In the Russian Space Gecko experiment, a loosely fastened collar turned into a toy as geckos would bat it around the ship until bored

They can walk on walls with ease and shed their tails when they find themselves in a tight spot, but the one thing geckos were thought to lack was a capacity for playfulness. Now, a space experiment has overturned the view that geckos are entirely serious creatures, showing that they are open to a spot of fun after all.

When given the opportunity, the Russian experiment found, geckos are happy to spend time batting an object around a tank at zero gravity.

“Reptiles have quite a complex brain structure and rather well developed cognitive and perceptual abilities, but until recently they were considered unable to demonstrate play behaviour,” report the authors, from the Research Institute of Human Morphology in Moscow.

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