Can Day Geckos Be Handled?

Day geckos make for lovable pets, so it’s natural for you to want to hold and cuddle them. But is this a good idea? If you’ve never had a gecko before, you might not think there’s anything wrong with handling a gecko.

This stays true even if you’ve owned other gecko species at some point, like crested geckos.

The truth is that some geckos can be handled more easily than others, and learning is crucial. The reason for that is the geckos’ natural defensive mechanisms.

They will often drop their tails when feeling trapped and will display signs of stress when handled or cuddled for too long.

After all, they are more feral in nature than other pets like dogs.

Do Day Geckos Like Being Handled?

No, most day geckos don’t like being handled. Fortunately, some species will tolerate the handling behavior, but not for long.

And you need to display extra caution about it. Day geckos have notoriously fragile and thin skins which can rupture when handled improperly.

This may sound like a biological fault, but it’s actually an evolutionary advantage. Geckos have a variety of predators in the wild from all walks of life. Birds, reptiles, mammals, and even spiders will hunt the gecko relentlessly.

In this case, having a detachable tail and a thin skin can prove to be assets rather than faults.

The lizard will often escape its predator’s claws or teeth by taking advantage of its skin or tail breaking down. The problem is that the lizard’s physiology doesn’t know the difference between a genuine predator and a human hand looking to hold and pet.

So, you should avoid holding or petting your day gecko to prevent any such injuries.

Or, at the very least, do it with extreme caution.

How Do You Handle a Day Gecko?

First, you need to understand the gecko’s physiology. These reptiles don’t have much social behavior, so they’re not used to interacting with other animals too intimately. Holding your gecko and petting, it falls into that category.

So, before doing that, consider the following:

  • Only hold or handle your gecko whenever necessary; don’t do it as part of a petting routine
  • Always make sure your gecko is comfortable with you before holding it. Don’t handle new geckos that have just been added to the environment. First, give the reptile some time to learn its surroundings and get accustomed to your presence
  • Increase your approach gradually over time. First, place your finger or hand in front of the lizard. Then, maybe touch its back a bit. The gecko needs to grow comfortable with your touches gradually, little by little.
  • Once you’ve completed all these milestones, allow your gecko to climb on your hand by itself. Some geckos will do it sooner, others later, others never. It’s all about patience and luck.
  • If you absolutely need to handle the gecko for various reasons (cleaning its habitat, taking it to the vet, etc.), always do it with care and gentle moves. Don’t squeeze the animal.

Most importantly, keep in mind that not all geckos are the same. Some will get accustomed to the handling process sooner, while others will forever despise it.

They may even bite in some cases when they feel they have no other option. So, always learn your gecko’s behavior before handling them to avoid that.

Even if the biting itself doesn’t hurt or cause any damage. It’s all about preventing your gecko from experiencing the stress that’s causing it to bite in the first place.

Can You Tame a Day Gecko?

If by taming you mean getting the gecko to become accustomed to your presence, then yes, you can tame it. But you can’t tame it, in the same manner, you could a Bearded Dragon, a crested gecko, or a Leopard gecko. These lizards can become quite friendly, allowing you to handle them somewhat regularly.

Day geckos don’t fall into that category. They will tolerate your presence, learn to recognize you, and even eat out of your fingers at times. But that’s about the full extent of the taming process.

I would advise against handling or petting your day gecko too often to prevent unnecessary stress and physical injuries.

Day geckos are known to shed their tails at the first sign of trouble. The pain and anguish aren’t worth it even if the tail grows back.

What is the Best Gecko for Handling?

I don’t think there is one gecko species more tamable than others. However, if I were to choose one, I would go with the crested gecko.

These arboreal reptiles have a laid-back demeanor and won’t mind the occasional handling and cuddling.

Especially since they are nocturnal animals, so they will display low levels of energy during the day. So long as you’re gentle about it, you can handle a crested gecko from time to time.

Leopard geckos make for another good choice in this sense. These are also nocturnal lizards that move slowly and don’t mind being held too much.

However, just as with any geckos, you should always be gentle about it.

Conclusion

Day geckos are not your typically cuddly pet. They like solitude for the most part and don’t appreciate being held or petted too frequently.

This varies slightly depending on the gecko’s personality.

The goal is to learn your gecko’s habits and behavior and adapt to those. In other words, the gecko will tame you than the other way around.

Geckos   Reptiles   Updated: July 8, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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