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Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

How To Handle Your Crested Gecko The Right Way in 2023

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by The Pet Engineers

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Crested geckos are known to be solitary in nature. And it is true to an extent – you cannot expect your pet crested gecko to cuddle up and show affection the way your pet cat or dog would.

It is not because they dislike cuddling but because they are not capable of feeling these emotions in the first place.

But, this should not dishearten you. You can learn to bond with your crested gecko by handling it.

The key to successfully handling your crested gecko is patience. You need to let the crested gecko take its own time. Don’t rush the process.

Key Takeaway:
Crested geckos take quite some time to get used to handling. Adult and juvenile crested geckos should be handled for up to 15 minutes at a time. Baby crested geckos shouldn’t be handled at all. Patience and a slow introduction to handling is the best way to go.

Do Crested Geckos Like To Be Handled?

Sadly, crested geckos do not like being handled too much. But every crested gecko has a unique personality that defines its unique preferences for being handled.

If your crested gecko is naturally friendly, then once it acclimates to the new tank and to your presence, it will enjoy being handled.

In fact, if you’re lucky, your crested gecko may be so friendly and social that it runs up and down your arm happily.

In most cases, however, crested geckos prefer being left alone. Gradually, your crested gecko will become more and more used to your presence and being handled by you.

crested gecko
Crested geckos generally don’t like being handled

How Often Should You Handle Your Crested Gecko?

When you are just starting out with handling your crested gecko, you should handle it once every two or three days.

This will give your crested gecko enough time to process the handling and get used to it over time.

You may need to get creative and use treats for building trust.

Once your crested gecko is comfortable with handling, you can handle it every day for no longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Any longer than 15 minutes can stress your crested gecko out.

When Can I Start Handling My Crested Gecko?

The answer to when you can start handling your crested gecko is in two parts:

The Size Of Your Crested Gecko

You should only handle your crested gecko when it is above 10 grams in weight. If you have a baby crested gecko below 10 grams, you should only handle it when necessary.

This is because crested geckos are naturally skittish. Baby crested geckos are all the more skittish.

And they are light, considering how they are less than 10 grams in weight. So, if it gets skittish and jumps off your hand, your crested gecko may injure itself.

The Acclimatization Of Your Crested Gecko

crested gecko on leaf
Let your crestie get used to it’s environment

If you have just brought your crested gecko home recently, you should wait for 2 to 4 weeks before you start handling it.

A crested gecko will need that time to acclimate to its new surroundings and gradually get used to your presence.

In that period, try feeding your crested gecko with your hand every now and then. This will help in building trust and make your crested gecko feel safe around you.

How Long Can You Handle A Crested Gecko For?

When you first start out with the handling process, don’t extend beyond a minute. Slowly, go on increasing the duration of handling your crested gecko.

Over time, you will be able to reach 5 minutes of handling.

If you handle your crested gecko for 5 minutes every day, or at least once every 2 days, your crested gecko will get more comfortable.

Eventually, you can handle your crested gecko for 15 minutes at a time. This is the maximum threshold of handling, though.

Handling your crested gecko for longer than 15 minutes will lead to stressing your crested gecko out.

holding a crested gecko
Crested geckos should be handled 15 minutes at a time

How Long Should I Wait To Handle My Crested Gecko?

Depending on the age of crested geckos, you should not handle a crested gecko that has not yet crossed 6 months of age.

Crested geckos below the age of 6 months weigh less than 10 grams and are more skittish than older crested geckos.

So, they are at a greater risk of injuries if they jump suddenly from your hand.

Depending on the acclimatization period, you should give your crested gecko enough time to get used to its new tank and to your presence.

That can take anywhere between 2 weeks and a whole month.

So, in all, you should wait for 2 to 4 weeks before you handle your crested gecko after bringing it home.

And if your crested gecko is a hatchling when you get it, you will need to wait until it starts weighing a minimum of 10 grams – and that could take up to 6 months.

How To Handle Your Crested Geckos

Handling your crested gecko needs patience and calm body language. Crested geckos are skittish by nature.

So, you need to be calm and cautious when you lift your crested gecko in your hands.

Adult

Handling an adult crested gecko is relatively easier. However, make sure you have first allowed the crested gecko to get used to the tank.

After at least 2 to 4 weeks of acclimatization, you can start trying to handle your crested gecko.

Simply start by keeping your hand inside the tank of the crested gecko with your palm facing upwards.

Then, you need to let the crested gecko come onto your palm. Never forcibly pick up a crested gecko when it is not ready.

Once your crested gecko climbs onto your palm, you can gently lift it up. Observe its body language.

If it starts getting too skittish, safely keep your crested gecko back inside the tank.

Don’t be scared and don’t immediately keep your crested gecko back down if it poops on you.

That is an expected reaction and if you keep it down as soon as it poops on your palm, it will teach it to poop on your palm whenever it doesn’t want to be handled.

Instead, be observant of body language.

And after 3 to 5 minutes, keep your crested gecko back in the tank. You can gradually increase the time of handling.

Juvenile

Juvenile crested geckos below the age of 6 months should only be handled if there is an emergency.

Otherwise, you should not handle it. And if your juvenile crested gecko is above 6 months of age, you can start handling it for 3 to 5 minutes at a time.

Use the aforementioned steps for handling your crested gecko, but remember that for juveniles, the handling time should be up to 5 minutes only.

They are easily excitable and more skittish than adult crested geckos.

Baby

baby crested gecko
Baby crested geckos shouldn’t be handled

Baby crested geckos should not be handled for bonding. It will backfire. Only pick up a baby crested gecko if you absolutely have to for some urgent reason.

Otherwise, baby crested geckos should not be handled. You can get them used to your presence by being near their tank.

You can even feed them by hand once they start eating. But don’t handle them until they are at least 6 months old and weigh at least 10 grams.

How Do You Grab A Crested Gecko?

You should gently grab a crested gecko from below.

Slide your palm beneath the belly of your crested gecko and use your thumb to apply gentle but firm pressure on top to prevent your crested gecko from suddenly jumping off your palm.

What To Remember When Handling A Crested Gecko

Some points to remember when handling a crested gecko include:

  1. Always be observant of the body language of your crested gecko. If it is getting too uncomfortable and distressed, keep it inside the tank.
  2. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and use an antiseptic sanitizer before and after handling your crested gecko. This will prevent you from either transmitting germs to or getting infected by your crested gecko.
  3. Keep a paper towel and cup ready because sometimes crested geckos poop when they are first handled.
  4. Never go beyond 15 minutes when handling your crested gecko. You can handle your crested gecko every day or every other day – that depends on your pet’s preferences.
  5. Never forcibly lift your crested gecko up – especially not from the top or the tail. Always slide the palm beneath its belly and apply pressure from the top using your thumb.

Crested Gecko Signs Of Stress When Being Handled

fired up crested gecko
Firing up when being handled is a sign of stress

Observing the body language of your crested gecko is very important when handling it. Some signs of stress when your crested gecko is being handled are:

  • Squeaking, barking, or other vocalizations.
  • Trying to jump off the palm.
  • Aggression and trying to bite your palm.
  • In the worst case, dropping the tail.
  • Firing up.

Summary

Handling your crested gecko is one way of bonding with it. Crested geckos are not capable of showing affection the way cats and dogs do.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot bond with your crested gecko. The key is to be patient, observant, and calm.

About
The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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