11 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

Channel Gecko

A fire is a mesmerising thing. Sit around one for any length of time, and you’ll soon find yourself falling silent and mindlessly gazing at the flames - very similar to watching CSI Miami back home, come to think of it.

It’s probably why African campfires are known as Channel One.

But the bushveld has other channels to offer, and one of my all-time favourites is Gecko TV. Beamed to you direct from you your bush lodge ceiling or verandah, it offers thrills, spills and live kills. Also lots of time spent motionless, in stalk mode.

Geckos are all about night time action, and they love nothing better than those great big meaty moths you find at the height of summer, thumping mindlessly around hurricane lamps.

The reptiles turn into miniature upside-down ceiling-crocodiles, pursuing their prey with inexorable killer instincts.  When there’s something that juicy about, they hardly bother with little insects. Gordon Gekko comes to mind. Greed is good. Bug is better.

The suspense of the chase is practically unbearable, but the thrill of the kill, when it comes, is worth the wait.

Next time you’re sucked into Channel Gecko, note that their ability to hang upside down is a rather mystical trick.

The undersides of their bodies have innumerable split-ended Velcro-like scales. With all this vast surface-area, the geckos are able to exploit a natural force in the Universe - the weak attraction between all things…

Category: Wildlife

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