- Photographer spent THREE DAYS waiting to take the perfect snap of gecko
- Nocturnal reptile gathers moisture on eyes from morning mist
This cheeky gecko certainly has things licked as it gets the morning dew off its eyes.
The web-footed creature is a rare reptile found on coastal sand dunes in Namibia between the sea and the desert.
The nocturnal geckos collect water on their eyeballs in the early morning when a mist bank descends as cool coastal air hits the warmth of the desert.
Eye drops: A Namibian web-footed gecko licks dew off his eyes that has accumulated when mist forms over the desert in the early morning
Then they lick it off to have a drink.
It took photographer Isak Pretorius three days to get the licking picture, following gecko tracks across the dunes through the mist.
The 32-year-old South African said: ‘In these coastal dunes, the warm desert air meets the cold air of the Atlantic ocean, creating a dense layer of mist almost every morning until about 9am.
‘This layer of mist only stretches about three miles inland and creates a very unique environment.
‘Their most fascinating characteristic is the way in which they gather moisture from licking droplets of water off their beautiful big eyeballs.
Licked, never beaten: The rare creature was captured in action after Isak Pretorius spent three days tracking the reptiles
The skin of geckos is made up of shades of pink and very transparent which would offer no resistance to any harsh sunlight
‘In the mornings they would stand still on the dunes in the misty weather, waiting for the mist to form water droplets on their eyeballs.
‘They would then very elegantly lick the droplets off their eyeballs in five or six repeated strokes.’
Mr Pretorius, a consultant engineer, added: ‘The way to find these geckos is to find the tracks and follow them.
‘The tracks are very small and we had to drive very slowly, inspecting each square metre of dune very carefully.
‘On the third and final morning our patience finally paid off when we found two geckos that both entertained us with some eyeball-licking behaviour.
‘Seeing them for the first time in real life I was amazed how small they actually are. Probably only 4in to 6in long in total.
‘Their skin is beautiful shades of pink and very transparent which would offer no resistance to any harsh sunlight.
‘We learnt that as long as we approach them very slowly, especially when stalking them from a distance, they would not run away from us.
‘It would seem that fast moving figures from a distance away somehow make them more nervous than when these figure are right up close to them.
‘We were sad to leave, but felt privileged to have seen a private show of one of the world's natural wonders.’