Bonding with your crested gecko is fairly simple once you give it some time to acclimatize itself to you. While cresties are unlikely to ever form the deep bond shared with typical household pets like dogs and cats, they can get to a point where they are fairly comfortable in your presence and can “tolerate” your handling.
Accordingly, in this post, we will be exploring a number of different ways in which you can strengthen the bond you have with your crested gecko over time.
How To Bond With Your Crested Gecko? As with most animals, the easiest way to bond with a Crested Gecko is to feed it from hand. Gentle and frequent handling and patience also help to bond with a Crested Gecko. By hand-feeding the gecko, it will soon associate the human hand with food and bond with you.
By far, with these three aspects taken into consideration and your crested gecko handled accordingly, you should be able to bond with it comfortably.
In this post, we will also be looking at situations in (or reasons for) which, your crested gecko may prove to be a tough cookie, unwilling to bond easily, no matter how much you try. Alongside, we will also delve into mistakes made by crestie owners that hinder bonding – ones you certainly would like to avoid!
Table of Contents
The Right Age (and Stage!)
Cresties less than 6 months of age can be rather tough to handle and bond with. The initial three months of its life are especially challenging for owners to get around bonding with it.
This is purely because your crestie itself is in a discovery mode; it is discovering the circumstances around it, especially the habitat in which you have kept it.
You need to allow your crested gecko to familiarize itself with its surroundings before you try to bond with it. Age-wise, we are looking at a minimum of 3 months before you even begin to try and bond with your crested gecko.
Ideally, give it 6 months before you make serious attempts to bond with your crested gecko.
Stage-wise, we would be looking at your crested gecko reaching a dimension of at least 5 to 6 inches in length before you make concerted attempts to bond with your crested gecko.
We mention this because if you purely take age as the guiding light, some cresties may reach this length later than others. So let this length factor be your first rule of thumb for bonding with your crested gecko.
Easy does it!
A very important aspect that can go a long way in ensuring that you bond well with your crested gecko over time is to take things slow and easy. Do not rush to pick your crested gecko out of its enclosure and onto you. Instead:
- First, give it time to get used to its new surroundings. So, let’s say you bought your crestie at a pet expo. The enclosure you place it into would be a new surrounding for it, vis-à-vis the way it was kept at the expo. Let it get used to this first.
- Second, let it get used to your presence. Instead of rushing to handle your crested gecko, simply make your presence felt in the same room in which you have housed your crested gecko.
While cresties do not see all that well, they do manage to smell fairly well. So when they sense your presence in the room repeatedly, the same sensory signals going out to them will tell them you are not a threat – and completely OK to be around with.
ONLY when this stage has been successfully attained should you make serious attempts at handling your crested gecko and bonding with it.
Therefore, the time factor that we mentioned at the beginning of this post is absolutely pivotal; unless you give your crestie time to warm up to your presence, you will find it difficult to bond with it.
Also, Crested geckos can hear and sense vibrations pretty well. So in order to keep your Crestie calm and relaxed, you have to keep that in mind. We explain more on Crested gecko hearing here!
The handling process of your crested gecko has to be extremely gentle and gradual. Any rough handling – especially at the outset, would be a surefire way of UNBONDING with your crested gecko, which is absolutely the last thing you want!
Some tips that will help you initiate this process successfully include:
- Creating a calm environment for handling your crested gecko. So no noisy room with blaring music or cranky kids. Instead, shut the doors and windows and gently place your crestie’s enclosure on the floor.
- Next, opening your crestie’s enclosure that much slowly and gently. Try and make minimal noise at this juncture otherwise, you will unnecessarily stress your crested gecko.
In the first point, we mention placing your crested gecko’s enclosure on the floor because crested geckos do have a tendency to jump.
Since this might just be the first time you will actually make an attempt to get your gecko out of its enclosure, it could be all the more jumpy, unintentionally causing it to hurt itself in the process.
Thus, placing your crestie’s enclosure on the floor will mitigate such risks. You should also keep in mind that Crested geckos can be fast – we show you how fast in this article!
In the second point, any undue stress that you cause in your crested gecko can have rather dire consequences, including the possibility of losing its tail – one it will NEVER be able to grow back.
Not only that, unwanted stress can even cause your crestie to fall ill, again something you simply do not want to see happening to your crested gecko under any circumstances. The video below will show you what gentle handling looks like.
Ease the Handling Process
As far as letting your crested gecko walk on you is concerned, again we would stress on taking this process really slow. Put your hand very gently into your crestie’s enclosure and note if it makes its way towards your hand.
If it just doesn’t make an attempt to reach your hand, your crested gecko may simply not be ready to be handled. If so, really do not force this process. Instead, shut the enclosure cover back and put off this handling exercise for another day.
On the other hand, if your crestie does reach out towards your hand, that means it is comfortable enough to be handled. In that case, let it calmly come to your hand and then once it is securely ensconced in your hand, scoop your crestie out of its enclosure.
Typically, at this stage, you will observe your crested gecko make repeated stop and go movements. So for instance, it might go from your hand to your arm and then onto your shoulder, making furtive stops along the way.
This is completely normal crested gecko behavior which is even seen in its natural New Caledonian habitat.
Gradually Building up your Handling Time
As your crested gecko gets comfortable with you and doesn’t mind being handled, you can, in turn, increase the time you spend handling it. Again, this has to be a gradual process that you build upon over time.
You cannot go from handling it for a few minutes today to a few hours tomorrow. Instead, let it be a gradually increasing process where you spend a little more time on each occasion.
So, let’s say if you spent five minutes handling it today, you could spend up to ten minutes tomorrow.
At the same time, this is not an infinite process; on any given occasion, you should ideally not be spending more than half an hour handling your crested gecko.
This remains true even if you find your crested gecko to be totally comfortable walking all over you.
Doing away with Inherent Fear
By now you have probably lost count of the instances where we have insisted that you handle your crestie gently and give it time to familiarize itself with your presence.
Don’t let this repeated advice be off-putting to you. Instead, bear in mind that in all our years of handling crested geckos, the single most obvious fact we have noticed is that crested geckos tend to be extremely fearful creatures.
The slightest of untoward noise or unfamiliar environment can put them at immense unease.
Therefore, rough, improper handling is perhaps the worst thing you could do to easily create a sense of extreme fear in your crested gecko.
Avoiding this is crucial and accordingly, you mandatorily need to handle your crested gecko with immense caution and restraint.
Don’t be Fearful yourself either!
Just as it is important that you do not create a sense of fear in your crested gecko, you yourself should handle it with confidence, sans any fear whatsoever.
We mention this because some cresties have a tendency to make a hissing sound when owners make an attempt to handle them.
After making this sound, they shy away, which gives some owners a sense of fear that the crested gecko does not want to be handled. In the process, they also get fearful that their crestie might bite them (some do in fact!).
Don’t let this behavior perturb you. To bond with your crested gecko, you must remain confident. In case your crestie behaves this way, remain calm and continue to try and handle it.
Even if it shies away a few times, as long as you continue to deploy the calm and gentle approach we have recommended ad nauseam in this post, your crestie will ultimately come around and let you bond with it.
In this regard we also recommend our following articles in order to understand your gecko better (it will make the bonding process easier for you):
- How bad Crested gecko bites are and what you can do to stop it
- 11 reasons why your Crested gecko is aggressive
- Why your Crested gecko licks you
Some Cresties just don’t Bond!
As sad as this may sound, this is a harsh reality which we might as well put forth in front of you.
While the majority of crested geckos will ultimately bond with you sooner or later, there is a small minority which may simply refuse to do so, no matter how hard you try.
Even after repeatedly persistent attempts, you will find cresties in this minority category to shy away and simply refuse to come anywhere near you, instead choosing to relegate themselves into a corner of their habitat.
With such cresties, it is really not advisable to keep on trying to bond with them.
Yes, some cresties do take a LOT of time to warm up but if you, unfortunately, find your crestie to have simply no interest in bonding with you, after perhaps several dozen attempts on your part, it is best to simply leave it alone.
Take it as your fate or bad luck or whatever else you would like to perceive it as, but the fact of the matter is that such crested geckos are unlikely to bond.
In conclusion, we would reemphasize on the fact that a gentle buildup towards bonding with your crested gecko truly does the job. Towards that end, we will summarize some of the key points of discussion we have had in this post, which can be your primary takeaway as you continue making attempts to bond with your crested gecko.
- Make attempts to bond with your crested gecko once it reaches a certain stage and age – at least 5 to 6 inches in length or at least 3 months in age.
- Let it get used to its new surroundings – the habitat in which you house it when you first get it, before making any attempts to bond with it.
- Also let it get used to your presence, especially your smell (of which it has a much stronger sensation than vision).
Make slow and gradual attempts at handling your crested gecko ever so gently.
- Do not stress your crested gecko under any circumstances.
- Increase your handling time ever so slowly, not exceeding half an hour in a single instance.
- Neither instill a sense of fear from you in your crested gecko nor be fearful yourself of your crestie’s reactions when you try and handle it.
- Be mentally prepared for the relatively rare possibility that your crested gecko may never bond with you at all.
With these key takeaways in mind, you should find the going rather easy as far as bonding with your crested gecko is concerned. And with that in place, abundant sessions of playful glee between you and your crestie eagerly await the two of you!