Have you walked into the room to feed your gecko only to find that the tank is empty? If you have, you may wonder what to do if you lose your gecko.
An escaped gecko is most likely to be hiding in a secure spot that’s dark and warm. In turn, the best places to start searching for your gecko are underneath rugs, under the fridge or stove, behind the TV, and near heating vents.
Read on to learn about what you should and shouldn’t do if you lose your gecko. We’ve also outlined why your gecko may have escaped its terrarium in the first place.
Geckos are tiny reptiles. This makes them quite difficult to pinpoint when they go missing. In addition to this, geckos are nimble and agile animals. In turn, they can be rather elusive.
However, don’t panic. We know just the places for you to start searching for your escaped gecko:
To catch a gecko, you need to put yourself in its position. Your gecko has escaped its tank for a reason (we’ll get into the possibilities later in this guide). The number one motivation for a gecko to escape is that it’s searching for warmth. Geckos also like dimly lit hiding spots.
Here are some places where it may have found solace:
The first place you should look is underneath the carpets that are laid down close to your gecko’s terrarium.
A carpet or rug’s underbelly is an ideal hiding spot for a gecko that provides the darkness and warmth it covets so much.
Keep in mind that your gecko is more likely to be under small, loose rugs. Large carpets are likely to be too heavy for a gecko to wiggle its way under them.
You should also check under large appliances around your house that produce heat. These appliances include the fridge or the stove.
The large shadow cast by such appliances offers your gecko a dark, concealed space. This allows it to feel safe as it recovers from the stress of the new environment it’s suddenly found itself in.
Proceed to shine a flashlight underneath your fridge or stove. If you find your gecko staring back at you, you’ll need to move the appliance to weed your pet lizard out. Be careful though, you don’t want to injure your gecko accidentally as you do so.
Another possible spot your gecko could be hiding is behind the TV. Your TV itself emanates heat when it’s on. Not only that, but it’s also likely to have a power strip behind it that radiates warmth for your escaped gecko to bask in.
Heating vents are a common hiding place where your gecko may be soaking in the warmth.
This is the perfect spot in your gecko’s eyes since heating vents are usually close to ground level. In turn, your gecko won’t have to climb to access them.
On the subject of putting yourself in your gecko’s shoes to make finding it easier, your pet reptile might be in yours.
If you have a lot of shoes scattered all over the floor, your gecko may have found a home inside one of them. Grab a pair, shake it, and see if your gecko pops out. If it doesn’t, move on to the next pair.
However, be gentle and as close to the floor as possible as you do this. Geckos are delicate creatures. You don’t want to injure yours by giving it a nasty spill.
Here are a couple of things you should steer clear of as you’re trying to find your escaped gecko:
In the unfortunate event that your pet gecko escapes its tank, there’s a pretty good possibility that it’s still wandering around the same room. You should do the best you can to avoid letting any pet cats or dogs you have enter this room.
Your canine and feline pals have a much better knack for finding small animals than you. This is thanks to their keen senses of smell and hearing.
If your cat or dog gets to your lost pet gecko before you do, chances are that it’s not going to end well. They’ll view your gecko as prey and are likely to seriously injure or kill it. They may even eat it.
You can avoid this by making sure to keep the room’s door closed at all times. If there’s space between the bottom of the door and the floor, close it off with a rag or a towel. This’ll stop your gecko from slithering through it.
If it’s been a while since you’ve last seen your pet gecko, you may start to get desperate. This may lead you to consider resorting to extreme measures such as setting sticky traps.
We cannot stress enough how bad of an idea this is. These traps aren’t designed to safely capture escaped reptiles. They’re designed to immobilize small lizards like geckos and dehydrate them.
What good is finding your gecko if you give it a serious injury in the process?
As we’ve previously mentioned, there’s probably something that motivated your gecko to escape in the first place.
Here are some possible reasons that may urge your gecko to jump ship:
The first possible culprit is a lack of food.
Once your gecko feels like it doesn’t have enough food in its environment to sustain it, it’ll start looking elsewhere. So, make sure you’re providing your gecko with a sufficient and balanced diet.
A tell-tale sign to look out for is your gecko’s tail. These tiny lizards’ tails serve as a fat reserve for them to use to sustain themselves when food is scarce. If your gecko’s tail is thinner than usual, this is an indication that your gecko’s depleted.
Another motive that may lead to your gecko attempting escape is the living conditions in its terrarium.
These reptiles have specific needs in terms of temperature and humidity.
A gecko will typically feel comfortable at temperatures between 75 and 90℉. Make sure to set up your gecko’s tank in a way that gives them different temperature options within this range.
As for humidity, geckos prefer a moist environment that’s 50 to 70% humid.
Failing to provide these conditions is detrimental to your gecko’s health and raises the chances of escape.
Geckos are reclusive animals that like to have plenty of hiding spots in their habitat. This is an instinctive desire as reptiles’ size makes them an easy target for predators.
If your gecko feels constantly exposed within its terrarium, it’ll start looking for ways to leave this stressful environment.
No one, human or reptile, likes to feel cooped up. This is why you should ensure that your gecko’s terrarium is big enough for it to move around freely.
For an adult leopard gecko, we recommend a minimum surface area of 4.5 square feet. This can be achieved by getting a 36 x 18 x 18 terrarium.
Are you asking yourself what to do if you lose your gecko? In short, you should think like a gecko. These creatures often escape stressful situations by hiding somewhere that’s cozy.
Keep in mind that possible hiding places for your gecko will have warmth and darkness in common. Spots that offer these conditions are the ideal starting point for your search.
We wish you the best of luck in finding your tiny pal!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.