Skittish crested gecko- any ideas to help?

My crested gecko is extremely skittish. I’ve tried many techniques to calm him down, but nothing is working. every time I even just reach into his enclosure to spray it down, feed him, etc., he freaks out and starts bouncing off the walls and even trying to escape. for reference, yesterday, I tried approaching him slowly to remove him from the enclosure to clean, and he kept running away. when I eventually did get him out, he bit me. once I was done cleaning, it took probably about 10 minutes to safely get him back into his enclosure. I’m seriously considering rehoming him to someone with more crested gecko experience who may be able to calm him down. What do you think? are there any techniques that you swear by that I could try? If not, I know a local crested gecko breeder that would be happy to take him in.

I do not keep cresties, but there are other forum users who might be able to help. To help them help you, can you describe your husbandry? (Temps, set up, location in your home, diet, other nearby reptiles, etc.) Also, can you tell us more about your crestie? Is sex confirmed, how long have you had him, etc.


Oh no. I have some questions before I can try to help! Please don’t take offence to any questions and you don’t have to answer them if you don’t want to.

What time of day do you usually go to him in his enclosure?
Do you feed insects and how eg. tong feed or put them in for him to hunt.
Do you have a routine
What size enclosure does he live in
Do you have a pic you could share of the enclosure and the gecko?

You are not the only one. I have 2 skittish geckos and another that use to be skittish but he isn’t anymore…touch wood he doesn’t turn skittish again lol


I don’t think you’ve fully known Cresties until you’ve had a nutter!
Haise first came here like a mad man, he’d bolt around just like yours, when feeding, misting, hit his face a lot and my gosh I felt bad just going near his viv because it would send him into a craze! Took around a year for him to realise I’m actually very nice! :sweat_smile: Now he’s a pleasure and even my daughter can get him out herself!
Beast Boy on the other hand is mental. You want him out he will run, you get him out and he will try run (at first) Apparently his dad is the same still, and he’s just like him. He came from Hayley at Crestie Addicted, she warned me of his crazy ways before hand, but since I’m used to it, it’s not a problem and when out he’s actually really chill and will sit with me. Just got a crazy boy but that’s ok!
Cherry has calmed down a lot, but I get her out every other day now, and same with Penny. They just weren’t handled much!
It’s going to take time, don’t feel disheartened that it’s not happening right away. Cresties biting is Very rare, a rescue we had was only one we knew who would bite when scared, luckily doesn’t hurt which I’m sure you now know 😮‍💨
So for him to bite you, he’s very scared, try just ‘stroking’ in the viv, yes he’ll bolt but close the doors so he can’t bolt out until he’s chilled out, then open and try again. This is what I had to do with Haise and it took around a year for him to ‘Trust’ me.
If it doesn’t work then you’ll have to accept he prefers to be left alone and put a nice cork tube in his viv for him to have a ‘safe space’ so when you do go in to do anything he’ll have there to hide.

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I usually go to him at around 10:00pm when he’s fully awake, I feed crickets mostly, and every other week dubia roaches and pangea, my routine is get up, take a look at his enclosure to make sure everything looks good, if it’s to dry, give it a mist, check on him from outside the enclosure again a few times throughout the day, then once he’s awake at 10:00, on feeding days I’ll feed him, I’ll usually give him another mist, and that’s when I’ll try to handle him, and he always freaks out. also, he lives in an exo terra 18 x 18 x 24 enclosure and I’ll share a pic when I check on him when I feed him at 10:00.

I maintain the temperature at 75 degrees farenheit, he’s in an 18 x 18 x 24 exo terra with lots of fake plants and climbing spaces, he’s in my room which usually isn’t to busy during the day, I feed him crickets, dubia roaches and pangea with crickets being the staple, there’s a ball python next to him but there’s a barrier in between so they can’t see each other, he’s never bred but he has the bulge and spurs of a male and I’ve had him since mid february.

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I would suggest, trying to hold of him before he wakes up a little earlier in the evening if you can. I would also suggest spraying the enclosure before you feed him so he gets into the routine of spray means food is available and so he might feel more at home.

It may not work, but it’s worked for me. I have one crestie that is skittish in his enclosure but he is great to hold…providing I get to him before later at night. I also fed them insects after each time I held them so they associated being held leads to some sort of a treat.


When sleepy basically! Haise is a burrower so that helped, I’d ‘wake him’ if you like and he’d be too tired and just stare! He’s currently burrowed now with his head peeping!
Beast boy not a chance. It’s ok though I’ve got great reflexes with him now :joy:

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They main thing is once you find what works, stick with it. Remain calm and soon your Crestie should warm up to you, although some Cresties prefer to not be held.

My Cresties are in our conservatory around 2 incredibly noisy boys and I don’t have an issue, it’s just when they are wide awake That two of mine tend to be a little jumpy now… Nothing like before though

I’ve been working on taming my cresties and it’s a work in progress, one I can pet and sometimes even hold for a few seconds, another I can sometimes pet for a few seconds and then he bolts, and the third I can’t even touch her without her bolting.

All geckos have spurs, the bulge is how you tell a male from a female.
Can you add a picture of the enclosure? I would start by keeping 3 sides covered for the most security. I would also pull up a chair a few feet from the enclosure and sit reading a book or doing something for a couple hours. Then he should figure out that you’re not a threat. Once he doesn’t bolt as soon as you walk by you can start putting your hand in for as long as you can hold it there with some food on your fingers, ideally do this right after he woke up or when he typically goes to the pangea food to eat. Also try feeding him live insects by hand. Do this every night until he starts coming up to eat from your fingers. It might help to hold your hand where the food usually is and take the food out while your hand is in there so it’s the only option, once you take your hand out you can add the main food back. Once he comes to your fingers comfortably you can take your other hand and stroke him on the upper back or sides. From there you can keep working with him and before you know it you should be able to handle him.


I missed the bit about spurs lol

Yes all Cresties have it. So yours is still likely a male dependant on bulge.

Males will get a bulge with age.

I’ve had dinner show by 6 months old and I’ve still got one male that has no bulge at 1 1/2 years old - he is making me question whether he is a male now :thinking:

At that age I’d be questioning it too!
Youngest was 5g with a mini bulge here, mad me laugh seeing this little dude with that going on :joy:

Any pics? Have you got a looper? :blush:

I looped, there are definitely pores. His been a slow grower so don’t know if that makes a difference. I’d rather he was a she as i bought him as a possible female.

Maybe it’s both!
I mean it can happen… you see it in mammals so…
Blimey could you imagine!

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I certainly hope not…no offence, I just would love to breed the lil guy and I wouldn’t know where to start lol

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Haha no I get it. To female or to a male? :joy:
Blimey must be just deflated the poor thing. Not a man just yet! :sweat_smile:

I have heard of looping but what is it?

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A jewellers loop. It zooms in lots so you can look for a line of pores on the underneath of a crested gecko.

Males have pores, females do not

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Thank you, I would have never guessed that :grin:

I’m too impatient to wait till they are older, so I loop sex all my lil cresties. I haven’t been wrong so far, with the exception of fudge who still hasn’t decided to show his bulge lol if happily be seeing though ♀️❔♂️❔

I hope to get a pic one day and put it on the morph / trait guide