Cats purr and dogs wag their tails. But how exactly do you know if your gecko is happy? While geckos might not display the same telltale signs of contentment as other pets, there are a few small hints that your gecko is doing a-okay!
It’s Sleeping Regularly
New gecko owners might be concerned if their gecko spends lots of time hiding and sleeping. But it’s perfectly normal for a happy gecko to snooze all day. That’s because geckos are crepuscular reptiles, which means they’re inactive during the day. Geckos who are new to your home are especially prone to hiding out for large chunks of time as they adjust to their environment.
If your gecko spends the day in shut-eye, rest assured it’s doing just fine. Only be concerned if your gecko stays hidden for up to 24 hours or if they don’t emerge from hiding at all.
It’s Physically Active
Though geckos like to sleep, that doesn’t make them total couch potatoes! A happy gecko is an active gecko and likes to explore once twilight hits. At night, check to see if your gecko is moving around or climbing any rocks or branches in its habitat. Ideally, he should appear curious, yet calm. Happy geckos also love to hunt, and will readily go after any live crickets you feed them.
It Flicks its Tongue
Geckos have a Jacobson’s organ that allows them to use their tongues to “smell” and “taste” the environment around them. Flicking their tongues is how they familiarize themselves with their surroundings and explore new objects. If you notice your gecko flicking her tongue, take it as a positive sign! It means she’s healthy and curious.
It Looks Healthy
A happy gecko has a certain appearance. Your gecko should have bright, clear eyes, a slightly plump (though not distended) stomach, and a fat tail. When awake, they should seem alert and responsive. Take note if your gecko looks otherwise: eye discharge, a shrunken tail, sores, skin discoloration, and lethargy are all signs that your gecko may be in poor health.
Not sure if your gecko is content? Our exotic pet sitters are familiar with normal, healthy gecko behaviors and can assure you if your gecko looks happy.
Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.