Reptiles, amphibians, or any other living creature for that matter, have feelings. They can feel happiness, stress, and aggression pretty much like we humans do. What they cannot do, however, is express or speak about these emotions.
When it comes to the feelings of a gecko, there are some signs you can look out for to know if it is facing some problem. Reptile owners who have experience of owning a gecko will instantly know when their gecko is stressed or unwell. But for first-time owners, it may not be an easy feat. So, how to tell if Leopard Gecko is Happy?
To help out here, we have listed down some signs of a happy Leopard Gecko.
5 Signs of a Happy Leopard Gecko
It is easy to spot a happy leopard gecko. Some of the signs which show it is happy are the following:
1. Your Gecko Will Be Active
When a Leopard gecko is happy, it will be active. It can be seen switching from a cool place to a warm one inside its enclosure. A happy Leopard gecko will come closer to the glass whenever it sees you or is hungry.
2. Increased Appetite
A Leopard gecko will have an increased appetite when it is happy and healthy. Leopard geckos love to eat. If your gecko is anticipating food and gives you clues when it is hungry, it means it is happy. On the other hand, if a Leopard gecko is refusing to eat and seems uninterested in food, it may be a sign of some health-related issue.
Though leopards can do well without food for some time, it is better to take it to a vet and get it thoroughly examined.
3. Smooth Movements
Leopard geckos move smoothly when they are relaxed. There is no fear in their movements. A relaxed gecko will move around smoothly and effortlessly. An unhappy or stressed gecko, on the other hand, will jerk and shake. It also waves its tail whenever it is scared or stressed.
4. No Aversion to Touch or Be Held
A happy Leopard gecko will not be aversive towards being held or touched. It will readily welcome to be handheld. If your gecko is alert and responds when you go near its enclosure, doesn’t show signs of fear when held or touched, and is reactive to the movement around its tank, it means it is happy and healthy.
Otherwise, they wouldn’t respond to any kind of movement around them. When a gecko seems sluggish or uninterested in its surroundings, it means it is unhappy or unhealthy.
5. Healthy Sleep Pattern
One sure way to know whether or not a Leopard gecko is merry is to check its sleep cycle. A happy Leopard gecko will have a healthy sleep pattern. These geckos are known to sleep a lot. So, finding your gecko sleeping more than the other pets or reptiles you have owned doesn’t mean anything serious. However, there is a difference between sleeping a lot and being inactive or sluggish. If you find your gecko is showing signs of lethargy, it may mean he is not feeling well.
However, if it sleeps well but is active during the time it is awake, it is a sign that your gecko is happy.
How to Make a Leopard Gecko Happy?
Now that we know how to tell if a Leopard gecko is happy, it is important to do things that will keep a gecko contented and happy.
Terrarium Size, Temperature, and Humidity
First things first, you need to provide a Leopard gecko with a comfortable living environment. Invest in a terrarium or enclosure that goes well with the gecko’s size. A tank too small or too big will make your gecko uncomfortable. The perfect size of a tank for a Leopard gecko should be between 15 – 20 gallons.
Go through the growth chart of Leopard geckos, and make sure that the size of its terrarium conforms to its size.
The tank should also have enough hiding places for a gecko to hide when it is stressed or is scared. If you are housing a male and female gecko together in one enclosure, provide each with separate hiding places.
A comfortable temperature range for a gecko’s terrarium should be between 87 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the hot side. For the cool side, it should be between 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity levels should be maintained at around 30 – 40% for a gecko’s terrarium.
Provide Healthy Diet
Another way to ensure your gecko stays healthy and happy is to provide it with a nutritious and balanced diet. A Leopard gecko primarily feeds upon live insects and worms. They can also be given wax worms, but care should be taken not to make it a habit. It should only be given as a treat once a week.
Leopard geckos need to be fed every other day. The right way to decide upon the quantity of food is to feed your gecko with two insects for an inch of their body length. Apart from food, a gecko should have access to clean and fresh water all the time. By taking care of these things, you will have a happy Leopard gecko.
How to Tell if My Leopard Gecko is Stressed?
After we have discussed how to tell if a Leopard gecko is happy and have learned the tips to keep a gecko happy, we would now look into the signs of a stressed gecko. This way, you can know when your gecko is not feeling well and needs to be taken to a vet.
- An unhappy gecko will be inactive. It will be lethargic and unresponsive.
- Another sign to know a Leopard gecko is stressed is that he will keep his eyes shut even if it is awake.
- Leopard geckos start avoiding their food when they are stressed or scared. If you notice your gecko is not eating its food or is losing weight, it means it is unhappy and needs attention.
- When a Leopard gecko is sad or anxious, you will notice he is moving quickly or with jerks. It may also wave its tail and make a loud noise. All these signs indicate a gecko is unhappy and stressed.
If you notice any of these signs in your gecko, you should take it to a vet to rule out any serious health-related issue. Before that, you can also try making changes to its environment and living conditions and see if that makes any difference. Sometimes, a change in the lighting of a tank or adjusting its temperatures or humidity level makes a gecko feel calm and happy.
What to do if My Leopard Gecko is Unhappy?
As mentioned earlier, an unhappy gecko signals an issue with its health. If you notice your gecko is not its usual happy self, it needs care. To make your gecko feel better, you can try doing the following:
- Take your Leopard gecko to the vet’s clinic. As we already know an unhappy gecko may show signs of lethargy and a loss of appetite, it may be because it has some serious health issues.
- Sometimes, all a gecko needs is privacy. Let your gecko be on its own for some time, and it may become happy and active again. If you find your gecko waving its tail whenever you hold or touch it, it means it doesn’t want to be held and wants to be left alone. So, give your gecko a chance to be alone, and it will make it a happy Leopard gecko.
- Make changes to the environment of a gecko whenever you feel it is sad or uncomfortable. A gecko can easily become stressed by outside stimuli such as noise. To make your gecko feel safe and calm, keep its tank in a peaceful and less-noisy area in the house.
Any living creature can become stressed but what matters the most is understanding the signs and resolving them in time. By reading and doing a little research, anyone can easily know how to tell if Leopard gecko is happy. The signs of stress as well as happiness are easy to spot and can be resolved with little effort. Providing your gecko with a comfortable living environment and a balanced diet is important for a stress-free and happy Leopard gecko.