How to Tame a Leopard Gecko (6 Simple Steps)

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Getting a new pet is exciting. The effort to tame an animal isn’t limited to adorable furry creatures like dogs and cats. It goes for cute, scaly ones too. 

Once you get your leopard gecko, it’s time to bond. You want your pet to feel comfortable with you, as you want to feel at ease with them. 

While they’re not exactly the cuddly type, leopard geckos are one of the friendliest reptiles to own as a pet. Through socialization, they can learn to be handled every day. 

Note: Younger kids need supervision when handling a leopard gecko. 

What Should You Do Before Starting Your Leopard Gecko’s Taming Process?

Guy with gecko. Man holds in hands common leopard gecko

Before taming your leopard gecko, ensure that they feel safe in its new environment. 

In a leopard gecko’s natural habitat, they like to go between and under rocks where they can hide from heat or feel secure. 

Make sure your lizard is comfortable. Ensure that their new home has at least two burrow or hiding spaces, one with a warm temperature and the other should be cooler.

Additionally, give your pet a moist hide box filled with vermiculite or moss. This provides an area for the gecko to shed its skin. 

Rushing or forcing your new pet to interact isn’t a good idea. Leopard geckos typically take three to six weeks to acclimate to their new environment. 

Be patient and allow your lizard to build trust in you. 

If leopard geckos feel stressed or vulnerable, the taming process might be delayed.

Six Steps to Tame Your Leopard Gecko

Once you’ve allowed your leopard gecko to acclimate, you can start the taming process. Here are six simple steps to tame your lizard. 

1. The Right Handling Time

Leopard Geckos are nocturnal creatures. 

Therefore, it’s best to handle them in the evening when they’re up and alert. 

2. Let Your Gecko Get Used to You

Ease your lizard into getting accustomed to you. You can do this by equating your presence with positive experiences. 

Start by feeding them with your hand or tongs so they’ll associate you with food. Animals are like humans when it comes to feeding. The way to their hearts is through their stomachs, too. 

3. Let You’re Lizard Sniff You Out

Allow your leopard gecko to get used to your scent by letting them sniff your hand. Slowly and quietly place your hand in the cage, aquarium, or whatever housing you have for your pet. 

Don’t force contact. Instead, let your hand sit there and allow the gecko to come to you. 

4. Handle with Care

When your lizard has gotten accustomed to you, ease into contact. Slowly and carefully pick them up from their dwelling. Hold them from the bottom. 

Never pick up a leopard gecko by its tail. 

They have a defense mechanism that aids their survival in the wild. The lizard can distract predators by dropping their tails. If you hold their tail, they might interpret this as a threat. 

The gecko loses its tail and remains unscathed. There’s no harm to them, meaning there’s no tissue damage or blood, but why put your pet and yourself through the trauma? It’s best to avoid grabbing their tail altogether. 

5. Keep Your Gecko Close to its Habitat

When you pick up your leopard gecko for the first few times, keep them over their habitat and allow them to move around on your hand at their pace. 

Always remember not to squeeze them too hard. They have fragile bodies. It’s also recommended not to carry out the handling process for over five to ten minutes a day. 

6. Moving Beyond the Cage

Finally, your gecko is used to your scent and your touch. They feel safe with you. Now, you can move them away from their cage and walk around.

Since you and your gecko are good friends now, introduce them to different rooms in your house, let them hang out on your shoulder, or crawl around on other surfaces. However, always ensure the gecko’s safety. 

Make sure they aren’t in a space where they can escape or hide in a spot where you can’t get to them. 

Taming a Baby Leopard Gecko Vs. an Adult

Taming a baby leopard gecko versus an adult is the same. There are things to keep in mind when handling babies. Babies are jumpier than adults. 

Starting the process when they’re young will get them used to your touch earlier. 

Also, since they’re extra fragile when they’re young, it’s best to keep the handling process to a minimum. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are leopard geckos easy to tame?

When we talk about ‘taming’ a leopard gecko we are really just saying making them comfortable with handling. You can’t tame a leopard gecko to follow instructions in the same way you can a dog.

Leopard geckos are docile and are, therefore easy to ‘tame’. Handling them often, without overdoing it, yields the best result. However, it’s important not to rush the process. Conditioning them takes time and patience. 

How long does it take to tame a leopard gecko?

It takes about four to six weeks for your leopard gecko to get accustomed to you. Some are warier than others. Baby geckos are especially skittish. 

Therefore, the taming period isn’t the same for every gecko. Be patient with the process. 

You and your gecko will get there at the right time. 

What is the fastest way to tame a leopard gecko?

The fastest way to tame your leopard gecko is to not force the process. Allow them to come to you at their pace. Ensure that they’re comfortable in their new environment. Your relationship will be smooth sailing when they’ve established that you’re not a threat. 

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