Satanic Gecko is First Animal Baby of 2011


Photo: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

I'm a sucker for New Year baby - you know, like Timeo Goede, who had excellent timing to be born at 11:11 AM on 1/1/11 (Don't mom and baby look so heavenly?)

Well, this one is nifty as well, though perhaps not quite so heavenly -the first animal baby born in 2011 at the San Diego Zoo is a satanic gecko. That's right, there's a gecko named after Beelzebub:

The satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is native to the incredibly species-rich African island of Madagascar. The horns over the lizard's eyes are what earned the gecko its devilish name.

"All of the leaf-tailed geckos are camouflage specialists," said John Kinkaid, an animal care manger at the zoo. "Some have beards, others have patterns that mimic tree bark or moss, while this one has a tail that looks like a dead leaf. The horns above its eyes break up the silhouette of its body and make it harder for predators to find."

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