If you are a new crested gecko parent and you are wondering if your crestie wants to be held, we get you!
It is only normal to get frustrated as a new crested gecko parent as there is so much to figure out about your pet.
And like any other pet parent, affection is an important part of the bond you share with your pet.
Many crested gecko parents have a common query; do crested geckos like to be held? Do they like being caressed? Is affection an important part of their personality? Well, in this article, we are going to resolve all these doubts, so continue reading!
Do Crested Geckos Like to be Held?
When it comes to crested geckos, it is important to note that they have tender, affectionate, and friendly personalities, as compared to their gargoyle counterparts.
They are pretty docile and are tolerant of slight inconveniences. But crested geckos are not the best when it comes to being held. They do not LOVE being held. And in fact, they mostly avoid it. They are jumpy and curious and therefore it is hard to keep them still in one place.
This is a common tendency in most lizards. They do not like to be held. But when it comes to pet lizards, the good part is that you can train them according to your preference.
Crested geckos are pretty shy at first and they don’t easily trust their new owners. Therefore, it is inconvenient for them to open up to you. However, once they open up, they can be held for short durations if you approach them tenderly.
If you are a new crested gecko parent, take it slow. Touch your lizard only after it has somewhat become habitual of its new surroundings. After a few days, you can start slowly. Be very calm and patient as lizards can easily get upset if you act desperately. This will also break their trust in you.
Signs That Your Crested Gecko Like to be Held
While at first, you can get confused about whether or not your pet likes to be held. But a sure-shot way of figuring this out is through monitoring their body language.
If your gecko naturally feels safe around you, the chances are that eventually, it will hop onto your palm as well. Now, how to tell if your gecko feels safe around you? It is very simple.
If your gecko feels safe, it will be able to stay near you for longer durations and carry a calm demeanor while it is around you. The gecko will also feel free to jump onto your arms and shoulders as it feels safe.
If your gecko doesn’t run away by seeing you, then it is a sign it has started trusting you.
Have you noticed if your gecko is excited when you are around its enclosure? It is a sign that your gecko is excited to see you. As mentioned before, geckos are friendly and warm personalities. But when it comes to wanting to be held, that’s a whole other story!
If your gecko has opened up to you, it will start giving signs if it wants to be held. Those include excitement and a jumpier-than-usual gecko. Your pet will progress towards you by itself it feels okay to be touched. Remember, you don’t have to push too hard!
If a crestie wants to be held and is okay to be held, it will make it known to you. It is all about trust and belongingness. After all, lizards are affectionate creatures too.
Signs that Your Crested Gecko Doesn’t Like to Be Held
If your crested gecko doesn’t like to be held. The gecko will give some clear signs to you.
If a crested gecko doesn’t like to be held, it will resist coming near you. If you get closer, it will start jumping and behaving weirdly. This is a sign that your gecko is feeling threatened to see you and doesn’t feel safe around yet.
When you hold your gecko, it will resist your hands and become restless in your palm. And as soon as you drop it down, it will head to its hiding place.
You will get to know if your gecko is still not familiar with you. It will have a restless disposition and it won’t come toward you naturally. If the gecko is familiar, it will forge toward you on its own without much insistence on your end. But if the reptile is not familiar yet, it will have a hard time opening up to you.
In this case, it will become difficult to hold your gecko in your hands because it still doesn’t feel safe around you.
Swinging Tail in S Shape
Another sign that tells your gecko simply doesn’t want to be near you is if it swings its tail in an S shape. This is a sign of aggression and frustration. If your gecko is swinging its tail in this manner, you shouldn’t try to hold it as this will further aggravate your gecko and it might end up biting you.
Usually, crested geckos don’t bite very easily. Due to their docile personality, they don’t like biting their owners or any stranger for that matter. So if they bite, that has to be in acute circumstances where they feel very threatened.
This can happen if you forcefully try to touch your gecko. Remember, consent is always important. Yes, even in the case of reptiles!
Always pay attention to the signs your gecko is giving you. If it hasn’t opened up yet, it is best to try again after a few days and go slow. Very carefully win the trust of your gecko. Only then will it feel okay being held by you!
How to Properly Handle Your Crested Gecko
A new crested gecko parent should keep the following details in mind while handling a crested gecko.
Hold it Near the Ground
This is a great beginner-friendly tip. If your gecko is not familiar with its new surroundings, the chances are it won’t feel safe being elevated to a higher level especially if that means coming in contact with its owner.
Therefore it is best to place your hand on the ground and let the gecko come to you naturally. This way you are not forcing anything and therefore the gecko will feel safer.
This is also a great way to give your gecko the idea that you are a safe and trustworthy authority. If you stretch your hands out to touch your gecko, the gecko will get a wrong sign, but if you just place your hand on the ground, the gecko will eventually be able to come to you.
Do Not Touch at First
When you are a new parent, make sure to give your gecko some time before it fits into its new habitat. It is not unusual to not see your gecko at all at first because it will be in its hiding spot most of the time.
This is just a sign that your gecko is still adjusting to the new surroundings and therefore, you should just let it be on its own.
Touching your gecko during this time is not a good idea at all!
Take it Slow
When you are touching your gecko for the first time, make sure you pay heed to its body language and act accordingly. If your gecko is scared, it will resist your hands and become restless in your palms and it might even jump off your hand.
Therefore, take it slow and gentle at first. Once your pet is aware that you are harmless, it will try to explore around itself, and then holding it won’t be problematic at all!
How Long Should We Handle Our Crested Gecko
Even when you hold your crested gecko, it is important to keep in mind the duration of it.
Naturally, crested geckos do not like being held for longer durations. They are arboreal creatures and they do not want to remain in one place for long because they love to jump around and explore.
But if you want to hold your gecko regularly, make sure you do it only for 10-15 minutes a day.
This is the ideal duration. Holding your gecko for way too long will make it restless. As soon as the gecko starts to feel a little restless, it will want to get off your hands. In this case, you should drop your gecko in its enclosure as soon as it becomes restless.
So the ideal duration of holding your gecko varies from pet to pet but to give an idea, 10 minutes a day is a perfect number that fits almost every gecko more or less.
Holding your gecko once a day is more than enough as they naturally do not like being touched. So limiting the count to just once per day is great to build a connection with your pet without being forceful.
Benefits of Petting Your Crested Gecko
There are many benefits of petting a crested gecko especially if it’s your pet. The number one benefit is that of bonding.
When you caress your gecko, it will eventually start to feel safe around you. At first, it might resist being touched but the good thing is that it will make this known. However, after a few trials and errors, your gecko will get used to being touched.
Once it gets used to being touched, it will look forward to being held by its owner. It will want to jump around your shoulders and body because it has started feeling safe in your company and it is no more threatened.
At this stage, your gecko will start liking to be caressed. Gentle caresses and petting will make it feel loved. This is a great way of showing affection to your pet. Gradually, your bond with your pet will become stronger not only because there’s physical petting involved but also trust and friendship.
So, even though lizards are naturally touch-repulsive, they will become habitual to caresses and gentle strokes if you can win their trust as an owner.
Do Crested Geckos Bond With Humans?
They bond with humans and there are ways they show affection to their owners. If your gecko feels affectionate towards you, it will naturally want to come near you and not run away into hiding on seeing you.
Geckos develop a bond with their owner over some time. And they are not as expressive as a cat or a dog. Remember, they are a reptile. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. They love their owners!
Crested Geckos are reptiles and just like other reptiles, they do not like to be touched.
But as a pet owner, if touch is an important aspect of bonding with your pet, then you can train your gecko accordingly.
By taking it slow and calm, you can win the trust of your gecko and eventually it will become habitual of being touched or held!