How Do Crested Geckos Sleep?

When it comes to crested geckos or even geckos in general, a few things create more confusion as to the reptile’s sleeping behavior? Given that geckos will display a natural low-energy behavior, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between wake and sleeping states.

It can even be difficult to distinguish when the lizard has died in some cases.

This confusion can be cleared out substantially by learning about the gecko’s sleeping behavior, so you know what you’re looking at. This is exactly what we’ll discuss today.

Are Crested Geckos Nocturnal or Diurnal?

Crested geckos are nocturnal animals. They will hunt, breed, and patrol their environment during nighttime and reserve their days for sleeping and resting.

So, it’s natural for crested geckos to appear less active and even almost lethargic during the day. This shouldn’t be a reason for concern unless the gecko displays visible signs of discomfort or stress.

That being said, crested geckos will display some activity during the daytime as well. They will sometimes move around to alternate between the tank’s different temperature zones. They will also drink water occasionally to stay hydrated.

Things can get a tad confusing when discussing the gecko’s sleeping behavior. It may be difficult to tell when the gecko is sleeping or when it’s simply resting.

Where Do Crested Geckos Sleep?

Crested geckos mostly sleep elevated, either on plants, a branch, or even attached to the terrarium’s walls. The latter is quite an admirable feat, speaking volumes on the gecko’s athletic capabilities.

In some cases, you may even find your gecko sleeping at ground level, hidden under some leaves, tree bark, or other decorations available throughout their habitat.

The reason for this behavior is predation avoidance. Geckos are vulnerable when they sleep, so it’s natural for them to look for safe, preferably elevated areas to perform their beauty sleep.

This helps them stay safe and comfortable and rest accordingly.

How Many Hours Do Crested Geckos Sleep?

Geckos tend to sleep around 12 hours per day and remain active the other 12 during nighttime. Of course, this is a rough estimate given that geckos don’t sleep 12 hours continuously.

They will wake up several times per day, especially in case of physical discomfort related to temperature swings.

These are ectothermic animals, so they need to change their position regularly to regulate their body temperature.

Some geckos will also sleep more or less naturally since not all geckos share the same sleeping pattern. They have different habits that often differ based on their physiology and personalities.

So, don’t worry if your gecko appears lazier than the norm.

Do Crested Geckos Sleep with Open Eyes?

Yes, geckos sleep with open eyes. This is not due to personal choices but biological programming. In short, geckos don’t have eyelids, so the notion of ‘closing the eyes’ doesn’t apply to them.

This can cause some confusion among beginner gecko owners who can get fooled by this fact.

If you can’t tell whether your gecko is asleep or just resting, check its pupils. If they are constricted to tiny slits, the gecko is sleeping.

But if they are wide and large, the gecko is awake; it’s just resting, observing, and judging you in silence.

Can Crested Geckos Sleep Upside Down?

Yes, crested geckos can sleep upside down, although that’s not the norm. Geckos will often look for more stable positions before falling asleep, but it’s not uncommon for them to sleep while inverted.

This is possible thanks to their sticky toe pads and their muscular system remaining fairly active so that the gecko doesn’t fall.

There are 2 problems worth mentioning in relation to geckos exhibiting this behavior:

  • Usually, a sign of stress and discomfort – As I’ve already mentioned, geckos like to sleep in hiding since they feel vulnerable during that period. However, a gecko sleeping on the tank’s walls is in the open, which isn’t quite normal. The gecko may sleep this way due to being stressed or uncomfortable in its setting. In most cases, that’s because there aren’t enough hiding areas to provide the gecko with comfortable, safe spaces. So, you might want to tweak the gecko’s habitat to see if that fixes the reptile’s behavior.
  • The Floppy Tail Syndrome (FTS) – While many gecko owners consider this issue purely cosmetical, I disagree. FTS is the result of geckos sleeping on the tank’s walls, causing their tails to hang down over their heads. With time, this can cause their tail bones and spines to deform, affecting the gecko’s physical functioning. In some situations, surgical interventions may be necessary to correct the problem. These generally involve surgically removing the tail, which doesn’t regenerate, as is the case with other lizard species.

Regarding FTS, this is a problem only seen in captive geckos. Wild geckos have significantly shorter tails since longer ones are actually hindering the reptile’s ability to move. They also make it more prone to being caught by predators.

However, captive geckos have a variety of characteristics resulting from selective breeding, the long tail being one of them.

So, you should look into the problem if your gecko prefers to sleep upside down all of the sudden.

Can Crested Geckos Sleep When Lights Are On?

Yes, geckos have no problems sleeping with the lights on. Actually, that’s precisely what signals them that the sleeping time has come.

These are nocturnal animals, so their brain will enter the sleeping state when the lights get brighter.

That being said, try to keep the lights off during nighttime. Geckos are nocturnal reptiles, so they need a healthy day/night cycle. You can use some mild blue light to improve their nighttime vision a bit, but keep it moderate.

If the terrarium light is too bright, it can mess with the gecko’s sense of time and disrupt its natural biorhythm.

Is It Normal for Crested Geckos to Sleep All Day?

Yes, it is. Most beginner crested owners are rather disappointed that their gecko doesn’t show any sign of activity throughout the day, but that’s normal. As nocturnal creatures, geckos will enter their wake state as nighttime comes.

That’s when they eat, hunt, mate, and perform all other tasks that diurnal animals perform during the day.

As we’ve already discussed, this varies between different crested geckos. Some will sleep the entire day, others will take breaks, and others will enter their night routine sooner.

Don’t get too worried if your crested gecko doesn’t fall in a certain category.

So long as your gecko has a healthy appetite, drinks water as it should, and shows no signs of stress, its sleeping or resting behavior shouldn’t be a reason for concern.

Conclusion

Geckos are known sleepers, so expect your lizard to remain largely active during the daytime, even when not sleeping. The gecko is simply resting, digesting its food, and sleeping during the day, so it can fuel its nighttime activities.

This can be a bummer for gecko lovers who would like to see their geckos more active during the daytime, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

I advise against forcing your gecko to be more active during the day, as this can stress the reptile out. Allow it to self-regulate its lifestyle, and you will get a happy, healthy, and satisfied gecko in return.

Crested Geckos   Reptiles   Updated: November 17, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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