How To Hold A Crested Gecko: Tips On Handling Crested Gecko

how to hold a crested gecko

Bonding with your Crested gecko is what most pet owners strive to. Knowing how to hold a Crested gecko in a safe way is an essential part of gaining your gecko’s trust and building that bond.

If you don’t know how to hold a Crested gecko and you struggle every time you pick them up, it can lead to your gecko not trusting you and even getting hurt trying to get away.

On the other hand, if your gecko is enjoying being held, there is less chance of getting hurt and more chance of you bonding with your reptile pet.

Do Crested Geckos Like To Be Held

Crested geckos are popular for being low-maintenance and easy to care for. One those reasons is that they enjoy being held.

There is a lot of feedback from Crested gecko owners confirming this. Moreover, with the right steps, the Crested gecko can become a very tame reptile pet.

There are many benefits of you holding your Crested gecko. Once you learn how to hold a Crested gecko in safe way, this can result in:

  • Gaining the gecko’s trust
  • Building a bond
  • You’ll be able to hold it to check their health and condition
  • The more its used to being held, the Crested gecko will become more and more relaxed and laid back

Although, most Crested geckos allow to be held and get used to it pretty quickly, there are some Crested geckos that are more nervous. This means that when you pick them up, they might react by nipping, wriggling and trying to get away. If this sounds similar to the personality of your Crested gecko, don’t get discouraged!

To get to the point where your Crested gecko trusts you enough to allow you to handle them frequently, you need to follow the tips and techniques we are going to discuss in this article.

These tips can be useful to anyone from a beginner who’s unsure how to hold a Crested gecko to an experienced reptile owner who’s just brushing up on their knowledge or dealing with a stressed gecko.

How To Hold A Crested Gecko In A Safe Way

Knowing how to hold a Crested gecko in a safe way will result in your gecko enjoy being held and trusting you. The first step is ensuring your gecko is feeling comfortable and safe.

This can be achieved by following these 5 tips:

  • Before you even attempt picking up your gecko, you must ensure that your surroundings won’t cause stress to the little guy. Don’t pick up your gecko if you’re surrounded by many people. In addition, make sure there aren’t any loud noises such as TV, radio, etc. Finally, don’t make any sudden movements that can cause stress to the gecko
  • When holding your Crested gecko, don’t hold it over hard surfaces such as tiles, wooden floors, concrete etc. Even a fall to a carpeted floor from a height can cause damage and stress. Do hold your gecko over a coach or a bed, just in case it wriggles its way out of your hands
  • Another way to keep your gecko safe in case it wriggles its way out of your hands is to hold it close to the ground. Once you pick up your gecko from its enclosure, sit on the ground. Ideally on a carpeted floor
  • The next step is to start practicing hand walking

Hand Walking

Knowing the hand walking is a technique is a must when handling a Crested gecko.

In the wild, Crested geckos are used to climbing. Hand walking mimics that and it can be very fun for your gecko. And that’s exactly what we want to achieve! We want to make this an enjoyable experience that the gecko looks forward to instead of fearing it.

Start off by holding the gecko in the palm of your hand. Then, keep moving your hand in front of the other hand and so on. This way the gecko continues to step up and walks with your moving hands.

If your gecko has a bad experience, it might result in mistrust and hesitation. However, by learning this technique and applying it in the early days, you’ll be helping your gecko feel more calm and slowly build that trust.

Even if your gecko is still feeling hesitant, it’s important to be patient and give it time. As mentioned earlier Crested geckos are known to enjoy being held. Therefore, your gecko will also get there at its own pace.

How Often Should I Hold My Crested Gecko

how to hold a crested gecko

Another important part of understanding how to hold a Crested gecko, is knowing how often you should handle them.

If you have brought a new Crested gecko to your home, you should start handling them after one week and only hold them for 1 to 2 minutes a day to start with. If you start noticing the gecko feeling uncomfortable, return it to its enclosure.

Once two weeks have passed, the Crested gecko should be more settled in. That’s when you can increase the handling time to 10 to 15 minutes.

It’s important to note that how often you should handle your gecko depends on their personality and levels of comfort. If your gecko likes attention and enjoys being handled, you can pick them up more frequently.

However, you should never force it as that can only prolong the time it takes them to trust you.

As a rule, most Crested geckos are fine with being held once a week. This can be done when cleaning their enclosure. This is also a good opportunity to check their overall health and condition.

What Might Happen Whilst You Hold A Crested Gecko

how to hold a crested gecko

As already mentioned Crested geckos enjoy being held once they are used to it. However, it’s important that you’re prepared on what might occur whilst handling your gecko at first. This is especially important to new pet owners.

If you are aware of the possible gecko’s reaction you’re less likely to make any sudden movements that can stress the gecko.

When handling your Crested gecko, there are a few situations that can surprise you such as:

  • Jumping Off
  • Falls
  • The tail might drop
  • They might pee/poop on you

Jumping Off

In their natural environment, Crested geckos spend most of their time in trees and vines. Many times they will jump from branch to branch to escape from a predator. This jump is called “leap of faith”.

In the wild, the Crested gecko will jump in the air, spreading it’s hands and grabbing on whatever it’s on the way down.

It’s important to be familiar with their behaviour in the wild as these habits don’t disappear when kept as pets. You’ll probably find this out quickly when holding your gecko the first few times.

If your gecko leaps off you, you can put your hand out to catch them as they fall. Then they will stick to you like they would to a branch or a vine in the wild. However, you should ensure that your gecko will have a soft landing in case it falls on the floor.

In the wild, their fall is softened by leaves and plants. To ensure their fall is softened when you’re handling them, you need to be close to the ground – either sitting on the sofa or sitting on the floor. If you are sitting on the floor you can place cushions or a soft blanket around you.

Don’t be afraid of your gecko jumping off. This is enjoyable for them and also an opportunity to practice their jumping abilities. As long as you’ve provided them with a safe surface to fall on, let them have fun!

Falls

As mentioned earlier, if you don’t how to hold a crested gecko in a safe way, it can result in your gecko getting stressed, wriggling its way out of your hand and eventually falling on the ground.

That’s why it’s important to prepare for this possibility by ensuring your surroundings are less likely to cause stress. You should ensure:

  • There are no loud noises
  • You’re not surround by many people
  • You’re close to the ground in case it falls
  • You don’t hold your gecko over hard surfaces

Their Tail Might Drop

If your gecko gets too stressed whilst being handled, it can drop its tail. This can be quite shocking to a new pet owner. However, tail drops are not a problem for the gecko as it returns to normal life straight after the event,

To avoid your gecko dropping its tail, keep an eye for the following signs:

  • A big sign of stress to look out for is breathing heavily. This includes the chest moving in and out instead of the relaxed throat pulsation.
  • If you notice their tail twitching or waving, especially in an “S” formation, it might mean they will drop their tail
  • If they make a squeaking noise, it also means they are stressed

They Might Pee/Poop On You

The last thing to remember when handling your gecko is that they might poop or pee on you. This is a type of safe mechanism when they feel stressed or scared.

However, you shouldn’t put them back into the enclosure straight after they have relieved themselves as they will now associate pooping on you with getting out of being held.

Will My Crested Gecko Bite Me

Crested geckos would nip very rarely. However, even if they do, it feels like a quick pinch as their teeth are so small that it almost looks like they don’t have any.

If you are interested in learning more about Crested geckos click here Crested Gecko Information: Everything You Need To Know

Conditions That Affect Crested Gecko’s Reaction To Handling

how to hold a crested gecko

Although, all geckos can be unpredictable, especially when brought to a new environment, there are a few factors that can indicate how difficult a Crested gecko may be to handle.

These factors include:

  • Age
  • Pregnancy

It’s also important to note that these are just phases that geckos grow out of and can become very tame pets.

Age

The ages at which the Crested gecko is most difficult to handle are:

  • When they are babies. Usually, babies are very jumpy and it’s risky to handle them for long periods of time as they might fall and get hurt
  • Teenage geckos. At that age, same as people, the Crested gecko seems to go through mood swings because of their body changing such as growth and hormones.

Pregnancy

Another challenge can be handling a Crested gecko when they are expecting babies. This condition is called “gravid” instead of “pregnant” as geckos don’t give birth.

You should avoid handling gravid females as any stress can cause her to hold onto the eggs and become eggbound.

Another unwanted situation is if you drop a gravid female, it can cause the eggs to rupture inside her. This can be a dangerous internal health issue. Although, this is very rare, you must be cautious.

Lastly, you should also be careful after the female gecko lays her eggs. Usually, the gecko will be nippy and protective over the eggs, so you should avoid handling them.

Tips On How To Hold A Crested Gecko – Summary

how to hold a crested gecko

As mentioned previously, Crested geckos can get stressed and try to escape when handling them. However, there are ways to ensure that not only this doesn’t happen but the experience is actually enjoyable for them.

Follow these 10 tips on how to hold a crested gecko safely and successfully:

  1. If you have a baby Crested gecko, you should not handle them. They are very jumpy at a young age and there is a higher chance of falling and hurting themselves. Once they have grown 3 inches, you can start introducing them to handling
  2. When you bring your Crested gecko home for the first time, it’s essential that you don’t hold them straight away. During the first week, you should observe their health and how they settle in. After two weeks have passed you can start holding your gecko for 1 to 2 minutes each time
  3. To avoid bringing stress to your new gecko during the setting in period, change their food and water in afternoon whilst the gecko is sleeping
  4. When you start introducing your Crested gecko to handling, you can do so whilst you clean their enclosure. This is a great opportunity to check their health and socialize them
  5. The first time you go to pick up your gecko, you should make slow movements such as opening the tank very slowly. Then open your hand to invite the gecko to climb into your palm. You can also use a branch or a cardboard tube to pick it up
  6. It’s recommended to handle your gecko during the day. The reason for that is – in the evening hours, the gecko is much more alert and more likely to want to escape
  7. Learn the technique called “hand walking”. This is when the gecko will walk/jump from one hand to another whilst you’re moving them one in front of the other. This creates a bridge like surface for them to walk. This is an enjoyable experience for your gecko as it gives them the opportunity to practice their natural jumping abilities
  8. Don’t get startled if your gecko poops on you whilst handling. This happens and you must not make sudden movements
  9. Don’t ever grab, squeeze, or hold your gecko its tail
  10. Read the signs. Your gecko won’t be always in the mood to be handled. If they are making a squeaking sound, their tail twitching, waving in an “S” formation or you see their chest moving in and out, it means that they are not comfortable and you should place them back in their enclosure

Final Thoughts

how to hold a crested gecko

Most Crested geckos enjoy being handled and once comfortable with it, they are can become very tame.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that all geckos have a different personality and some might be more nervous when handled.

Learning how to hold a Crested gecko in a safe way should always be the first thing you do before you actually attempt to pick them up. They are fragile animals and various factors can raise their stress levels.

If you follow all the handling tips in this article and learn the “hand walking” technique, you will be providing your Crested gecko with a safe environment where they feel comfortable and can enjoy being handled.

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