Gecko feet act like anti-gravity boots
“It’s possible that when a gecko’s
foot touches the wall the two surfaces exchange electric charges”
A gecko’s toes are covered in tiny hairs that stick to sheer surfaces. Each hair splinters off into hundreds of smaller bristles that are thought to activate van der Waals forces between the foot and the surface below it. These are distance-dependent interactions between molecules that are relatively weak, but the great number of spatulashaped hair ends get close enough to the contours on the seemingly flat surface to allow the lizard to stick.
There are other theories that could explain this phenomenon. It’s possible that when the foot touches the wall the two surfaces exchange electric charges. One becomes positively charged while the other is negative, resulting in attraction. Laboratory tests that counteract van der Waals forces seem to have no effect on the gecko’s ability to adhere to a smooth wall. However, it may be possible that van der Waals forces come into play on rougher surfaces.
right The only surface gecko feet can’t attach to is non-stick Teflon, which coats the pots and pans in your kitchen