Geckos are a fascinating type of lizard that is native to the warmer parts of the world. Their preferred habitats are usually the rain forests and feed on a variety of insects. Although they are 1,500 species of geckos that come in different sizes and colors most of them do have similarities.
However, there is one question that’s being asked a lot do geckos have eyelids?
Most geckos don’t possess eyelids as they feature a clear scale that covers the eye, geckos will then use their long tongue to remove any dirt or debris from the eye keeping the area clean and moist.
The gecko’s eye is very similar to the eyes of a snake and must be cleaned regularly with their tongue so that their vision doesn’t become impaired when hunting for insects.
Why Do Geckos Have No Eyelids?
So why is it that some geckos have no eyelids? Well, the reason is simple, the gecko’s eyes are marked with cryptic colors that allow the reptiles to camouflage themselves within their surroundings to avoid predators without loss of sight.
For the gecko, having no eyelids can be very beneficial when hunting in the wild, as the gecko needs to be very still and motionless when getting ready to strick at its prey.
“The slightest movement even something as small as blinking can be enough to scare away their prey”
This can also work to their advantage when being stalked by other predators and the fact that they can camouflage themselves including their eyes means they can usually escape these types of situations unnoticed.
How Do Geckos Sleep Without Eyelids?
Because Geckos have no eyelids they will usually seek out a dark place to hide, whether that’s under tree bark or a large log, anywhere that offers shelter when sleeping.
So how do they sleep without eyelids?
When they sleep their eyelids will constrict their pupils and roll back blocking out any light so they can sleep.
Take us, humans, for example, when we sleep when our eyes will roll back and our eyelids protect our eyes while sleeping. “but” instead of eyelids, the gecko has a clear scale film that will cover and protect their eyes when sleeping.
Most geckos even those without eyelids are nocturnal which means they sleep in the day and hunt at night and this is the reason why they will seek out dark places to rest and some sleep.
How Do Geckos Keep Their Eyes Clean?
So as mentioned, Geckos who lack eyelids have a clear scale covering each eye. “but” what you don’t know is this scale gets shed just like the external scales of the lizard.
The gecko’s clear scale must be kept clean regularly so the lizard’s vision is not impaired. They do this by using their long, sticky tongue to remove dirt and debris from the eye.
Shedding The Spectacle
Like many reptiles, geckos shed their skin fairly regularly, and the same is true about the clear eye scales which also shed along with the rest of the reptile’s external scales.
The gecko eye spectacle needs to be kept clean at all times so their vision does not become impaired and shedding their skin removes any parasites that may have attached to their old skin including their eyes.
Geckos Without Eyelids
Geckos like chameleons can be adapted to blend in with their habitat based on their skin and eye patterns and as mentioned there are around 1,500 species of geckos.
These species come in all different sizes and colors, with some that have eyelids and some that don’t. So let’s first go through some species of Geckos that are known to have no eyelids.
Species Of Geckos Without Eyelids:
- Day Geckos
- Tokay Geckos
- Crested Geckos
- Satanic Leaf-Tailed Geckos
The popular pet day geckos are a group of over 60 species of small lizards with reports that they can live up to an astonishing 20 years. Their size can vary from 2.6 inches which is the smallest to 11.8 inches the largest.
The second-largest type of gecko is the tokay gecko known for its deep colors and spots. They can live up to 10 years and live mostly in trees or on cliffs verges that are native to parts of Asia and some Pacific Islands.
Believe it or not, the crested geckos were thought to be extinct “but” were then rediscovered in 1994. The Crested geckos come in a wide array of colors that measure 7 to 9 inches in size and can live up to 20 years.
Satanic Leaf-Tailed Geckos
The satanic leaf-tailed gecko are a rare species that can only be found on the island of Madagascar. Their habitat is the rainforest and hunt for food at night usually insects and can grow up to 90mm in length, including the tail.
Species Of Geckos With Eyelids
Now, not every species have no eyelids, take the subfamily Eublepharidae for example, these lizards actually have working eyelids that blink and close, which are commonly called eyelid geckos.
Species like the Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius), the banded geckos (Coleonyx sp), and fat-tailed geckos (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus) all have eyelids.
Species Of Geckos With Eyelids:
- Leopard Geckos
- Banded Geckos
- Fat-Tailed Geckos
The leopard gecko is very easy to handle, they can blink, and close their eyes while sleeping. This small lizard is from Pakistan, northwest India, and Afghanistan. Their skin color is commonly yellow, white, with black dots and are 8 to 10 inches long and can live up to 20 years.
The banded geckos are native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico and Mojave Deserts. Their habitat is usually the rocky areas that have vegetation and grow up to 6 inches and can live up to 8 years.
Fat-tailed geckos are a type of lizard very similar to the leopard gecko that originates from the desert area in West Africa. This lizard can grow up to 9 inches and can live for 15-20 years in captivity.
Benefits Of Having No Eyelids
So the fact that geckos have no eyelids can this be a benefit in the wild? Well, some people seem to think that a lack of eyelids can actually help them hunt better.
Although this may be true!
There are other theories to this, for example, being able to camouflage themselves and their eyes can hugely benefit them and be a safeguard when being stalked by predators.
Geckos will also spend a lot of time searching for insects like crickets, grubs, and worms, and the fact that they don’t need to blink means it won’t be a distraction to the prey.
Being completely still is key for the gecko when hunting for their food and of course, the constant blinking will be noticeable to their prey that will be on full alert in the wild.
Other Reptiles Without Eyelids
So as you know now there are many species of Geckos that have no eyelids however, did you know that they are not the only reptiles that have no eyelids?
“In fact, there are other species of reptiles with no eyelids very similar to the geckos”
Reptiles That Have No Eyelids:
- Night Lizards
- Flap- Footed Lizards
The eyes of a snake are very similar and Instead of eyelids, they have what’s called a brille attached to each eye. This brille is also known as ocular scale, spectacle just like the geckos.
Skink’s eyes are also very similar to snakes that have no eyelids and have transparent scales (spectacles) covering the eyes and like the geckos they use their tongue to clean and keep them moist.
Flap- Footed Lizards
Flap-footed lizards are a family of squamates with reduced or absent limbs. They have slender bodies with a strong resemblance to a snake and again like the skinks have no eyelids.
So now you that the vast majority of geckos have no eyelids and the fact that their eyes are more similar to the eyes of a snake it’s not that uncommon.
Since these reptiles cannot blink, without eyelids, they generally take care of this themselves by licking them to remove any dirt or debris keeping them clean and healthy.
If your thinking about getting a pet gecko but are wondering which are easier to take care of with or without eyelids?
Well, this really depends? If your home has a lot of light then maybe you should consider getting a gecko with eyelids. The reason is too much light can damage the gecko’s eyes that are lidless.
However, the geckos with lids will be able to come out in the day to feed and other things yet the lidless geckos are more of a night lizard.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to your preference and what you prefer for a pet gecko. But with that said apart from their eye, there’s not much else that different between the one with eyelid and the one without.