Handling a new leopard gecko can be a problematic undertaking, especially for people who don’t have a lot of previous experience in dealing with reptiles, or if you’re someone whose experience is universally with larger ones. However, it’s not really all that complicated.
When handling any animal, you’re going to want to take things slow, and that applies as much to geckos as to any other. When you first get the gecko, hold it only for short periods of time, or not at all, depending on how calm or nervous it is. An animal that’s extremely nervous should probably be left alone for the first little while in order to let it get used to things.
Your lizard should be able to adjust to its new environment before it has to deal with additional stress. Remember, it’s hard for such a small animal to realize that you’re not a predator, given the size difference between you. Take things slow to help yourself gain your gecko’s trust.
When you think the gecko is used to its surroundings, you can proceed to touching it. Don’t just grab at your gecko, however. After all, leopard geckos are prey animals for many other species, and a shadow from above tells them they’re in danger!
Instead, slowly place your hand inside the cage, like a piece of the scenery and allow your pet to get used to it and to climb on it. The gecko should be willing to walk across your hand inside the cage. Once it gets a little more used to you, it’ll be easier to gently close your hand and hold it.
Remember never to move too fast or handle your animal roughly. It could be stressed and injured. Avoid touching the head or tail, as these can cause your leopard gecko to startle and bolt. Touching only the body will enable you to keep your pet from feeling threatened.
Threatened leopard geckos will drop their tails, causing injury and the site of a potential infection. Avoid this by never holding your gecko by the tail, and only handling it in the gentlest way you can. Herd your lizard into your hand rather than grabbing it, and when you do pick the lizard up, cradle the body, putting the least pressure on that you can.
Leopard geckos are hardy, durable animals, but they’re still very small and could be damaged by too much pressure, especially when they’re babies. The more used to you your gecko is, the easier it will be to handle it without fear of escape.
New or young geckos will be quite nervous and skittish in the beginning, but will calm down as they become accustomed to your presence. Handle your animal on a regular basis to keep it from losing its accustomization to your presence. Daily handling is not too much, if you want to make sure that your lizard stays friendly and sociable with humans.
Reptiles can “forget” their tameness and require socialization all over again if they’re allowed too much time without contact with humans. Gentleness is always paramount – don’t forget just because your gecko is getting older. It’s still much smaller than you are and quite easy to damage.