Are you interested in Things That Will Stress Your Leopard Gecko? This guide is for you!
All living things must go through stress at one time or another. As animals grow, they’re likely to encounter different experiences and resolve new challenges.
Just like most living things, leopard geckos are exposed to stress.
Elevated stress levels can compromise your leopard gecko’s health. As such, you must devise effective ways to identify and mitigate your pet’s stress factors. This will uniquely position you to provide your leopard gecko with a lifetime of good health and happiness.
How Do I Know My Leopard Gecko is Stressed?
You must identify with your pet’s behavior and personality early on. This will enable you to quickly notice when this animal starts behaving erratically.
Animals change their behavior and disposition when stressed. Your leopard gecko is no exception; you’ll realize a remarkable deviation from its habits to signify it is stressed.
The important thing here is to identify your pet’s critical stress factors, and change the circumstances as soon as things start to get out of line.
If your leopard gecko is stressed and uncomfortable with its living arrangements, it will give you clues like:
- Poor feeding habits
- Glass surfing
- Irregular bowel movements
- Being skittish
- Tail wagging
- Aggressiveness and hostility
- Hiding unnecessarily
What Stresses My Leopard Gecko?
#1 – Poor Nutrition
Leopard geckos have specific nutritional needs. For example, did you know that your pet is purely carnivorous?
Leopard geckos relish a meal of fresh, live insects. Therefore, feeding your leopard gecko unsuitable food, such as fruits and vegetables, is bound to elevate its stress levels.
Your animal is not biologically equipped to handle some diets, and you must be careful what you feed him.
At the same time, leopard geckos are known for being picky eaters. So giving your pet insects that are too big or toxic will harm him.
You’ll realize your gecko is not happy when he has trouble eating. If he refuses to eat, this leads to hunger, another cause of stress.
Some insects, such as superworms, can bite and should be handled carefully. At the same time, monitor your pet’s feeding habits to avoid overfeeding, which is also likely to elevate his stress levels.
#2 – Inadequate Living Space
Leopard geckos are not too demanding in terms of space. However, they need adequate space to move about and do their thing.
Your leopard gecko is not happy if its living space is too restrictive. Just like with human beings, a cramped living space causes elevated stress levels for your pet.
As a youngster, your leopard gecko needs a 10-gallon tank. However, this need increases with age. Therefore, adult leopard geckos are best housed in a 20-gallon tank.
Your primary concern as a caring keeper should be that your pets live in clean, healthy, and comfortable enclosures.
One way of ensuring this is by providing tanks commensurate with your geckos’ age and size. If you have the space and funds, don’t hesitate to set up a setup that includes 40 or 50-gallon tanks.
Also, equip these tanks with everything your gecko needs to lead a good life. But, giving your pet adequate space to chase after animals and relax as the need arises is best.
#3 – Inappropriate Temperature
Leopard geckos are ectotherms – they depend on external heat sources to generate energy.
He will be stressed if you subject your leopard gecko to unfavorable temperature gradients.
House your pet in an environment that enables you to monitor and control the temperature gradient. One cause of your pet’s erratic behavior could be either the tank being too warm or too cold.
If you want your gecko to be happy, provide a hot and cold zone in the enclosure. The gecko moves to the hot zone when he needs to heat up, and hides in the cool zone when he needs to cool off.
With the right effort, you can develop the proper lighting and heating setup to make your pet’s life a breeze.
#4 – Growing Pains
With growth comes new experiences and encounters. Every animal experiences challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood.
Your leopard gecko’s behavior change could be because he is undergoing gecko puberty. As a growing youngster, your gecko will want to explore more.
He may encounter painful experiences, such as being bitten by bugs, in the process. Your leopard geckos also experience elevated stress levels during breeding time.
Find out why your female gecko has suddenly turned moody. For example, if she becomes skittish, refuses to eat, and starts surfing the glass, she’s likely looking for a male to fertilize her eggs.
Teenage geckos are also known to exhibit erratic behavior. Therefore, you need to be patient in dealing with your fast-growing lizard.
#5 – Poor Lighting Conditions
A leopard gecko is very sensitive to lighting conditions. Therefore, if the lighting is poor, you can be sure it affects your pet’s behavior and disposition.
It is a misconception to imagine that because geckos are creatures of the night, they don’t need lighting during the day.
The truth is that they need light during the day to stabilize their internal clock.
Does My Leopard Gecko Need Bright Lights?
Your leopard gecko does not need very bright light. However, very bright lights are a distractor and are likely to agitate your pet.
Use just enough light. Too much light could also cause unfavorable temperature changes in the tank. Some experts opine that instead of using bright lights to heat up the tank, use ceramic heaters.
You could also opt to use heat-emitting light bulbs that don’t produce bright light.
For a 10-gallon tank for the younger geckos, bulbs between 30W and 45W are good enough.
For the larger 20-gallon tanks for adult geckos, 60W-100W should provide adequate lighting without messing up the temperature.
Also, provide adequate dark spots in the tank where your leopard gecko can hide if he wants to avoid bright light.
To save on save, you can also make the wet hide the dark spot.
Can I Use Florescent Light in My Leopard Gecko’s Tank?
Do not use fluorescent bulbs in your leopard gecko’s tank, as these lights could be too bright for your pet’s liking.
The rule of thumb here is to use lighting that doesn’t interfere with the other elements of the tank.
Remember, your goal in setting up the enclosure is to provide ideal living conditions for your leopard gecko.
If the lights you have in mind compromise with this goal in any way, a better alternative should be quickly sorted.
Instead of using fluorescent lights, use daylight or incandescent bulbs. This should provide adequate lighting without stressing your pet.
Similarly, choose UVB lights that dim. Bright UVB lights will likely interfere with your pet’s eyes and make him continuously restless.
#6 – Disease and Sickness
Nobody likes being sick. The fevers and pains cause behavioral changes in anyone. Your leopard gecko feels the same way, too.
If your leopard gecko is attacked by parasites, he will change his personality and disposition. For example, he may become moody, gloomy, or aggressive.
Here are a few clues that your leopard gecko is sick:
- Refuses food
- Abnormal dropping
- Failure to shed
- Hiding unnecessarily
- Food regurgitation
- Severe weight loss
You need to know your pet well to understand its motivation for behavior change. For example, if your pet maintains a low profile during their day, this is perfectly in line with their nature.
You see, your leopard gecko is crepuscular. This means they are most active at dusk and dawn. They like resting, sleeping, or hiding during the day.
However, when your leopard gecko is sick, this clock is disarranged, and your pet’s life becomes unpredictable and chaotic.
#7 – Being Bullied by Other Geckos
In the animal kingdom, competition for resources of often stiff, and survival is for the fittest. Your leopard gecko may be stressed because he is bullied by bigger geckos.
Two male geckos in the same tank are also likely to keep fighting. Each will want to take charge of the territory by kicking the other out.
Can I have Different Habitats for My Geckos?
Separating your leopard geckos into different habitats will be a good idea if they are not getting along.
For example, create different colonies for different males. Also, consider separating female geckos from the baby; they are known to be in constant conflict.
At the same time, separate your geckos by age. Smaller geckos should not be housed with their bigger counterparts as they are likely to be picked on.
What If I Can’t Separate My Leopard Geckos?
Separating your geckos requires adequate resources. If you can’t access such resources at the moment, you can house your geckos together – but you need to take extra care.
Come up with a setup that allows each leopard gecko to be comfortable. For example, you can create a unique hide for each animal, so they don’t have to keep fighting for such resources.
It’s also recommended that you use a big tank – around 30-50 gallons, depending on the intended population.
Creating adequate space for all your lizards to maneuver their way around is essential.
However, putting males of varying sizes together may not be a good idea. They are likely to fight and bully each other a lot.
#8 – Shedding Problems
Leopard geckos shed their skin as they grow older. This happens in many phases, and you should embrace it as a natural process in your pet’s life.
However, some leopard geckos experience problems when shedding. When this happens, your pet’s behavior and demeanor may radically change.
How Does My Leopard Gecko Shed?
As your leopard gecko grows, its old skin becomes too tight, and it has to be shed, and new skin grows in its stead.
Adult geckos shed more frequently than younger ones. You can expect the adults to shed every two weeks, while young geckos shed monthly.
However, this is not cast in stone and may differ from one animal to another.
Leopard geckos tend to change their behavior when this process takes place. For example, they become more withdrawn, hide a lot, and may become unreceptive to your overtures.
Shedding leopard geckos also tend to skip meals for days.
Does Shedding Cause My Leopard Gecko to be Moody?
It’s normal for your leopard gecko to hide away every now and then. After all, this is why their hide is considered an essential aspect of the enclosure.
All the same, your leopard gecko tends to hide more when he’s shedding. This indicates he does not want to be handled, and wants nothing to do with you.
Hiding could be a sign they find your presence intrusive. For example, your gecko is stressed because you have come to provide him with food or clean his enclosure.
To mitigate this problem, do things that assure your gecko things will be fine. For example, go ahead and clean the tank, change the water, and provide him with the food he needs.
At the same time, you could soak him in a warm bath to help him with the shedding process.
#9 – A Noisy Environment
Your leopard gecko needs to relax in a quiet and peaceful environment. If you have noticed a recent change in your pet’s behavior, it could be because of noise pollution.
Do you leave your TVs, speakers, phones, and radios too loud? Do you play loud music in your home?
You may want to shield your leopard gecko from all that noise, as it will likely compromise his health. However, this is not to say that you should make your pet’s environment as quiet as a grave.
Leopard geckos need to live a normal life surrounded by nature’s normal sounds and sights. Keep the noise low.
Any noise interrupting the life of a sensitive human will likely cause stress to your leopard gecko.
How Do I Set Up a Quiet Place for My Leopard Gecko?
Your pet’s living space should be designed to offer maximum comfort to your reptile friend. After all, you have adopted him to give him a good life and not subject him to pain and misery.
Set up the enclosure in a quiet place – away from areas likely to produce unwanted noises. You may want to avoid areas with heavy traffic, such as kitchens and living rooms.
You can set up the tank in your study or bedroom. This should be where you spend some time daily to have adequate time to bond with your reptilian friend.
Avoid making abrupt movements that can create unwanted noises. Instead, approach your pet’s enclosure calmly and quietly as you clean or feed him.
However, this is not to say that you should prance around your pet as though you are walking on eggshells.
Behave normally around your gecko, doing things as you’d typically do not to create a ruckus in the house.
Be gentle and tender without compromising the quality of your life.
#10 – Making Abrupt Changes to the Enclosure
Like humans, your leopard gecko does not want to be thrust out of his comfort zone unceremoniously.
It becomes a big deal for him if you keep changing his enclosure. Set up things in a way that will require minimum interference after the leopard gecko settles in.
Your gecko gets comfortable in an environment that promotes a sense of continuity and safety.
Frequent changes to his living space will likely upset your friend, and he may start behaving erratically.
Once your pet bonds with his environment, try not to disrupt him. He enjoys the sense of familiarity his home provides.
If you want to change him to a new environment, do this gently and with utmost care.
How Do I Climate My Leopard Gecko to a New Environment?
As stated above, your leopard gecko enjoys a sense of familiarity. As such, avoid moving your pet’s enclosure unnecessarily.
Also, don’t interfere with the arrangements of stuff in the tank unless necessary.
If you have valid reasons to change your pet’s habitat, go ahead and effect them. However, you should know that this will likely stress your leopard gecko in the short term.
Moving your pet’s enclosure is good if it brings long-term benefits. However, once the move is made, allow your pet to get used to its new environment.
Leopard geckos are creatures of habit, and you should avoid rearranging their habitat as much as possible.
In whatever you do concerning their living conditions, know that a leopard gecko thrives in the familiar.
#11 – They Find You a Stranger
Have you created the time to bond with your baby gecko? Although a relationship with this reptile can be exciting, it needs to be cultivated.
A leopard gecko will have some reservations when meeting you for the first time. As a result, he will be cautious about the new entrant into his life.
They will want to know you better and to understand that you intend no harm. As a result, leopard geckos instinctively avoid unnecessary contact with strange creatures.
You will win him over with reasonable effort, and he’ll embrace you as part and parcel of his life.
Allow your gecko to acclimate itself to being around you. It will take about one month to feel at home in your presence.
During this period, you need to show tons of patience. Feed him, clean his enclosure regularly, and grab every opportunity to be around him.
If he shows reservations about you picking him up all the time, let him be. He needs a little more time to adjust to the new situation.
How Do I Create a Bond with My Leopard Gecko?
Take every opportunity to strengthen your bond with the leopard gecko. Interact with him whenever you’re around the house.
Take it upon yourself to feed him and clean his enclosure. But, if you can, don’t delegate the responsibility to anyone.
Let your leopard gecko associate you with delicious treats. He should know that he gets rewarded every time he comes to you.
However, don’t be in a hurry to pick him up or handle him in your hands. Instead, give him the time to get used to your presence.
With time, your reptile friend will feel safe in your hands. They will willingly come to you when they sense your presence.
But, this is something you’ll only achieve after a while. It calls for patience, hard work, and a positive attitude.
Never force your leopard gecko to do things they’re uncomfortable doing. For example, don’t push them into eating diets against their nature.
Pressuring your pet will push it into escaping. Imposing yourself on your gecko is one way of elevating its stress levels.
#12 – Unfavorable Humidity Levels
Your leopard gecko may undergo serious when the humidity levels in the enclosure are unfavorable. Your pet needs humidity to prevent hydration and control its internal temperature.
Suppose you live in a particularly dry area. In that case, you need to regularly check on the water levels in your pet’s feeding bowl.
Although this animal gets most of its water needs from the insects it consumes, you need to supplement this with additional water.
Introduce water into the cage through misting. To mist is to fine spray water into the enclosure to keep it humid.
This water keeps the animals moist, enabling their bodies to function optimally. Ensure the water you use in the tank is clean.
It should be free of chlorine and other strong cleansing agents. If you source the water from the tap, it is safe for your pet if it can be consumed by humans.
#13 – UVB Lights
Although leopard geckos don’t perceive UVB lights, these lights influence this animal’s behavior.
UVB lights are important because they help the animal convert calcium into Vitamin D3. However, too much exposure to radiation from these lights can disorient your leopard gecko.
As such, it is crucial that you provide your pet with a hiding place they can run to when they’ve had enough UVB lights.
UVB lights should be installed and handled with care to ensure they don’t negatively affect the gecko’s life.
#14 – Crickets and Other Feeder Insects
Although crickets and other insects are tasty meals for your leopard gecko, they cannot cohabit in the same terrarium.
Your leopard gecko may be stressed out of harassed by these insects. However, some insects are known to bite and scratch.
Others emit foul smells that can make the life for your pet a living hell. As such, these insects should be kept from the tank unless fed to the gecko.
Can My Leopard Gecko Die of Stress?
By itself, stress will not kill your beloved pet. However, you need to dig out and resolve the cause of the stress, because this is where the real danger is.
It’s important you thoroughly understand your pet. This positions you to notice a change of behavior in this animal immediately.
You’ll be in an excellent position to take remedial measures before the stress, and its related causes get out of hand.
Can Holding My Leopard Gecko Relieve Its Stress?
Unlike cats, dogs, and other pets, leopard geckos are not cuddly. This means you should not expect them to show you tactile affection.
However, not all leopard geckos behave the same. As such, you should relate to your gecko based on its unique personality.
You may discover he likes being held to some extent.
Your leopard gecko may love being in your hand because of the heat your hand radiates. At 370 C, the human hand is warm enough to comfort a leopard gecko.
Some experts opine it would be a good idea to hold your pet – although briefly – as a sign of assurance during hard times.
For this to work well, however, you must train your leopard gecko to be hand-held from a young age. This is not something geckos take up as adults.
How Can My Leopard Gecko Avoid Stress?
- Research your pet’s habits, needs, and requirements before bringing him to your home.
- Thoroughly acquaint yourself with your pet’s personality.
- Arrange your pet’s enclosure in the best way possible. Use the best practices in the industry to make his life comfortable.
- Shop for a gecko with good genes and pedigree.
- Get your leopard gecko from a reputable breeder – this guarantees you’ll get a pet in good shape and health.
- Avoid being overbearing on your pet. Refrain from holding him always, especially if he’s not for it.
- Feed your pet with the correct diet.
- Feed and clean after him regularly.
- If you hold the reptile in your hand, allow for natural movement. Do not squeeze this animal unnecessarily.
- Give him regular treats to make him your best friend.
- Keep your vet’s contacts handy if you need to take your gecko for an urgent visit.
How well do you know your leopard gecko? Would you tell when this animal is stressed? This article should encourage you to create closer bonds with your reptile friend.
After all, he is bound to be stressed at one point or another by virtue of being a growing, living creature.
Your leopard gecko needs you to be patient, tolerant, and understanding when battling life’s challenges.
Of course, the only way you can do this is by understanding your pet’s stress factors and how to handle them.