In the last two weeks, we’ve received a few emails from people concerned that their new Crested Gecko doesn’t like being petted. This is a fairly common problem, and it can be very frustrating for a new owner who doesn’t know how to deal with it.
Do Crested Geckos like to be pet and stroked?
This guide is going to go into quite a bit of detail but if you have come for the short answer here it is:
Crested geckos can be a shy pet and will take time to trust and bond with you. Once this has happened though you will find that your crested gecko does like to be held and petted by you. It can take time to get to this stage but it is worth the effort.
Crested Geckos are generally shy little creatures, and this is why they make such great pets. However, this shyness can sometimes make them look like they don’t enjoy being petted when they’re really just trying to get away from you.
Crested Geckos are prey animals and have to rely primarily on their colouration, camouflage and agility for protection. They’re territorial, too. Being handled disrupts their sense of security, which is why many Crested Geckos don’t like being petted.
Crested Geckos only react to positive experiences. If you can make them associate you with pleasant things, they will learn to relax around you.
Pet them gently and talk softly so they know that you’re there to be a good friend. Don’t chase them or hold them down while trying to touch them, this makes them think that danger is approaching, and they won’t want you to touch them again until they feel safe again.
How to hold and show affection to your crested gecko
If you want to learn how to interact with your crested gecko in a way that will make him feel secure and relaxed, then here’s what you need to do:
Hold him in your left hand, and let him climb up the palm of your right hand. The palm is a good place for them to climb onto because it makes them feel safe. At first, he may be nervous about being touched, but this means he needs you more than ever.
He’ll soon associate you with a comfortable feeling and will relax around you more. He’ll even come running when he hears his name so that he can be stroked again!
You may find that you’re getting bitten while holding him in this manner. In the beginning, it will probably be because he’s nervous or to make you stop. If this is the case, try to keep your hand relaxed and calm — never squeeze him too hard — and let him climb on it without biting or nipping.
If he’s a really nervous crested gecko, one easy way to make him feel a little bit safer is by calling his name while you’re handling him.
How to pet your gecko gently without being bitten:
Before you attempt to pet your crested gecko, it will need to be comfortable with you. Spend time with the lizard in a non-threatening manner. Hold the gecko for a few minutes and then place it back into its tank. Do this every day for a week or two before petting it.
If your gecko is moving away from you then wait a few days for it to get used to your presence before attempting to stroke them.
- Don’t try to touch the gecko with your hand when it looks like it is going to be defensive. The gecko will generally bite you if you do this, but once they’ve relaxed again it can usually be dealt with by petting them gently.
- Use a leather glove or thick cloth instead of your bare hand when touching the gecko for the first few times so that you’ll both be comfortable. If you make lots of loud noises and sudden movements as you are petting them, they’ll get an even more negative response.
- Give small treats as a reward for remaining calm as you stroke them.
While it might seem hard to resist picking your gecko up, remember that it needs time to get used to you. A crested gecko might not tolerate being picked up for several days, so just be patient! Don’t pet your gecko if it’s stressed out, and only pick it up when they are calm.
If you see that your crested gecko does not wish to be touched at all, do not attempt to pick it up! Crested geckos are not used to being picked up by strangers or being held for long periods of time by humans so its best if you don’t even try until your crested gecko is completely comfortable with you.
Signs that your crested gecko does not want to be held:
If your crested gecko resists at being picked up while you try to pick them up or struggle in your grip when you hold them, then they are not ready to be held or petted.
Only lift as much of its body as needed to gently rub its chest and underbelly. Stop if the lizard struggles or appears stressed out – even if just for that day – try again the next day!
It’s also important that you don’t do this when someone else is around; let them get used to you even if they aren’t comfortable with other people yet. This way they are less likely to associate being petted with stress and fear!
Signs that your crested gecko wants to be held:
Its necessary to understand how you can tell if your crested gecko enjoys being held and petted.
If it allows itself to be picked up without struggling, it most likely is enjoying the attention. Watch out for signs that the gecko is enjoying itself such as hanging still from your grip (as opposed to struggling) and showing signs of contentment by closing its eyes and remaining motionless for long periods of time.
It is also important that your crested gecko shows no sign of stress or injury when being held (such as trying to get away).
What to do if your crested gecko does not like being held or petted.
If your crested gecko is unwilling to allow you to handle them, then simply stop trying for the moment and try again at a later time. Also remember that if you do try again, always be aware of the signs that your crested gecko is uncomfortable with the attention.
It is also important that you only attempt to hold or pet your crested gecko on days when they are already in a good mood.
The best thing you can do for your pet crested gecko is to give them a good habitat, feed them well and handle them gently. They will grow very fond of you and learn to trust you so that petting or handling becomes easier and more enjoyable for both of you