A leopard gecko might occasionally lick you if you pet one. Even though this is a typical occurrence, you could be shocked to observe this behavior being placed frequently. As a result, you might wonder what it means when a leopard gecko licks you.
A leopard gecko’s tendency to lick indicates that it is attempting to use its internal Jacobson’s Organ to smell or taste its surroundings. This also indicates that they are making an effort to comprehend you better. They want to be handled and cared for by you, though, if they lick your hand or arm.
Why Does a Leopard Gecko Lick You?
Licking you is normal behavior for a leopard gecko. As previously established, geckos utilize their tongues to sense their surroundings using Jacobson’s organ. However, there are a few additional causes for them to lick you:
- Curiosity about the surrounding
Inquisitive geckos may lick their owners out of curiosity when they detect an uncommon odor, such as soap, hand sanitizer, or the aroma of something that has been handled recently. And perhaps it was drawn to these. If not, you might have worn a perfume your gecko wasn’t familiar with, so it licks you to detect this new scent.
Basically, your gecko may lick for amusement as it tries to quell its natural curiosity in its environment. You might also consider this as your pet’s attempt to get to know you better.
- Out of thirst
To consume the water or to cool down on the skin, geckos may lick their owners. The way they quench their thirst by licking moist objects around the tank is identical to how they do this. As a result, the bowl of clean water is either left undisturbed or hardly utilized, as you may have noticed.
“So, tell me, how does my gecko hydrate itself?”, one may ask. To drink, it simply licks wet things from the terrarium. You can check it out after each period of heavy sprinkling if you haven’t already.
The gecko may be licking you to drink the water because it is thirsty if you touched it with damp hands or while your skin was sweaty.
- To reassure themselves
Most significantly, geckos may lick their owner to feel secure in a safe environment. And perhaps the closest thing to affection you can think of is this. If you are unaware of this, it connects you to a secure environment where you know no harm will come to you.
Therefore, you will be prepared the next time you touch your gecko while donning your go-to fragrance. Additionally, since you are linked to a secure environment, nothing would attempt to elude your grip. It would, however, put up with your handling.
However, even if you are aware that licking is not a sign of gratitude, getting licked by your gecko, as in the video below, still makes you feel appreciated.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Lick Other Objects
While it is true that geckos may lick their owners to quell their curiosity, to sip water, or to calm themselves, leopard and crested geckos may lick just about anything to look for food, to find a mate, or to detect the presence of living things.
In essence, smelling in geckos is a special and complex procedure with Jacobson’s organ. Geckos don’t just smell with their noses; they also appear to taste their surroundings. And in various circumstances, they lick to:
- Identify the thing. Different items in the aquarium would be licked by geckos to identify whether they are alive or not. Once they determine that the object is safe, they can carry on as usual. If not, they might flee from it and find the closest cover.
- Find a prospective partner. When seeking a suitable mate, geckos may flick their tongue in the air to pick up pheromones. They can proceed with mating if they are both readable and a perfect match.
- Search for edible food. To determine whether an object is food or not, geckos lick it. They can verify that what they have scented (and tasted at the same time) is food and not just an object or danger by licking it.
- slake thirst. Geckos may lick the object to drink, just like they would lick you if your skin was wet. They still have the inclination to drink by licking water droplets on the surface of items because there isn’t a drinking dish in their natural habitat.
- I was just curious. Your gecko might simply be interested, after all. And to understand its surroundings, it is tasting items in its tank.
What Else Could Licking Behavior Indicate?
Licking may also be a sign of problems your leopard gecko is having, so it’s important to keep an eye on it so you can take prompt action. Keep an eye out for the following licking behaviors since you might need to handle them appropriately.
- Mouth Licking
Leopard geckos have been known to open their jaws wide and lick both their food and mouths repeatedly. This behavior, in addition to not being able to hold food, including trouble holding food, may point to a more serious problem that should worry keepers.
These problems that leopard geckos have may be signs of a weak jaw caused by calcium insufficiency and MBD.
Check the jaw by lightly examining it with your fingers to see if it feels sponge-like or mushy and pulpy.
- Lip licking
Lip-licking in leopard geckos could be a sign of mouth rot or abscesses, which hurt and might make it difficult to eat. You can check your leopard geckos’ mouths for redness or sores to see if they could have mouth rot by doing so.
- Eye Licking
To keep their eyes clean and lubricated, lions lick them. Because they are unable to generate tears, leopard geckos frequently lick their eyes. This, however, is not a cause for alarm.
It’s normal for your leopard gecko to lick you; it’s just a technique for him to get to know and understand you better. When he is licking you, there is nothing to be alarmed about.
However, if your gecko exhibits other unusual licking behaviors, you should pay special attention because this could be a sign of stress. These problems might require professional advice in order to be resolved.
Last but not least, enjoy spending time with your gecko and letting him get to know you better!