This is a question that many Leopard Gecko owners have asked themselves at one point or another. The answer, as with most things related to these amazing creatures, is a bit complicated. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the topic of attachment in Leopard Geckos and try to shed some light on the matter.
Do Leopard Geckos Get Attached to Their Owners?
There’s no way to know for sure if leopard geckos can get attached to their owners. However, it is possible that they will form a bond with their owners; some people take them out of the tank and provide healthy habitats in order give themselves more time with this fascinating creature!
Do Leopard Geckos Recognize Their Owners?
The simple answer here is that we don’t really know if leopard geckos can recognize their owners. However, they form a bond with things that they feel and see every day. They may recognize an owners scent however there is probably not emotional attachment.
They don’t completely ignore their owners, though. It’s just that they have a reptilian brain that can’t process complex emotions. Still, they are social animals, so they’re bound to get attached to the people who are always around.
When you treat your leopard gecko right and provide an enriching and safe environment, they are happy. These behaviors are similar to what we think of as excitement and happiness.
Scientists do believe that leopard geckos recognize owners by scent. However, this isn’t proven. This seems plausible because a gecko must separate their friends and enemies and know when food is around.
There’s also a theory that leopard geckos can even recognize tones of sound. This would explain why some owners report that their gecko responds to its own name.
Therefore, it’s best to wash your hands before touching your leopard gecko. That way, you remove foreign aromas that might make you appear to be an enemy. Consider using scent-free soaps, and don’t wear cologne/perfume that might mask your natural smell.
Do Leopard Geckos Bond with Their Owners?
Leopard geckos are friendly and docile, but they can’t display affection or develop strong bonds with their owner. They also will not get lonely and do not need company.
Instead, they create a physical bond and not an emotional attachment.
Friendliness means reacting to stimuli and people in an approachable way. However, affection focuses on expressing kindness to others because of an emotional bond. When you have that clarification, you understand the difference between bonding and attachment.
There are ways to establish a bond with your leopard gecko in the sense that it feels that you’re a positive influence in its life. The gecko recognizes your scent, learning to trust you. They feel protected and enjoy spending time with you.
Relate: Can your leopard gecko be an emotional support animal?
How to Bond with Your Leopard Gecko
Handle Them Properly
While a leopard gecko can’t understand that touching means love, they enjoy your hands. We tend to be warm, and they want that comfort.
Plus, it’s nice to get a change of scenery instead of being in the tank all the time. They can climb on you and move all around your body.
However, it’s important to know when to handle the gecko. If you just got them, they might become stressed. Touching them just makes it worse. They may show signs of aggression, and even bite you, so you should leave them alone.
As you’re playing with your leopard gecko, don’t drink anything or eat. Leopard geckos have salmonella in their bodies and can transfer that to you.
Take Them Outside
If it’s a warm day, take your leopard gecko outside. They can’t be away from their habitats for long, but they can get fresh air, feel the warm sun on their skin, and get a change of scenery.
It’s best to do it on a warm day, such as 87 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. While that might feel hot for you, it’s perfect for leopard geckos!
Have an Interesting Habitat
The habitat is your leopard gecko’s home. You don’t want a bed, chair, one plate, and cup. It’s boring and uninviting. These creatures need more than the bare minimum, too!
Create a fun habitat with many places to hide. It should have climbable things and be clean and humid.
Leopard geckos are always worried about surviving, and that means having plenty of food. They like to hunt, but you can establish a physical bond with your pet by feeding it food.
Do Leopard Geckos Have Feelings?
No, leopard geckos don’t have feelings as humans do. They often display behaviors that mimic that, but they’re acting from instinct.
Some people might find this sad. However, leopard geckos do understand trust. While they can’t show their feelings, they learn to realize that you care for them and protect them.
Why Are Instincts Confused with Feelings?
You probably think that your leopard gecko is happy to see you when it licks your hand. However, that’s its way of finding out about the world around it. They may show aggression when they’re stressed or upset.
Humans do these things, too, because they have feelings. Therefore, it’s natural to think that reptiles do the same. However, these animals are focused on survival, so their instincts kick in, having nothing to do with how they feel.
Still, they do get a sense that their owner isn’t dangerous to them. You meet their needs for survival and become someone they like to see and have around. In a sense, you’re helping your leopard gecko live, so they don’t stay distant.
Keeping Their Trust
Leopard geckos do form trust bonds. Therefore, you have to be careful of what you do around them. Once you’ve built trust and they want to be around you, it’s best to:
- Let them sleep
- Hold them carefully and correctly
- Don’t play loud music
- Continue fulfilling their needs
Respect them, and they trust you.
Do Leopard Geckos Show Affection?
Leopard geckos can be affectionate and friendly creatures, especially if they’ve lived among humans for a while. Almost anyone can get along with them, but it’s important to know when they’re upset.
You may notice that they:
- Aren’t eating
- Hide for long periods
- Are aggressive or skittish when you handle them
- Don’t have regular bowel movements
- Vocalize often
- Surf the glass
- Dig frantically
How Do Leopard Geckos Show Affection?
Humans often show affection to others by hugging, kissing, or holding hands. They often touch each other, as well.
Leopard geckos do similar things to show affection. Take your pet out of the tank and hold it. They may lick your hand to ensure that you give a positive vibe and explore you.
This often means climbing up your arms, dipping into your pockets, and being interested in everything about you. The leopard gecko might even burrow into your hair to experience the warmth and comfort it offers.
Some geckos also curl around their owner’s neck.
While they may not show affection like you show your loved ones, they enjoy the warmth you give.
Since leopard geckos don’t have complex emotions, they don’t feel affection, but they can be affectionate. It seems a little confusing. However, they associate positive experiences with you because you’re always there and friendly to them.
From there, they build a bond with you and might even seem excited to see you. They stand up on the glass or appear to reach out for your touch.
Yes, they are friendly and warm when they’re treated properly. However, trust is the key word here. Without that, you are just another thing they have to survive.
It’s unclear if leopard geckos can become attached to their owners. Since they have a reptile brain, they can’t understand feelings like love.
However, they do build a bond and learn to trust those who are always around and help them survive. You can experience a beautiful relationship with your new leopard gecko if you take care of it and respect it.