[Heb., ʼana·qahʹ; sema·mithʹ].
A small, usually thick-bodied lizard with tiny scales covering its body. The eyes are relatively large, catlike, and the gecko’s toes are comparatively broad and are equipped with adhesive pads. Found in warm climates, the geckos live in the woods, among rocks, in trees, and some in human dwellings. Six kinds of these nocturnal lizards are found in Palestine.
The “gecko fanfoot” of Leviticus 11:30 is listed as “unclean” for the Israelites. Its Hebrew name ʼana·qahʹ means to “cry” or “sigh” (compare the use of this word at Psalm 79:11) and may refer to the clucking or chirping sound made by the gecko. Most lizards make only a sharp hissing sound. At Proverbs 30:28, the “gecko lizard” (Heb., sema·mithʹ) is spoken of as taking “hold with its own hands” and making its way into the king’s palace. The adhesive disks on the gecko’s feet, says Raymond Ditmars, “are strikingly like the magnified pads on the foot of a fly; and their method of adhesion is the same—not aided by a sticky secretion, but through actual suction produced by close-set, concave areas. When a gecko moves over very rough surfaces, the claws are called into play like those of an ordinary lizard.”
[Picture on page 632]
Gecko lizard, with large toes and scaly body