Are Crested Geckos Nocturnal?

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If your considering getting a new pet, it’s important to know their sleeping patterns. Some people might not think about this because so many pets mimic our own sleeping patterns. But, are geckos nocturnal? Most geckos sleep during the day and are awake at night.

To learn more about crested gecko sleeping habits, keep reading.

What Is A Crested Gecko?

Crested geckos are one of the most popular lizards kept as pets because of their easy nature. They’re simple to take care of, and they are docile.

In the wild, they’re found on the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific.

Besides their color variety, they are popular because of their two crests. These crests form over their eyes and go down their back. The crests are spiky and make the gecko look like they have eyelashes.

Are Crested Geckos Nocturnal?

Crested geckos are both nocturnal and crepuscular. In the wild, they live in trees. During the day, a sleeping crested gecko can be found in leaves or beneath pieces of bark. When the sun goes down, the geckos will wake up to feed, socialize, and explore.

Crepuscular means that they are most active during the twilight hours of the day. Dawn and dusk is the crested gecko’s favorite time to be active.

Unlike some crepuscular animals, though, crested geckos remain active throughout the night. This means that they are also nocturnal.

crested gecko nocturnal

Are Leopard Geckos Nocturnal?

Rather than being nocturnal, leopard geckos are considered crepuscular.

Leopard geckos prefer being awake at dawn because the sun is just beginning to rise. With the emergence of the sun, comes warmth. During dawn and dusk, leopard geckos can enjoy warmer temperatures.

Nocturnal creatures are preparing to go back into their homes when dawn rises. This means that there will be less predators about, and the geckos will be safer.

Similarly, dusk provides the same temperature. The half-faded light also makes it easier for them to hunt and hide from predators themselves.

Are All Geckos Nocturnal?

Sometimes people are afraid to pick a gecko as a pet because they’re worried they won’t see enough of them. While they are attractive pets, most geckos are nocturnal, so they’ll be sleeping most of the day.

The reason for this is that most geckos live in hot regions like deserts or rainforests. By sleeping during the day, they’re conserving most of their energy for when it’s cooler.

Being awake is also safer. While geckos are predators, they are small, so they have their own set of predators to worry about. Being awake under the cover of night helps them to stay safe.

There are some exceptions, however, like the day gecko.

Most people that own nocturnal geckos think it’s worth it. They find ways to still enjoy their pet while they’re awake. But, if this just doesn’t work for you, consider getting a diurnal gecko like the day gecko.

Other diurnal geckos include Lygodactylus geckos, Gonatodes geckos, Eurydactylodes geckos, and Moorish geckos.

Why Is A Crested Gecko Nocturnal?

Protection

They have adapted to be nocturnal because the cover of night is where they’re most protected. However, even though they are more camouflaged at night, they are still in more danger.

Usually, prey animals will try to be out and about when their predators are asleep, and vice versa. In this case, the crested geckos lose out. Their predators consist of fire ants, rats, snakes, larger reptiles, and prey birds.

On New Caledonia, these animals are all nocturnal, making it easier to catch their prey. This is bad news for the crested gecko.

Still, their bodies make it easier to stay hidden. They’re very small and quick.

Climate

Animals who live in warmer climates, like crested geckos, save energy by being more active at night. The temperatures of New Caledonia aren’t unbearably hot,. But, it’s still warmer during the day than at night. Crested geckos are better able to conserve their energy by being active at night.

Their favorite time to be up and about is dawn and dusk. This is likely because temperatures are more moderate. Geckos are more comfortable when they don’t have to deal with high or low temperatures.

Their Eyes

To be nocturnal, you’ll have needed to acquire some adaptations. Crested geckos have eyes that are different than ours. They can see much better in the dark than during the day.

How Do Geckos Sleep? How Long?

Crested geckos will sleep for about half their lives. They sleep for about 12 hours every day. They begin waking up around sunset, and they will stay awake until the sun goes down again.

How Do You Know They’re Sleeping?

It can be a bit difficult for new crested gecko owners to tell if their gecko is sleeping. They don’t have eyelids, so you can’t see if they’re sleeping the same way you would humans.

Instead, you need to look at the crests. When their awake, their crests will be more pointed and look like they’re standing up. When they sleep, the crests relax and will lay flat against their back.

Although you can’t use eyelids for an indication of sleeping, you can look at the pupils. The pupils will be much larger and wider while the gecko is awake. When the gecko falls asleep, it’s pupils will shrink into slits.

Where They Sleep

Geckos don’t need to worry about predation in the wild. But, they retain their prey instincts. They will prefer to sleep where they feel safest. Usually, this is where they are most covered and less likely to be seen.

You should provide plenty of places for your crested gecko to hide and sleep. Some of these places include plants and bark.

Although most geckos prefer to sleep where they’re hidden, some will sleep out in the open. This is more likely to occur when you’ve had your gecko for awhile and they feel secure in their environment.

Does Your Gecko Need Light During The Day?

It is important to help your crested gecko maintain their sleeping schedule. This means that you should make sure there is a proper day and night schedule in the terrarium.

The Day & Night Cycle

They like to sleep during the day, but this doesn’t mean you should make it dark. They like to be active in the dark, so making their tank dark during the day is counterproductive. It could even mess with their sleep schedule.

Because of this, it is important that you keep lights on in the terrarium during the day. Still, don’t pick lights that are blindingly bright. This will hurt their eyes and may make it difficult to sleep.

Besides maintaining a day and night schedule, lights are important for health reasons.

Health

Crested geckos need to be warm. They become less active and unhappy in temperatures less than 60 degrees. Lights are a great source of heat, so they should be included in all enclosures.

You can also keep lights in their enclosure at nighttime. There are blue and black lights that are designed specifically for nighttime use. These allow for your gecko to remain in the dark, but it makes it easier for you to see them. It also helps you maintain a good temperature in the enclosure overnight.

UVB bulbs are also beneficial in your gecko’s enclosure, and we’ll go over why they’re important.

Do Crested Geckos Need UVB Lights?

Crested geckos don’t need UVB light to stay healthy, but it is beneficial. UVB is not necessary. Still, some people suggest that it keeps them healthier and more active.

They’ll Be More Active

Some crested gecko owners argue that UVB light stimulates the geckos. It will encourage them to be more active and participate in natural behaviors. With UVB light, your gecko may be more likely to climb, dig, and be vocal.

It’s Good For Their Health

Some researchers have also found that UVB is good for your gecko’s health. It will boost their immune system, and strengthen their bones, vision, and blood.

In the wild, geckos will absorb UVB naturally, which provides them with Vitamin D3. In captivity, most gecko’s foods will contain Vitamin D3, so a UVB bulb isn’t necessary.

It Can Be Harmful

Other gecko owners argue that UVB may be harmful to geckos. Crested geckos don’t do well in long periods of heat and light, so UVB lights can do more harm than good.

The Verdict

Overall, it seems that UVB can have it’s benefits. You’ll just need to monitor the amount of exposure they’re receiving.

If you choose to use UVB, it should only have a level of 5%. They also shouldn’t be exposed to UVB for more than 4-6 hours a day.

However, it’s certainly not necessary as captive geckos can get their nutrients elsewhere.

When Should You Have Lights On In Your Crested Gecko Tank?

As we mentioned above, daytime lights should be kept on during the day. This will indicate to your gecko that they should be sleeping.

At night, the daytime lights should be turned off, but you should have a nighttime light. The nighttime light will make sure the temperature doesn’t drop too low.

If you have a ceramic heat bulb that doesn’t emit light, then a nighttime lightbulb won’t be necessary. However, some people like the nighttime bulbs because it’s easier to see your gecko. Nighttime bulbs won’t mess with their sleep schedule. This is because they emit dark black or blue light.

When Should You Feed Your Crested Gecko?

Most people tend to just feed their animals in the morning when they wake up. They think this makes sense because that’s when they eat, so that’s when their animal will like to eat as well. This theory works on a number of animals like dogs, cats, and birds, but not for geckos.

Crested geckos are nocturnal, so they like to eat at a different time of day.

Living With Humans

Being a nocturnal creature living with a diurnal human can complicate things.

Just because you’re awake during the day doesn’t mean your gecko will be. They will mimic their wild sleeping patterns and continue to sleep during the day.

This can be frustrating for both parties involved. You will be more active during the day, so you may wake up your gecko and interrupt their sleeping pattern.

Likewise, they may wake you up as they’re roaming about their enclosure.

Also, as a reptile owner, you’ll want to spend time with your gecko and watch them be active. Unless you’re willing to stay up later, you might not witness them doing much.

However, for people with “regular” schedules, this isn’t much of an issue. Most people are at work or school during the day, so their gecko can sleep undisturbed. When you come home, the sun is likely beginning to go down, and your gecko will wake up.

The best time to feed and handle your crested gecko is this twilight period where the sun is beginning to go down.

Is It Bad If Your Crested Gecko Is Active During The Day?

Although it may be a bit odd to see your crested gecko out during the day, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are a number of reasons they may be out exploring:

  1. They’re New
    • Stress may cause new crested geckos to have abnormal sleeping patterns
  2. Too Much Light
    • If your bulbs are too bright or are kept on for too long, it can cause your gecko’s sleep pattern to be disrupted
  3. They’re Sick
    • Contracting bacterial or fungal infections will make geckos act abnormally
    • Mineral and vitamin deficiencies are painful and will make it hard to sleep
  4. They’re Having Fun
    • Geckos like to make their own things, like caves. If they don’t finish before the sun comes up, they may stay awake to finish
  5. They’re Hungry
    • If they haven’t eaten enough, it becomes harder to sleep
  6. They Have Too Much Energy
    • Sometimes, your gecko might just have extra energy that they need to burn off

Conclusion

Most geckos are nocturnal or crepuscular. They prefer to be awake during nighttime because this is when it’s safest and coolest. Don’t worry though, you can still bond with your gecko even when they sleep during the day.

Want to learn more? Find all our guides to crested geckos here or learn whether they can bite here or how big they get here.

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Jason Williamson

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.