8 Signs to Tell Your Leopard Gecko is Happy & Healthy

By Frank Miller •  Updated: 09/24/23 • 

For a leopard gecko keeper, seeing your pet happy and healthy is the most awesome and fulfilling thing. If you’ve had your leopard gecko for a while, learning his behaviors and knowing how he reacts will tell you if it’s truly happy or healthy.

For a new leopard gecko owner, there are different signs you can look out for in a happy Leo. In this article, I’ll point out some signs that show your leopard gecko is happy and healthy. Remember, not all leopard geckos show these signs. Learning and interpreting your leopard gecko’s behaviors will take time and effort.

1. Enjoys Exploring The Enclosure

An active leopard gecko is a happy pet. If your leopard gecko is always exploring the vivarium, then it is a sign of happiness. For first-time leopard gecko owners, your leopard gecko might spend most of its time in its hiding spot, only coming out for some meals. However, once it starts adjusting to the new environment, it will start to explore.

In contrast, an unhappy or stressed leopard gecko will be sluggish and lethargic. If your Leo spends more time hiding and its eyes are closed most times, there is usually an underlying reason.

Make sure your Leo is healthy and the temperatures and humidity inside the vivarium are good. Having a temperature and humidity monitor is always good for keeping the vivarium in optimum conditions.

2. Enjoys Relaxing in The Warm Spot

Leopard geckos are cold-blooded, so they do not produce their own heat. To get heat, a leopard gecko and other lizards usually sit under the sun or heated rocks to absorb heat. Lizards and other cold-blooded animals cannot do without a source of heat. They need heat to digest food and do other bodily functions.

A leopard gecko thermoregulates its temperature by moving from warm to cooler spots and vice versa. If you notice this behavior with your leopard gecko, it may be a sign that it’s happy. Because leopard geckos are nocturnal, basking in the open, flattened out, is a sure sign of a relaxed and happy leopard gecko or lizard.

3. Has a Good Appetite

A happy leopard gecko always looks forward to its next meal. Some of my leopard geckos start glass surfing when they see me approaching the enclosure. This is a sign it’s looking forward to its daily meal, and most of them do not disappoint. While I have some picky leopard eaters, most of them eat just about anything! No questions asked.

If your leopard gecko has a good appetite, then it’s a sure sign it’s happy. If you notice your leopard gecko losing interest in food, it’s likely it’s sick or stressed.

For a leopard gecko with a good appetite, always make sure you’re feeding it a varied diet. Make sure to gut-load your meals at least 24 hours before feeding them, and dust them with calcium powder to make them healthier. Remember, your leopard gecko gets most of its nutrients from feeder insects, so make sure they are healthy too. See this post on feeding a leopard gecko properly.

> Recommended Reading: How Often to Feed a Leopard Gecko?

4. Healthy and Bright Skin

I’ve rescued several leopard geckos that are always in a bad state. Some of them do not make it even with proper care. One thing I’ve observed in unhealthy leopard geckos is dull skin. When a leopard gecko is healthy, its skin is bright and looks very healthy.

When everything goes well, from the temperature inside the enclosure to the food you feed your leopard gecko, it will be in a healthy state. A healthy leopard gecko is a happy one.

5. It Doesn’t Mind Being Handled

While leopard geckos are friendly animals, they are not social and do not love to handle them. If your leopard gecko is fond of being handled, it is a sure sign that it is happy. I’ve had several lizards, and I find it easy to handle other pet lizards, like bearded dragons, compared to leopard geckos.

If your leopard gecko is easy to handle, then you have a happy pet. However, always be careful when handling a leopard gecko. Never grab it by the tail because it can easily detach when roughly handled.

Remember, lizards are very different from other animals, like dogs and mammal pets. A gecko who does not want to be picked up will attempt to squirm out of your grasp or avoid you. Also, watch out for changes in behavior when handling your leopard gecko so you can return it to its enclosure when needed.

6. Moves Around Effortlessly

There are a lot of diseases and injuries that might affect how your leopard gecko moves. One common health problem that affects reptiles and mostly lizards is metabolic bone disease (MBD). Metabolic bone disease is caused as a result of low calcium levels, so the bones weaken. Adding calcium to your Leos diest by gut loading and dusting reduces the chances of MDB.

If your leopard gecko is walking around majestically without any problem, it’s a sure sign of a healthy and happy pet. Smooth movements and faster response always indicate a healthy and happy leopard gecko.

7. Normal Fat Buildup in Their Tail

When there is plenty of food, most animals will store the surplus in their bodies in the form of fats. For leopard geckos, the tail is where they store their fast reserves to help them when food is scarce. The thicker the leopard gecko’s tail, the healthier it is, and able to survive long without food.

A healthy leopard gecko will have a fat tail proportionate to the rest of the body. However, always watch out for any signs of obesity, as it’s very easy to get fatter. Obesity in leopard geckos is a health problem, and it can lead to a much shorter life.

The tail should be long and fat for a normal healthy leopard gecko. However, as it starts to assume a more rounded shape, your gecko might be approaching obesity.

8. Normal Poop Color with White Urate

Popping is one of the acts that help an animal excrete waste from the body. For a healthy leopard gecko, pooping regularly is a must. The poop color and frequency can be a sign of whether your leopard gecko is healthy or unhealthy.

Normal Leopard Gecko Poop

The poop color of a healthy leopard gecko is usually dark brown or black in color. A white or off-white urate attached to the poop is also a sign of a healthy leopard gecko. If your leopard’s gecko poop and urate are significantly different, it could be a sign of underlying problems, change in diet, too much fat, eating the substrate, etc.

Wrapping Up

Apart from what I’ve mentioned above, other signs show your leopard gecko is happy and healthy. Flicking the tongue around, clear and open eyes, no lumps around the body, clear nose with no discharge, among many other signs, show a happy and healthy pet leopard gecko.

Remember, your leopard gecko might show other signs in response to being happy. It takes time to learn your leopard gecko behavior, so be patient. A happy and healthy leopard gecko makes a happy pet owner.

Frank Miller

Frank Miller is the Founder of Lizard Advisor and owns several pet lizards, from leopard geckos, bearded dragons, crested geckos, chameleons, and others. The mission of this website is to make owning a pet lizard very easy for everyone, but mostly beginners. And each year, he continues to help more people learn more about lizard care and much more.