gecko

Africa is our closest representation of the “Pleistocene megafauna”, the massive land animals considered archetypical of the last ice age, the mammoths and mastodons, sabre-toothed cats, and giant sloths, horses, bears, tortoises, and much else that disappeared with the subsequent rise of humankind. To walk in Africa’s wild places is to listen to yourself and understand your place on...

  These are gecko feet. Notice their crazy toes. The “stripes” are made of modified scales covered in thousands of “hairs,” only twice as long as our hairs are thick. Each hair branches into thousands of tips. Each tip branches into hundreds of tinier tips. These tiny-tips are so tiny (like size-of-the-wavelength-of-visible-light tiny) that they...

For some diabolical-looking animals, “you look like hell” may not be so much of an insult. From birds to beetles to snakes, nature has a lot of devilishly creepy creatures—including the recently discovered “demon” ants named for gods of the Maya underworld. Here’s a roundup of animals that would likely be favorite pets of Gomez and Morticia. Satanic...