Let's get one thing straight: Most of the little fellas zipping around the sidewalk or poking out of your cat's mouth are not geckos but green and brown anoles (pronounced a-NOLE, rhymes with pole). But whoever heard of the Geico Anole? Exactly. Amaze your friends at Gulfport Gecko Fest with these five fun facts:
• Geckos lick their big eyes. Gross! Actually, it's to clean a membrane cover that other lizards don't have. Here's a photo
• They "talk" by chirping or clicking. Other lizards only do that head-bob thing.
• The world's smallest reptile is the dwarf gecko — only 16 mm long. It fits entirely on the face of a dime.
• Some species, such as the Indo-Pacific gecko (found on both coasts of Florida), don't need males to fertilize their eggs.
• Geckos walk on walls but not because their feet are sticky. It has to do with thousands of hairlike bristles on their footpads and "van der Waals force." We'd explain it if we were smarter than a 5th grader. Google it, geek.
— Compiled by Times staff writer Kelly Smith from research by Times researcher Will Gorham.