How To Tell If Your Leopard Gecko Is Sad?

When you pet a Leopard gecko, you must feel curious to know if they like you or are unhappy with you. As these reptiles can deal with pains for a long time, it might be tough to redeem your curiosity. Then how to tell if your Leopard Gecko is sad?

If your Leopard Gecko shows sluggishness or lethargic attitude towards you or becomes less active, you can consider them sad. They might also wave their tails when you approach them or close their eyes most of the time, indicating the same emotions.

If you want to know more about dealing with your Leopard Gecko when they are sad, you should stick till the end.

What Are The Signs That Show My Leopard Gecko Is Unhappy?

Being unhappy is not only human emotion, and it is found in reptiles too. Like humans, your Leopard Gecko might also show some “red flags” or signs that might indicate their sadness, which involves:

  • Insufficient appetite and weight loss
  • Sluggishness
  • Trying to escape
  • Waving tails
  • Jerky movements
  • More sleepy/ unhealthy sleep cycle

Insufficient appetite and weight loss

One of the most common signs of your Leopard Gecko being unhappy is when they stop showing any interest in foods. Most Geckos need an appropriate amount of food and show different signs when they feel hungry. Check How To Know If Your Leopard Gecko Is Hungry?

When you put food inside their tank, they will most likely approach the food/ insects. But an unhappy leopard will rather stay far away from the food items, consequently losing its weight. 


When your Leopard Gecko is sad, it will not like to play around with you. You will find this reptile inside its shell-like place or in the corners of the tank mostly all day. This can also signify them having less energy due to less eating.

Trying to escape

An unhappy Leopard would like to crawl through the tank’s glass and come out of it. If you see your pet doing the same, you should think of helping it out. Sometimes the tank setup might be wrong, which causes an unhealthy environment for the Leo to live in, such as:

  • Dirty tank
  • Less temperature
  • Reduced humidity
  • Less hiding places
  • Presence of another creature/ many insects
  • Inadequate tank size

Without a proper tank setup, your Leo will become less interested in staying there and might show more aggression than usual.

Waving tails

The waving of tails is an indication of leaving your Leopard Gecko alone. Before or while handling this reptile, it might wave its tail, and your job would be to leave it inside the tank and not bother until it approaches you.

Jerky movements

Your Leopard Gecko will show these movements when they are either unhappy or feel scared or uncomfortable. When you take them out of their tank, they might be unhappy and try to go back to their place by showing these movements.

More sleepy/ unhealthy sleep cycle

Generally, a reptile/lizard-like Leopard Gecko is very active during the night. If you find them mostly sleeping at that time, you might consider them unhappy or unhealthy. Without a proper amount of food, your Leopard might not have enough energy to be active normally. In that case, you can put food in front of them after knowing What Do Leopard Geckos Eat?

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If they show disinterest, you can conclude that your Leopard gecko is not happy.

What To Do When My Leopard Gecko Is Unhappy?

When you observe some of the signs that Leopard Geckos usually do when unhappy, you need to act quickly. You can do certain things to make your Gecko happy again:

  • Change the tank setup
  • Leave them on their own
  • Clean the tank on time
  • Consulting a vet

Change the tank setup

Your Leopard Gecko might feel stressed or become unhappy inside an inappropriate tank. If the tank is too small or does not have optimum temperature or humidity, your pet won’t like to stay in it.

Firstly, the correct way of tank setup is to have both cold and warm sides with a temperature range between 77-90℉. The humidity should be kept between 30-40%.

Also, The light setup should be done in a way that your Gecko receives at least 5-6% of UV light inside their tank. The Fluker’s Repta-Clamp Lamp is an excellent UVB light source.

The tank itself should also be at least 10 gallons in size. Check Zilla 10 Gallon Pet Reptile Starter Habitat Kit, which is affordable and more qualified than other options.

Leave them on their own

When you see your Gecko waving tails while holding it or trying to stay inside its hide, leave them alone.

These are the signs that your Leopard Gecko is not interested in spending time with you. The reasons could be their health, but you should let them enjoy their space if they are unhappy.

The more relaxed your Leo is, the sooner it will start to come back to its own form.

Clean the tank on time

A dirty enclosure with different insects, dead leaves, and more unnecessary things can make your Leopard Gecko stress a lot. They are used to staying in wild habitats, expecting certain things.

But when you bring them into an artificial habitat, it’s your job to keep it clean. An unhealthy environment will never make your Leopard stay with you for longer.

Consulting a vet

After doing everything mentioned above, if you still see your Leopard being unhappy, you must consult a veterinarian. A vet will be able to examine your Leo and identify the issues with proper solutions.

How Do I Know If My Leopard Gecko Is Stressed?

Stress is an emotion or situation that is visible not only in humans but also in Leopard Geckos. Observing their stress can be an effective way to provide a better environment for your pet.

There are common signs that a Leopard Gecko shows when they are stressed, such as-

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Making chirping sounds
  • Hiding in the tank
  • Glass surfing
  • Excessive Licking

Weight loss

Losing weight and losing energy are two terms that go hand in hand. Your Leopard Gecko might start losing weight due to a new environment or health issues. This will result in a stressful situation for them as they wouldn’t be able to be active or roam around in the habitat.

Generally, a Leopard gecko can live without food for a particular time as they can store nutrients or foods in their tail. If you notice that they are becoming inactive or weak, you must visit a vet. This way, they can gain their appetite and become more active and less stressed.

Loss of appetite

When under stress, you will see your Leopard gecko be disinterested in food. Loss of appetite can also happen due to food sources or health issues.

In such scenarios, you can either take them to a vet or help them eat food.

Making chirping sounds

This is a unique sign that a Leopard shows when they are stressed. They start to vocalize or start making quacking sounds which is an indication for you to leave them alone.

See also  How To Treat Leopard Gecko's Cloudy Eye?

Hiding in the tank

Hiding in a tank for a certain amount of time is normal for any leopard Gecko. Sometimes they need time to adapt, or they might be uncomfortable with the tank setup.

For the first scenario, you need to let your Gecko be in its place and not bother it. Generally, they will start accepting the environment within a few weeks and become more comfortable with time.

Setting up the tank is a solution for the second scenario. Ensure that the temperature and humidity are set perfectly and that the tank consists of both warm and cold environments. The tank must have a perfect light source as well.

Glass surfing

You may see your Leopard Gecko climb through the glass using its front legs and belly against the wall.

There are a few reasons, including stress, such as exploring the tank or undesirable tank conditions that could cause them to do glass surfing.

Cohabitation or the presence of excessive insects can also be a reason for your Leo to escape the tank via surfing.

They might also wave their tails, as mentioned earlier, to get away from you and stay alone to release their stress.

Excessive Licking

Leopard Geckos are mostly seen using their tongue to soak in the smells of the environment. When you take out your Gecko, you might often see them taking their tongues out.

Repeating this action can indicate that your Leopard Gecko is stressed about certain things. This could be mouth rotting, mucus around the mouth, lack of appetite, etc.

Make sure to take your Leopard to a reptile vet to give your pet a normal life again.

Can Leopard Geckos Die Of Stress?

Your Leopard Gecko will not die out of stress but can die for the reasons that caused the stress. You need to figure out if your pet is stressed by observing their irregularities or uncommon behaviors.

Stress can also weaken the immune system, thus resisting the fighting capability of Geckos against diseases. Hence when you see your reptile under stress, you must take it to a reptile veterinarian to save them from having further issues.

What Causes Stress in Leopard Geckos?

Stress is a very common phenomenon in reptiles such as Leopard Geckos. Like humans, stress can also severely affect these reptiles if not cared for properly.

There are a few reasons that cause stress in Leopard geckos, such as-

  1. New environment
  2. Poor diet
  3. Cohabitation
  4. Competition for food and shelter
  5. Inappropriate tank size
  6. Wrong temperature and humidity level
  7. Breeding issues and puberty cycle

How To Make My Leopard Gecko Happy?

In their bad times, you can try to cheer up/ destress your Leopard Gecko. It is basically the time when you can bond with your Leopard Gecko and make them trust you for a lifetime.

There are several ways to make your Leopard Gecko happy, which include:

  • Proper handling
  • Putting essential elements in the tank
  • Keeping your Leopard alone in their tank
  • Offering nutritions everyday
  • Veterinary care

Proper handling

Handling your Leopard Gecko is a good way to communicate and bond with them. But prolonged and improper methods of handling can cause stress in them.

While handling your Leopard Gecko, make sure to:

  • Offer them foods
  • Never squeeze their tails
  • Never take off their skin if they are shedding
  • Avoid doing jerky movements
  • Never lift them using their tails
  • Leave them when they show signs of stress, such as waving tails

Putting essential elements in the tank

Tank setups are very crucial when it comes to providing it for Geckos. A proper tank must have:

  1. Hiding spot
  2. Heat and cooling spot
  3. Soaking spots
  4. Terraced rocks
  5. Proper humidity and temperature
  6. Absence of other insects or reptiles

Too dry or too warm an environment can cause difficulties in shedding. Using soaking spots can help keep the atmosphere moist enough.

Too cold or too much humidity can cause your Leopard to stay inside their hiding spots. Hence the temperature should be kept in a balanced manner.

The terraced rocks are one of the favorite tools of Leopard Geckos. Keeping them inside the tank can help create a natural and playful environment.

See also  How To Reduce Humidity In Leopard Gecko Tank? (8 Ways)

Keeping your Leopard alone in their tank

A Gecko should stay alone as they are not that comfortable in the presence of others. Hence try to keep separate tanks for separate Geckos instead of putting them together.

Offering nutritions everyday

Optimum nutrition is necessary for your Gecko to survive. From crickets to mealworms, you must offer your Gecko the foods they like. Alongside, provide water to avoid dehydration and keep a close eye on them while they eat.

Putting excess insects or not gut-loaded ones can attack your Leo and also cause health issues. Hence be very careful while feeding them.

Veterinary care

Reptile pets are not so easily available everywhere. Hence you can contact your reptile breeder for this information as they deal with these inquiries mostly.

However, your Gecko needs to get checked at least once a year by a veterinarian. Thus their health records will be updated on time, and issues can be dealt with before anything bad occurs.

How To Avoid Stress In Leopard Geckos?

Stress is an undeletable circumstance for any living being, including your Leopard Gecko. Hence there are certain things you can do to avoid it.

  • Proper researching
  • Arranging terrarium
  • Avoid excess handling
  • Feeding right food

Proper researching

Before buying or adopting a Leopard gecko, do proper research about the reptile. A reptile-like Leopard Gecko needs proper care, a good tank setup, enough food to survive, etc.

After bringing this reptile, you will discover many new things, but having proper knowledge beforehand can help you bond with your pet well.

You can also find pets from Leopard Gecko breeders who are popular so that you can assure a good life for your pet.

Arranging terrarium

The terrarium arrangement should be made accurately by setting the proper temperature( ranging between 77-90℉) and humidity (30-40%). The lighting should be appropriately set, and a good amount of hiding spots with rocks and leaves should be present.

Avoid excess handling

Handling your Gecko too much can cause stress in them. You should never squeeze them or pull their tail while handling them.

If you see your Leo waving their tails or trying to move away from you, keep it back inside their tank to help them relieve themselves.

Feeding right food

Feeding the right food with enough supplements at the right time is very important for your Leos. Check What do Leopard Geckos Eat? and try to provide them properly as sometimes they might end up overeating, making more complicated situations.

Can A Gecko Be Depressed?

A Leopard Gecko can be depressed if moved away from its owners or objects they are attached to the most. They can also be depressed due to a new environment, repetitive stress, or underlying illness.

Do Leopard Geckos Get Lonely?

Leopard Geckos prefer to stay alone as they are not social creatures. They are more likely to grow when they are alone, and the presence of another Gecko stresses them.

Cohabitation also creates competition for food and shelter even if plenty of options are available.

Keeping a male and female Gecko for breeding can be possible, but keeping two Geckos of the same sex might create problems.

Do Leopard Geckos Cry?

Leopard Geckos are not seen crying, but they do scream when they are in a defensive mood. They make a high-pitched sound for a few seconds to alert their owner or scare what/ whoever they feel is threatening them.

Final Words

Like humans, Leopard Geckos can become unhappy when they become stressed or uncomfortable in their environment. There are certain signs that they tend to express their feelings that tell if your Leopard Gecko is sad.

After understanding the issue, you need to try to create a bond with your reptile or help them adjust to the environment. If these things don’t work, you need to take your Leopard Gecko to any good reptile vet as soon as possible.

This is how you can help your Leopard Gecko last long with you and help them grow without being unhappy at times.

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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