How to tame a leopard gecko

“How do I tame my leopard gecko?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get on my Instagram, and it was one of the things I was concerned about before I decided to buy mine. After all, you buy such an adorable little pet, its nice to be able to handle them every now and then, not to mention making it a hell of a lot easier to clean their vivariums.

IMG_1343I managed to do this within the first week of getting my leopard geckos, and I’d like to share with you how I did it…

I bought my two leopard geckos at 5 and 6 weeks old, so they were still very young and skittish when I brought them home.

For the first evening and day following them arriving home, they were very shy and didn’t eat any food (totally normal behaviour by the way), but as soon as they did start to venture out and take mealworms from their dish, I started with my taming process.

  1. Open and close the vivarium/ tank door
    Do this every couple of hours, it doesn’t need to be too frequent. They will learn that this sound is nothing to be scared of.
  2. Open the door, and rest your hand with an open palm on the floor
    Leave it there for a few minutes, and try to do it within eyesight of your gecko. Once again, repeat this every now and then, possibly repeating for a couple of days. After this point, my geckos would start to come out slightly and observe my hand a bit closer, and maybe give it a little lick. This is them learning that your hand is not a threat to them.
  3. Try hand-feeding them
    Instead of putting their mealworms in a dish, when you put your open palm into the vivarium, place a mealworm (or waxworm occasionally) onto your open palm, and wait to see if your gecko will eat from your hand. Repeat this for a few days until they are comfortable eating from your palm and associate you with food.
  4. Try to slowly bring them out
    Eventually, my geckos started climbing onto my hand, even when I didn’t have food.
    It was at this point that I started to slowly bring them out of their vivarium, making sure I had a container below my hand in case they decided to jump. If they don’t naturally walk onto my hand, I scoop my hand under their bellies and lift them out this way. I never gram them from above, in case this alarms them as this is ow a predator would capture them.

My male gecko was always a lot easier to handle than my female, and he would always happily sit on me as I watched television. My female was much more nervous, and so I wrote a post to show how I went about handling her: Handling Nervous Leopard Geckos


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