Northern leaf-tailed gecko (Salturarius cornutus) is Australia’s largest gecko with a length to 23-cm. It has spindly limbs, sharp-clawed toes and a very flat body with lichen-like blotches. It is arboreal and forages at night for insects among protective foliage where it is well camouflaged. Females usually lay one or two eggs in a crevice and after eight to ten weeks the young hatch and have to fend for themselves. It is very specialised (like the Chameleon Gecko) and considered to have evolved from Gondwanan ancestors. It can only be found Wet Tropical rainforest of Northern Queensland and it is sighted occasionally on a Cooper Creek Wilderness Nocturnal Wildlife Experience.

Northern leaf-tailed geckoSalturarius cornutus is a master of camouflage and usually positions itself on the trunk of a tree with its head facing downwards and its tail is presented to resemble a head.  Its jagged, broken outline and lichen-like patterns make it almost invisible.  At night they emerge to sit motionless on tree trunks, clinging to the surface with slender legs and bird-like feet, positioned so that the back legs resemble the front legs with the tail appearing to be the head.  The tail can be sacrificed in an emergency.   They were reclassified in 1991 and described  in a new genus Saltuarius, which means ‘keeper of the forest’.

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