Handling Tokay Geckos

Tokay geckos DO NOT want to be handled. They are generally aggressive and will bite if provoked. I do not believe you can ever "tame" a Tokay gecko completely. Some seem more docile then others, but they are generally unpredictable and very likely to bite. You may have better luck starting with a young captive bred Tokay gecko rather than trying to "tame" an adult, likely wild caught Tokay, from your local pet store. I do not recommend handling your Tokay unless its necessary such as an examination or transferring to a new home.

Remove any tank decorations that may get in the way of you grabbing your tokay.

Grab your Tokay gecko on its backside, place your forefinger across its shoulder/neck area pinning it down. The palm of your hand will grip the body, slip your thumb underneath, behind the legs to under its head/jaws. Your thumb and forefinger should be positioned to control the head (the dangerous part!) and be able to limit its motion. Be careful not to crush the front legs. NEVER grab your Tokay gecko by the tail. The tail will detach as a defense mechanism and cause injury and stress to your gecko. Tokay geckos can eventually regrow their tails, but they never look the same. Regrown tails are typically shorter and fatter and often do not quite match in coloration. Original tails are much more attractive looking.

Tokay geckos are surprisingly muscular and can squirm a lot when held, be careful not to squeeze too hard and injure your pet. You have to be confident when you grab them, and move quickly. If you mess up a grab and have to make repeated attempts, your gecko will become agitated, be darting around your tank and ready to bite.

Some people prefer to wear thin leather gloves when handling their tokays. I use my bare hands, but sometimes use another method to initially grab them. When the Tokay is on an unobstructed area of the glass, remove the top and throw a t-shirt over the side to cover the gecko. They will usually hold very still when this happens. You can see the Tokay gecko through the glass, but the gecko cannot see your hand coming behind the t-shirt and you can get a perfect grab on 1st try. Then transfer to a bare hand grip or directly to another tank. etc.

When you do get bitten, the Tokay may not want to let go initially or even start twisting. Clean the wound thoroughly to prevent infection. Tokay geckos can injure their jaws or teeth as well, so try to avoid getting bitten!

Female Tokay Gecko
Female Tokay Gecko