Bonding with your Crestie may seem like a way to have another pet to play with every now and then, but it is much more than that. Bonding ensures the well-being of your crested gecko by encouraging interaction between it and its human (you).
Since crested geckos are nocturnal, unlike most other lizards, you will rarely see yours during the day. They typically sleep during the day and come out at night. This is one of the reasons people think that they are “boring” to have as pets; however, if you know how to bond with your crested gecko, you will find that they can make excellent pets.
Can a crested gecko like or love you?
A lot of the questions I receive ask how a new crested gecko owner can get their pet to like them or love them. So first off there is something I would like to say.
Crested Geckos do not process the complex emotions of love and liking, they are intelligent little lizards but love is not in their emotional range. However a crested gecko is capable of forming a bond with you through learning to trust that you are not a threat and actually bring rewards.
Now that is out of the way I want to teach you how to easily gain the trust of your pet crestie so that you can have a great bond.
How to gain the trust of a crested gecko and bond.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to bonding and gaining the trust of your crested gecko easily.
Step 1: Understand Crested Gecko needs and what you can offer.
Cresties are naturally shy. The more time you spend with it, the more it will come to realize that it is a member of your family and will be happier for it. They require a sense of security from their humans. They are not very social animals and hardly come out of their hiding places. It’s best to make sure that there is more than one pair or group in the aquarium together. Having multiple pairs ensures that there are other crested geckos for your pet to interact with.
Step 2: Ensure that their tank is comfortable
The tank needs to be large enough for them to move around and have a place to hide. Cresties enjoy climbing and hiding under rocks so makes sure that there are plenty of rocks to accommodate this.
The tank needs to be well lit, but not overly bright. Crested geckos like darkness but still require lighting so make sure there are some plants or branches for them to climb on for the night. These will also give them places to hide in during the day time when they feel scared. Make sure you get the right decorations for your crested gecko.
Step 3: Hang out near their cage
The cage should be placed in a location where you spend a lot of time in. It’s best to get the crested gecko used to your presence before attempting anything else just in case it gets scared.
You don’t want it to get too stressed out that it starts biting so try not to touch it immediately. While you are near the cage, talk in as soft a tone as possible and talk to the cage often.
The more they come to recognize your voice, the more they will be comfortable being around you and they will approach you when they are ready for that interaction.
Step 4: Give them a cloth or scented toy
It’s best if you give them something with your scent on it. A cloth would do just fine. The idea is that when they familiarise with your smell, they will feel more at ease with being around you. When they get to know you, they will recognize your smell and they will accept that you are not a threat to them.
Step 5: Be patient
Remember that these are wild animals and it will take time for them to warm up to you. Crested geckos were never meant to live in captivity and the only interaction their ancestors had with was their own species.
You may want to take some time out of your day just for bonding with your pet. Do so calmly and slowly at first and then increase as they become more comfortable with being around you. It’s not necessary to spend all day with them. A few hours a week should be sufficient enough to get them to bond with you.
Step 6: Put one hand in their cage and let them approach you
Once they get comfortable with the idea of you being near their cage, it’s time to try getting them to touch you. It’s best to start small and then move on from there. If they don’t object to your hand being near their cage, try slowly closing the distance between your hand and the cage until they are close enough for you to touch them.
You can either put it in the cage and just let them rest on it or you can give him a little stroke or pat on his back. Let see whether they are alright with this and wait for their reaction. Some may accept it right away while others might not be comfortable with this yet.
Just let them go if they are not comfortable with it or place your hand away from them gently before trying again another time.
Step 7: Hand-feed them treats
Food is a big factor in building trust and bonding with your crested gecko. It’s best to give them food that is high in protein like mealworms or crickets. The more you get them used to eat from you, the more they will trust you. Even when they don’t eat from you, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t trust you yet, sometimes they just don’t feel like eating at that moment and that is fine. Just wait for another time and try again then.
Giving your crested gecko a balanced and varied, regular diet will earn some trust points.
Step 8: Let them walk on your hand
Now that they have started to associate you with food, they should be a lot more comfortable around you. If not, then place your hand on top of the cage or gently stroke the side of the cage to get their attention towards your hand before trying to let them climb onto it.
Once again, wait until they are comfortably sitting on top of your hand before attempting anything else like letting them walk over your hand or finger which will help with the next step…
Step 9: Let them walk on you
Place your finger out towards the cage and slowly bring it closer to your hand. The closer they get towards your finger, the more comfortable they will start feeling and it should be a lot easier for them to climb onto it and walk around on you.
If they don’t like it, just let them go and try again another time. Keep in mind that this may take multiple tries before you can successfully get them to trust you enough to climb onto your finger.
It’s important that they are comfortable with walking on your fingers before attempting anything else because this is where you’ll be able to hold them without hurting their tail. It’s also a good way for you both to bond further because now that they are comfortable with being around you, eating from you, and walking on top of you, they will see going into your hands as an opportunity for food rather than as a source of danger.
The process of allowing your crested gecko to bond with you is a long one and takes time. Crested geckos are shy and will not want to be held by strangers so they will not come out of their hiding places. This makes it all the more difficult for them to get used to the idea of being around people.
However, patience is important when bonding with your crested gecko because this type of interaction is essential in order for it to thrive as a pet.
Knowing how to bond with your crested gecko is just a starting point because once you do, there’s no limit in what can be done with this reptile as long as you continue taking good care of it and putting in effort into its well-being every day.