- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Geckos use their tails to stop falls and manoeuvre in the air
Geckos are nature’s champion climbers. With remarkable ease, they can scamper across ceilings and up smooth vertical surfaces, and they do so at speed. A vertically running gecko can cover 15 times the length of its body in a single second. So far, scientists have focused their attention on the gecko’s amazingly adhesive feet but a new study demonstrates the importance of a neglected piece of their climbing gear – their tails. Geckos use their tails to stop themselves from falling, and to land safely if they do.
A gecko’s foot is a marvel of biological engineering. Rather than relying on glues, suction or static, they stick to surfaces by exploiting ‘Van der Waals forces’, the weak forces that bind molecules