Skip to content

How To Tell If Your Leopard Gecko Is Happy Or Stressed, The Easy Way.

A photo of a happy leopard geckos face

Being able to read your pets emotions is something that can take time to learn but is an essential part of animal ownership. After all you need to know if your pet is sad or happy and this is something that goes when owning a leopard gecko as well.

In this guide I will teach you everything you need to know so that you can tell if your Leopard gecko is happy, or as the case may be, sad.

How to tell if a leopard gecko is happy.

I am going to start this guide with the quick answer for those that may not have the time to read it all. I would recommend sticking around though if you have 5 minutes as there is a lot of valuable information crammed in here.

So how can you tell if a leopard gecko is happy?

Well there are several signs that you can look out for to determine if your leopard gecko is happy. These include basking in the warmth, actively hunting for prey and exploring its tank, flicking its tongue and also some of the many noises leopard geckos make.

lets now take a deeper look into some of the ways that you can work out if your leopard gecko is happy.

How does a Leopard gecko behave when it is happy?

Well this is harder to answer than the opposite side, it is really easy to see when a leopard gecko is sad or stressed but much more difficult to tell if it is happy.

Listed below are the signs that your leopard gecko will be showing if it is happy:

  • A happy leopard gecko will show a willingness to be held and handled without any screaming or tail raising.
  • When a leopard gecko is happy it will have a taste for exploration, this may be in its own tank or when out being handled.
  • Along with exploring, a happy leopard gecko will be climbing branches and rocks in its tank.
  • A happy leopard gecko will actively hunt foods such as live crickets when placed in their tanks.
  • If your gecko goes to toilet regularly it is a sign that it is happy and healthy.
  • Another sign that your gecko is happy and relaxed is when it is out basking in the heat, usually laid flat to the ground.
  • A happy gecko will also have its tongue out frequently, flicking around. This is a sign that your gecko is curios and healthy and tasting the environment around it.
leopard gecko is happy or stressed

This leopard gecko is happy.

How to make a leopard gecko happy.

If you want to make your leopard gecko happy and stop it getting stressed you really need to provide it with the best environment to live in.

The best way to do this is have an amazing tank. I recommend this Exo Terra terrarium on Amazon. It is good value and is perfect for your little friend.

Next up you need to provide your Leo with plenty of hiding places as this keep them happy and reduces stress levels very well. Something like the rock caves you see on Amazon are absolutely perfect.

These are the basic ways that you can spot a happy leopard gecko. Now we will take a look at some of the ways that you can tell if your gecko is sad, stressed and anxious.

How to tell if your leopard gecko is stressed or sad.

Now this is a lot easier to spot, there are some clear characteristics that a leopard gecko will show if it is sad or stressed. Again, I will list them below.

If your leopard gecko is showing any of the signs and symptoms below it could be stressed or unhappy:

  • Spending more time than usual hiding away in its tank where it cannot be seen is a sign that your leopard gecko is stressed or unhappy.
  • Having its tail held upright, this is a sign of fear, anger and stress. It is a natural show that your leopard gecko will give when there is a potential predator around. If you see your gecko like this give it some time and space to calm down.
  •  Make screaming or chirping noises. This is a definite sign that your leopard gecko is stressed and unhappy with the treatment that it is receiving. If you hear these sorts of noises put your gecko down and again give it some time and space. Have a read of this article for more about leopard gecko noises.
  •  Try to climb its tank walls. This is not always a sign of an unhappy gecko but sometimes it can be and is one that needs to be monitored if shown with any of the other signs. Your gecko may be trying to escape from its tank or on the other hand it may just be curious, exploring and digging
A photo of a leopard geckos tail

A leopard geckos tail can tell you if it is happy, stressed or angry

Sometimes a leopard geckos tail might not mean it is stressed.

I mentioned earlier on in this post that a leopard gecko with its tail upright is a scared, angry or stressed gecko. There are times however when a geckos tail movements may not mean these things. These characteristics are worth knowing so that you can distinguish between the different types of tail movements.

A slow shaking wagging tail.

This is one that can quite easily confuse new owners of leopard geckos as it does look as though your gecko is angry. However it is a sign that your gecko is actually on the hunt for prey. You will notice this much more around feeding time or when there is live food in its tank. It is a perfectly healthy and normal sign for your leopard gecko to be showing.

A fast shaking wagging tail.

As above this is all a part of your gecko hunting and will mean that it is just about to jump on its prey. You may also notice this type of tail shaking when a male gecko is in the presence of a female gecko. This is all a part of the mating ritual and is the male geckos way of showing that he has noticed the female and is giving her some attention.

A leopard gecko sleeping with one eye open.

Sometimes you may go to check out your gecko and see that it is sleeping. There is nothing wrong with this, but what if it is sleeping with one of its eyes open? Well believe it or not this is all normal behaviour and is not a sign of an unhappy gecko. It is actually more common that you would believe!

In conclusion.

Looking after leopard geckos can be a very exciting and rewarding way into lizard ownership. It is however vey important that you keep a look out for signs that your lizard is happy or unhappy. It may take time to get used to your geckos character and show of emotions and every gecko can have its own personality just like people do. Over time though you will get used to it and once you do you can truely make sure that your leopard gecko is happy.

If you would like to read more leopard gecko guides on this website check out this link to be taken right there.

Related questions.

Is stress dangerous for a leopard gecko? You may be wondering if stress is bad for a leopard gecko, I mean we get stressed sometimes and are ok? Well actually stress can be very dangerous for a leopard gecko. When a Leo is stressed it tends to be more susceptible to infections and other illnesses, they can also stop eating which will leave them malnourished.

Is it hard to make a leopard gecko happy? Leopard geckos are really easy to keep happy. Just by providing it with the essentials such as warmth, regular food and good hiding spots and furniture to keep it occupied. Gradually building up the handling times also helps a lot.