It’s both strange and fascinating to observe the various behaviours of crested geckos.
Lots of their behaviours. The majority of crested gecko behaviour comes down to their evolution in their natural habitat. But, for us humans, it’s often difficult to decipher what their behaviour means.
So, if you’re wondering “why does my crested gecko stare at me?” let’s take a look. The straightforward answer is that crested geckos stare because they’ve been conditioned to watch out for predators and prey. When a crested gecko detects movement, it will stare to ensure that whatever is moving doesn’t pose a threat. It will also just be taking an interest in what you are doing.
That said, in captivity, there could be other reasons behind your crested gecko’s stare. Continue reading to discover what these could be.
Crested geckos and staring – normal behaviour
First things first, it is entirely normal for your crested gecko to stare at you. As we’ve said above, this is an instinctual behaviour in the wild so that they can detect predators or prey.
Lots of crested gecko owners like getting into a staring contest with their pet! Almost all crested geckos will stare at some point in their lives.
So, before we look at any other reasons behind staring behaviour, it’s important to know that it’s certainly nothing to worry about.
Crested geckos’ attraction to movement
As well as watching their owners, crested geckos will enjoy watching anything move.
This is likely due to their instincts as a predator. If they notice anything move, no matter its size, they will keep their eye on it.
In the wild, crested geckos will feed on fruits that have become soft on the floor of the forest as well as small insects like caterpillars.
In captivity, these pets need a fruit-based, commercial diet that is supplemented by live insects.
Have a look at my crested gecko diet and feeding guide for more information
A hungry crested gecko?
Because of their diet involving live insects, it’s highly likely that your crested gecko will be staring at you because he’s hungry!
Your pet might recognise you as the person that brings him food, which means he’ll keep his beady eye on you to see if you’re going to serve him up a delicious treat!
If you’re not bringing food with you and it’s about time he had some, the staring could be him trying to ask you to feed him.
This is much more likely when you’ve bonded and he knows you’re his food provider.
Your crested gecko has amazing eyes!
Crested geckos have large eyes on each side of their head and they have amazing vision.
As these creatures are nocturnal, their night vision is much better than ours and they can see enough to explore their surroundings and hunt when there is no light around.
Their eyes are around 350 times more sensitive to light than ours are!
Something unusual about crested geckos compared with other types of geckos is that they don’t have eyelids! This means that they don’t blink.
As we know, when you don’t blink, it appears as though you’re staring.
Thus, what you think of as staring, might just be your crested gecko taking a look around.
Because they can’t blink, you’ll notice them use their tongues to clean their eyes and moisten them.
Watching out for prey
Interestingly, the largest threat to wild crested gecko is the little fire ant, also known as the electric ant.
These are small light brown social ants that were originally native to South America and Central America.
They’ve not spread to other parts of the globe, including New Caledonia where crested geckos are from.
Relative to their size, little fire ants have a really painful sting. They’re blamed for a reduction in the numbers of many tree-dwelling insects and arachnids.
If they succeed in stinging animals like dogs and cats close to their eyes, they can become blind.
For crested geckos, these ants are predators and will attack and sting in huge numbers.
They are also a threat to the crested gecko due to competing with them for food. So, while tiny ants aren’t your typical predator given their size in comparison to the crested gecko, they sure do cause problems for them.
So, with their great eyesight, it could be presumed that crested geckos are staring to be on the lookout for threats.
Curiosity and staring
All animals are curious by nature – you just have to see humans slowing down in the road to take a look at a road traffic accident as evidence of this!
Crested geckos are much the same. Curiosity could be a big reason why your pet is staring at you. If you’re moving, even just blinking, you will be interesting to your crested gecko.
What if my crested gecko doesn’t stare?
Just like humans have different quirks or personalities, so do crested geckos. If your crested gecko doesn’t stare, it’s nothing to worry about.
Each crestie will behave in its own unique way and while some might spend a large part of the day seemingly staring at you, others might not be so keen – don’t take it personally!
In fact, not staring at you could be interpreted as a positive sign in that he doesn’t see you as a threat and doesn’t feel the need to monitor what you’re doing.
Is staring common across other types of geckos and reptiles?
Just like crested geckos, other types of geckos and other reptiles have staring behaviours too and much for the same reasons.
Reptiles are pretty vulnerable and many of them need to keep a close eye on what’s around them in their environment when in their natural habitat.
Leopard geckos, for example, stare too. But, unlike our beloved cresties, these have eyelids and can blink, so you might even think they’re winking at you! Bearded dragons are also well-known for their staring tendencies too.
So, if you’re a reptile owner, staring is just something you have to get used to.
Final thoughts – why does my crested gecko stare at me?
As we’ve seen, there are many reasons why your crested gecko might display staring behaviours.
The main thing to remember is that this is normal behaviour. Your crested gecko might simply be observing you as something interesting to look at, or if you’re new to him, he might be trying to get to know you.
Crested geckos are naturally curious but also cautious and so will watch anything they think could be a threat.
Once your crested gecko knows you he might stare for other reasons e.g. because he knows you bring him food! He might also just fancy being nosy and try and suss you out!
Finally, it’s worth remembering that crested geckos don’t have eyelids. So, while you might feel intimidated by the way he is looking at you, you should be aware that he can’t blink or close his eyes.
All in all, staring is completely normal for crested geckos just like it is with many other reptiles too. You could always try to have a bit of fun and stare back to see which one of you will be the first to break the other’s gaze.
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.