Cresties are one of the better reptiles when it comes
to handling - especially after a time when you have suitably tamed your pet you will find they are
relatively placid after a few minutes - and many Cresties seem to actively enjoy being
Cresties particularly like climbing
all over people. Especially it seems the neck, shoulders and back! And they are
world experts at dashing up your arm and launching off your shoulder! They are
by far best known for their jumping prowess!
Cresties will jump and they jump
surprisingly far and surprisingly well and the first time this will surprise you.
But they are a small animal and will very quickly run out of steam and settle down
- the trick is to learn that for the first few minutes they will be in a jumping
mood - and you learn how to "walk" the gecko from hand to hand or let them simply
jump from hand to hand as you alternate your hands each time they jump and free up
the other hand.
They will quickly run out of energy and
settle down. They most definitely benefit from frequent handling - not too often
as that will simply stress them out, but you should incorporate some handling
say every feeding time - pop them out for a few minutes then back in and give them
their feed bowl.
The most important consideration naturally
is to never grab the tail or the base of the tail - although Cresties are not prone
to drop their tails at the slightest opportunity like some other reptiles - they do
have a specialised set of muscles designed to shear off the tail - it takes a
considerable amount of force to make a Crestie drop it's tail but it can and does
happen. Although they look just as cute without a tail - letting them keep it is
No matter how good you think you are
at handling them they will eventually jump out of your hand and onto the floor.
Although Cresties are more than capable of surviving a fall to the ground from the
height of human adult stood up - it's preferable to practice damage limitation
and try and handle them when sitting down - so that when they do eventually pull
off this acrobat act they have a far smaller distance to cover before they hit the
ground. - And landing on soft carpet is obviously advantageous to a hard floor
Never forcefully pull them off clothing, their perch
or such items as you could inadvertently break the claws or even fingers in the
process! They will let go of their grip eventually. Cresties especially if they
have their feet on a smooth flat surface physically need to curl their toes
up from the front to deactivate the bond their pads have on the surface - let them
do this without forcing them.
When returning to the Vivarium Simply hold them pointing
something - they'll either walk off your hand or jump off it into the
I handle my hatchlings from 1 week of
age - but it is important to understand what handling refers to at
this age. It's important for the young gecko to realise I am not a threat as early
as possible - if only to stop them stressing out and to ensure nice tame adults
My handling at this stage is simply putting my hand in the
container they are in with my fingers flat on the floor palm facing
upwards. For cleaning I tend to actively encourage them to run or jump onto my
hand for me to place them in another container whilst I clean. They will
do this quite readily, if only I suspect; that in their heads they are planning to
use your hand as a launch platform to escape!
At this age some youngsters are full of
fighting beans and will jump and run a lot faster than you think they will so you
need to keep a watchful eye as they are fast! And being so small would easily be
lost in the furniture never to be found again!
Some youngsters can be quite mouthy -
two things happen - they either try and nip you or they open their mouths really
wide as a warning. Once they realise it's you however they will soon chill out and
calm down! It's important you don't over react and flinch away when they do this -
there is no way on earth they are actually able to hurt you! I've been quite
forcibly bitten by an adult Crestie and it only ever resulted in a pinching
sensation and never cut my skin.
Us humans give off a lot of heat and the little gecko will immediately
notice this and should quickly start to chill out so long as you keep your hand still. The very
young especially just want to feel safe and secure so cup your hand into a cave and let them
At about 4 -6 months of age they are large and chunky enough to easily
handle more physical petting methods and by this stage will be quite tame from all the prior
Your hands must be cleaned before
AND after handle your gecko. For this purpose I always use
Purell in my house prior to and after handling to ensure I do not get anything
from them - and crucially that they do not get anything from me either!
Will Crestie's bite
The will never bite unless they rarely mistake your finger for food. Even then
the gecko has a fairly insignificant bite where humans are concerned.
They do have teeth but they are not significant enough to readily pierce human
skin. The only sensation felt would be similar to another human giving you a very light
pinch. However when educating children as to handling your Leo's you must explain to them
about possible biting - as the instinctive human reaction to flinch could seriously injure
the Gecko! They have weak - in comparison to us - jaws and bones and an ill thought flinch
can easily snap these bones!
On the rare occasion where improper handling has hurt
your gecko - they will respond with a survival bite. This type of bite
is one with all the strength that they can muster - they are, in their own minds; now
fighting for their life. This kind of bite will feel like quite a forceful pinch and if the
gecko has some nicely developed teeth will feel like a little pin prick. It can - just
like a pin prick - draw a little blood - this will usually only occur on very young human
hands where the skin is more fragile than normal.
The gecko in this instance may not want to let go - calmly put it back in the
Vivarium and let its feet touch something- then it will usually immediately let go and
quickly make for the nearest hide.
You can avoid this from ever happening by always handling your gecko gently - never ever squeeze
your gecko or pinch
You don't hold an animal like this in the way you would a cat or dog or even a
small rodent. Think of yourself as just a temporary surface for them to climb and walk
If you have to hold them still for whatever reason it is best to form your hand
into a sort of cage around them rather than putting any kind of pressure on them at