How to Tame Your Crested Gecko?
Crested geckos are awesome reptile pets, but they’re not exactly your typical captive-bred species. Reptiles, in general, are considered semi-tame in the sense that you can feed them, and they will become acquainted with you. But they won’t be tamed to the same degree a dog is.
That’s because reptiles are still wild animals that haven’t had the life journey of dogs or cats. By the way, cats aren’t fully tamed either, if you were wondering.
Today, we will discuss crested geckos, whether you can tame them, to what degree, and how to go about that.
Can Crested Geckos Be Tamed?
Yes, you can tame your crested gecko, but, as I’ve already mentioned, only moderately. Don’t expect your gecko to become fully tamed; bear in mind that it will remain a feral creature at its core.
How Long it Takes to Tame a Crested Gecko?
As we will soon discuss, the time it takes to tame your gecko depends on numerous factors. These include environmental conditions, the habitat’s layout, the reptile’s diet, the gecko’s overall captive experience, and the gecko itself. Geckos are all different individuals, so don’t expect that whatever works for one will also work for another.
I would say you can tame your gecko to a reasonable degree within 2-3 weeks. Obviously, this timeframe varies based on all of the factors I’ve mentioned.
5 Steps to Tame Your Crested Gecko
If you’re getting ready to get your first crested gecko, make sure you understand the basics of interacting with your pet properly. Here are 5 critical points to consider when aiming to tame your gecko fast:
– Comfortable Enclosure
Your gecko must be comfortable and safe before anything else. When it comes to crested geckos, the notion of comfort refers to several areas, such as:
- Habitat layout – Geckos are arboreal reptiles, so they need a variety of climbing areas. Branches and various decorations that allow climbing and resting at elevated spots are absolutely critical for cresties. Make sure gaps between the branches allow your gecko to practice its jumping skills. This is great for the reptile’s physical and mental state.
- Habitat size and shape – Your gecko’s terrarium should be no larger than 30 gallons. This is enough for a typical adult gecko. If the terrarium is larger, your gecko will become stressed and have problems finding food and water. It sounds counterintuitive, given that most other pets do better in larger ecosystems, but geckos are different. Also, the terrarium should have more vertical than horizontal space due to the gecko’s preference for climbing.
- Proper parameters – A temperature gradient is absolutely necessary to support your gecko’s comfort and wellbeing. Upper areas should have temperatures between 80 and 90 F, the middle zone (dwelling area) should go for 72-77 F, and the substrate area should remain around 60-70 F. The gecko will move between the different zones depending on its physiological needs. Humidity should vary between 60 and 80%, which you can maintain via spraying the habitat, using humidifiers, adding live plants, and opting for a moisture-retaining substrate.
You can move to the other points only after your gecko’s habitat has been optimized.
– Hand Feeding
This is the first step towards making your gecko more comfortable with your presence. By hand-feeding your gecko, you’re teaching the reptile to associate you with food. This will gain its trust with time, allowing it to bond with you more.
Always use live food, like a cricket or a roach, to hand feed your gecko at first. These meals will always capture the reptile’s attention. Don’t hold your gecko during these first feeding sessions because the animal is still not accustomed to your presence. Instead, take the cricket next to its mouth and move it around to peak the gecko’s interest.
– Correct Handling
The handling part should always come after you’ve already completed the previous two points. By this point, your gecko should already recognize you as its caretaker and trust you enough to allow for some short handling sessions. Even so, take it slow not to rattle the animal.
To handle your gecko properly:
- Open the enclosure and allow the gecko time to understand you’re going in
- This will peak the gecko’s attention, so you should use slow movements not to scare it away
- Introduce your hand in the enclosure and place it next to the animal
- Your gecko will most likely think it’s feeding time and come close to inspect your hand
- If it looks like the gecko isn’t ready to be grabbed, don’t force it; accept defeat and try again the next day
- Always place your hand next to the gecko and allow it to climb on it on its own
- If your gecko eventually climbs up, keep the hand still inside the enclosure for the first few sessions
Once the animal becomes more comfortable in your hold, you can take it out to hand-feed it or pet it for a bit. Keep in mind that geckos aren’t fond of handling, unlike other species like leopard geckos. This will remain true over the years as well. It doesn’t matter how comfy the gecko gets in your presence, it won’t appreciate long and drawn-out handling sessions.
If your gecko appears uncomfortable and tries to squirm to get away, place it back in its enclosure. Also, don’t handle your gecko if it appears irritable, stressed, or even aggressive. Geckos can get like that sometimes if hungry, shedding, laying eggs, or even sick.
– Calm Talking
Geckos are sensitive to sounds and will react differently to your voice’s inflections. If you scream, speak too loudly, or appear annoyed or angry, your gecko will sense it. This will influence its mood and behavior, making it more nervous and agitated. Always speak calmly near your gecko, especially when feeding or picking it up.
The sound of your voice will calm the animal, providing it with a sense of security and serenity.
Geckos require routine to feel calm, safe, and at peace. The same goes for all animals, humans included. Feed your gecko at the same time of day and have a routine set in stone so that the reptile can learn and adapt to it. This way, the gecko always knows what to expect, which will eventually keep it calmer and tamer.
This may need some practice at first because you’re still not accustomed to your gecko’s habits and preferences. But once you figure them out, everything should fall in place nicely.
Do Crested Geckos Bond with Their Owners?
Yes, but only moderately. In short, the crested gecko will recognize you and tell the difference between you and other humans. But it won’t bond you to the level a dog will. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals, both literally and figuratively, so they don’t really bond with their owners that much.
Geckos don’t show affection, even if they sometimes seem like they do. But you will learn to become more comfortable in your presence and recognize you by your looks, voice, and scent.
Do Crested Geckos Recognize their Owner’s Voice?
Yes, they do. It will take time for them to become accustomed to your voice, but will eventually get there. With time, they will even become more alert at the sound of your voice and begin to chirp, especially if it’s mealtime.
Crested geckos are fascinating creatures that have adapted to life in captivity better than we would have expected. They still have a long way to go, but you should be able to tame your gecko quite well. Follow my tips, adapt them to your unique situation, and see how it goes.