Crested geckos are nocturnal creatures that come from New Caledonia, which is an island right on the Australian coast. They typically grow up to 7-9 inches and can live around 20 years in captivity. And the way you recreate their habitat will be very important for their health and happiness.
These geckos need between 12 and 14 hours of daylight and they are always active at night. While some people don’t pay a lot of attention to their reptile’s day and night cycle, most geckos absolutely need this cycle to be able to function properly.
In this article, we’ll talk about why is night and day cycle so important for reptiles and what are the lighting requirements of a Crested Gecko.
Crested Gecko Lighting Requirements
The first thing we need to clear up is the fact that Crested geckos are crepuscular creatures in their natural habitat. This means that they’re most active in twilight. It’s also common to see them active during an overcast day or during a full moon.
However, in captivity, these creatures quickly turn into nocturnal beings. This is because they no longer have the options that they did in the wilderness. In your tank, the light will either be on or off so they had to choose, and they naturally feel safer to roam in the dark.
This being said, you will have to make sure your geckos have access to any type of lighting they might need, and this also includes UVB light. It’s very important to offer the small creature as many options as possible as in the end, it can only benefit its health.
Lighting and heating always was, and always will be extremely important for most living creatures. It can affect them both physically and psychologically. The sun plays an extremely big role in the lives of most reptiles. In fact, their lives are being dictated by the sun.
This is because they don’t have a hand-clock, like us, to know when to sleep or eat. But they have something similar inside them that is often referred to as an “inside clock” and it’s their circadian rhythm. If you mess with their circadian rhythm, they can end up extremely stressed and their bodies will start to respond negatively.
How many hours of light per day?
Crested geckos will need between 12 and 14 hours of daylight. In the summer, you should start with 14 hours of daylight and gradually bring it down to 12 when winter comes. Then in spring, you need to start increasing the daylight again until it reaches 14 hours.
This can be a little difficult to do by hand as you’ll need to set up reminders to make sure you never forget. It’s not something you know you need to do at a specific time every single day. The time you turn the lights on and shut them off is different almost every two to three days. This will help you achieve a more natural habitat and the gecko will feel more like home.
The best way to control the lights is to invest in an automatic system that is either already programmed for Crested geckos or that can be modified and personalized. They’re quite affordable and all you need to do is remember to change the light bulbs when they’re no longer working at their full power.
One problem you might face with these creatures is that their tank will be powered off if there’s a power outage in your house. Short periods of time won’t cause any problems but if you know you live in an area with problems, it’s always best to be safe than sorry.
This is why it’s recommended to invest in a system that has a backup battery or some kind of generator that can keep up the enclosure powered up even if there’s a power outage.
UVB Lighting – What is it
The UV spectrum can be broken into three different pars. This includes UVA, UVB, and UVC. They all play an important role in keeping living beings healthy and thriving. UVA and UVB are a must for most reptiles, although the needs differ from reptile species to reptile species.
To help them regulate their circadian rhythm and their behaviors, UVA light is a must. Its job is to let the reptiles know when it’s time to go out and hunt, when it’s time to mate, and so on. You can easily provide this light with the help of some UVA light bulbs. They typically last a pretty long time so you only might have to change them once a year or less, depending on the quality.
Reptiles need Vitamin D3 to help them absorb calcium and the best way to provide it is with a UVB light bulb. Day geckos need a constant source of UVB light but nocturnal reptiles can benefit from it as well. And since Crested geckos are naturally crepuscular, their needs increase drastically. It’s recommended to use a UVB light bulb that’s under 7%. You should also replace it every 6 months even if it seems that it’s still working.
Another type of light is UVC and this is not a necessity for reptiles. In fact, if you expose your gecko to high levels of UVC light they can get sick. Its only advantage is its excellent capability to kill bacteria, which makes them excellent for bio-active vivariums. But it should only be provided in very small dosages, such as a maximum of 1%.
Do Crested Geckos need heat lamps?
Whether Crested geckos need a heat lamp or not greatly depends on how hot your hot usually is. Many keepers don’t need them as these creatures only need a basking spot of 75F. And many people keep their homes around this temperature.
But if you’re not one of them then it’s recommended to invest in a heat mat. They’re affordable and can be easily attached to the outside of one of the side panels of the tank. You can easily control it with the help of a thermostat and since it doesn’t produce any light, it can be used both during the day and during the night.
While these geckos need cooler temperatures during the night, it’s ideal to offer a basking spot so the gecko can choose. And if you want something more accurate than a thermostat, you can use a thermometer.
But be very careful, if the room you’re keeping the gecko can get very cold, especially during winter, you might need more than a heat mat to achieve 75F. In this case, it’s recommended to use a low-wattage basking bulb during the day.