It would not have been pretty, but I nearly crushed a tiny Mediterranean gecko (a.k.a. house gecko; Hemidactylus turcicus) the other morning. It was just outside the door when I stepped through it. Had I not absently looked down just as I stepped outside, I probably wouldn’t have seen the little critter. More disturbing is that I probably would have stepped on it since I tend to roam around the patio when there’s nothing to look at, and the small lizard was in a very bad position that put it directly in my path. It would have been a very unlucky encounter I wouldn’t have known about until I was forced later to clean its remains off the bottom of my shoe and possibly the carpet. Thankfully, I saw it before that happened.
I’ve seen these geckos around here quite often. They’re nocturnal, so I’ve not had an opportunity to take photos of them in decent light. I usually see them crawling on the walls when I’m outside after dusk. From time to time, I even see them hanging upside-down on the ceiling of the patio if I happen to look up at the right moment.
As you can see, they’re colored just right to blend in when it’s dark. Their coloring makes them rather difficult to see. I’m sure I miss them more often than not if they don’t happen to move (which catches my attention) or if I don’t look at them directly. It’s the latter that’s more common since they almost always freeze where they are when I walk out there.
This one was so small and blended in so well with the color of the concrete—especially in the dim predawn light—that he was very hard to photograph. If I used the flash, it washed the color out just enough to make him look like the cement floor. If I didn’t use the flash, it was too dark to see it.
If you look closely at his tail (just about in the middle), you can see where it’s been torn off before and has regenerated. Don’t we all wish we had that ability…
By the way, eventually I picked it up to try and get a better photo. It didn’t work well since the flash brightened my skin color too much and made it difficult to see it, and without the flash, it was just too dark to get much detail. Nonetheless, one of those photos came out well enough to give you an idea as to its size. Did I already mention it was tiny?