The mourning gecko’s charm is so irresistible that you might take it out of its enclosure and keep handling it, day in and day out. But, should mourning geckos be handled? Is it even safe to handle mourning geckos? How can we handle mourning geckos properly?
In general, mourning geckos should not be handled. As they are tiny, quick, and have a tendency to jump, handling them improperly may cause injuries. If you really need to handle your mourning gecko, you should train them to stay put on your hand and handling should be gentle to avoid skin tears.
Handling mourning geckos is on a case-to-case basis. If you must really handle them especially when you need to check for injuries or diseases, then you should know how to properly handle them so as not to stress your mourning gecko. Keep on reading to learn how!
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Should You Handle Your Mourning Gecko?
The general rule of thumb is to not handle your mourning geckos. The exceptions are; when you need to check them for injuries or diseases, and when you need to transfer them to another enclosure.
The reason why your mourning gecko should not be held is that they are such small and fragile geckos, that you might accidentally injure them during the course of handling.
Much worse, mourning geckos are agile and they jump unexpectedly so they may end up jumping from your hand and falling from a great height. We do not want that to happen, of course!
Do Mourning Geckos Like Being Handled?
Just like other geckos, it is not in their nature to be handled. Therefore, we really cannot say that they like being handled, rather, they tolerate it.
The upside is, unlike other geckos, they are very personable. As they are curious creatures, once you get them on your hand, they are more likely to explore your palm and might even crawl up (rather fast) on your arm.
So the chances of them nipping your hand is low. But! Keep in mind that handling an already stressed mourning gecko is a big no-no as the chances for it to tail drop or jump from your hand and scutter away never to be seen again is still high.
Here is a quick guide to caring for your mourning geckos so you are assured that they are not stressed before you handle them.
How To Properly Handle Your Mourning Gecko
If you really must handle your mourning geckos, training is necessary. Considerably, there are times when you really must handle them, like if you need to transfer them to a new enclosure or you have to look closely at their bodies to examine them for injuries or diseases.
A lot of owners have expressed how stressed they are when handling their mourning geckos, as they are very light and react to everything instantly.
So before attempting to handle your mourning gecko, you should also prepare yourself to act accordingly when they try to escape from your hand.
Here are some tips:
- Start training your gecko to be handled at a young age. The earlier they get used to your hand, the less anxious they will be when it comes to handling when they become older.
- You can start handling them at four months old as they are nearly the size of full-grown adults. The size reference is 4 in. If they are shorter than 4 in. it is best to wait for them to get bigger for handling training.
- Let them get used to your hand. You can do so by letting them feed on your hand, while your hand is in the enclosure. Wait for them to come to your hand to feed as opposed to catching them.
- Once you notice that they are automatically getting on your hands to feed, slowly move your hands out of the enclosure. Move your hand farther from the enclosure with every feeding.
- There will come a time that they will settle on your hand even without
food, so this is the perfect time to take them out of the enclosure completely. Make sure that your hand is on a flat surface.
It is important to take note that the reaction of your mourning gecko to handling may vary. Some will respond to handling training easily, while others will stick to their instincts to jump or run away.
Therefore, it is important to keep your other hand at the ready to gently catch your mourning gecko.
Moreover, if there is really no need to handle your mourning gecko, it is much better to not handle it at all. As they are agile geckos that actively explore their enclosure, it is still entertaining to watch their activities in the safety of their enclosure.
Signs You Should Not Handle Your Mourning Gecko
If our warnings to not handle your mourning gecko are not enough to dissuade you to do so, here are the signs that your mourning gecko is not ready to be handled:
- If your mourning gecko is close to the opening of its enclosure and is staying still while observing your movements, you should not open the enclosure as it will likely bolt out of the enclosure.
- The majority of mourning geckos are female as they are pathogenic. Females tend to assert their dominance by tail waving and back arching. Do not attempt to handle them when they are doing these behaviors.
- If your mourning gecko suddenly chirps rapidly when you open the enclosure. This can be a sign that it is stressed by the abrupt intrusion.
- When your mourning gecko is injured or suffering from an illness.
- Do not handle your mourning gecko when it is gravid (pregnant).
If your mourning gecko has just laid eggs or even resorted to eating its own egg, it is best to save handling for later. You can take a look at this article to learn more about breeding and egg care.
Mourning geckos are so cute due to their size and demeanor. However tempted you are to handle and play with your mourning gecko, you should resist your urge to do so because they are fragile creatures.
Even if you did handling training on them and they can stay put on your hand for a while, the risks are too big for you to take them out of the enclosure just for the fun of it.
Trained mourning geckos can still get startled and resort to going berserk on your hand which will make it difficult to catch them from falling.
Only handle your mourning geckos when you really need to handle them. Remember, being gentle is the way to go.