What is this animal and what does it have in common with geckos?
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I think this is an African Spiny Mouse. They are able to cast off parts of their skin as a form of escaping from predators, and regenerate it afterwards. Similar thing happens when geckos cast off their tail.
Quite right Iulia, this is Acomys kempi, or Kemp’s spiny mouse. This mouse is capable of autotomy, specifically through the loss of skin on the back (as you’ll see in the rather grisly photos in the article) to help evade predation. The mouse’s capacity to rapidly close wounds and replace lost tissue is causing a stir in regenerative medicine circles since this is the first example of mammalian skin autotomy.
The original report is in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7417/full/nature11499.html)
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Humboldt penguin at Chester Zoo enjoying a swim.
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