Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko Is a Master of Disguise

Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This lizard is a master of disguise, easily taking on the form of brown foliage to blend in with its surroundings.

Uroplatus phantasticus, or the satanic leaf-tailed gecko as its commonly called, is endemic to tropical forests within the central to northeastern regions of Madagascar. This unusual creature is small in size, growing no more than half a foot in total length.

The satanic leaf-tailed gecko relies on camouflage as its primary defense mechanism. Although found in hues of hues of purple, orange, and yellow they are usually earthen brown in color with black spots dotting their underside.

The animal’s tail is flat similar to other members of the ebenaui species, but the leaf-like structure is unique to Uroplatus phantasticus. 

Frank Vassen from Brussels, Belgium, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This interesting nocturnal creature is called the ‘satanic’ gecko because of its horn-like head shape, and sometimes red devil-like eyes.

These animals have mastered the art of mimicry and are experts at evading predators. In addition to their dissuading appearance, satanic leaf geckos are capable of flattening their bodies completely against their surroundings and displaying their large red open mouths to predators. In addition, they can shed their tail if need be, similar to other gecko species.

Frank Vassen, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This mystical species is very rare in the wild and reportedly remaining within only three protected areas of Madagascar. The satanic leaf-tailed gecko is unique in appearance and makes for a sought-after animal in the pet trade. Additionally, deforestation and habitat destruction are adding to their demise.

The video above is mostly stills, while below is some high-quality footage of a variety of Leaf Tailed Geckos in Madagascar.