Get to know the Gecko Guy

June 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

As you probably know, Fernbank Museum is currently hosting the incredible and lively exhibition: Geckos: Tails to Toepads. This traveling exhibition will be on view through Labor Day, so make sure you come and see it!

The exhibition is extraordinary, thanks in part to gecko keeper, Colin Walker.

Recently, I had the privilege of going behind the scenes with Colin, our gecko guy. He showed me what it was like to be a gecko keeper. We fed a giant gecko, held geckos, watered plants, and discovered gecko eggs. As we walked around from habitat to habitat, Colin shared his gecko knowledge with me. (I didn’t know it was possible to know this much!) Geckos are not his only expertise though.

I quickly found out that Colin has a wealth of knowledge about snakes—both venomous and harmless snakes—crocodiles, alligators, geckos, and so much more. If you see him while you’re in the exhibit, ask him your own questions! I can almost guarantee he’ll have an answer for you.

Did you notice the habitats the geckos live in? They each have a custom-built natural habitat, which means that the cases in the Museum are set up exactly like the geckos’ native land. Whether they are from Madagascar or Asia, the temperature matches their home as well as all of the plants surrounding them. One cool thing about Colin’s job is that he gets to maintain the habitats. I guess it’s kind of like going to Madagascar every morning!

Even when Colin’s not traveling with the geckos, he likes to take care of animals. He’s a big cat man—literally; he loves BIG cats such as tigers and lions. He also spends a lot of time with snakes, but when it comes down to it, he finds geckos the most interesting.

“Geckos are a wonderful display of biodiversity. If you look at a snake, you know it’s a snake; if you look at a crocodile, you know it’s a crocodile,” Colin said. “But with geckos, there are green ones and orange ones. There are ones with no legs and ones with blue spots.”

Colin gets to work with these colorful creatures every day of the week for a couple of hours each day. He likes to come in and feed the geckos, water the plants, and clean the glass before the exhibit opens so that the geckos can be ready for you. Most people wouldn’t be thrilled about working a seven-day week, but Colin doesn’t seem to mind.

“It’s not so much that I go to work in the morning, but I connect with each animal in some way,” Colin said. “And I guess it helps that I’m doing the job of my dreams.”

-Andrea Lowery, Marketing & Communications Intern


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The Geckos are Coming! Pictures to buzz about

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At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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