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5 Smart Tips to Handle a Leopard Gecko
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5 Smart Tips To Handle A Leopard Gecko

Read this article of BestLifeTips to learn more about your leopard gecko. Do leopard geckos like to be held? How to hold them properly? All the answers will be presented right below.

If you are having a leopard gecko or about to having one, don’t miss this article. BestLifeTips will help you answer the question “Do leopard geckos like to be held?” and how to handle them.

Do leopard geckos like to be petted?

Geckos typically do not enjoy being petted, and most geckos do not enjoy being handled for long.

Some factors such as the type of gecko, how old they are, how often they were handled when they were young show how accustomed to humans they are.

Leopard geckos do not have the emotional capacity to be able to like or even love things. However, they can feel trust.

If you offer trust and reward, your leopard gecko will let you pet and stroke it. It may take time at first.

Every gecko has their own personality. So be patient and build the bond.

Do leopard geckos like to be held? Keep reading to find the answer.

Do leopard geckos like to be held?

Do leopard geckos like to be held

Aside from “Do leopard geckos like to be petted?”, “Do leopard geckos like to be held?” is another question that many people care about.

In general, leopard geckos do not like being held. Even if your pet does not run away from you or show any signs of fear, it still does not look forward to the handling experience.

However, they do tolerate it better than a lot of other reptiles.

Depending on the individual, once you build trust with your leopard gecko, he may willingly climb onto your hand.

Leopard geckos can be trained not to hate handling, though they will likely never love it like a dog or cat would.

How long should you hold your leopard gecko?

Leopard geckos are cold-blooded reptiles. They rely on heat from their environment to keep warm.

Cold-blooded animals cannot generate anybody heat and need several sources of warmth to survive.

While holding your gecko, check their stomach every 10 minutes to confirm their body temperature.

If their stomach is warm, you can keep playing. If not, return your gecko to its tank to keep warm.

What to do if your leopard gecko doesn’t want to be held?

Do leopard geckos like to be held

Source: Unsplash/verdian chua

If your leopard gecko doesn’t want to be held, it may because he isn’t used to its new environment. And to put it at ease, you need to earn its trust.

Here what you should do:

Communicate with him

Communicating is one of the ways to earn your geckos trust. Leopard geckos have the ability to recognize sounds.

If you talk to your gecko often, it will be able to recognize your voice and feel safe around you.

Let him get used to your scent

Leopard gecko also possesses a keen sense of smell. Leave stuff you use often around its tank or in the room where your gecko likes to be often.

This will make your gecko get used to your smell, letting it recognize you easily.

Once he gets used to you, he’ll stop feeling threatened. Your pet will let you get closer to him and hold him more often.

Feed him by hand

Another way to earn the trust of your leopard gecko is by feeding.

Hand feeding your leopard gecko is a great way to foster a good relationship between you and your leopard gecko.

Cockroaches, crickets, mealworms and a host of other insects are what they love. Feed him often and he’ll love you more.

How to tame a leopard gecko for handling?

Do leopard geckos like to be held

Here are steps to tame your leopard gecko for handling:

Leave your hand in the tank

You need to get the leopard gecko used to your scent first.

You can start by putting your hand in his tank for short periods.

Make sure your hands move slowly and are always visible to the reptile. Do not come from behind.

Start farther away from the gecko and gradually move closer to him.

You can do this process for 5-10 minutes at a time throughout the day.

If you see your gecko run and hide or attack, take your hand out and do this again later.

Stroke him gently and slowly

When they seem to get used to your presence, the next step is to get them accustomed to being touched.

Move your hand closer in front of them and begin to gently stroke them. Start at the head and move down their backs or bellies.

Don’t pinch or grab at anything, since this will make them panic.

Feed by hand

As mentioned above, you may build a stronger bond and speed along the taming process by feeding him by hand if you’re comfortable handling the insects they eat.

By doing this, the gecko is associating your scent positively with things he likes and needs.

While feeding the gecko, he may bite you unintentionally. But his bites don’t hurt much, so don’t worry.

Be careful not to jerk your hand back when feeding. As the quick motion may startle the leopard gecko, and you may be accidentally enforcing negative instincts with your scent.

Handle your leopard gecko

Do leopard geckos like to be held? They normally don’t, but you can train them to get used to it and feel comfortable with the handling.

When they don’t react much to your hand, it’s time to pick them up a little. Keep your hand slow and in front of them.

Scoop underneath their body and support their weight.

Remember that you should never pick them up by their tails. They might drop their tail if they become very frightened.

Use your second hand to provide a broader foundation for them to crawl on.

At first, don’t place your second hand over the top of them to secure them, as they may not like it.

Keep your hands low until the gecko doesn’t struggle or attempt an escape.

Start with 5-7 minutes once per day. Pick them up gently and let them get used to being handled.

Increase this by a couple of minutes over weeks until they’re at 15 minutes at a time.

You shouldn’t go beyond this time limit, as you never know when they’ll get so stressed that they drop their tail or go for an escape.

Over time, start to place your second hand over their body.

Once they’re used to this, take them places and explore other areas of their surroundings.

Hand walking

Another handling tip is to use hand walking. Placing your hands next to one another, encourage the gecko to walk from hand to hand.

Keep your hands low while doing this, and move at the gecko’s pace.

They like the feeling of exploring and climbing, so this is a good way to make them comfortable.

However, if they start to sprint, this may be a sign of fear.

Take your cues from the reptile. They’ll tell you what they’re comfortable with.

Be patient

This process will take much time. You shouldn’t do all these steps within a week. Move gradually going only a few minutes at a time.

How to handle a leopard gecko?

Do leopard geckos like to be held

Source: Natural World Pet

Start to handle your leopard gecko early

Buy your leopard gecko when it is young, if you can. Leopard geckos that get used to handling at an early age usually are more docile and calm as they grow.

It will not only form an early bond with your gecko, you’ll have a better understanding of your pet, and you can make sure it gets a great care from an early age.

Be patient

Your gecko will need some time to adjust to its new habitat when you first bring it home.

Don’t force the issue if it is a bit standoffish for a few days. It just needs time to adapt.

Leopard geckos are more active at night, so it’s best not to disturb them during the day.

Respect this and give it some time to adapt.

It is normal for a gecko to refuse food while it is adjusting to new circumstances. So don’t worry too much about this.

Let your leopard gecko get used to you

You are much bigger than your gecko, so it may see you as a predator, especially if you move towards it too fast.

Most leopard gecko predators will attack from above. So you should get your hand in low and approach your gecko from a position where it can see.

Put your hand on the floor of the enclosure and let your gecko explore. Rest your hand in the tank like this on a daily basis for a few minutes at a time.

Once your gecko learns your hand is not a threat or danger, it will become more relaxed.

Don’t be freak out if your leopard gecko licks you and don’t pull away. This is how they sense and measure their world.

After your gecko is comfortable enough to climb on your hand, you can easily lift your hand up and hold your gecko.

Pick your leopard gecko up properly

It’s best to let the gecko climb onto your hand. After the gecko settles onto your hand, you can slowly lift your hand out of the tank.

If you must pick your gecko up, make sure to support its whole body. Use as loose of a grip as you can while still keeping it from getting loose or falling.

A good bonding exercise is hand walking as mentioned above. Remember to put your hand in low.

Don’t mess with the tail

Never pick up or grab your leopard gecko by the tail.

When threatened, leopard geckos can choose to drop their tails to help evade danger.

The tail will grow back and may take several months to do so.

A regrown tail is not the same and usually not as long or straight as the original tail.

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In short, to hold a leopard gecko, you need to be patient and spend time making it get used to you. Hope that you now have the answer to the question “Do leopard geckos like to be held?”. Follow BestLifeTips for more interesting information.