leopard gecko taming, handling leopard gecko

3 ways to handle a nervous leopard gecko

Anyone who has owned a young leopard gecko will know that they can be EXTREMELY skittish, and these little lizards can move pretty quickly!

Before buying them, I was terrified that they’d run away and get lost down the side of the sofa, or jump out of my hands and hide under some difficult-to-move furniture.

However even my most anxious leopard gecko is fairly easy to handle for extended periods of time using some of the below hacks, and using these tips should give you, as an owner, more peace of mind when you want to play with them.

Hack #1 – smooth sided tub – for the most nervous geckos

This is absolutely the best thing I can recommend for very young and very flighty leopard geckos.

As leopard geckos can’t climb smooth surfaces, this is perfect to have on your lap while holding your gecko, because if they try to jump or start moving too quickly, they will fall into the tub and be easy to catch again.

Even now, I have the tub beside me almost all the time, just in case. I also hold the tub under them as I’m carrying them around, because I don’t want any sudden movements to spook my leos and make them fall from a big height onto the floor.

They are so cheap too, I picked up two cheap ones from a local store, and a quick search on Amazon brings up plenty of good options.

Hack 2 – blanket den – for geckos you kind of trust

Nearly every time I handle my geckos, I make a blanket den for them. I make sure that I cover any crevices so my geckos won’t try and bury themselves down behind my sofa seat cushions, and I also put cushions under the blankets so that it’s steep around the edges, as crawling uphill is most likely to slow them down.

I think you have to be fairly trusting of your gecko to use this method on it’s own, which is why I always have a tub next to me, just in case I need to rapidly catch them. However I do think it’s good to let my leos have a little wander around to explore, and this gives me extra confidence that I won’t lose them.

It’s also nice for the geckos to have little loose folds in the fabric which they can hide in, as this clearly makes them feel nice and safe. This leads me onto my third and final hack which has made the entire handling experience much less stressful for both myself and my geckos…

Hack #3 – fabric hide – for geckos you can usually trust 

leopard gecko care

As leopard geckos are prey in the wild, they will instinctively seek places to hide under, but it’s not convenient to have a hard hide out when you just want to relax and watch TV with your scaled companion.

This is why my fabric hide has absolutely revolutionized my gecko play time. I can provide them with a safe space to sit while they are out of their vivariums, and this has resulted in much calmer geckos, and a much calmer owner.

I came across this idea on an Instagram account I follow @custom.reptile.homes, and she sells these fantastic pyramid-shaped hides (and also many other cool reptile things!) on Etsy.

How do you handle your skittish geckos? Leave any other hacks in the comments section!




  1. I got a baby gecko about a week ago. He’s pretty anxious and he does bite.
    That being said, he is now generally pretty relaxed around me and reacts to the sound I make/his name.
    However, he will not climb on my hand. He either goes in his hide or bites my finger.
    My tank unfortunately opens from the top, so I will usually slowly put my hand in on the opposite side of him and just rest it there.
    As I said, he seems really relaxed around me so I don’t think he sees me as a threat.
    Any tips on how to tame him?


    1. If he’s young then his patterns will develop over time, and towards his shed you may notice him going more pale, but you also may not notice as they tend to hide and be very secretive.

      Regarding handling and taming… I’ve got a category on my blog for this. All my tips I’ve written on there 🙂 good luck with him! X


    2. Hold him a little bit every day. Eventually he will start feeling safe with you. Also their bite is not very hard. It’s more just startling.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much. This has helped me with my leo so much since I got him.He is only 3 months, skittish and is hard to handle, these ideas are so helpful!


  3. Thank you so much for all these different ideas. I got mine 2 months ago and i guess you could say he’s use to me now, and he is still a juvenile so his very skittish. One thing i did do was take him out and then he got away! yea it did not work, he was pretty chill when i took him out but when i put him on the floor, we went under my dresser and stayed there for over an hour! So i took his humid hide and wait for him to come inside and i quickly put the hide inside the tank! And now i don’t trust my self, every time i try to tame him he climbs my hands super quick but i don’t want him to get away so yea:(


    1. I’m really glad these ideas have helped you! Unfortunately for us, leopard geckos just want to seek shelter and will run away in order to get it. I never let mine run around the room because I am certain I’ll never get them back 😊 these techniques all really work for me!


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