Have you ever been stunned in place by your gecko staring at you?
It could have felt cute and heart-warming. Contrarily, you could have felt threatened and uneasy.
In any case, once it happens multiple times, you begin asking yourself: “Why does my gecko stare at me?”
A gecko will resort to staring to familiarize itself with its new environment if it just moved in. Otherwise, it could be a natural tendency to explore or watch moving objects.
There’s also the possibility that it’s looking to capture your attention, especially if you’ve developed a strong bond with your gecko.
Let’s delve into the psychology of a pet gecko to see what induces this behavior.
Why Does My Gecko Stare at Me?
Staring is a normal reaction for any creature to monitor its surroundings, and your gecko is no different.
In doing so, it’s checking if there are any threats around, or if the environment is safe and friendly.
You must take into account its behavior and body language to translate your gecko’s staring correctly.
1 – Exploring and Analyzing
If your gecko is still new at your home, staring at you is completely normal behavior. It will be feeling scared and anticipating danger.
Since you’re probably the only moving object around it, your gecko will be most scared of your attacks.
That’s why it keeps a close eye on you. This way, it will be ready to defend itself if you ever decide to attack it.
2 – A Reaction to Their Eye’s Sharpness
If your gecko still stares at you even after it’s already familiar with you, it’s not something to worry about.
Geckos, like other reptiles, have sharp eyes. Naturally, this enables them to pick up on slight movements, even in the dark.
Once they do, they’ll follow the moving object to assess whether it poses a threat or not.
3 – Curiosity
Another reason your gecko might be staring at you is out of sheer curiosity. Once a pet feels comfortable in its new home, it begins cozying up by satisfying its curiosity.
This includes memorizing the objects in the room or the house if you bring your gecko out of its enclosure.
Your gecko would also be curious about you and other people that live in the house. This is why it might stare at you while you go on with your daily routine.
This way, it feels like it’s getting to know you and your typical movements, which makes it feel safe. Not only that, but it also helps it understand if there’s something wrong if you change your habits.
4 – Looking for Attention
Although it’s not so common, your gecko might stare at you for attention. You probably have fed this behavior by providing it with attention whenever it stared at you before.
It could be that it needs some water or that it’s waiting for dinner.
In all cases, whatever it is that your gecko needs and has gotten through staring before, it’ll be expecting that when it stares at you now.
Reading the Messages Behind Your Gecko Staring
Now that you know the main reasons a gecko could be staring at you, let’s look into other behavior that might be associated with it.
Understanding these messages helps you decipher what it’s trying to say so that you can communicate better with your pet.
Shaking and Wiggling the Tail
The tail can tell you a lot about what your gecko is thinking.
Fast shaking or wiggling delivers the message that the gecko is feeling threatened and uneasy. It’s also a sign that your gecko is being defensive in the face of other geckos, or a way to distract enemies.
Alternatively, it could be the way a male introduces himself to a female companion.
On the other hand, slow wiggling is a sign of friendliness. So, if your gecko is slowly wiggling its tail when staring at you or when you’re picking it up, it may be trying to tell you that it perceives you as a friend.
Squeaking and Chirping
Chirping like birds? Yes.
Geckos can communicate through chirps. Yet, it’s hardly ever that you’ll hear any sounds from them, as they’re quiet by nature.
However, if your gecko does any squeaking or chirping, it’s not a happy sound as that made by birds.
These sounds mean that your gecko is highly uncomfortable and feels threatened. Naturally, if it makes those sounds while staring at you, it’s not a good sign.
It could be that there’s a hidden injury somewhere or that it’s feeling unwell. That’s why you should head to the vet if your gecko keeps making these sounds.
Doing push-ups as though they’re working out is a pretty common behavior with geckos. Yours is probably trying to convey a message, and it could be one of the following:
“I’m feeling threatened and I’m trying to make myself look big and show you how I can fend for myself.”
“I’m feeling like I can impress a potential mate.” That’s in the case that it’s a male gecko, as females don’t do push-ups to impress partners, but only to threaten or stretch.
“I’m feeling like I’m comfortable enough to move freely and engage my muscles.”
You can pick up on whether it’s a friendly push-up or a threatening one by the speed. If it’s slow and relaxed, then your gecko is not trying to say that it thinks of you as a challenge.
Flicking Their Tongue
Not only geckos but also all reptiles flick their tongue in the process of exploring their surroundings and getting familiar with what’s around them.
Their Jacobson’s organ—responsible for smell—lies in the tip of their tongues. This small olfactory organ is responsible for the sense of smell in reptiles, just as it is in amphibians and mammals.
So, when your gecko is flicking its tongue, it’s a sign that it’s curious and wants to learn more about what’s around it.
Geckos like to climb up and down their tanks to move around. However, if the gecko does so while seeming uncomfortable, it could mean that there’s something wrong with the enclosure.
It could be too cold or too warm or simply not big enough.
So, if your gecko stares at you and then tries to escape the enclosure, it could be sending you a message that it needs your attention and help.
Is It Okay If My Gecko Never Stares at Me?
Yes. Geckos—just like us—have different personalities.
Some can be attached and curious, while others can be uninterested.
So, if your gecko doesn’t stare, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. It could simply mean that it doesn’t have a curiosity about external objects as long as it’s being cared for.
Do All Reptiles Stare At People?
When talking about pet reptiles, all of them will tend to stare. This includes iguanas, leopard geckos, crested geckos, and bearded dragons.
This is just their way of ensuring their environment is safe. This behavior helps them relax, sleep, and eat without having to be on the lookout for predators and threats.
Is Staring a Sign My Gecko Loves Me?
While your gecko won’t show love the way a dog or cat might, it’s able to feel basic emotions.
When your gecko feels connected to you, it will stop and stare instead of hiding when you walk into the room. So, it’s a sign that your gecko feels safe around you.
Depending on the stage of your bond with your gecko, its staring habits can change the message it’s trying to communicate.
Not only that, but other signs of how your gecko might be feeling can also let you know what it means with the staring.
So, keep an eye on its varying mannerisms to bond with it and understand why your gecko is staring at you on different occasions.
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.