Have you heard about taming a leopard gecko, but you don’t know what it is?
Do you want your pet to enjoy interacting with you?
The process of getting a pet used to you is an important one.
Even if you’re the type of owner who doesn’t interact physically with your gecko often, you’ll need to do this on occasion.
The better used to you they are, the less stressful every interaction will be.
This entire process is called taming. It may seem complicated, but it’s quite simple if you know how.
This is why we made this guide for how to tame a leopard gecko.
Taming a leopard gecko takes time and patience. Start by letting the gecko get used to your hand and scent and then begin to handle it more and more over time. Be patient and stick with short periods.
Look ahead for more details on this general idea.
How To Tame A Leopard Gecko In 6 Easy Steps
This section tells you how to tame your leopard with simple steps.
There may be variations in these instructions depending on the person, but all the core ideas (see below) remain the same.
- Move slowly
- Never surprise the gecko
- Handle for short periods
- Keep the gecko secure and safe in your hands
- Never pick it up by the tail
- Always wash your hands before and after
#1 Leave Your Hand In The Tank
First, you need to get the leopard gecko used to your scent.
The best way to do this is to start by putting your hand in the tank near the leopard gecko for short periods.
When you do this, make sure your hands move slowly and are always visible to the reptile (don’t come from behind).
Start farther away from the gecko and gradually move closer.
5-10 minutes at a time throughout the day goes a long way with getting this process started.
Note: If you see the gecko run and hide or, worse, attack, take your hand out and do this again later.
#2 Stroke Them Gently And Slowly
Once they seem used to your presence, the next logical step is to get them accustomed to being touched.
Move your hand closer (and in front of them) and begin to gently stroke them. Start at the head and move down their backs or bellies.
Don’t pinch or grab at anything as this will make them panic.
#3 Feed By Hand
At the same time, as the previous step, you may be able to build a stronger bond and speed along the taming process by feeding them by hand.
This is, of course, if you’re comfortable handling the insects they eat.
Hold the insect by the very tip and offer it to the gecko.
The gecko will grab at it (quite quickly!) and eat the food.
By doing this, it’s associating your scent positively with things it likes and needs.
In this case, this is food!
Gecko bites don’t hurt much (or at all in most cases), so don’t worry about this.
However, be careful you don’t jerk your hand back when feeding.
The quick motion may startle the leopard gecko.
Now, you may be accidentally enforcing negative instincts with your scent.
#4 Handle Your Leopard Gecko
Once they don’t react much to your hand, it’s time to pick them up a little.
Keep your hand(s) slow and in front of them.
Scoop underneath their body (never the tail) and support their weight.
Use your second hand to provide a broader foundation for them to crawl on.
At first, they won’t like you placing your second hand over the top of them to secure them.
Keep your hands low until the gecko doesn’t struggle or attempt an escape.
Beginning with 5-7 minutes once per day, pick them up gently and let them get used to being handled.
Increase this by a couple of minutes over weeks until they’re at 15 minutes at a time.
We don’t recommend going beyond this time limit because you never know when they’ll get so stressed they drop their tails or go for an escape.
Over time, start to place your second hand over their body.
Once they’re used to this, feel free to take them places and explore other areas of their surroundings.
Keep a close eye on them though! These little guys spoke easy and ran faster than you’d think.
#5 Hand Walking
Another handling tactic to use is called hand walking.
Placing your hands next to one another, encourage the gecko to walk from hand to hand.
Keep your hands low while doing this, and move at the gecko’s pace.
They like the feeling of exploring and climbing. It’s good exercise!
If they start to sprint, this may be a sign of fear, though.
Take your cues from the reptile. They’ll tell you what they’re comfortable with.
#6 Be Patient
The process will take time, and you shouldn’t do these steps all within a single week.
Move gradually going only a few minutes at a time.
This table may help you better visualize the process:
|Week||Action And Time (Daily)|
|Week 1||Hand in the tank 5-7 minutes at a time once per day. Gradually get closer.|
|Week 2||Stroke the gecko/hand in the tank 7-10 minutes once per day. Feed from hand on meal days.|
|Week 3||Pick up the gecko (low) for 5-7 minutes.|
|Week 4||Pick up the gecko (low-medium) for 7-10 minutes.|
|Week 5||Pick up the gecko (medium height) for 10-15 minutes. Hand walking may begin.|
|Week 6||Pick up the gecko (second hand on top) for 10-15 minutes. Hand walking as well.|
|Week 7||Handle gecko for up to 15 minutes and explore. Hand walking as well.|
This is only an example of how the process may go. Take your cues from the pet and adjust the speed to match its needs.
You may also enjoy learning how to play with your leopard gecko.
How To Tame A Baby Leopard Gecko
This whole process works better and faster if you start when the geckos are babies.
The steps are the same, although we recommend waiting until they’re bigger to carry them to a lot of places.
As they age, the taming process will stick better overall, and they’ll be less likely to get stressed by you in most situations.
Learn about how to take care of a baby leopard gecko.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to tame a leopard gecko.
The process isn’t tricky; it just takes time.
Give them patience and stick with it.
In a short amount of time, they’ll come to get excited by your presence, and you’ll be able to have beautiful interactions with your pet.