There are many reasons why leopard geckos might fight. They could be fighting over territory, food, or mates. Regardless of the reason for the aggression, it is important to take action. Otherwise, leopard geckos could even kill each other in a fight.
This article will explore different ways that you can handle aggressive leopard geckos and provide solutions on how to deal with them. Keep in mind that there are several ways to calm them down and restore their natural behavior.
Signs of Aggression in Leopard Geckos
Some of the signs of aggressive leopard geckos include the following:
If your leopard gecko has a tank mate, you might notice that they will fight each other. They may wrestle with one another or nip at the other’s tail and neck to show dominance. If you see this behavior between your leopard geckos, it is important not to panic but instead take steps to try and prevent further fighting from happening.
Will leopard geckos kill each other? Yes, they will if there is no intervention or end to their feud.
When your leopard gecko’s hiding, it’s a sign of aggression. They will usually hide in the darkest areas where there is no light and their body temperature will drop to ensure that they blend into their surroundings.
Leopard geckos can be territorial so if you have more than one, the gecko may feel like he or she needs to defend his or her territory (including from humans).
If your leopard gecko has been hiding for an extended period of time, try rearranging the cage so that everything feels unfamiliar again as opposed to being familiar with all its usual spots. This might make them want to explore around instead of staying hidden.
3. Rushing at you with their mouths open
When your leopard geckos rush at you with their mouths open, it’s also a sign of aggression. They can also hiss at you when aggressive. Leopard gecko males can be territorial and will often try to defend the territory they live in from other nearby leopard geckos that might invade or compete for food sources.
When your male leopard gecko is rushing towards you, he’s doing so as his way of defending himself against any potential threats. This threat could come in the form of another one of your male leopards coming into his territory seeking shelter or trying to take over some part of his area.
It could also be a female looking for breeding partners which would intimidate him because she’d have access to both food and space if there were no competition present among them all.
4. Tail dropping
If your gecko drops its tail to the ground, it is another sign of aggression. Leopard geckos drop their tails in order to distract predators with their tails so that they can escape without harm. Leopard geckos will also drop their tails as an act of appeasement when trying to calm down other leopard geckos who are aggressive toward them.
You may think that dropping its tail means that your lizard could be dying or sick, but this is not always true. The reason for the tail being dropped might just be because it’s agitated and wants you out of its space. If possible, give your pet some space and don’t startle them again if they have calmed down before attempting contact with them again.
5. Crouching behavior with vertical tails
Another sign of aggression related to the tail of your leopard gecko is when they are crouching with their tail held in a vertical position. This aggressive posture can sometimes be mistaken for bullying, but this isn’t the case most of the time.
The tail will change into a V shape and it’s usually followed by an attack on another gecko or other object (usually not your hand).
When one leopard gecko is displaying its aggression to another lizard, you’ll often see them approach each other from opposite sides with tails raised vertically in front of them before attacking.
The way that body language manifests itself varies depending on the individual. These signs should be used to determine when the gecko is aggressive and what to do as shown in the next sections.
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Causes of Aggression in Leopard Geckos
Some of the reasons why your leopard gecko(s) will become aggressive and even fight each other include the following:
1. Dominant behavior
Your leopard geckos may become aggressive due to the fact that they are trying to establish dominance over one other.
The dominant gecko will be in charge of making sure the subordinate geckos don’t wander away or eat any food before it does. The dominant leopard gecko may also act aggressively towards a human owner if they try and pet it when this is not wanted by the reptile animal. This type of behavior usually starts at around three months old but can happen as early as two weeks.
2. Breeding season
Like most animals, leopard geckos will become more aggressive during the breeding season. Sometimes, the geckos even stop eating during this time. Their “fighting” usually consists of a head-to-head wrestling match, where the animals wrestle by pressing their heads together and trying to outmuscle one another for dominance. This behavior is normal and not cause for concern or alarm; it should resolve on its own once egglaying begins in late spring.
The breeding season can last from several weeks to months depending upon how quickly the female lays eggs after mating with males around her territory (since females do not store sperm).
3. Lack of bonding with the owner or their new to the cage
If your leopard gecko is new to the cage, it could be fighting with other leopard geckos for the territory. This is a natural behavior and your new pet will eventually learn to share space with others, but it may take some time until they start playing together instead of fighting.
If you’ve had them in their cage for an extended period without problems, then there’s likely something else going on that caused one or both of them to get territorial (i.e., being scared off the food dish).
You can put two leopard geckos together but only if they’re not both male since they’ll likely keep fighting each other.
4. Unfavorable temperature
The gecko can also be mean due to unfavorable temperatures. Leopard geckos are ectothermic animals, meaning they cannot produce their own body heat and rely on external sources such as the sun or an overhead heater for warmth. If the temperature drops below 82 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), a leopard gecko will not be able to regulate its body temperature effectively and it may become aggressive in search of more heat.
5. Hot females
Hot females in leopard geckos refer to a female gecko that is in season. A hot, or breeding-ready, female will be more likely to cause an aggressive response from a male leopard gecko than those who are not hot and ready for mating, but the aggression may arise as much from stress over space and territory as it has to do with breeding readiness.
In general, males can display territoriality when females enter their vicinity during the courting season. The “hot” factor seems to add fuel to this fire because of the heightened hormone levels present at this time of year.
Males may feel compelled by instinctive desire to fight off other suitors vying for their mate’s attention (sometimes even members of their own species), which leads them into combat with one another on occasion.
6. Inadequate living space
If the leopard gecko is not provided with a large enough enclosure to live in, it can lead to problems such as aggression.
The problem of inadequate living space arises when the geckos are housed together and have limited room for manoeuvring. This lack of space often leads to fighting over territory or even mating rights if there is more than one male in the habitat.
Male leopard geckos will fight when they compete for mates. Females may become aggressive during their breeding cycle if they do not get along with other female leopard geckos in the same cage.
The best solution would be to provide each individual lizard with an appropriately sized house that allows them enough room for activity without feeling cramped.
How do you deal with an aggressive leopard gecko?
If your leopard geckos are aggressive or even fighting and you’re wondering how to tame angry leopard geckos, follow the tips below:
1. Provide enough living space
One way to calm down aggressive leopard geckos is to provide them with adequate living space. Leopard geckos need a lot of room, so always make sure they have enough distance from each other and are not cramped in one tank or enclosure.
Another way that can help control aggression between two leopard gecko males is by adding another female into the mix. It’s also important to give your animals more hiding places such as caves, tall plants, logs and rocks for their comfort and security when fighting situations arise.
Lastly, it may be time to separate the male aggressors if there are any signs that this isn’t working out – even just temporarily until they calm down again.
2. Provide the right living temperatures
You should also provide the right living temperature to prevent aggression. Leopard geckos need a daytime temp of 85°F and nighttime temps that range between 75-80° F.
These are not very high temperatures so you should be able to do this without any trouble. You can achieve these numbers by putting heat lamps on at one end of your tank when feeding them their meal or switching out heating bulbs with ceramic heating elements, which will keep the space warm all day without having to worry about turning it off or adding more lights later on during daylight hours.
There is no set rule for how many watts you should use but if you feel like there’s too much light coming from a lamp then turn down the wattage until they seem comfortable again.
3. Allow them time to bond with you and each other
Bonding between the geckos and humans is critical to prevent aggression. Offer them food together and handle them both at the same time then allow geckos to explore each other without touching, for a few days – they’ll be more curious of one another than aggressive.
For the best experience with these geckos, watch their behavior to identify if there is an issue between two reptiles that may require professional help from a herpetologist or vet.
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