Crested Gecko Temperature – Facts and Figures
A crested gecko’s well-being depends on several metrics, with the temperature being the most notable one. While the issue may seem easy to manage, it’s actually more intricate than people think.
That’s because crested geckos don’t only need a healthy temperature variation between day and night, but they also need a temperature gradient throughout their enclosure.
The reason is that they cannot self-regulate their internal temperature, so they rely on their habitat for that. Today, we will discuss gecko environmental temperature to figure out the right range and gradient and how to detect any temperature-related problems should they occur.
Ideal Temperature Range for Crested Gecko
The ideal temperature range for geckos sits between 70 and 75 °F, but these values are part of an environmental gradient. For a clearer perspective on the matter, consider that the actual temperature range for geckos is between 65 and 85 °F, depending on the time of day and the reptile’s needs.
We’ll discuss night temperatures shortly, but before that, let’s understand the concept of the temperature gradient.
Your crested gecko’s habitat will be laid out vertically since these are arboreal animals that will only go near the substrate when feeding or to regulate their temperature. The last part explains how to temperature gradient should work.
In short, the heat source should be located near the terrarium’s upper layers, preferably in the form of a heat-emitting light bulb. The high-end temperature in the basking area should sit between 82 and 85 °F, which is the absolute maximum.
Then the temperature should lower gradually as the gecko gets closer to the substrate. And it is at the substrate level where the ideal range of 70-75 °F should be present. This gradient allows the gecko to alternate its location depending on the environmental temperature and its needs.
Understanding the notion and importance of the temperature gradient in the gecko’s habitat is critical for your reptile’s well-being. To detail it further, geckos do just fine at 80-85 °F as well as 70-72 °F, but only for short periods. Prolonged exposure to these end-spectrum temperatures will trigger different but equally dangerous physiological responses, going all the way to sudden death.
Crested Gecko Night Temperature
The ideal nighttime temperature for crested geckos rests between 65 and 72 °F. This may sound awkward, considering that we’ve just discussed the danger of prolonged exposure to temperatures of 72 °F or below.
The difference is that, at nighttime, the reptile’s metabolism changes, allowing it to withstand lower temperatures better. The temperature variation between night and day is not only neutral, in the sense that it won’t harm the gecko, but even beneficial.
Crested geckos experiencing a healthy day/night cycle with temperature variations, life longer, and stay healthier over the years.
Keeping Crested Gecko Temperature Stable
There is one way of determining and maintaining the right temperature for your crested gecko – investing in a good thermometer and humidity gauge. Cheap systems are available all over the place, but these are hardly reliable.
Most common environmental thermometers are unreliable, and when working with temperature-sensitive animals like geckos, you need all the precision and accuracy you can get.
Educate yourself on the best gecko thermometers available and get one, even if it’s more expensive than you would’ve hoped. The investment will pay off big time along the way, allowing you to detect temperature and humidity fluctuations in real-time with pinpoint accuracy.
This allows you to learn which heat source is better than another and adjust accordingly.
Best Heat Sources for Crested Gecko
The heat source type depends on the overall terrarium size and layout. I recommend going for an adjustable 25w light source like a terrarium hood or even a dome lamp, depending on the available space and usefulness. You can increase the wattage depending on your reptile’s reaction and needs along the way.
Don’t use substrate heating pads since these are not fit for crested geckos. Leopard geckos can use those, but for arboreal reptiles, the main heat source should be above, not below.
Problems Caused by Inappropriate Temperature
As I’ve already mentioned, crested geckos require a stable temperature gradient to stay healthy and happy. Otherwise, they might experience health issues that differ depending on the temperature values they’re facing. In this sense, we have:
– Crested Geckos and Low Temperature
The primary signs of low temperature-related health problems in geckos include:
- Lethargy – Gecko’s metabolism will drop due to the low temperatures, causing the reptile to reduce its activity level. You can’t observe this problem during daytime because geckos are naturally less active then. But they become more active at night, at which point you should be able to tell if your gecko is lethargic or not.
- Poor appetite – Geckos subjected to unreasonably low temperatures will eat less precisely because their metabolism is less effective. You should be able to note the difference if you already have a good idea of your gecko’s normal feeding behavior. If your gecko eats a lot less or not at all compared to previous days, something’s not right. In this case, your first step should be checking the enclosure’s temperature.
- Illness – Your gecko’s immune system will fail due to prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. This will leave the gecko more vulnerable to parasites and bacteria, which can lead to additional health problems along the way.
Ultimately, if the temperature doesn’t increase, your gecko will go into shock, enter a comatose state, and eventually die.
– Crested Gecko and High Temperature
The primary health issues related to exposure to high temperatures include:
- Dehydration – This is the immediate effect and is visible at the skin level. Your gecko’s skin will wrinkle up and become rough and coarse. The problem is that the higher environmental temperatures will both deplete the gecko’s water reserves and cause environmental water to vaporize. So, your gecko won’t have anything to drink anymore. And even if it does, the dehydration effect itself may overpower the gecko’s water absorption potential. Acute dehydration can lead to organ failure and death.
- Shaking and lack of balance – These problems are the result of heat stress which can vary in intensity. The shaking can be particularly confusing since many gecko owners associate that with being cold. In fact, it’s the exact opposite, as the shaking results from the neurological system’s overexcitation, causing the reptile to experience uncontrollable shaking and spasms. This can also lead to lack of balance, causing the gecko to fall constantly and miss its natural grips.
- Generalized stress and heat stroke – Your gecko will display signs of stress at first and dwell near the substrate or even bury itself in an attempt to cool off. It may also showcase aggression and irritability and display signs of heat stroke. The shaking is among the first symptoms of heat stroke; a condition which will turn fatal fast.
Humidity is Also Important
Humidity is another critical metric to consider when creating the ideal setup for your crested geckos. If the humidity levels are too high, crested geckos become prone to respiratory infections, skin problems, and even pneumonia. Death is the likely outcome when exposed to prolonged high-humidity environments. By high humidity, we mean everything above 80%.
Low humidity, below 50%, for long periods, can also impact your gecko, causing stress, increased risk of infection, dehydration, and even dysecdysis. The latter is a shedding-related problem caused by low humidity, rendering the reptile unable to shed properly. The results include skin infections, gangrene, and death.
You should monitor your gecko’s humidity levels daily and spray their habitat whenever necessary to keep humidity on charts. A humidity-retaining substrate, along with live plants, is also necessary for improved oxygenation and water retention.
Crested geckos aren’t known as sensitive animals, but they, too, demand precise environmental conditions to thrive. Temperature and humidity are among the most important ones, so don’t mess those up.