Leopard geckos are shy lizards that are naturally distrustful of humans. Because of their inherent fear of humans, gaining the love and trust of a leopard gecko can seem daunting. However, even the most inexperienced owner can gain its trust and create a strong bond in the 6 easy steps below.
However we first need to talk about the like and love you part.
Can a leopard gecko like and love you?
There are a lot of people that ask ask question:
“How do I get my leopard gecko to like me?”
It is in human nature, we do not want to be hated, instead we want to be liked and loved, especially by our leopard geckos.
So can a leopard gecko learn to like or even love you?
Although leopard geckos are intelligent little lizards they do not have a brain complex enough to feel emotions such as liking and loving. Instead over time they can learn to not see you as a threat and trust you. But no you cannot get a leopard gecko to like and love you in the literal sense.
Now that we have cleared that question up we can talk about how you can gain the trust of your pet Leo.
How to earn your leopard geckos trust.
In the below guide I will teach you step by step how to gain the much needed trust of your leopard gecko.
Step 1: Handle The Leopard Gecko With Care
The first step to gaining the trust of your leopard gecko is to handle him with care. Start by placing him in his enclosure and leaving him alone to become familiar with his new home. Do not handle him for about two weeks, during which time he should become comfortable with his new surroundings. At this point, you may begin using the following strategies as techniques to gain your gecko’s trust: handling him briefly; allowing the lizard come to you; feeding him (although not essential).
Step 2: Handling Your Leopard Gecko For Short Periods Of Time
Once your leopard gecko has become comfortable in his new home, start handling him for brief periods. After handling him for a few days, you may begin giving him treats: a high-value worm, cricket or even your hand. While you are handling the lizard, make sure to be gentle and as relaxed as possible.
Step 3: Giving Treats To Your Leopard Gecko
The next step is to give your leopard gecko treats. You can start with a high-value pellet, such as freeze-dried bloodworms or frozen Daphnia (algae).
These will help your gecko gain a foothold in his new home while increasing his confidence toward you as well as his trust in you. The best thing to feed to your leopard gecko is something high in protein content (like freeze-dried bloodworms) because this will encourage him to spend more time around humans.
Bloodworms and crickets can also be given live if needed by placing them on top of the screen lid of the enclosure. This is a great way to bond with your leopard gecko, and he will eventually allow you to place your hand inside his cage.
Step 4: Introducing Your Leopard Gecko To You
Once you have begun feeding your leopard gecko, he will begin feeling more confident in his environment and the safety of his surroundings. This is an excellent time to introduce yourself to him. The introduction process should go as follows:
- Place a hand in front of the gecko’s face so that he can sniff it.
- Place your other hand on top of the gecko and let him feel the warmth of both hands.
- Draw each half of the gecko’s face between both palms.
- Gently rub both hands over his tail and backside while gently speaking into his ears (a trick that works with many animals).
- Once the gecko seems comfortable with these interactions, begin rubbing small circles around his eyes and under his chin with your fingertips.
- At this point, you may give him a small treat as a reward for being calm during these interactions.
In essence, it is the thought that counts and you must use rewards that are of interest to him. For example, if your gecko has shown an interest in crickets, offer him a few crickets after he has been rewarded with a treat.
Step 5: Adding Another Leopard Gecko
Once you have established a strong bond with your lizard, it can be time to add another lizard to his enclosure. The two lizards must be compatible and of equal size. You may also begin breeding them to have a constant supply of hatchlings for sale or for your own enjoyment. Avoid adding more than one leopard gecko if they are not compatible. This can lead to behavioral problems that may ruin the relationship you have now created with one of the lizards or both.
Step 6: Introducing Your Leopard Gecko To A New Place
The final step is to introduce your leopard gecko to places outside of his enclosure. This is the easiest step and you do not even need to teach him any new commands or tricks. Simply take the gecko out of his enclosure and place him in a nearby location where he feels comfortable. You may also feed him treats while he is outside. Once your gecko has eaten, return him into his enclosure and make sure that he stays inside until you are ready to go back out again.
[Optional] Talk to him in a soft voice and without using hand signals
It is very important to talk to him without using your hands, as he may feel threatened. You will need to be sure that he is comfortable in his environment and that your voice is not too loud. I suggest talking slowly and calmly while making sure he can hear you but not being too loud so that he does not feel uncomfortable or threatened.
How long do Leos take to trust people?
Leos can take a long time to trust people, but in most cases a new Leo should not be given as much help as others. If he does not seem to be watching you or getting used to your surroundings, it may be best to leave him alone for another week or two before you attempt any interactions with him. All in all it will usually take around 3-8 weeks to gain the trust of a new leopard gecko.
If you are not experienced in handling lizards, it may be best to start off slow and stay away from the more complicated interactions until you’re comfortable.
This way, you will be able to build a long-lasting relationship with your leopard gecko and gain his trust. He may even approach you for food or treats and even allow you to pet him. At this point, it will be much easier to start working with him on other tricks like standing on his hind legs or sitting in a certain area.