species. Some say those characteristics, coupled with the fear instilled by those chilling choppers, were what prompted screenwriters to co-opt his name ‘Gordon Gecko’ for Michael Douglas’ predatory character in the movie Wall Street.  


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