Ever walk into the room, and your leopard gecko is just staring at you? What does this mean? Are they curious about how we, as humans, look? Are they hoping we have treats?
Why does my leopard gecko stare at me? To understand why these geckos behave in this manner, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the reptile. Leopard geckos in the wild have to be very mindful of predators out to get them. Thus, anything that makes movements- especially you- are watched closely by the gecko to ensure their safety.
So, the leopard gecko keeps tabs on you mostly because they are used to doing so in the wild when it comes to predators and prey, large or small.
However, with time, they could be looking at you for some of the other reasons we queried- for example, if you show up with treats regularly, they may be staring in hopes of something good to eat! Keep reading to learn more about why geckos do this interesting behavior.
Table of Contents
1. A Totally Normal Behavior
So, perhaps you are on your phone or watching TV, and you look over and see your gecko staring. A few minutes later, you look up and there he is, still staring away. Is something wrong? Could the gecko not be feeling well?
The answer is, it is highly unlikely they are unwell. Staring is a totally normal behavior when it comes to leopard geckos. If you see your gecko doing this, rest assured they will break their gaze eventually.
You might even have a little fun with it- walk around the room to see if your reptile follows your steps or hold your finger up and move it around.
Even if your leopard gecko stares for longer than a few minutes, it’s OK- just let him do the behavior and understand it is totally normal and natural.
Some owners find the behavior endearing and cute, so don’t be afraid about it. Accept it as a totally normal behavior and understand it’s just a safety precaution by the gecko.
2. They Feel Hungry
Ever feel super hungry, and you see a picture of food? Chances are you stare at it, dreaming of what it might be like to take a bite. The same goes for leopard geckos when they feel a little hungry, too.
Leopard geckos make the connection that you are the keeper of the food, so when they see you coming, they may stare- after all, you could be holding onto some delicious goodies for them.
Staring could very well be their way of asking you for something good to eat! It happens when you and your gecko have formed a good bond, and they have connected you with being a food provider.
3. They Have Sharp Eyes
When you are small like a leopard gecko, you have to have good eyes for what’s around you. After all, being so small leaves, you open to being a prey animal. You learn to develop a sense of what’s moving around you, whether that object or being is large or small.
They do this with food, too. Just watch what happens when you place live food versus dead food in the habitat.
Most leopard geckos prefer live food as it is closer to what they eat in the wild, and it is moving, too. Most leos will not even bother with dead insects- so if yours does consume them, consider yourself fortunate!
New owners listen up: Don’t hold onto hope that your leo will be one of these critters that eats dead food. Just invest in some good live food and leave it at that. This way, you will always be sure he or she will eat it, and you don’t have to worry about them becoming malnourished.
Plus, given that these guys are attracted to things that move, it enriches their day and gets them to move around and catch their food just as they would in the wild.
4. They’re Just Curious
Moving objects interest the leopard gecko, whether they are the hunter or hunted.
Humans are somewhat like this, too- when you see something out of the corner of your eye, you can’t help but turn your head to see what it is, whether it’s just a person walking by or a leaf blowing across your path.
Leopard geckos may look out of curiosity, but these little guys are mostly there to look out for well-being and the chance to get something to eat, or even find an “escape route” if they have to flee from the dangers of a predatory creature.
My Gecko NEVER Stares! Is Something Wrong?
Not at all! Leopard geckos are like every other animal. They have their own mannerisms and personalities despite being reptile-brained creatures. Yes, many leopard geckos can and will stare at their owners. But, some never will, and that’s OK.
What could be an ordinary behavior for your leopard gecko may not be ordinary for other owners- your “normal” could be somebody else’s exception to the rule.
Don’t worry if your leopard gecko never stares, and don’t worry if they stare often. So long as your leopard gecko is well cared for with a clean cage, plenty of food, accurate temps, and enriching activities, they’re doing fine.
So, the bottom line is this: New gecko owners, don’t fret if your little fellow doesn’t stare. Look at it this way: they feel comfortable enough to be around you and don’t feel the need to do so!
Do Other Reptiles Stare?
Some of you may be reading this because you’re interested in a leo and have never owned one. Or maybe you are a herpetology junkie and want to get another reptile.
If you are the latter, and already own a reptile or two, you may be thinking, “Well duh, of course, leopard geckos stare…My bearded dragon/iguana/crested gecko did it too!”
Yes, it is true. Other reptiles have been spotted doing this behavior, and we can chalk it up to the same reasons leos do it: It’s a way of keeping tabs on what’s moving around and knowing what you can trust and what you have to watch out for.
So, take that with you if you choose to adopt another reptile in the future.
As leopard gecko owners, we have enough to worry about as it is: keeping track of the hygrometer, making sure the temperature gradient is just right, feeding live insects, taking part in daily and weekly cleaning tasks, and of course offering enrichment to our geckos.
And that’s not even half of it!
The last thing you should be doing is worrying about why your leopard gecko is staring. Recognize that this is OK and a completely normal behavior and look at it this way: They are interested in you! Remember, a gecko will hiss and hide if they feel they REALLY can’t trust you.
As a result, being stared at by a leopard gecko is a good thing. Just make sure they aren’t staring out of hunger- make sure you stick to a feeding schedule that works for you and your leo.
So, don’t worry. They find you interesting, and with a face as cute as theirs, who wouldn’t want them to stare at you?!