My host has been keeping me out all hours of the night. The other morning, about 3AM, we quietly walk in to the house, up the stairs, and down the hallway. I’m leading through the dark with the light of my cellphone, and flip the switch to turn on the light in the hall. I turn to my bedroom door and unlock it, but I notice that at the other end of the hallway, my host is frozen in his tracks. I whisper, “What’s up?” and he motions to the ceiling where I see a small gecko, perhaps 4 inches max.
Ah, cool! I think; I see lizards everywhere, but they’re always running and I can never get a picture. I duck into the bedroom for my camera, pop off a few shots, and then motion to my host, “I’m done, come on.” Then I realize, this big brawny former-goalkeeper of a man is petrified, and I don’t know why. The guy who laughed as I firmly gripped the back of his motorcycle through the streets of Dakar is now afraid to walk past this gecko. “Is it…dangerous?” I ask. “Yep,” he nods. “Does it…jump?” I ask, confused about how it could be a threat from the ceiling. “Yep,” he repeats. Okay, I need more information. “Is it poisonous? Is it lethal?” “No it’s not lethal,” but before he can finish his thought he dives into my bedroom for shelter. The gecko scurries across the ceiling, and startles my host. “Okay, what does it do?” I ask, snapping photos and getting a little too close to the gecko for my host’s comfort.