Your Leo is repeatedly screaming at you, and you mistakenly believe you initiated this pain and distress. If you are a 1st-time gecko owner, you will be happy to know that screaming in Leopard Geckos is natural and avoidable, although infrequent.
Leopard Geckos scream when scared, stressed, or in danger. Identifying the signs and causes of screaming and making necessary changes can easily eradicate the problem. Enclosure type, environment, and even gecko personality can trigger your Leo to scream.
7 Possible Reasons Your Leopard Geckos is Screaming
If your Leo is screaming, it is probably one of these reasons:
Leopard Geckos seldom scream and are notoriously quiet pets except for juvenile geckos. But, contrary to this, when Leopard Geckos scream, they make sure they are heard.
Juveniles or newly homed Leopard Geckos are well-known screamers before building trust and familiarizing themselves with you. Refraining from handling your gecko and providing at least two weeks of alone time will help Leo settle. Offering treats and food will also accelerate building Leo’s trust in you.
Remain patient, gentle, and calm with your Leopard Gecko. Once familiar with you, your Leo will stop screaming. However, bear in mind that your geckos’ screams are in no way related to your competence as a Leopard Gecko owner and are both expected and natural.
2. Your Leopard Gecko’s personality
Leopard Geckos are not only unique in appearance but in personality.
Although most settled and happy Leopard Geckos enjoy being held by their owners, some dislike it. This is purely personality dependant and should not be taken personally.
Several Leopard geckos will scream or even defecate in your hands when you try to handle them. Respect their wishes and avoid handling Leo to prevent stressing them out. By introducing touch slowly, your Leo may change their mind.
3. Keeping Leopard Geckos Together
Keep an eye on your Leo and if you identify any signs of increased stress, hiding, discomfort, or pain, look out for bullying or fighting.
Leopard Geckos can often be seen fighting for dominance or terrarium territory. Keeping similar-sized Leos together and separating your male geckos will help avoid confrontation. The larger and older geckos will dominate younger and smaller geckos. Dissimilar-sized Leos can live together, but a larger tank of approximately 20 gallons (90 liters) per Leo is essential.
4. External environment
Leo is affected by factors both inside and outside of their tank environment.
Place your Leopard Gecko’s tank in a quiet room that has a reduced amount of activity. If you have larger dogs or cats in your household, keep them away from Leo’s tank area. Leo can quickly feel threatened or frightened and consider your pet’s potential predators.
This increased stress will trigger screaming in your Leo, which can be somewhat unhealthy long-term.
5. Loud noise
Leopard Geckos are extremely sensitive to loud noise or sound in general. This sensitivity originates from when they lived out of captivity in the wild. The ability to hear effectively protected your Leopard Gecko from predators and supported them during their hunts for food.
An extended period of persistent noise and consistent nervous tension in your Leo can be very unhealthy. A quiet environment with an ordinary degree of noise is acceptable for your Leopard Gecko. Adding soundproof foam blocks to the tank for noise absorption also works well.
Furthermore, be sensitive to the fact that if the loud noise is coming from you or is present when you are handling your Leopard Gecko, your Leo may associate this stressful sound to you. This could bring about a lack of trust between you and your Leo.
6. Insects in the tank
It is beneficial to provide your Leopard Gecko with various insects for a healthy diet. Be aware that introducing new insects to your Leopard Gecko’s tank could cause some stress and provoke defensive behavior.
Crickets are, for the most part, the most likely insect to trigger screaming in your Leopard Gecko. If not supervised, crickets can jump on, bite, or attack your Leo. Dropping more than two crickets per Leo in your tank could overwhelm your Leopard Geckos.
Avoid adding multiple crickets to Leo’s tank, and don’t leave the crickets in the tank for long periods. Instead, remove uneaten crickets and constantly supervise your Leo throughout the feeding process. Selecting smaller-sized crickets for your juvenile Leopard Geckos and avoiding large crickets for your adult geckos will prevent your geckos from feeling too vulnerable.
7. The Terrarium
The naturally defensive instinct of the Leopard Gecko makes them easily alarmed or startled by their surrounding movement.
If you have a tank with an opening on top, your Leopard Gecko may perceive you as a threat when your hand enters from above them. Leopard Geckos can also bite when caught unawares and extremely scared.
It is advisable to adjust your tank or purchase a new tank with a door that opens from the front. This will limit the element of surprise when you enter Leo’s space.
Related: Why your leopard gecko is shaking
How do you know if your leopard geckos screams are stress-related?
If your Leopard Gecko is not eating, digging, continuously hiding, and screaming, they are certainly stressed.
Some Leos will even wave their tails to appear larger to predators or press their bellies against the tank glass with their legs spread out. This frog-like behavior is known as glass surfing.
When handled, these defensive activities and a noticeable challenging behavior are all clear signs of stress in your Leo. Prolonged stress will not only lower your gecko’s immune system but will affect your Leo’s health due to developing stress-induced conditions.
Screaming is unusual but natural for Leopard Geckos when feeling threatened or in danger. Juveniles can frequently scream until accustomed to their owners and environment. By identifying and eliminating the cause of stress, screaming should decrease and subsequently end. Consider internal and external factors as well as your leopard geckos personality when looking for the root cause of the screaming.