Can a leopard gecko truly be happy? Do they find happiness in everyday life?
Research proves that leopard geckos can live a happy life and actually find enjoyment from the littlest of things. If you’re a gecko owner, or thinking about adding a new member to your family, then you’re in the right place. From this article you will find out all the information you need to know on how to tell if your leopard gecko is happy.
Having a happy leopard gecko will bring so much enjoyment into your life. But what can you do to create a happy lifestyle for your leopard gecko.
Leopard geckos don’t find happiness in the same way us humans do. We thrive to accomplish goals to make ourselves happy, setting small hurdles which gives us a sense of achievement and happiness. Leopard geckos however have a lower means of happiness which stems from its surroundings. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities too.
7 Key signs that your leopard gecko is happy?
Your leopard gecko is Actively hunting their food
Leopard geckos are notoriously great hunters. They have the ability and patients to stay still for long periods of time whilst hunting their prey. Hunting for food stimulates the gecko brain. The main focus for a geckos brain is survival, so actively hunting for their food gives them a huge sense of happiness and satisfaction.
Your leopard gecko has a good appetite
Leopard geckos will eat whenever the opportunity arises. In the wild their next meal may not come as regularly as hoped, so they are opportunistic eaters. Not knowing when their next meal will be means they never like to miss up on an opportunity for a little feast. This is why it is best to feed your leopard gecko intermittently throughout the week.
Did you know, leopard geckos can go up to 2 weeks without a meal, so missing a few days each week isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, this can be beneficial to the health of your leopard gecko, as it gives their bodies time to work through their fat reserves, storage in their tails.
Your leopard gecko likes to be handled
Pet leopard geckos tend to be very friendly. This is why they are one of the most desired reptile pets, because they love to be loved. A happy leopard gecko will always allow their owners to handle them. Obviously this won’t be straight away, and will take some time to grow its confidence. But after a while your leopard gecko will enjoy the time it gets to spend with you.
A gecko’s happiness can be determined by its acceptance of you as an owner. The likeness is that your leopard gecko will enjoy using you as a climbing frame, and will find the best place to perch. (usually the highest and warmest)
Your leopard gecko is quick and agile
One of the most recognisable aspects of a leopard gecko’s happiness is its quickness and agility. If you see your gecko scurrying around its enclosure, climbing over rocks, and foraging through its substrate, then you know its health is good. An unhealthy gecko will be very docile, which is very characteristic for these reptiles. A lack in activity means there may be something wrong with your gecko, leading to its unhappiness.
Your leopard gecko Spends time basking in the heat
Leopard geckos love to bask. They will spend hours basking, warming their bodies in the morning after a long night’s sleep. Being cold blooded means that reptiles have to use the sun (or heat lamp in this case) to warm their bodies.
If your gecko is spending all day under the heat lamp, then it’s fair to assume that it’s not warm enough. Equally, if it’s too hot, then you will find your leopard gecko spending more time hidden in the cooler parts of their enclosures.
For a happy leopard gecko, you want to see them continuously moving from the warm places of the enclosure, to the cool places. This means that they are regulating their body temperature correctly, just as they would in the wild.
Your leopard gecko loves to explore
A truly happy leopard gecko loves to explore. In the wild, geckos spend the majority of their time exploring and hunting. They love to climb, forage and dig through substrates. In an enclosure it can be hard to keep your leopard gecko happy when exploring. A great idea which you can use, is to have back up furniture and toys. What I mean by this is, having more climbing apparatus, hides and basking rocks available, so you can switch up their enclosure every time you clean it out. Swapping out old furniture and toys for new ones will keep your leopard gecko engaged with exploring.
Having something new to explore every couple of weeks is great for your leopard geckos state of mind. It gives them the sense of being somewhere different.
Your leopard gecko is licking alot
Not many people know this, but leopard gecko’s like to lick, alot. Unless you already own a leopard gecko, then you probably wouldn’t have ever seen just how much they like to lick.
Leopard geckos are always licking their lips and nose. This is a very healthy factor for a leopard gecko. They lick their lips to collect and send signals to their brain about the surroundings. Very similar to snakes in fact, they use their tongues to determine what could be predator or prey.
When you handle your leopard gecko, you will instantly see their tongue start to lick their lips. All they are doing is relaying the scent back to their brains. This is the same with any insect foods you give them.
What does this mean for a happy leopard gecko?
If you keep all these 7 factors in mind, then the likeness is that your leopard gecko will be living a happy life. They are more than happy to be alone in their enclosure. In the wild, leopard gecko’s are only ever seen in multiples if they are either partners (for a short period of time) or they are a females young.
What I will say is, if you notice any of these 7 factors are not matching the description, then you should assume that something may not be right. These 7 factors are all based on a leopard gecko’s natural characteristic, so if any of these don’t seem correct, then there may be a problem. It is always best to see a reptile specialist veterinarian in this situation, just to be sure.
Does a healthy leopard gecko mean a happy leopard gecko?
Generally speaking, yes, a healthy gecko means a happy gecko, and I’ll explain why.
Geckos don’t find happiness in the same way we do as humans. We find happiness in relationships, friendships, our working environment, hobbies, diets, the list could go on. However, leopard geckos don’t always have this same needs and wants as we do.
A happy leopard gecko is a gecko which is healthy. It should be a leopard gecko which has the ability to fend for itself and survive.
In the wild, a leopard gecko’s main instinct is to survive. This varies from exploring for safe places to rest, and hunting for its food. Leopard geckos have only been kept as pets for the last 30 years, so the gecko brain hasn’t yet had the time to evolve from its wild origins. Therefore the natural instincts still exist and apply for pet leopard geckos. This means that their brains still work in the same way they would if they were to be in the wild. Their brains still crave the exploring and hunting side to their daily antics.
As a comparison, dogs have largely been domesticated from as far back as 25,000 – 40,000 years. This is why domestic dogs have now lost their abilities to hunt, and are quite happy not to be in packs. Over time their brains have evolved away from their natural characteristics.
What does a healthy leopard gecko look like?
A healthy leopard gecko should look full of color. These little reptiles are one of the most colorful lizards you can keep as pets and that’s why we love them so much. Leopard geckos come in a huge variety of color, however the most common being a mixture of yellow, orange, red and brown. Each of these colors differ with every individual, but their vibrance does not.
Each of these colors should be very bright and pleasing on the eye. The colors should match their natural surroundings of dirt and clay, mainly found in the mountains of countries such as Iran.
A happy, healthy leopard gecko should always be bright in color, but sometimes this color can fade if its health isn’t quite right. This is one of the easiest to spot indications that your leopard gecko is unwell. They will start to look pale, almost Grey in color, but please don’t confuse this with its shedding, as this is completely natural.
To find out more on this, please follow the link to Why is my leopard gecko pale and not shedding.
A happy and healthy leopard gecko should always be active. The only time a leopard gecko is relatively inactive is in the morning, when they like to spend a good amount of time basking under the heat lamp.
Natural characteristics of leopard geckos are busy and energetic. They love to explore and will forever be on the move. So again, if you leopard gecko isn’t moving much throughout the day, then you should assume that something it not right, either in health, or its environment.
Finally a healthy leopard gecko should look full in shape too. Leopard geckos have the ability to store fat in their tails, which is why their tails always seem to be plump. A leopard gecko with a skinny tail either means that they’re not getting enough food, (so they have to reply on their fat reserves) or, they have a health issue which is denying them the ability to store the fat reserves.
Either way you look at this, it’s not a good sign, so always be checking the size of your leopard gecko’s tail.
Follow the link for more information on a healthy leopard gecko tail.
What are the best healthy foods for a happy leopard gecko?
Some of the most healthy foods for a leopard gecko are Crickets, Cockroaches, Mealworms, Waxworms and Hornworms. All of these insects are packed full of nutrients and goodness for your leopard gecko. However, like all foods, too many can have an adverse effect.
It’s recommended that you should primarily feed your gecko with Crickets, as these are the best, all round, food for your gecko. The other insects I have listed should only be give once or twice a week as a treat, no more than 2 or 3 a time.
As a rule of thumb, geckos will not eat any insects which are bigger than their heads. Anything bigger is simply too much of a challenge for these little lizards. Keep the insects small, and your gecko should have no problem catching and eating them.
What should be in a leopard gecko’s enclosure to keep its lifestyle healthy?
For a truly happy and healthy leopard gecko, you have to get their enclosure perfect. There’s a fine line between overcrowding the enclosure, and not having enough, so it’s best to do some research.
Leopard geckos love to climb and clamber over rocks, so having different height rocks is a great idea to keep your gecko happy and healthy. As well as this, they love to have places to hide too, so I would suggest getting a hollow rock, which they can hide beneath or bask on top of.
Having some plantation is great also. This can either be a real plantation or fake plantation, it really doesn’t matter. Just make sure it’s supplied from a reputable reptile specialist as these are usually way more robust.
MUST BUY!! – Affordable Enclosure Furniture
Here are some of my best choices which you can order straight from amazon to your door, which i suggest you take a look at. I have based these products on quality and value for money. (More expensive isn’t always best)
Well there you have it. The BEST advise on how to tell if your leopard gecko is happy, and a few measures to ensure it’s healthiest state.
Remember the 7 key signs of a happy leopard gecko and you can’t go wrong. Please, if you have any doubts about your leopard geckos health or happiness, then go see a reptile specialist veterinarian.