Why does gecko become one of the “five poisons”?

This paper takes part in the series essay competition of “great science” of Recordunkown

In many people’s eyes, gecko is a toxic species. It is called “five poisons” together with scorpion, snake, centipede, gecko and toad. It seems that as long as gecko has been in contact with everything, it is toxic. And once human beings come into contact with something, skin will rot. is that right?

Why is gecko one of the “five poisons”?

In the hot summer evening, when people enjoy the cool outside, they always find geckos on the wall. They are the most common reptiles in human life. Geckos belong to a kind of lizard, also known as “guarding the palace”. So what does “guarding the palace” mean? This word first appeared in Erya, the ancestor of China’s famous dictionary. “Palace” in ancient times not only refers to the palace, but also refers to the house and living room. Gecko often likes to attach to the wall, and was regarded as the auspicious beast of guarding the palace by ancient ancestors, so it is named “guarding the palace”.


Gecko is about 11cm long. The back of the whole body is mainly brown, and the body is covered with grain scales. Gecko’s feet are like a strong hook. No matter how rough the wall is, it can attach to it. With these special physiological structures, gecko can walk freely in the wall. Day and night, many hidden cabinets, corners can see the figure of gecko. In the process of predation, gecko is mainly composed of mosquitoes and flies. In the face of life-threatening, survival is gecko’s trump card and skills, after about three months, gecko will grow a new tail. In many remote villages, gecko has the meaning of “disaster prevention”.

However, in the eyes of human beings, gecko is a highly toxic organism. For example, when encountering the urine of gecko, there is a saying that the whole body will rot. If gecko’s urine goes into the eyes, it will lead to blindness. If it goes into the ears, it will become deaf. In a word, if you come into contact with gecko, the light will only cause subcutaneous hemorrhage and edema, and the heavy will cause brain nervous system injury, spinal cord changes, and even respiratory paralysis to death. Because of these rumors and strange stories, gecko has gradually become one of the five poisonous species. We can’t find out when it will be included.

Gecko is not a simple species: it has two “artifact”

Gecko is widely distributed, in addition to deserts and jungles, there are also some warm areas, such as tropical and subtropical areas. Gecko is a kind of “temperature type” animal. If the temperature is lower than 10 ℃, gecko will not survive. So every winter, gecko will hibernate in a corner, which is why we rarely see gecko in frigid zone.



Gecko’s tail breaking survival skill — “tail”

Gecko’s tail has many nerves. In case of crisis, gecko will break its tail, distract the enemy’s attention through its tail, and then take the opportunity to slip away. In climbing or gliding, the gecko’s tail plays an important role. It can act as the gecko’s fifth “foot” to prevent the gecko from falling down during crawling. If one of the gecko’s feet is “injured,” the tail sticks to the surface, allowing the other legs to cling to the wall.

“Tail regeneration” is also a skill for gecko, gecko’s tail is not segmented tail vertebrae, when the enemy attacks, its muscles contract violently, so that the tail is broken. It’s like that if human beings are not amputated after suffering from accidental injury, secondary infection will occur, even life-threatening. Only amputation can save their lives. But comparatively speaking, gecko is more lucky, after 2-3 months, it will grow again.



Gecko can “fly over the eaves and walk over the wall” skill foot

No matter how transparent and smooth the glass is, it can’t stop the gecko’s progress. So how can gecko’s magic skill of “flying over the eaves and walking over the wall” be practiced? In fact, the biggest secret is the gecko’s feet. Under the microscope, the surface of the gecko’s feet is covered with a lot of mucus, which is produced from the glands in the grooves of the gecko’s feet. When the gecko contacts walls or other smooth surface objects, these liquids play the role of adhesion mechanism, which is called “wet adhesion”, making the gecko’s climbing ability more stable .

Generally speaking, gecko’s adsorption force of one sole can bear the gravity of gecko’s whole body. Some netizens can’t help asking: “gecko’s feet have such strong adsorption force, how does it move?” Before taking a step, gecko will do a special action, that is to turn up. Only in this way can gecko’s whole foot smoothly break away from the surface. This is just like when we change the wallpaper, we need to lift the previous wallpaper. The premise of lifting the wallpaper is to pry it off from the corner and take it off with a little force. This is also the principle of foot lifting.

Is gecko a beneficial insect or a pest?

As a reptile, gecko will hide in the dark and hidden places such as cracks in walls and eaves in the daytime. At night, gecko will be very active. According to the structural characteristics of gecko and its food habits, we infer that it is beneficial and harmless.


1. It has high medicinal value

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a traditional Chinese medicine with a long history of TCM culture and unique TCM theory. A bowl of Decoction and a silver needle will have an immediate effect. Traditional Chinese medicine is the most commonly used medicine in ancient times, and the composition of traditional Chinese medicine is also recorded in many ancient books. Among them, gecko is a kind of reptile with high medicinal value, its whole body is treasure, gecko’s feet, tail, and viscera are medicinal materials.

Gecko is also known as “Tianlong” in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains a variety of biological components. According to ancient Chinese medicine books, gecko is a very valuable Chinese herbal medicine. It is salty and cold in nature, and has the functions of dispersing and detoxifying, not lifting hands and feet, infantile malnutrition, tetanus, benefiting blood, relieving cough and asthma, effectively dispelling wind and calming shock, etc. in compendium of Materia Medica, it is also mentioned that gecko has the effect of curing cancer, and can be used for the treatment of esophageal cancer, leukemia and other cancer patients with wind heat and toxic knot. In addition, Li Shizhen advocated for the first time that gecko fried as medicine is the main medicine for choking diaphragm.

2. It has economic value and considerable market prospect


Generally speaking, market economy is based on subjective value. Gecko has high medicinal value. Naturally, market economy exists in gecko. In many remote rural areas, in order to increase their income, many farmers began to capture gecko and sell it as medicinal materials. In the market, the price of gecko is about 40 yuan to 200 yuan per kilogram, and the profit prospect is very considerable.

However, because the wild gecko is not easy to catch, the market price is very high, so many people think of breeding gecko. Gecko can be cultivated in idle space and suitable temperature. In addition, the food consumption of gecko is very small, and it is mainly “living” insects, and it is not easy to get sick. Therefore, gecko is very easy to cultivate, which widens the road for farmers’ economic development.

The picture shows the medicinal material “Tianlong”


Gecko, commonly known as “avoiding disaster”, can subdue demons and demons, which means good luck


The book of changes is the source of Chinese culture. It mainly expounds Yin and Yang. Therefore, in the long history of China, many people pay attention to the balance of yin and Yang, the eight trigrams and the five elements. Therefore, there has been a popular saying among the people that gecko has the meaning of “avoiding disaster and protecting”. On the road, we can see that many car owners stick the animal model of “gecko” on the tail of the car. Its moral is to pray that they can drive safely on the road, and that all traffic accidents can be far away from them.

No matter whether gecko can “avoid disaster”, in people’s eyes, it is an auspicious thing, but also a spiritual sustenance. In the countryside, many children like to chase geckos. When they are seen by adults at home, they will stop them, because in everyone’s eyes, geckos are gods’ visits. If they appear in the walls of the home, it means that the family will be lucky. Of course, this is a superstitious saying.


Gecko is made into “shougongsha”, which can identify women’s chastity


In ancient society, economic development lagged behind, people thought feudalism, ancient ancestors attached great importance to women’s chastity, especially when we watch some costume TV series, we can see that the elder will give a girl a red mole on her arm, which represents a woman’s chastity. If the red mole disappears, the woman will no longer be pure. This red mole is called “shougongsha”, which was used to mark unmarried women’s “virginity” by the ancients. The magic of the red mole is its evolution process. Gecko medicine was added to the production method of shougongsha.

It is recorded in Jin Dynasty’s natural history that gecko will become red because of cinnabar when it is fed with cinnabar. When gecko eat seven Jin cinnabar, it will be used to make palace sand. No matter whether this method has scientific basis or not, gecko has a great role in the development of ancient ancestors.

The picture shows shougongsha and gecko


Gecko can catch mosquitoes in summer and kill people


In summer, in remote mountain villages, there are the most mosquitoes. If geckos appear in their own homes, there are a lot of mosquitoes here. At the same time, geckos take mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and other insects as their main food sources. They can help people eat a lot of pests and kill the common people.

From the current point of view, gecko is a beneficial and harmless reptile, and the reason why it is listed in the “five poisons” is that the biggest toxin of gecko is its “urine”. If it enters the eyes, it will become blind, if it enters the ears, it will become deaf, if the skin is stuck to its mucus, it will all rot, so it has been listed in the “five poisons” in ancient times.

But in fact, gecko is not toxic, only its urine is corrosive, human encounter, skin will appear rash, itching and other situations, but gecko often hide in hidden places, so its urine will not harm human, and it is a mild species, when not threatened, it will not take the initiative to attack human, it can be seen that for such a kind of animal Species, we have misunderstood it for many years, and now we can finally help gecko “redress the injustice”. It is a beneficial insect rather than a pest.

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