Is your leopard gecko excited to see you? Or is it tolerating your presence just so it can eat? Unlike other pets, reptiles do not expressly show affection. Leopard geckos have subtle body and behavior cues that show that they trust you and you have formed a bond with them.
A sign that your leopard gecko likes you is when it automatically goes on your hand when you reach out to it. Hand-feeding without tongs can also be a sign of trust as well as when it goes near the glass whenever you are near the enclosure.
In this article, we are going to talk about the signs that your leopard gecko likes you. We will also discuss if a leopard gecko can actually like a person. Lastly, we will also tell you the signs that your leopard gecko does not like you. Read on to know how you can earn the trust of your leopard gecko!
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Signs That Your Leopard Gecko Likes You
Here are the signs that your leopard gecko likes you. For a lot of people, these signs may not be a perfect showing of affection, trust, or even love, but for reptiles, these behaviors definitely go the extra mile which does not happen in the wild.
1. Leopard Gecko Automatically Goes On Your Hand
It is rare for a leopard gecko to automatically go on your hand when you are trying to get it out of the tank. This is only possible through consistent handling training, and even then, they may not climb on your hand willingly.
When they do this, they feel safe with you and they trust you. They already know that you are going to take them out of the tank and they are ready to be with you wherever you may take them.
This may be just a simple gesture, but from the perspective of your leopard gecko, they are entrusting their lives to you.
They are leaving their safe haven aka the enclosure, to venture out into a bigger world and they can only do so with your presence.
2. Leopard Gecko Can Be Hand Fed
Another sign that your leopard gecko likes you is the fact that it can receive food from your bare hands. During the trust-building process, you can try hand-feeding your leopard gecko but initially, you will notice that it might scurry away.
It is also possible that if they take a feeder from your hand, they may also bite your hand as they mistook it as being part of their food. This is the reason why a lot of owners try hand feeding with the use of tongs.
Using feeding tongs, just like these, is actually beneficial for both you and your leopard gecko. It lessens the stress of your leopard gecko as it tries to feed from an unfamiliar presence and at the same time, you are protected from accidental bites.
Later on, as your leopard gecko starts to trust you, you can move on to hand feeding without the tongs, and offering food with your bare hands.
The ultimate test of trust is the fact that your leopard gecko can take the feeder from your fingers without harming you and without moving away.
This means that your leopard gecko does not only associate your presence with food. It knows that you also provide the food and that they are safe with you while they eat which is a vulnerable moment for them.
3. Leopard Gecko Approaches The Glass When You Are Near
When your leopard gecko approaches the glass of its enclosure whenever you are in the room or when you pass by, this can mean two things.
The first reason is that your leopard gecko is interested in what you are doing. The second reason is it wants you to take it out of the enclosure.
There are stories from other leopard gecko owners that sometimes, their leopard geckos get excited and pace near the glass of the enclosure when they approach it.
This is a good sign that your leopard gecko likes you because usually, they would just hide if anything or anyone goes near the tank.
The fact that they are showing interest in you without displaying any defense mechanisms means that they no longer see you as a stranger or a predator.
Your leopard gecko was able to look beyond itself and view you as a separate entity that it should not be wary of.
4. Leopard Gecko Does Not Hide When You Are Around
It is in the nature of leopard geckos to retreat to their hide when there is something unfamiliar in their environment.
They also do this when they feel anxious or threatened. Therefore, when it does not hide whenever you approach the enclosure, it knows that you can be trusted.
This also applies during the time when you open the tank to get them or feed them. The sudden intrusion no longer bothers them and they just wait for your next move.
This is also good news as this means that you have a happy and healthy leopard gecko. The decrease in hiding behavior means that your leopard gecko feels secure in its enclosure as well as in your presence.
You can read this article to know the other signs that your leopard gecko is happy and healthy.
5. Leopard Gecko Can Sleep With You Around
Leopard geckos are active during the twilight period as they are crepuscular. This means that they are mostly asleep during the day. This setup can be stressful to your leopard gecko as usually, the house is busy during the day.
Therefore, it is a different story when your leopard gecko can sleep when you are around. It feels secure with you that it does not have to defend itself while it is sleeping. It trusts you that you can protect it during its most vulnerable time.
There are also some owners that shared that their leopard geckos can peacefully sleep on their arms or hands. In this study, it was shown that leopard geckos have the capacity to be selective in how they display anti-predatory behavior.
Meaning, if they do not display defense mechanisms and are able to sleep with their owner around, they are treating their owners as allies.
Further, the fact that your leopard gecko can sleep on your hand while it is out in the open means that it trusts you deeply.
Usually, leopard geckos sleep in their hide as a safety blanket. Therefore, when they sleep on your hand, they are treating you as their haven of safety.
Are Leopard Geckos Really Capable of Liking A Person?
Leopard geckos do not have complex emotions. They do not feel affection, but at the same time, they can also get attached to their owners.
Therefore, in terms of actually liking a person, the feeling is closer to the attachment rather than actually having certain feelings about a person.
In line with the attachment is “trust” which is also a big deal as it is difficult to gain the trust of a reptile that is always wary of potential predators.
There are still no studies regarding this attachment of leopard geckos to their owners, but it is happening in real life. It is good enough to know that they may not know or feel that they like us, but they could definitely trust us.
Can Leopard Geckos Prefer One Person Over Another?
Yes, leopard geckos prefer one person over another person. They can also distinguish one person from another by using their great eyesight and sense of smell.
Therefore, your leopard gecko knows if the person that is approaching its enclosure is their owner or a stranger. Leopard geckos generally just form an attachment with their owners, but they can also tolerate the other members of the household.
Especially when everyone in the house was able to do handling training with the leopard gecko, they would have built a tolerance to the presence of other people. However, they usually just bond fully with one person, which is the owner.
This is also the reason why tamed leopard geckos suddenly exhibit defense mechanisms when you have visitors. They simply do not trust these strangers and they view them as predators.
This is also why it is not a good idea to let strangers hold your leopard gecko as they will get stressed and may even drop their tails.
Signs That Your Leopard Gecko Does Not Like You
You should not feel bad when you see these signs on your leopard gecko. Instead, you should use this as a driving force to be able to bond with it better and to gain its trust.
- Leopard gecko hides from you
In the wild, leopard geckos tend to hide when they sense that they are in danger. Therefore, if you notice your leopard gecko suddenly goes into hiding when you approach the enclosure, it is still wary of you and still views you as a predator.
- Leopard gecko bites you
When a leopard gecko bites you, it means that they are extremely stressed by your presence or by what you are currently doing. Biting is the last resort of leopard geckos, so when they do this, it is literally “do or die” for them.
- Leopard gecko refuses to be hand fed
This means that they need more time to be used to their environment and the intrusion of unfamiliar things will just let them put their guard up even more. Forcing them to feed from tongs or your fingers will just end in bites.
- Leopard gecko does not want to be held
When this is the case, your leopard gecko still does not trust you nor associated you as the provider of food. It still sees you as a predator and it wants to be left alone. It still needs more time to get used to your presence.
How To Make Your Leopard Gecko Like You
It is good to note that building a bond with your leopard gecko takes a lot of time and patience. It may also involve some bites, but you have to trust the process as with consistent feeding and handling, your leopard gecko will surely trust you.
1. Do Not React Negatively To Defense Mechanisms
Let us say that you are trying to hand-feed your leopard gecko and it suddenly bit your finger. It is not a good idea to shout or push away your leopard gecko.
As it acted defensively, it still views you as a predator and further stressing it with a booming voice or bodily harm will just ingrain in them that you should not be trusted.
As hard as it may sound, you should always act calm when you are dealing with your leopard gecko. A calm and collected demeanor will help establish to your leopard gecko that you mean no harm.
2. Hand Feed Your Leopard Gecko
The biggest step in gaining the trust of your leopard gecko is for it to associate your presence as a food giver. Feeding is most natural to them, so they will act positively toward the person who is providing them with food and treats.
You can start by using feeding tongs to lessen the stress of your leopard gecko when it receives the feeder and to also protect you from bites. Once it is used to feeding from the tongs, then you can start offering it food with your hands.
Make sure that you are not shoving the feeder to its face, but maintain a short distance and just let your leopard gecko get the feeder from your hand.
3. Handling Training Your Leopard Gecko
Once your leopard gecko is already getting used to your presence, you can start with handling training. This is where you just hold your leopard gecko for a couple of minutes until it settles down.
Make sure that you do this gently and do not force your leo when it does not want to be held. You should also be careful with their tails as they can drop when they are stressed.
Once you start handling training, you should be consistent with the training schedule so your leo can get used to your touch and also form a habit of being held.
Always do handling training during the times when they are normally awake, and not during the day when they should be asleep.
Tip: We highly recommend reading our article on how to bond with a leopard gecko easily!
It is still a mystery whether our leopard geckos have taken a liking to us, but the fact remains that they can grow attached to us for whatever reason.
Building trust and establishing that we are not predators is key for our leos to be comfortable with us.
Through consistent handling training and feeding, we can establish that bond. Trust us when we say that it is all worth it.
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