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 leopard gecko, many noticed they stare a lot.
Why Does My Leopard Gecko Stare At Me?
If you are wondering why your gecko is staring at you, you must know it is normal for them. Leopard geckos stare to look out for their prey and to avoid their threat.
Leopard geckos 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.
What Are the Possible Reasons for Leopard Geckos to Stare?
Here is a list of all the possible reasons for your leopard gecko to stare.
- To Avoid Threat
Leopard geckos are used to the wild and usually stare to avoid threats. They have to be observant because leopard geckos play the part of a predator and prey in the ecosystem.
For example, in the wild, leopard geckos look around and stare to look out for potential predators. Based on their observation and calculation, they plan their next move.
When you bring a leopard gecko as a pet, they consider you or someone moving near their enclosure as the predator or threat until they get used to their surroundings.
- Looking at Their Prey
As mentioned before, they are the predators as well in the ecosystem. Leopard geckos 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 leopard gecko’s pupils will begin to dilate. You will be able to notice a white ring sometimes.
- They Are Hungry
Once your leopard gecko 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 leopard gecko stares at you for a long time when you come near them, they are pleading for food.
- 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 leopard gecko might be staring at its reflection on the glass of the enclosure, unable to recognize itself.
- 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 give them the stare.
Also, if you notice your gecko staring at you while getting used to their enclosure, they are getting territorial.
- 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 stare at the new person.
Similarly, even leopard geckos 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 leopard gecko.
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.
- Exhibiting Enigma Syndrome
Enigma Syndrome is a particular case that leopard geckos 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 leopard gecko 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 leopard gecko 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?
Leopard geckos 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 leopard gecko 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 leopard gecko 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 leopard gecko 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 if 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 gecko, bring them out of its tank, and provide food, you are building a bond with your leopard gecko.
What Does It Mean If Your Leopard Gecko Is Staring at an Object?
Leopard geckos 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 what to know if that object is a threat to them.
Is It Normal If My Leopard Gecko Does Not Stare?
Yes, it is normal if your leopard gecko does not stare.
Humans are different from each other, and we have our personalities and traits. Similarly, leopard geckos also have their features and personality.
Each leopard gecko behaves differently.
If your leopard gecko 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 of a leopard gecko.
It is natural for a leopard gecko 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. Also, do not worry if they do not stare because even that is normal.
Now that you know why your leopard gecko is staring at you, do not feel intimidated, and stay relaxed around your pet.