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Reptiles/Leaopard gecko handling and activity

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Question
Hey , i have a leapord gecko who is 2 years old, i have had him for 1 year now. He seems healthy i feed him mealwors, crickets and sometimes wax worms. He dosen't come out much and when he does its to eat or lie on the heatpad this is next to an upright log , when i go to pick him up , i put my hand near him and wait . He won't come on so i slip my hand underneath him and pick him up . When he's on me he doesn't dash but he keeps trying to move off me onto the couch . I try to handle him when i can , but he so rarely comes out now then goes to the back where i cant get him . Is this natural, what can i do? Thanks , sorry for any imcompetence/inconvienience . P.S. he also has a rock in the very back corner which he sometimes will advance to

Answer
Hi Mark,

Actually, his behaviour sounds quite normal. I suspect that you may have been given a bit of inaccurate information regarding their level of interaction and pet quality. Because of that your expectations may be a bit high or unrealistic. Leopard geckos tolerate handling very well, far better then most other reptiles. Still, it would be a stretch to say they enjoy it and seek it out despite how much owners want to believe that about their geckos! Their brains are just not wired for that level of emotional interaction.

I would not expect a leo to try to crawl into your hand unless you had a mealworm in it! They do not display affection or social behaviour amongst each other either. The fact that he allows a giant alien to pick him up and does not try to run off is remarkable when you think about it!lol

He may be wandering off you and onto the couch just out of curiousity or attempting to return to his "territory". He is a mature male and breeding hormones can also influence behaviour.

He may calm down and learn to just "hang out" with some more consistent time out of the cage. Try to approach him more from the side with your hand if possible. Anything approaching from directly above can trigger a flight response in leos.

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Expertise

I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.

Experience

I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

Publications
A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Education/Credentials
Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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