When you are new to leopard gecko ownership it can often be a confusing time. At times you may feel as though your leopard gecko hides away and never comes out to see you.
This guide is going to tell you the reasons why your leopard gecko never comes out and what you can do about it.
The Reasons Why your Leopard never comes out.
First off I want to give you a quick summary as to the reasons why a leopard gecko does not come out. I will then go into further detail so that you know the correct ways in which to fix the issue.
The reason why your leopard gecko does not come out can be down to a few reasons. Leopard geckos are a naturally shy species and like to hide away, they can also take time to get used to new surroundings. Also, leopard geckos are more active during the night which is generally when we ourselves are sleeping, giving the effect that it never comes out.
A more in-depth look.
Leos are naturally shy. A well-fed, healthy Leopard gecko will still spend most of its day hiding. Leopard Geckos feel safe hidden in the dark, cool, humid hide spots you provide.
Aside from hiding from fear, Leos are nocturnal; they are active at night. The same is true for most geckos, but as pets, we remove them from their native environments, so their natural behaviors can be disrupted. Frequent handling and stimulation is key to keeping your gecko happy and healthy.
Leopard geckos rarely come out on their own; they need to trust you before they’re comfortable with approaching you. The best way to get a leopard gecko out in front of is to sit there and talk to it softly.
With patience, you’ll be able to pet your gecko. Just take it slow, let it approach you when it is ready. Remember that no matter how tame your leopard gecko may seem; it is still a wild animal with ancestors that were never exposed to human contact.
Also, leopard geckos tend to be shyer when they are too warm, so a higher temperature may also increase stress levels.
Geckos will feel more secure if they can’t see you coming from behind the glass. Sudden movements freak them out.
How do I stop my Leo from hiding when I approach its tank?
Restrain your excitement in approaching or confronting your gecko; remember she may be frightened and confused. Approach her slowly and gently with a soft voice; do not surprise your pet by exposing yourself quickly or loudly.
Since Leopard Geckos are nocturnal, try waiting for her to appear during the day when you’re about to feed her or clean her cage out. Once she’s out, you can slowly move closer while talking softly to encourage her back to you rather than scaring her further into her hiding place.
If you are moving, rearranging or adding new furniture to your tank to create more hiding spots, wait until after your gecko has eaten before making changes! Geckos don’t like to explore new places when they are hungry!
Reasons why a leopard gecko does not come out:
- The leo is shy
They’re naturally shy and won’t come out to explore their tank unless they’re sure no one’s watching. Let them come on their terms!
- They’re just scared
Leopard Geckos are quite delicate and easily frightened. Even the slightest change to their tank or its contents can scare them away for a while. They’re afraid of you and would rather hide. Leopard Geckos are naturally afraid of people, so if they see you coming, they’ll hide from fear and to avoid contact.
- They’re unused to new decorations in their habitat
If something is bothering them (perhaps an animal made of plastic), then they will hide in order to escape and feel safer again.
Leopard geckos are active at night, so if you wake up in the morning and see that your leopard is not out, it may have just gone to sleep during the day.
- In new environment
It takes time for them to adjust to a new home and possibly a new owner. New owners often make loud noises, move furniture around in their tank or change their feeding and water habits. This can be stressful. Have a read of my guide for new owners on how to get the trust of a leopard gecko.
Every gecko is different, so one may have an easier time adjusting than another. Sometimes, a gecko may only need time to get used to the environment it’s in before it wants to come out more frequently.
- He comes out when you’re not watching
Leopard geckos are shy and they will only come out to explore their tank when they feel safe. Make sure there aren’t any bright lights in the room and keep your voice a barely audible whisper. Don’t chase after it if it runs off; wait for it to come back on its own. You want to make sure that your gecko remains comfortable in its environment before overwhelming it with too much attention.
- He has a hiding personality
Your Leopard Geckos may just be a hide-and-seek loving lizard! These geckos enjoy spending time in dark places, so if you notice that they’ve been too active for a while, try reducing the lights in their tank and making it more humid.
How to make your leopard gecko less shy
You can try to make your gecko more comfortable and less shy by following these few tips:
- Approach slowly
When you want to approach your gecko, approach it slowly so it doesn’t get startled. Geckos are very easily scared because they don’t have much defence besides their detachable tail. When you move too quickly, your gecko will feel the need to run away or hide itself from you. Slowly approaching will make it feel safer and allow it to come out of its hiding spot easier.
- Carefully Pick Up the Animal
To pick up a leopard gecko, carefully grasp the animal by its sides close to the head (try not to touch the face). Make sure that you can support its weight if you have a heavier one that is full grown (they can weight up to 150 grams). Also make sure that the animal is no longer than half your arm Make sure that you do not reach too far into its tank to pick it up because this could cause the animal stress.
- Speak Up Softly
Leopard Geckos are scared of loud noises, so don’t scare your gecko by speaking loudly in front of her. This is usually the biggest mistake pet owners make when they try to pick their leopard up; she’ll run away from you and hide under rocks/decorations. Speak softly and reassure your gecko that this is just your friend trying to get her out of the cage for a nice walk in the living room!
- Let your Leopard Gecko Dabble Around
Leopard Geckos are most active at night, so if you see they are out during the day, let them walk around and explore. But only do this when no one is in the room because that could scare your gecko away. You want your gecko to feel safe enough to come out.
- Make Sure There’s Nothing Scary for Your Leopard Gecko
If there are any other reptiles inside the tank, make sure that they are not frightening your gecko (if they were, you may want to get rid of them). Leopards have an innate fear of large animals such as rats, larger lizards and snakes. If you have a cat, make sure that it never gets close to the tank.
- Making Changes
Leopard Geckos may not be used to their new homes and new owners at first; this could scare him so much that he’ll retreat back into his hiding spot until he feels more comfortable with who he’s living with. Just give your leopard gecko some space from you for a while until it becomes adjusted to its new surroundings and this will help him feel more comfortable. No force feeding: leopard geckos should start eating on their own without someone forcing food down their throats.
Leopard Geckos are easily scared by loud noises and bright lights. They naturally have a shy side, so you need to slowly approach your leopard gecko and make sure that there’s nothing scary for it in the environment before trying to pick it up. Talk softly and gently so that your leopard gecko can hear you without running away from the fear.
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.