Leopard geckos possess vocal cords which enable them to make certain noises. While some are normal, there are also some abnormal noises Leopard geckos can make.
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Leopard geckos are not noisy per se but there might be times when these quiet creatures are heard making noises. Vocal expression is uncommon in most Leopard geckos but includes squeaks, clicks, chirps, barks and squeals. Most of these noises are suspected expressed during threatening behaviour.
While the abovementioned Leopard gecko noises are considered normal, some noises such as wheezing and crackling sounds(56) can be an indication of respiratory disease.
The most common Leopard gecko noise according to the author is squeaking. A squeak is a short, high-pitched sound — for example when two balloons are rubbed together. In many animals, squeaks are used to communicate with each other. With Leopard geckos, squeaks are generally heard while in a calm, content state.
Unlike squeaks, clicking noises are often seen with threatened and annoyed Leopard geckos. As the action suggests, a clicking sound is a short sound similar to that made by a clicking pen. Normal clicking sounds in Leopard geckos are irregular and should not be confused with crackling sounds, which is more rhythmic (see later). Clicks are often heard when handling baby Leopard geckos. Bathing or unfamiliar environments and/or a new friend (e.g. in the case of a new Leopard gecko) can also trigger this noise.
Chirping noises can be heard in various situation, but is more often heard when a Leopard gecko is unhappy about something. It is characterised by short, high sound a bird or cricket makes. Some keepers report hearing chirping noises as if it is a call — to something like an empty food bowl, while others report that it goes with being startled or surprised.
Barking is another noise that is often heard in situations where a Leonard gecko might feel threatened. Similar to the barking sounds that dogs make, barking sounds in Leopard geckos are similar to squeaks, but a little hoarser.
Yet another distressful sound that Leopard geckos make is squealing. A squeal is a high-pitched sound, as a scream of a child, or noisy worn-down brake pads. This noise mostly associated with being in defensive mode e.g after being frightened or startled.
Unlike all the previous noises, wheezing and crackling sounds (see below) are sounds that are abnormal. These sounds can be an early indication of respiratory disease.
Wheezing is not an active noise, but the result of turbulence of air movement while breathing. It is characterised by a high-pitched whistling sound and is often rhythmic with expiration (exhalation).
Crackling sounds are similar to clicking sounds, but as with wheezes, are usually more in rhythm with breathing. Similar to wheezes, crackling sounds are the little sounds make by air not being able to flow.
It’s better to make an appointment with a reptile friendly veterinarian if wheezing and cracklings noises are heard frequently.
Most of the noises Leopard geckos make are because of threatening behaviour. They include clicks, barks, squeaks and sometimes chirps. Other indicators that a Leopard gecko might feel threatened includes inflating its body, opening its mouth, lifting the head and body higher off the floor fast tail movements. Before or after making noises, a Leopard gecko will also often lash out to its perceived threat.
Making noises is a way of communication. Most of the noises Leopard geckos make are in an attempt to communicate in one way or the other. Not all sounds are normal — e.g wheezing and crackling. By hearing a lot of threatening noises owners need to be less interfering.
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