Tall tales or twisting tails?
Why would the western banded gecko break off its own tail?
When in danger, the tail is lost to fool other animals into chasing it while the gecko runs away to safety.
The tail will grow back, but shorter and with a different pattern. Losing a tail may save the gecko in the short term, but because food and water is stored in the tail, this loss could be deadly if it happens right before the winter months set in.
The gecko spends the winter holed up in its burrow, sleepy and using the food and water in its tail to survive. Without its tail, the gecko may not live to see the spring.