Which Geckos Can You Hold? A Guide to Handling Geckos Safely

There are over 1,500 species of geckos, but not all of them are commonly kept as pets. Some of the most popular gecko species in the pet trade include leopard geckos, crested geckos, tokay geckos, and African fat-tailed geckos. Each species has its own unique characteristics, behaviors, and requirements that make them suitable for different types of keepers.

Gecko behavior and temperament

Geckos are generally shy and solitary animals that prefer to be left alone. They are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night and sleep during the day. Some species of geckos are known to be more docile and tame than others, while others are more aggressive and defensive. It’s important to understand the individual temperament of your gecko before attempting to handle it.

Handling Geckos Safely

Preparing for handling

Before handling your gecko, it’s important to make sure that you have everything you need to do so safely. This includes a clean and secure environment, proper handling equipment, and a basic understanding of your gecko’s behavior and temperament. You should also make sure that your hands are clean and free of any lotions or perfumes that could irritate your gecko.

Proper handling techniques

When handling your gecko, it’s important to do so gently and calmly. Avoid picking them up by the tail, as this can cause them to drop it, which is a natural defense mechanism. Instead, gently scoop them up from the sides or underneath their body, supporting their entire weight. Never squeeze or restrain your gecko, as this can stress them out and cause them to become defensive.

Signs that a gecko is not comfortable being held

Not all geckos enjoy being handled, and it’s important to know when your gecko is uncomfortable. Signs that your gecko is stressed or uncomfortable include hissing, biting, tail wagging, and trying to escape. If your gecko displays any of these behaviors, it’s best to put them back in their enclosure and try again another time.

What to do if a gecko bites or drops its tail

Geckos may bite or drop their tail when they feel threatened or stressed. If your gecko bites you, gently and calmly put them back in their enclosure and wash the bite with soap and water. If your gecko drops its tail, don’t panic. This is a natural defense mechanism that allows them to escape from predators. The tail will eventually grow back, although it may not look the same as the original.

Which Geckos Can You Hold?

Geckos that are suitable for handling

Not all geckos are suitable for handling, but some species are more docile and tame than others. Leopard geckos and crested geckos are two of the most commonly kept geckos that are suitable for handling. They are relatively easy to care for and have a gentle temperament.

Geckos that are not suitable for handling

Some gecko species are not suitable for handling due to their aggressive temperament or delicate nature. Tokay geckos and day geckos, for example, are known for their aggressive behavior and are not recommended for beginner keepers. Chameleon geckos and pygmy geckos are also not suitable for handling, as they are delicate and can be easily injured.

Specific gecko species and their handling requirements

Each gecko species has its own unique handling requirements, and it’s important to research these before getting a new pet. Some geckos, like leopard geckos, are relatively easy to handle and care for, while others, like giant geckos, require more experience and specialized care.

Maintaining a Healthy and Happy Gecko

Proper care and husbandry

In addition to handling, it’s important to provide your gecko with proper care and husbandry. This includes a clean and secure enclosure, appropriate temperature and humidity levels, and a balanced diet. It’s also important to provide your gecko with the proper substrate and decor to help them feel comfortable and secure.

Keeping your gecko stress-free

Geckos are sensitive animals that can become stressed easily. To keep your gecko happy and healthy, it’s important to provide them with a stress-free environment. This includes minimizing handling and loud noises, providing plenty of hiding places, and avoiding sudden changes to their environment or routine.


Geckos are fascinating creatures that can make great pets for the right person. However, not all geckos are suitable for handling, and it’s important to understand which ones are and how to handle them safely. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that your gecko stays healthy, happy, and stress-free. Remember, always research individual gecko species and their specific requirements before bringing one home as a pet.

ThePetFaq Team