Having a pet African fat-tailed gecko can be great for companionship, but sometimes they can act a little strange. Many people notice that geckos often just stare at their owners, thinking it could mean something is wrong with the animal. Luckily there are several very common explanations for this behavior
Geckos stare at you for several reasons as they may be hungry, curious, or showing that they recognize you! It also could be an instinctual reaction to your movement around them.
So, there is no reason to worry if you see your little friend simply staring at you. If you are hoping to know more about this adorable behavior, we will list out all you need to know about what your gecko could be thinking!
The short answer is yes! It is completely natural for geckos to watch you. Almost all gecko owners experience their long, strange staring sessions as it is just a part of their character. Some owners even report their gecko staring at them for hours. Which can be a bit creepy if you do not understand why they do this. Many owners find this behavior cute and endearing!
Did you know that African fat-tailed geckos are not the only reptile to have been observed doing this? Owners of bearded dragons have also observed the staring! They also seem to use their eyes to track and follow the same ways the geckos do, which helps show how it is normal behavior to see in your pet. Staring is just a thing reptiles do!
The starting does not necessarily mean they are scared of you. If you notice this behavior with your gecko after recently bringing them into your home, it might mean they are a bit wary of you. But soon as your bond grows, and you still notice the intense staring, it can be for a number of different reasons.
We will outline these various reasons in a bit, but do not be alarmed by your little friend’s attention! It is not a bad sign of their unhappiness or discomfort, so do not worry if you notice their excessive staring. They are just showing that they are aware of your presence and want to know what you are doing.
Picture this, you are sitting at your favorite local restaurant. You are drinking some water and enjoying the company around you, but you are starting to get hungry. Then you notice your service walking towards you with a tray full of food! You immediately watch them, hoping they are coming to your table.
That is how your gecko could be thinking as they stare at you! As your relationship grows with your gecko, they become accustomed to understanding you as the food bearer. So it could mean that they are just hungry and trying to let you know they would like a snack.
It is the same as the Pavlov’s Dog experiment, where your little friend has learned to associate you walking into the room with the result of getting some food. So, they might just be looking at you waiting for the snack they have learned to expect, even if it is not the right time of day.
Because we cannot read the minds of our pets, you can never know for sure if these options are what your gecko is thinking. But it is a likely chance that they have learned this association and are looking at you for a snack!
In the wild, African fat-tailed geckos were both predators and prey. So they constantly had to have their eyes out for their next meal and all chances they could become someone else’s. This gave them sharp eyes that react to the slightest movements. With you, their owner, being within their habitat and constantly moving, there is a good chance they are just curious and trying to understand what you are.
It must be confusing for them, right? Their instinct is to find food and run away from large animals that can pick them up. But this large human brings them food and does not try to eat them. So naturally, they would watch you and try to understand the situation.
This could be especially true if the gecko is new to their home. Geckos are curious creatures and maybe give you a stare down to figure out their situation and how to react to it.
Yes, after spending a lot of time with your AFTG they are very likely to be able to recognize who you are! Both as the food bearer, as we mentioned before, but also as a caretaker. Their staring could be an acknowledgment of them knowing you and wanting to see what you are up to.
Geckos can grow an attachment to their caretakers in the same way other pets do, so there is a good chance their stares are just their way of greeting you are seeing how you are doing. Their perceptive eyes are one of their strongest organs, so they are able to see very well. Meaning they can recognize that you care for them
So just think of their unrelenting and unblinking stare as their language for saying “oh my goodness, you are back!”. In just the same way that a puppy will excitedly wag its tail when you return from work, you geckos stare at you to say hello!
When living in the wild, it is important to keep an eye on your surroundings and pay attention to the movement around you. So, when they see you moving around, they naturally react to the movement in their line of sight. For geckos, there are two main reasons why this is important.
Geckos needed to keep track of moving objects as they were a potential for predators. Keeping alert meant survival, so it is natural for them to stay vigilant about their surroundings. Movement can also mean food! Geckos often will not eat dead bugs, as the movement, they notice live ones is what they are looking for.
In the same way, you look up when someone walks into a room, your little gecko friend might just be doing just that. It could be because of instinct, or they are just trying to figure out what the heck you are!
If your gecko does not stare at you, that is okay too! It is not to say they are not curious about you, but just like everyone else, each fat-tailed gecko has their personality and behaviors. Some just may not stare and it does not mean a thing. As long as you take care of them properly, they will be fine.
If you are still a bit unnerved by the staring, just think about the possibilities that could be going through your head. When they are properly contained, they cannot hurt you, so just imagine that they are confused that this tall two-legged creature keeps walking around them!
In the end, you may not know exactly why your gecko is staring at you all the time. If only we could read their little minds! Just like dogs or cats, they are curious creatures who may be looking to figure you out. Or they are a little bit hungry and trying to tell you they want a yummy snack. Either way, enjoy the connection between you and your little friend!