There’s nothing like an adorable leopard gecko smile to brighten your day. But, is a smile always a sign of a happy leopard gecko? Simply put, no.
This article will take a closer look at:
- Why leopard geckos smile
- How to tell if your leopard gecko is happy
- What it means when a leopard gecko smiles
In This Article
The answer to this question is both yes and no.
If the question is, “Can leopard geckos make an expression that looks like a smile?” then the answer is yes.
If the question is, “Do leopard geckos smile because they’re happy?” The answer is no.
Leopard geckos naturally have faces that look like they’re constantly smiling.
Leopard geckos, Eublepharis macularius, smile because they have no choice. A leopard gecko looks like it’s smiling thanks to its extremely wide mouth.
Since their lips extend almost to their ears, these lizards have a nearly grin-like appearance.
Leopard geckos have wide mouths to facilitate their eating habits.
While they won’t have to deal with massive food items in captivity, wild leopard geckos often eat whatever they can catch.
The leopard gecko has an extra-large mouth to accommodate the consumption of large prey.
So, a leopard gecko has a smile because it’s a murderous, hungry little beast (to insects, at least).
Since you can’t rely on leopard gecko smiles, how do you know if they’re happy?
Here are some cues you can look for to see if your leopard geckos are content:
- Are they eating well?
Happy leopard geckos display a healthy appetite and are unlikely to go off their food.
If leopard geckos stop eating suddenly it could also be a sign of upcoming shedding.
- Are they behaving erratically?
If lizards appear calm and don’t pace the tank, or hide a lot, they’re probably content.
- Do they move around to different parts of the cage?
Happy, healthy leopard geckos will move between the different temperature zones in the enclosure.
If your geckos stick to one spot most of the time, something is wrong.
- Do they move freely without any signs of labored movement?
If leopard geckos show signs of limping, hitching, or another awkward movement, something is wrong.
Happy leopard geckos move freely without any inhibited movement.
- Do they react to their surroundings, most importantly things that move?
Leopard geckos are a highly inquisitive gecko species that readily react to motion around them.
If your leopard geckos aren’t reacting to their surroundings, they’re probably unhappy.
Check out our leopard gecko care sheet to help you learn exactly how to keep your gecko healthy.
If your leopard geckos are smiling but they show signs of unhappiness, there are a few common causes.
The most likely reasons for troubled leopard geckos are:
- Territoriality – Leopard geckos are territorial.
If you put two male geckos in the same enclosure, neither of them will be very happy.
Female geckos are more open to the idea of a community, but may still argue.
- Inadequate diet – Leopard geckos are sensitive, and they need the correct diet.
If you feed them wrong or only feed them one type of feed, they’ll get ill.
Pro Tip: Avoid feeding your geckos wax worms. These insects have high-fat content and often lead to obesity.
- The wrong substrate – Leopard geckos need a substrate they can’t eat, but can comfortably live on.
Reptile carpet works well for this gecko species.
- Inappropriate enclosure size – In their natural habitat, these lizards have large ranges.
Typically, their range has many hidey-holes where they can evade predators, breed, and thrive.
Providing the right enclosure size for leopard geckos is essential if you want happy animals.
- The wrong temperature setup – Leopard geckos need a temperature gradient in their enclosure.
Like most lizards, these geckos adjust their body temperature by moving between temperature zones.
Ensure that the enclosure has a warm side and a cool side so your lizard can stay healthy and happy.
Smiling leopard geckos are sure to bring a smile to your face. Both male geckos and female geckos have a million-dollar smile.
Here are some adorable smiling leopard geckos to brighten your day!
Different leopard gecko morphs often look slightly different because their patterns accentuate the smile-like shape.
Leopard geckos “smile” even when they’re checking that other geckos aren’t invading their territory.
Fun Fact: These reptiles use their unique toe pads to climb onto objects that give them a vantage point from which to survey their territory.
Leopard geckos have large mouths which enable them to consume a varied diet. At times, it can make them look slightly psychopathic.
Fun Fact: Leopard geckos have eyelids, unlike most reptiles. However, these lizards still lick their eyeballs to keep them hydrated and clean.
Fun Fact: leopard geckos aren’t the only gecko species that look like they’re smiling. Most geckos have large mouths which give them this appearance.
Selective breeding has created these little lizards, but they still have the smiling faces of any other leopard gecko.
An albino leopard gecko smile is as cute as any other leopard gecko’s. We’ve compiled some of our favorite smiling albino leopard gecko photos.
While we know that their smiling faces don’t have anything to do with happiness, these reptiles always look happy to see food.
In the wild, these ground-dwelling geckos typically live in places where they use camouflage to survive.
Fun Fact: Albino geckos occur in the wild. The albino typically has a short lifespan because it has no camouflage.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about leopard gecko smiles.
How do leopard gecko smiles make you feel? Tell us about it in the comments.