If you’ve ever seen a gecko hanging upside-down on the ceiling, you’ve probably wondered where the little critter got his magical suction-cup boots!? Geckos’ feet are a marvel to scientists, who want to know how these small lizards can manage to stick their feet to pretty much anything and never fall down!
The answer is that geckos have very special tiny hairs on the bottoms of their feet that allow them to stick to walls!
Every gecko has millions of these hairs, which are so tiny that they are only as long as the width of two human hairs. The end of each itty-bitty hair is split as many as 1,000 times, with little pads at the end of each tip. Having all of these tiny hairs with their many tiny pads on the end gives the gecko a lot of surface-area on each foot, and increases their sticking power by letting the gecko make close, strong contact with a surface. Using all of their sticking power, geckos can hang their entire body weight on just one well-stuck foot! Scientists are still studying more about what makes these tiny hairs so sticky and powerful. They hope to use their knowledge to make better adhesives for humans!
Walk this way!
Imagine that some day, scientists create “Gecko Boots,” so that humans can walk up walls like geckos! What are some things you might use your Gecko Boots to do? For example, you could change light-bulbs and dust the top shelves of bookcases by just walking straight up the wall!