Leopard gecko taming process (with pictures)

I’ve had my leopard gecko for about four months now and I can safely say that my ‘technique’ to tame him, is working. I’m of course still working on it but I want to share the progress I’ve made so far.

It was very important for me to not force him to do anything he didn’t want. I wanted him to feel comfortable with me and not be scared. Right when I got Arlow I noticed he was very shy. And every time I would go in his enclosure to clean or fill his water bowl, he would hide. Which was to be expected, of course.
As you may have read in this post, Arlow didn’t eat the first month. I was adviced to wait handling him until he was eating. It was really hard not to pick him up but I waited and gave him time. When he FINALLY started eating I was so relieved and excited for the next step.

DISCLAIMER: A lot of the pictures are very dark (and blurry) because Arlow likes to come out when it’s dark in my room.

The one thing I’ve always done is laying my hand in his tank in the evening for a few minutes. At first, he would turn away and hide but after a while he would just fall a sleep next to my hand. I also always talk when I’m feeding him or when I’m doing something in his tank so he gets used to my voice.

The first step was getting him to walk over my hand. My number one rule was to let him choose if he wanted to walk on my hand or not. So after feeding him, I would lay my hand in his tank and after a few times he started walking over it. The first time he barely touched my finger and he walked very slowly. But after a few times he started walking over my hand without hesitation.

I started to notice that he wouldn’t hide anymore when I entered my room or was refilling his water bowl. This was a big step for him, he wasn’t afraid of my presence anymore.

The next thing, after getting him to not be scared of my hand, was to lift my hand (in his enclosure). This didn’t always run smoothly, but again, after a while he became used to it.

I felt he trusted me enough after a few weeks to take him out of his enclosure. I had a little area on the floor with blankets and some cardboard around it (so he wouldn’t be able run underneath my dresser). It was so much fun to have him outside of his terrarium.

After a few times of doing this AND still laying my hand in his enclosure every day, I let him sit with me on my bed. This went surprisingly well, but I did have someone with me to help me in case he would try to jump off the bed. Arlow can be very fast and this can be tricky when you’re sitting on your bed. After a few times, I got the hang of it. Now I take him out at night when I’m alone without any problems.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Arlow was ‘asking’ to come out. I couldn’t stop smiling because I was hoping he would do that. He now regularly asks to come out and I couldn’t be more grateful. I really believe that he is now so comfortable with me because I took my time to get to know him and didn’t rush anything.

Now when I’m doing something in his enclosure, he comes out of his hiding place to see what I’m doing. He truly is an amazing gecko.

There are still some things we’re working on, like not to jump off my hand mid-air (he maybe has a little too much trust in me and thinks I’ll always catch him ;)). But I also think taming is an ongoing process where consistency is key.

If you have any questions or even advice for me, please don’t hesitate to message me.


Check out some of my other posts here ↓

15 thoughts on “Leopard gecko taming process (with pictures)

  1. have you figured out the jumping thing yet I have a tremper albino leopard gecko (male) and he’ll be chilling on my shoulder but if i go to pet him he sometimes jumps the same is when i let other people hold him he sometimes jump from their hands


    1. It took time but Allow just stopped doing it on his own (most of the time)! And what also helps for me is when I want to pet him, I make sure he sees my hand coming. So don’t come from above or from a place where he can’t see your hand! I also use my voice to let him now I’m there so he doesn’t get spooked. I always pet him when he sits on my bed so he can choose to walk away 🙂


      1. do you have a better idea on how to get the shed off of the toes of a gecko? I put mine in some warm water for a bit but he doesn’t stay still or like it 😦


      2. Hi! You can find some helpful videos on youtube where they show you the entire process. But what I’ve learned is to use Q-tips. Use some warm water and very gently use the q-tip to get the shed off. Do you have a humid hide for your gecko, because this is can be a big help. Make sure you soak his little toes before using the Q-tip. Hope this helps! Let me know if you can’t find the youtube videos!


  2. Hey two days ago I got a male leopard gecko (Cheeto) and as soon as I put my hand in his tank to try and give him a meal worm he immediately hopped on to my hand he is a good eater and is very calm but my question is what do you use to keep his tank temperature right (right now I have a lamp)


    1. Hi! I’m so glad to hear that everything is going so well! I’m very happy for you.
      For your question:
      I use a heat mat.
      Belly heat is a necessity for leopard geckos. They absolutely need it it to be able to properly digest their food. That’s why it’s so important to have a heat mat. I use the Exo Terra one but there are so many great options. You also must have a thermostat to control the temperature (it’s dangerous not to).
      I hope that helps you!


  3. Hello! I got my leopard gecko in March and he has adjusted well and now will come out of hiding to see me, but when I go to put my hand in or even feeding tongs, he tries to bite at it. Any advice on how to prevent that?


    1. Hi! It’s amazing that he’s adjusting well and coming out of hiding already! But the biting is unfortunate. I don’t have any experience with that, sorry. I will put this question on my instagram and see if anyone has any good advice for you. I’ll get back to you when I have some answers!


  4. Hello! I love the way that you and Arlow connect with each other. I want to get a leopard gecko at some point too. I like the way that you give pictures and information about your posts. I also think that all of your posts are very helpful. Maybe you could start giving information on what you did and what you used to set up your tank for Arlow. Thanks for posting

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like all your tips, and congrats on successfully having a friendly lizard! Mine’s still kind of shy and I’ve had him for a year so I think I’ll try this out. Also, I was wondering, how long would you keep your hand in the cage?


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