This past summer, one of our leopard geckos went missing. This is always a stressful time as you worry so much about your pet. I learned several things from this event and hope this article can minimize your stress and help you find your missing gecko quicker.
First Steps to Find Your Gecko
The first thing you should do is quickly scan the area within 10 feet of the gecko’s enclosure. It is amazing how many geckos are found only a few feet away from their escape point. Look around the perimeter of the room they are kept in- along walls, under the couch or easy chair. They will walk to a wall and then travel along a straight line until they can find a place to hide. If this suits them, they will usually stay there until night. Being nocturnal, the leopard will then snoop around their new environment.
Healthy adult leopard geckos can actually survive for quite some time in our homes without us. This is due to the fat reserves they store in their tails.
One mistake often made by keepers is to put out a dish with gecko food such as mealworms. The geckos will only come out when they are hungry, grab a couple of worms then go off and hide for several days. No food dish and the geckos will roam around more often to look for food.
The one necessity your gecko will need while out of their enclosure is water. Keep a few small dishes filled with clean water in areas close to the enclosure to keep the gecko hydrated.
If you have cats, dogs, and/or small children, please keep these in check until you find your pet. They will have a level of curiosity when the gecko is found and in a confrontation between pets/small children and your leopard gecko, the gecko will lose.
Last Summer, I received one piece of advice to use one of those sticky square mouse traps. Not only is this difficult to use but I feel it is extremely unsafe and very stressful for your animal.
Finding Your Gecko
There are several methods you can use to find your gecko:
The very best method in my opinion works like this- Place storage containers around the room(s) that are deep enough to not allow the gecko to crawl out (around 12-20 inches deep). Locate these containers next to and touching climbing places for the gecko- like a sofa or a fireplace hearth. You should also place a bath towel on the bottom of the container to allow a soft landing when the gecko falls in but make sure it is not high enough to allow it to crawl back out.
You Found it
Congratulations on finding your gecko. Now avoid any additional handling to allow the gecko a chance to let it settle back into its home and get back into it's feeding routine.
So, if you find yourself with an escaped leopard gecko roaming around your home, don’t panic and try the methods described above to find your pet.