Home Exotic Pets Do Crested Geckos Like To Be Held? – Are They Affectionate?

Do Crested Geckos Like To Be Held? – Are They Affectionate?

by Lucy

Looking at their wedge-shaped heands and dragon-like eyes, crested geckos are sure to remind you of the dinosaur toys you played with as a child. In truth, crested geckos are much cuter than the dinosaurs you’ve seen in Jurassic Park, and entirely harmless. As a matter of fact, cresties happen to be one of the most popular domestic pets with reptile lovers. 

Yet, you have to understand that crested geckos are reptiles, and reptiles function somewhat differently from mammals. These wonderful creatures make fantastic pets, but you can’t hope to cuddle and snuggle them like you do your cat or dog. Crested geckos are reptiles, and not all reptiles appreciate being held.

So, do crested geckos like to be held? Crested geckos are friendlier than the average reptile and can get used to the idea of being held and handled over time. However, your crestie may only tolerate being held when it has developed a bond of trust with you.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the matter of the ever-endearing crestie and whether or not crested geckos feel affection towards their caretakers.

Are Crested Geckos Affectionate?

Crested geckos are not particularly affectionate, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Most reptiles, particularly lizards, aren’t social creatures. They don’t feel a myriad of emotions either. Most animal experts claim that reptiles feel basic emotions that assist them in survival, like fear and aggression.

However, many reptile owners argue that their pets have also displayed behaviors that seem to suggest more complex emotions such as excitement and curiosity. There are still many studies being done on whether or not reptiles have emotions that aren’t strictly tied to instinct.

According to National Geographic, some species, such as garter snakes, have recently been found to develop friendships and connections with other members of their species.

Whether or not crested geckos turn out to have complex emotions like affection, they certainly do come to trust their owners with the right handling. In their unique way, cresties show pleasure too. 

The trick is to understand your crested gecko’s body language and provide it with the safe space it needs to feel comfortable with you around it. With time, your crestie will learn to trust you enough to want to be close to you without fear for its life. 

How Can You Tell If Your Crested Gecko Is Happy?

Crested geckos are naturally shy creatures. It’ll take a while before your crestie even comes close to you on its own, especially if you’ve just adopted one. Reptiles take their time adapting to new environments. But, there are ample signs you can take note of to be sure that your crestie is finally happy in its new home and with you.

An active crestie is a happy crestie. As you must know, crested geckos are nocturnal animals. Therefore, they are active during the night hours. So, if you’re an early sleeper and an early riser, perhaps you’ll want to adjust your time clock, especially if you want to get to know your cold-blooded companion. 

Furthermore, you’ll have to acquaint yourself with your crested gecko’s body language and movements. A crested gecko’s body language is a clear indicator of whether your reptilian friend is enjoying its interaction with you or if it would prefer being in its enclosure.

If you give your pet the time to understand that you don’t pose any threat, it’ll eventually learn to trust you.

The most obvious sign that your crestie appreciates your presence is if it moves towards you when you reach for it inside its enclosure. Once there is a bond of trust between pet and owner, they’ll tend to allow you to carry them out of their tank easily.

Now, if your crestie walks around on you like from the arm to the shoulder and isn’t trying to get away, then you can be sure that they are completely comfortable with you.

Crested geckos also show signs of playfulness around their humans, particularly the ones they favor. So, if your crestie is jumping from hand to hand or jumping around you, then it’s safe to say that your crestie is a happy lizzy.

You’ll have to be extra alert if your crestie is demonstrating its jumping skills, as these lizards are rather delicate creatures. They can lose their tails in extreme circumstances, and it will not grow back. A tailless crestie can still be a healthy one, but it’s a strange sight to behold.

Even with its rather childish yet lovable antics, you cannot treat your crested geckos the same way as your four-legged furry friends. Handling crested geckos and ensuring their well-being requires keeping a close eye on their behavior. More importantly, you should also figure out when your crestie isn’t in the mood to be in your hands. 

When Does Your Crested Gecko Not Want To Be Held?

Any pet guardian will tell you that one of the most apparent signs that your crestie doesn’t want to be held is when it moves or jumps away from your hand when you’re trying to get your pet out of its enclosure. If you’ve just bought a crested gecko and it’s settling in, then perhaps it would be a good idea for you to lay off trying to handle your pet for a while. 

You have to understand that your gecko’s behavior is not a cause for concern. Most pets, even the furry and friendly ones, take their time to get their bearings in a new place. At times, your crestie may try to bite to get your hand away.

If your crested gecko is making a chirping or growling/barking sound, then you’ll know that your pet is not happy. It’s rare to find crestie being vocal, but if your pet is noisy, it’s time to give them some space.

Another circumstance where you must refrain from handling your reptilian friend is when it starts to move its tail in an ‘s.’ Such behavior conveys severe agitation and means that your pet needs time to cool off. Stressed or scared cresties tend to lower their bodies closer to the ground to hide, which clearly implies that it is not the time to hold our pet.

Do Crested Geckos Bite?

Well, there’s no way that you’ll be able to develop a bond of trust with your crested gecko if you are not allowing your pet the time to become comfortable with you. Now, reptiles have solid instincts for survival, and if your crestie isn’t happy about being held, it will revert to aggression. 

Although crested geckos are very docile creatures, they will bite you if they are stressed. The bite of crested geckos is harmless in most scenarios, and nothing a bit of disinfectant and a bandage for extra precaution can’t handle. Yet, it only goes to show how stressed your crestie must be if it is reverting to biting you to get you to stop holding it. 

On the other hand, your crestie may even be in potential danger if it tries to get away from you in a hurry and jumps off of you from too high up or lands on something harmful. If your pet is under too much stress, then it is likely that your crestie will lose much of its skin color or even drop its tail. 

How To Get Your Gecko Used To Being Held

As mentioned earlier, crested geckos are reptiles that aren’t social beings, to begin with. However, studies have indicated that the longer crested geckos are in captivity, the more they become comfortable in the presence of humans.

You have to spend some time in the same room as your crestie to get it used to you and your scent. It’s imperative that you give your crested geckos time to get adjusted to their new habitat. Once you witness your pet becoming more active in the night, you can slowly try gently handling them. The best technique to apply to get your gecko to come into your palm is to place your crestie’s favorite treat in your palm.

Now, if you’ve just got a crested gecko home, then it won’t do to pick it up and take it all over the house. It’ll be an overwhelming experience for your pet. Instead, give it a few days while you only pick it up in the enclosure. Furthermore, if you want your reptilian friend to get to know your place, you need to take it out of the enclosure only for a short time in the beginning.

You have to bear in mind that when you pick up your pet or hold it, you must be exceedingly gentle. It works best when you don’t grab your pet right from the ground. Instead, place your hand upward on the floor of the enclosure and softly nudge your pet into your palm.


Crested geckos may be reptiles, but you can be sure that these unique-looking creatures make great pets. Cresties don’t cost too much to get or keep. The only thing you need to provide in full measure is your attention, care, and love.

It may take your scaly friend some time to get used to your presence. But, when it does, you’ll be happy to have invested your time and effort into such a fantastic pet.

Up Next: How Often Do Crested Geckos Shed?

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