No, the lizards at the National Geographic Museum’s “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” exhibit don’t speak with cockney accents (though GEICO is a sponsor, natch). Chatty or not, the diminutive reptiles are compelling—if you can locate them. The 18 species of geckos in the exhibition are masters of disguise, as likely to be blending into the fake rock-wall backdrop, or hanging from the ceiling of their terrarium, as they are to be preening in easy view on a tree branch. Their powers of adhesion are so notable that scientists are studying how to apply their technological lessons—the subject of a brief but absorbing video in the exhibition. The story behind designer geckos, which are specially bred to bring out certain genetic features, comes off as creepily manipulative, but fortunately such practices are overshadowed by the vast charms of the species on display, some of which are barely bigger than a cricket.

THE EXHIBIT IS ON VIEW 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. DAILY TO JAN. 5 AT THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MUSEUM, 1145 17TH ST. NW. $7. (202) 857-7588.

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