Reptiles are notorious for their anti-social nature and leopard geckos are no different. Leopard geckos need to be trained to acknowledge you as a part of their environment. And that is exactly what this guide is going to teach you. So, here’s how to tame a leopard gecko.
Taming a Leopard Gecko
I’ve previously discussed in another article “Are leopard geckos friendly?” that leopard geckos are very docile. So, taming them should be pretty easy.
With a few proper handling techniques, frequent handling, and some patience your gecko will get used to you in no time. So, here’s how you can tame a leopard gecko –
Adult leopard geckos are pretty chill. But the young ones can be very frisky. So, they are a bit harder to handle. Still, this is the best time to start your training. The earlier you train them the tamer they will be when they grow up.
Yes, they might scratch and bite you. But their mouths and nails are so small that you won’t really feel anything. So, if possible, start with young geckos.
Choose the right time
Leopard geckos are crepuscular. This means they are active from dusk to dawn. They usually sleep during the day time.
So, keep that in mind while training your leopard gecko. Don’t bother them during their sleeping hours. It will surely agitate them and might even cause health issues.
The time frame between dusk to dawn is when you should train your leopard gecko. They will be most active during that time and train better.
Create a comfortable environment
Before you start training you need to create an environment where your leopard gecko feels comfortable and safe.
The training should begin inside the vivarium. There should be enough hiding places for the gecko to hide if you somehow cause it to freak out.
The leopard gecko should have the opportunity to retreat into a hide to avoid stress. Because stressing out your gecko might actually cause it to relate you with the stress and we surely don’t want that.
Open and close the door frequently
When you first get your leopard gecko, especially if it is a young one, open and close the door of its vivarium every few hours while it is awake.
This will allow the gecko to get used to the sound of the door. This will prevent the gecko from ever getting freaked out by it. It will ensure that your leopard gecko is as calm and relaxed as possible when you begin its daily training.
Be present when it’s feeding time
The first step to taming your gecko is for it to associate you with positive stimulations. In your training that positive stimulation is going to be food.
Be present when your gecko is feeding. You can even try hand feeding. This will create trust and your gecko will associate you with the food.
Let your gecko come to you
After your gecko has adjusted itself in its new home you can try directly interacting with it. Put your hand into the vivarium and wait for it to come to you.
The gecko might come to inspect your hand. It might even lick your hand which is completely normal. Don’t be startled by it as any sudden movement may also startle the gecko.
Licking is just their way of figuring out what things are. So, it’s just checking you out. And as we’ve said before leopard gecko bites are super rare and harmless. So, there is nothing to be scared of.
Try and pick up your gecko
If your gecko doesn’t seem to come to you then you might need to take the first move. Go ahead and try to pick your leopard gecko up. But don’t grab him like your picking up a remote.
Scoop him on to your hand from underneath and keep another hand ready infront for it to walk forward. This way the gecko won’t feel restricted and be comfortable on your hand.
Handle them properly
As I’ve said before, make sure your leopard gecko’s movement is not restricted when it is on your hand. Don’t grab it or hold it down. Instead, the gecko should rest on your hand. Make sure you always keep another hand in front and ready in case the gecko tries to pounce forward.
Also, never over handle your leopard gecko. 10 – 20 minutes is fine but keeping it out of its home for too long may stress it out. So, keep that in mind while training your gecko.
This video properly demonstrate how you should handle your leopard gecko.
Create a calling sound
Having a calling sound is a must for every leopard gecko owner. If you do some research, you’ll learn that leopard geckos have a tendency to detach their tail if they get too tense. The tail does grow back but unfortunately, it doesn’t look as good as the original one.
So, having a calling sound can help you to calm your gecko down when it gets tense for any reason. It can be something like a *chk* *chk* *chk* sound (Like in the video above) or its name.
You can teach your gecko its calling sound by making these noises before and while feeding it. You can also try calling its name a few times. This way the gecko will relate such noises with something positive and comforting.
So, next time you feel that your leopard gecko is getting stressed, just make these noises and it will surely calm down. Calling sounds are especially helpful while trying to tame your gecko as you can easily calm the gecko down if you accidentally startle it.
To tame your leopard gecko, you must interact with them regularly. Try to handle your gecko every day for 5 -10 minutes. Spend time with them when they are eating. This will quickly build trust.
Do not spend time with them one day and then forget about the taming session for the rest of the week. This will unnecessarily prolong the taming process.
Keep an eye out for stress signals
When trying to tame your leopard gecko things are sure to go wrong and you have to be prepared to calm it down. But before that, you need to learn about the signs that indicate that your leopard gecko is stressed.
A stressed leopard gecko can show the following sings –
- Lifting tail up. (Most important sign)
- Skittish movement
- Walking unusually fast
- Wagging tail side to side
- Screaming or chirping noises
- Gecko becomes aggressive (Scratching and biting)
If you see any of these signs, try to make the calling sounds. That should calm it down. And if it doesn’t then just leave the leopard gecko alone for a while. It will calm down by itself eventually. Do not try to pick it up or even touch it until it calms down.
Last but not least, be patient. It is going to take a little while for your leopard gecko to get used to you. Normally, from personal experience, it takes around 5 weeks for a leopard gecko to start being comfortable with its owner.
But each leopard gecko is different. It might take less or more time for your leopard gecko. Just be sure that with regular interaction and proper handling it is bound to happen.
If you’ve read through the whole guide then you now know everything there is to know about taming leopard geckos. Hope this article was helpful to you. Best of luck with your new gecko.
Have any personal experience, tips, or tricks on taming these cute lizards? Feel free to share them with me and other readers in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.
Also, check out this cool little article where you can learn some amazing facts about leopard geckos. That is all. Thanks a lot for stopping by.