All lizards are not created equal! Some gecko species prefer being held or touched, while others do not. These types of reptiles make their preferences known by looking away, flinching, rolling off, etc.
If you encounter a lizard that does not like to be touched, there is usually a reason why. Perhaps it was hurt in its past life, or it suffers from stress-related illness such as coldsore disease (for which there are treatments).
However, unless your goal is to help your lizard feel better, it is best to avoid touching it. This could potentially cause more harm than good for your pet.
Fortunately, there are ways to hold leopard geckos without making them uncomfortable. You can purchase reptile holding trays or bowls designed specifically for this purpose. Or, if you have a plastic bag, you can use that for a comfortable place to put the gecko.
This article will talk about some helpful tips for caring for a leopard gecko that doesn’t like to be touched.
They might get annoyed
As mentioned before, geckos like to stick their tails out and explore new areas. What some may not know is that they also enjoy being held!
Geckos will actively search for something to climb up or burrow under and then once found, they will make themselves comfortable by curling up next to it.
When they are very well behaved geckos, you can pick them up and place them anywhere! This happens even if they are in an enclosure with other lizards of their kind.
There was a rumor spread years ago about how gecko’s noses taste bad and so people would try to avoid holding them close to each other. But this isn’t true!
They actually seem to appreciate contact with each other’s noses because it smells similar to what they eat.
It depends on the leopard gecko
Some lizards enjoy being held for few minutes at a time, but this can be tricky to do unless you are very experienced with reptiles!
Many people get nervous when they try to hold their lizard friend because they fear they will lose control of them or that something may happen to the reptile.
Some lizards simply cannot stand having human contact for too long so it is best to just be careful how close you get to your leopard gecko!
If you have to touch your lizard friend, make sure you use soft, thin materials such as cloth or leather gloves. Never use bare hands or metal toys if possible as these could hurt or even injure the gecko.
Never grab onto a tail or feet area without using appropriate handles! These tips work for any snake, lizard, or amphibian pet.
They might try to bite you
If you look closely while your hands are still, you can see they have a third eyelid called an autodepresser. This is how they protect themselves by hiding in their retreats when threatened or hungry.
When a leopard gecko wants to eat something, it must be stimulated to do so. It needs someone to hold it so that it will get hungry. Therefore, if you want to know whether your leopard gecko likes being held as much as you think it does, then try holding it for longer than usual!
It may growl, hiss, or even try to bite you, but don’t worry- most pet geckos aren’t born with this defensive behavior.
They develop it through experiences around other people and animals.
They aren’t bothered by it
For many animals, touching is totally natural and normal. Humans are not an exception to this rule! When your leopard gecko likes being held, you can help it feel more comfortable by doing so.
Some individuals believe that as they grow older their pets should be left alone or put down due to lack of desire for interaction. This isn’t always the case!
A lot of dogs and cats lose interest in interacting with people as they get older, but this doesn’t mean they don’t like humans anymore! It could just indicate that they have grown tired of the constant attention that most owners seem to give them.
For some animals, especially reptiles, need time away from other creatures to thrive. As such, if your pet seems less interested in interactive play at times, don’t make a connection when it does show signs of wanting one.
Instead, try giving it some extra love via cuddling, grooming, or whatever else it loves.
They might get scared
Most lizards prefer not to be held, but some are very different! Some gecko species actually enjoy being touched or even handled.
Geckos that love human interaction often develop close relationships with their owners.
These reptiles learn how to connect with people by observing you and what types of touch and interactions you make.
If your lizard loves attention, then keep an eye out for the next time it shows signs of affection. Once it grows comfortable with you, it may allow more frequent touches or even cuddling.
Also, try to hold it using soft, non-abrasive materials like silk or cotton cloth. Natural oils can also help bond the skin together.
They shouldn’t do it
Many animals, including leopard geckos, are not fond of being held by their front feet. This can be due to strength or lack thereof, size, and/or preference.
When playing with any species, it is important to know which behaviors are positive for them and whether this behavior is learned or natural. If you encounter a negative one, try your best to avoid doing it!
It may help if you look up information about animal psychology. You can also speak to experts to see what tips they have that may work when trying to stop a behavior.
They should get a secure grasp
Leopards are nocturnal animals, which means they spend most of their time sleeping during the night and for some reason, leopard geckos like to be held at night! When these lizards wake up in the morning, they can sometimes feel very attached to you, asking to be picked up and cuddled.
If your lizard loves being held, give it its needed rest day by day until one day you pick it up and it does not want to let go! This is totally normal behavior that happens only to certain species of reptiles.
Never force your lizard to stay away from you if it seems uncomfortable or scared, as this could hurt it emotionally or physically.
They should use a secure hold
A lot of people get leopard gecko hatchlings at least once a year! When they do, they usually try to put them in a cage or habitat with a solid surface area for their little ones to climb onto.
That’s great if you have a stable environment that is safe from outside threats like cars or other animals. If you don’t though, it can be tricky to know how to handle kiddie geckos.
Geckos need some sort of surface to cling to so they can develop natural behaviors. This includes seeking out caves and crevices where they can shelter themselves from the elements.
If someone doesn’t give your leopard gecko a good place to grow, then they may not survive very long. Luckily there are few instances were a young gecko has needed help and was immediately found by its parents.