One thing that often surprises new Leopard Gecko owners is the fact that these geckos, unlike most reptiles, can make a variety of noises and sounds.
Now, you’re not going to have neighbors complaining about loud barking waking them up every night or anything, and some owners rarely (or never) even hear their Leos chirping away. But Leopard Geckos are among the most vocal members of the reptile kingdom so let’s dive into some of the noises you can expect to hear and what they all mean.
What Noises Do Leopard Geckos Make?
From time to time you might hear your Leopard Gecko make a variety of noises. including chirps, clicks, barks, and even screams.
Just like you or me, Leopard Geckos use different noises to communicate different feelings or needs. The trouble is, it can be hard to translate those noises and to know what exactly your gecko is trying to tell you.
And it’s made harder still by the fact that different geckos make the same kind of noises for different reasons!
Here are some of the noises you can expect to hear at some point as the owner of a Leopard Gecko and our best interpretation of what the different sounds mean.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Click?
Clicking is a sign that a Leopard Gecko is feeling nervous or annoyed by something.
Often, if you notice your gecko starts clicking when you approach them it means they are not in the mood to be handled and don’t particularly want you near them. This isn’t always the case though so you can still approach cautiously and attempt to pick him up.
If the clicking stops they he may have just been saying “Hello” but if the clicking continues or intensifies that means he definitely doesn’t want to be handled and the best thing you can do is give him some space. Leopard Geckos are solitary creatures after all so sometimes they just need to be alone.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Scream?
Leopard Geckos scream when they threatened or when they feel especially stressed. Screaming is part of a Leopard Gecko’s defence mechanism.
It is thought that Leopard Geckos evolved the ability to scream as a way to startle predators in the wild so if your gecko is screaming at you then it’s a safe bet that you are doing something that they are not happy about.
Some owners have also noted that their gecko screams more when they are moved to a new environment that they are not used to – almost as though they are saying “Get me out of here!”. This can be especially common in younger geckos when you first bring them home. They can feel overwhelmed by the new surroundings and threatened by this giant, unfamiliard creature (that’s you) standing in front of them, but given time, they will get used to their new home (and owner) and calm down with the screaming.
If you gecko starts screaming at you out of nowhere then something, possibly even you, has spooked it. Hopefully it’ll be very temporary but if you have done something to upset them then it make take a little while to earn their trust again. The best thing you can do is try and approach them slowly for a while and be extra vigilant for any signs of stress or feeling threatened. Before you know it, you’ll be best buddies again and all will be forgotten.
Having said that, screaming is one of the less common sounds a gecko will make and, given that it’s far from a happy noise, hopefully one that you will never hear your own gecko make towards you.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Chirp?
The reasons for chirping are probably the most commonly debated among gecko owners. Some owners say that Leopard Geckos chirp when they are happy, in the same way that a cat might purr when you stroke it, while other owners claim that chirping is a sign that a gecko is hungry.
There are also owners who have reported that their gecko chirps as an act of aggression or to show that they are unhappy about something.
In all honesty, we can only realy guess what’s going through a geckos brain when they are chirping and, as every gecko is unique and has been raised in a slightly different way, your best bet is to listen out for any chirping sounds and see if there is a pattern to when you hear them.
If you notice your gecko chirping at roughly the time that you usually feed them then it’s probably a sound that they think means “I’m hungry, where’s my food?!”.
Likewise, if they start chirping while they are just relaxing and showing no signs of stress or agitation, it could mean that they are just happy as they are. Some geckos just love a little trip out of their vivarium and are happy to be outside and sat next to their owner. If that’s the case for you then keep it up and enjoy those sweet, sweet sounds.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Squeak?
Squeaking is another unhappy noise and if your gecko is squeaking it’s a sign that it feels frightened or threatened.
Not all geckos like to be handled and even some that do will only tolerate it for a short time before they’ve had enough. If your gecko starts squeaking when you are handling it, or even shortly after, then it probably feels like it’s in danger.
Another ‘danger sign’ for a Leo can be when you reach into their tank from above. Their reptilian instincts see this as a major threat (think large predator towering over them looking for a meal) and become scared, defensive and will potentially squeak and poop in fear.
This reaction is most common with a new gecko that doesn’t have a strong connection with its new owner yet but luckily it’s something that can be worked on and improved over time.
The more you interact and build a bond with your gecko, the more it will come to trust you and the less likely it is that you’ll see a reaction like this.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Bark?
Barking in Leopard Geckos is a territorial sound used to ward of predators and other geckos or as a show of dominance.
As you can imagine, barking is a way of saying “I am here” or maybe “you shouldn’t be here” which can be quite amusing when it’s a cute little lizard trying to show you who’s the boss!
Gecko barks can be tricky to distinguish from the other sounds they make and can often just sound like a coarse squeak or a shorter scream.
Either way, let them get it out of their system, feed them if it’s time and that’s what they are telling you, or give them space if they are ‘warning you off’ and they’ll soon calm down and get back to their usual, quiet self.
So there you have it, some of the most common noises you might hear from your Leopard Gecko.
This guide is by no means set in stone and each and every gecko is different. So if your gecko doesn’t make these exact sounds in these exact situations, DON’T WORRY! Some people have never heard their Leo chirping away and some will have Leos that bark just to hear the sound of their own voice!
The noises they make (or don’t make!) can be down to the personality of your individual gecko as much as the environment or anything they might be feeling at the time.
Just keep your Leo happy and well fed, keep chatting to them and who knows, one day they might start chatting back!