Why Does My Leopard Gecko Stare At Me?

Why does my leopard gecko stare at me

It is interesting to see how your leopard gecko behaves or what their habits are. Many pet owners find it fascinating as well. While looking at their pet, many noticed they stare a lot.

Why Does My Leopard Gecko Stare At Me?

They may stare at you out of curiosity or to assess their surroundings. It’s a natural behavior that helps them feel secure.

They are always in alert mode. Especially in the wild, they are always looking out for their territory, and during nighttime, they stare at their prey.

Since these species are used to being in the wild, they tend to exhibit the same traits or habits from the wild when they are in an enclosure at your home.

For example, if you are near their enclosure at night, they might stare at you out of instinct. Gradually as they get used to you, they might be staring at you for reasons like hunger.

two leopard geckos staring at each other

What Are the Possible Reasons for These Reptiles to Stare?

Here is a list of all the possible reasons why they may stare.

  1. To Avoid Threat

These reptiles are used to the wild and usually stare to avoid threats. They have to be observant because geckos play the part of a predator and prey in the ecosystem.

For example, in the wild, they look around and stare to look out for potential predators. Based on their observation and calculation, they plan their next move.

They may consider you or someone moving near their enclosure as the predator or threat until they get used to their surroundings.

  1. Looking at Their Prey

As mentioned before, they are the predators as well in the ecosystem. These reptiles have the habit of staring at their target or prey before hunting them. This is commonly known as the bug stare.

Now, if you want to know what a bug’s stare looks like, you can look at its eyes when feeding the food or its favorite insect.

Their eyes start to widen, and the crests over their eyes rise. Your pet’s pupils will begin to dilate. You will be able to notice a white ring sometimes.

  1. They Are Hungry

Once your pet warms up to you and realizes that you are the person who brings them food, they stare at you when they are hungry or need food.

Sometimes, they might be staring at you because they want a treat.

If your pet stares at you for a long time when you come near them, they are pleading for food.

  1. Looking at Their Reflection

Animals tend to stare at their reflection, unable to recognize themselves. For example, you might have noticed dogs staring at their reflection in the mirror strangely. This is because they sometimes do not identify themselves and look at their reflection curiously.

Similarly, your pet might be staring at its reflection on the glass of the enclosure, unable to recognize itself.

  1. Protecting Their Territory

As mentioned before, geckos live in the wild. This means that they have to be aware of other animals entering their territory and protect it from them.

If you have a male gecko as a pet, you must know they are extremely territorial. 

Once they get used to their enclosure, they would not want anyone else living there. If you bring another gecko, they might begin staring at them.

Also, if you notice your gecko staring at you while getting used to their enclosure, they are getting territorial.

  1. Having Trust Issues

It is common for new pets to warm up to their owners. Let us take an example of a human. When children or babies meet new people, it takes them time to talk to or go to them, but they will always begin staring at the new person.

Similarly, even these reptiles take time to warm up and build trust. If you recently got a leopard gecko as a pet and it is staring at you, it might be because they do not trust you yet. They might even consider you as a treat.

Do not worry; you can build a trusting relationship with your pet.

Here are a few ways:

● Do not be nervous, and stay calm. When you get nervous, even your leopard gecko gets nervous.

● Handle them with care and give them proper attention regularly.

● Handle them regularly and only do it till your leopard gecko allows you to.

  1. Exhibiting Enigma Syndrome

Enigma Syndrome is a particular case that these reptiles can exhibit. This is a reason why you might think your leopard gecko is staring.

This syndrome must be resolved, and you must visit your vet. It is a neurological disorder commonly related to leopard geckos.

Stargazing and staring are the symptoms of Enigma syndrome. Stargazing is a little similar to zoning out. 

For example, humans zone out for some time and then snap back to reality. Similarly, stargazing in this situation means when a leopard gecko begins to stare at the ceiling for a long time. They stare at the ceiling, snap out of it, and walk around their tank as if nothing happened. 

If you notice your pet doing this, they have the syndrome. There are other symptoms as well that you must look out for, and they are:

● Walking in circles

● Lying down or resting in strange areas (places where they usually do not like to rest)

● Death rolling

● Not able to catch on to their food or prey

● Tilting their head

Again, if you notice your pet doing this, you must take them to your vet and confirm if they have the syndrome. If your gecko does, you can take the necessary measures immediately with the help of your vet.

Check out this video to see how a leopard gecko behaves if he’s suffering from enigma syndrome. 

Do Leopard Geckos Recognize Their Owners?

These reptiles can remember and recognize their owners by their owner’s scent. They can not visually identify them.

The majority of reptiles, such as leopard geckos, do not have the part of the brain that controls intelligence and complex emotions developed.

Experts say that many owners get confused between mammalian emotion and reptilian acclimation.

For example, let us take two scenarios.

First Scenario: When your dog runs to meet you or say goodbye at the front door. This is because your dog is excited to meet you.

Second Scenario: Your pet allows you to handle them because they recognize and associate you with situations that are positive such as feeding them.

Both scenarios are not the same. Your little reptile friend does not recognize you the same way your dog does. They smell and remember or lick your scent and allow you to handle them because they do not consider you a threat.

They still love you and recognize you with their reptile brain, but not the same way you think. 

Note: You might be wondering what a reptile brain is. A reptile’s brain is structured to focus mainly on instincts and survival. It means that a reptile usually cares about hunting for drinking and food. They also look for spots that are safe to hide and reproduce.

A Tip for You

The primary way your leopard gecko recognizes you is through your scent. For them to identify you when handling them, avoid using perfumes, scented soaps, or colognes.

Wash your hands thoroughly with unscented soap before handling your gecko. If you wash your hands with a scented soap, your gecko can attack you because they are not sure who you are. It is a foreign smell for them. If you fail to wash your hands and avoid using perfumes before handling your gecko, you might also lose their trust.

You must also know when you handle your pet, bring it out of its tank, and provide food, you are building a bond.

What Does It Mean If Your Pet Is Staring at an Object?

These reptiles are curious species. They stare at anything moving in their surroundings and within their peripheral view.

If you notice them staring at an object, it might be because they are curious and want to know if that object is a threat to them.

a leopard gecko next to its bowl

Is It Normal If My Pet Does Not Stare?

Yes, it is normal.

Humans are different from each other, and we have our own personalities and traits. Similarly, these reptiles also have their features and personalities. 

Each leopard gecko behaves differently.

If your pet is not staring at you, it can be because they do not consider you a threat. That is a positive for you as a pet owner. 


It is natural for these reptiles to stare. They are curious species and are just looking at their surroundings while keeping tabs on potential threats.

You should also remember that if they stare at you for a long time when you are near them, it is because they are hungry and need to be fed.

Now that you know why your pet is staring at you, do not feel intimidated, and stay relaxed around your pet.

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