Do Geckos Lick Their Eyes? Learn When and Why Geckos Clean Their Peepers!

The gecko’s eye is made up of several structures that work together to help them see. The most prominent part of the eye is the cornea, which is the clear, outer layer that protects the eye and helps to focus light. Behind the cornea is the lens, which is responsible for fine-tuning the focus of light onto the retina at the back of the eye. Unlike human eyes, the gecko’s lens is fixed in place and cannot change shape to adjust focus.

How Geckos Use Their Eyes in the Wild

Geckos are nocturnal creatures, which means that they are active at night and rely heavily on their eyes to navigate in the dark. They have excellent night vision, thanks to their large pupils and the high density of rod cells in their retinas. Geckos also have a keen sense of color vision, which allows them to distinguish between different shades of light in low-light conditions.

Do Geckos Lick Their Eyes?

Yes, geckos do lick their eyes, a behavior known as ocular licking. This may seem like an odd behavior, but it serves an important purpose for gecko eye health.

What is Ocular Licking?

Ocular licking is the act of a gecko using its tongue to moisten and clean its eyes. This behavior is unique to geckos and is not observed in other reptiles or animals.

The Reasons Behind Ocular Licking

There are several reasons why geckos lick their eyes. First, it helps to keep their eyes moist and clean. Since geckos do not have eyelids, they rely on ocular licking to remove dust, dirt, and other debris that can accumulate on their eyes. Ocular licking also helps to prevent infections and other eye problems that can occur when foreign objects are left on the eye’s surface.

Additionally, ocular licking may help geckos to shed their spectacles or brille. As these membranes become dry and brittle over time, they need to be shed so that new, healthy membranes can grow in their place. Ocular licking helps to soften and loosen the old membranes, making it easier for the gecko to shed them.

How Often Do Geckos Clean Their Eyes?

The frequency of ocular licking varies depending on the species of gecko and their individual needs.

The Frequency of Ocular Licking for Different Gecko Species

Some gecko species, such as tokay geckos, are known to lick their eyes frequently throughout the day and night. Other species, such as leopard geckos, may only lick their eyes once or twice a day.

The Factors that Affect How Often Geckos Lick Their Eyes

Several factors can affect how often geckos lick their eyes. One of the most important is the humidity level in their environment. Geckos require a certain level of humidity to keep their eyes moist and healthy. If the air is too dry, they may need to lick their eyes more often to compensate.

The age and health of the gecko can also affect how often they need to clean their eyes. Young geckos and those with compromised immune systems may need to lick their eyes more frequently to prevent infections.

Why is It Important for Geckos to Clean Their Eyes?

Ocular licking is essential for gecko eye health. Without it, their eyes can become dry, irritated, and infected.

The Benefits of Ocular Licking for Gecko’s Eye Health

Keeping the eyes moist and clean is essential for preventing infections and other eye problems. Ocular licking also helps to remove debris that can scratch the surface of the eye or cause irritation.

What Happens if Geckos Don’t Clean Their Eyes?

If geckos do not clean their eyes regularly, they may develop infections or other eye problems. This can cause discomfort, vision problems, and even lead to permanent damage to the eye.

The Risks of Neglecting Eye Cleaning for Geckos

Neglecting eye cleaning can lead to eye infections, conjunctivitis, and other eye problems. In severe cases, untreated eye infections can result in blindness or even death.

How to Help Your Gecko Keep Their Eyes Clean

As a gecko owner, there are several things you can do to help your pet keep their eyes clean and healthy.

The Best Practices for Encouraging Ocular Licking in Geckos

One of the best ways to encourage ocular licking in geckos is to provide them with a humid environment. This can be achieved by misting their enclosure with water several times a day or by using a humidifier. You can also provide a shallow dish of water for them to soak in, which can help to keep their eyes moist.

Another way to encourage ocular licking is to provide your gecko with a varied diet that includes plenty of moisture-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. This will help to keep them hydrated and reduce the need for excessive eye licking.

The Importance of Proper Habitat Setup for Gecko Eye Health

Proper habitat setup is essential for gecko eye health. Make sure that their enclosure is appropriately sized and furnished with appropriate hiding places, climbing structures, and other features. Also, take care to clean their enclosure regularly to prevent the buildup of dust and debris that can irritate their eyes.


Geckos are fascinating creatures, and their habit of licking their eyes is just one of the many interesting things about them. Ocular licking is an essential behavior for gecko eye health, as it helps to keep their eyes moist, clean, and free from debris. By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and taking steps to promote good eye health, you can help your gecko live a long, healthy life.

ThePetFaq Team