Do Crested Geckos Hibernate?
Crested geckos have behaviors that any owner should know about. But is hibernation one of these normal behaviors? Do Crested geckos hibernate? Yes. During hibernation they become less active and stop eating but don’t go into deep sleep as other animals.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- Difference between hibernation and brumation
- Do Crested gecko hibernate or brumate
- Why do Crested geckos hibernate – causes
- Should your Crested gecko hibernate
- Benefits of Crested gecko hibernation
- Crested gecko hibernation care – before, during and after
Difference Between Hibernation And Brumation
Although, some people might think hibernation and brumation mean the same thing, there is a difference between the terms.
Brumation and hibernation are very similar. However, hibernation refers to the deep sleep of some warm-blooded animals during the winter. Whereas, brumation refers to the deep sleep of some cold-blooded animals during the winter.
These type of processes are important part of the animal’s life cycle and it helps their survival in the wild.
Brumation is a common process for cold blooded animals. But do Crested geckos hibernate or brumate?
When an animals needs to hibernate or brumate, they go into a hiding place.
Do Crested Geckos Hibernate Or Brumate
Do Crested geckos hibernate or brumate? Although, Crested geckos don’t necessary go through the normal process of hibernation or brumation, their behavior still changes during colder months. Normally, this happens during the months from September to March.
Now that we have learned the difference between hibernation and brumation, for the sake of this article we will refer to the process that Crested geckos go through as hibernation.
Crested gecko’s hibernation presents in the following behaviors:
- Less or no eating due to the metabolism slowing down. They can go for months without food
- Not pooping
- Less active
- Lower body temperature
- Growth slows down or completely stops during the process
Although, the Crested gecko won’t go into a winter sleep when hibernating, they will be barely active. All of this is done to save as much energy as possible.
Do Crested geckos hibernate spontaneously when kept as pets? This depends on the following factors:
- Climate in your area
- Temperature of the tank
- Source of light. Is their light source natural or powered by a lamp? If the source of light is natural and the tank isn’t heated, chances are your gecko will hibernate
If you don’t want your Crested gecko to go into hibernation ensure the temperature in their tank is maintained at 72°F to 75°F and they have light exposure of 14 hours a day.
On the other hand, there is also induced hibernation. If you want your Crested gecko to hibernate, it’s important to know how to do this properly and safely. Learn more about this in the section below – Crested gecko hibernation care.
Why Do Crested Geckos Hibernate – Causes
Why do Crested geckos hibernate? One of the causes for Crested geckos hibernating is their inability to regulate their body temperature. Their body temperature depends on the environment. If it’s too cold, the Crested gecko’s body won’t function normally and this is when hibernation happens. It’s the nature’s way to preserve the animal during colder weather.
Other causes for Crested gecko hibernation include hormonal changes in the gecko’s body and circadian rhythm.
Should Your Crested Gecko Hibernate?
It’s important to know if hibernation is the right thing for your Crested gecko. This can be established based on the animal’s natural home. For instance, the closer it is to the equator, the less need there is for hibernation.
If the right conditions are not present or the gecko is not ready to hibernate/brumate, it can have negative impact on their health and even be fatal.
As a rule your Crested gecko shouldn’t hibernate if:
- Too young. If your gecko is under 1 year old, they shouldn’t hibernate
- Unhealthy. During hibernation your gecko’s body needs to be strong enough to withstand not eating, minimal activity and low temperatures
- If your new to keeping Crested geckos and are not planning on breeding, hibernation is not recommended and you should maintain the gecko’s tank at consistent warm temperatures to keep them healthy
It’s important to remember that hibernation or brumation is not recommended for young or unhealthy Crested geckos.
Benefits Of Crested Gecko Hibernation
The main reason that reptiles hibernate is for survival. Why do Crested geckos hibernate? Do they do it for the same reason as all other reptiles?
Crested geckos hibernate because they can’t raise their body temperature during the colder seasons. This process helps the gecko preserve energy during those cold months.
Benefits of Crested gecko hibernation include:
- Increases lifespan and improves overall health
- Breeding. During hibernation/brumation the female Crested gecko gains the strength they need for breeding. On the other hand, hibernation improves sperm production in male Crested geckos. Right after hibernation, the gecko will be eager to eat and breed
Crested Gecko Hibernation Care – Before, During And After
Your Crested gecko can go into hibernation in two ways:
- Spontaneous due to the low temperatures during winter season, incorrect tank temperatures and not enough light exposure
- Induced hibernation by the owner to improve health and boost breeding abilities
Either way, it’s important to know how to care for your gecko and what to expect.
Before Hibernation – Preparation
For your Crested gecko to go into hibernation safely, you need to ensure the following:
- Fully grown. If your Crested gecko is too young, hibernation can be dangerous for their health and it can even be fatal. The Crested gecko must be at least 1 year old
- Well fed. Before going into hibernation, the Crested gecko needs to eat properly. It’s the owner’s responsibility to properly feed the Crested gecko before the process as that’s the fat storage that will sustain them during the hibernation period
- Good health. It’s important that your Crested gecko is healthy before going into hibernation. Only healthy geckos should be allowed to hibernate. If not in good health, the gecko might not survive the process. If your gecko has health problems, you should provide them with a warm environment to avoid any level of hibernation
- Vet check up. Before going into hibernation, you should take your gecko to a specialized vet for a health check up
- Gradually change the temperature. During the day it should change from 72 – 78 °Fto 68 °F; During the night from 69°F – 74 °F to 64 °F. This can be achieved through the use of air conditioners, cool packs or moving the gecko’s tank to a cooler place such as a garage
- Gradually change the amount of light by controlling the source such as blinding the windows. Ideally, you should gradually go from 14 hours a day light exposure to 10 house a day
Crested gecko should only be allowed to hibernate if the conditions are safe. Therefore, you should comply to all the factors we mentioned above in order to avoid losing your pet.
During Crested gecko hibernation the following behaviors are normal and to be expected:
- Lower activity
- More sleep
- Spending most of their time in their hiding spot. During hibernation the hiding spot is very important for your gecko to feel safe and comfortable
- No poop
- Not eating
- Drinking water. Although, your Crested gecko won’t be eating and will be living off their body fats, they will still need to drink to stay hydrate. Therefore, ensure there is always fresh water available and easy to reach
- Misting. Continue misting as normal to provide your gecko with enough hydration
During the hibernation, you should weigh your Crested gecko every 3 to 4 days to ensure they are not losing a lot of weight. Normal weight loss during this period is a few grams.
If you notice weight loss that is more than a few grams, you should discontinue the hibernation by gradually increasing the temperature and lighting. Learn more on how to break the hibernation safely in the section – “Aftercare”.
How Long Is Crested Gecko Hibernation
How long do Crested geckos hibernate depends on the duration of the cold period. In some cases, the hibernation can be as long as 4 month or as short as couple of weeks.
The hibernation length is directly linked to the climate and temperatures. In the wild, if the winter season is longer, the hibernation will also be longer. However, when kept as pets, the hibernation is controlled by the temperature and light exposure in the tank.
Once the Crested gecko hibernation period is over, you should bring your gecko back to normal life once by following these steps:
- Slowly adjust the temperature and the lighting inside the terrarium. This should be done over a period of two weeks. Every day increase the temperature and lighting a little bit until the tank reaches 72 to 78 °F during the day and 69 and 74 °F during the night. Increase light exposure from 10 hours a day to 14 hours a day
- Feed your Crested gecko every other day with foods that are rich in nutrients. During hibernation your gecko would have been missing out on all those important vitamins and minerals
- Your Crested gecko will start eating gradually. Expect it to take some time until they are back to their normal daily habits. Give them the time they need but make sure you observe them consistently
If you are struggling to get your Crested gecko eating, you can find some tips and trick here Crested Gecko Not Eating? 11 Causes And Solutions
Many animals go though hibernation. This process helps the animal survive during colder weather.
In this article, we answered the question – do Crested geckos hibernate. In addition, we also covered the following topics:
- What is Crested gecko hibernation
- Should your gecko hibernate
- What are the benefits
- How to care for your gecko before, during and after hibernation
Although, Crested geckos don’t go into full deep sleep, their hibernation presents as less activity, more sleep, not eating and not pooping.
However, not all Crested geckos should hibernate. If your gecko is under 1 years old and/or unhealthy, hibernation can be very dangerous and should be completely avoided.
Hibernation happens either spontaneously when the temperatures are low and light exposure is not enough or it’s induced by the owner. Owners induce Crested gecko hibernation as it’s believed to improve lifespan, overall health and breeding abilities.
If you want your Crested gecko to hibernate, you must prepare them by feeding them well, ensuring they are healthy enough, providing them with a hiding spot and gradually adjusting the temperature and light.
On the other hand, if you don’t want your Crested gecko to go into hibernation, you must ensure the tank’s temperature is maintained at 72°F to 75°F and they have light exposure of 14 hours a day.
Do Crested Gecko Lose Weight During Hibernation?
During hibernation, the Crested gecko’s metabolism will slow down. As a result your gecko will stop eating and will be less active. During hibernation, the gecko lives off the fat storage in their body. Hence why it’s so important for your gecko to eat properly before going into hibernation.
Not only will your Crested gecko not eat but they will also not poop during this process. The weight loss should not be more than a few grams. If it’s anything more than that, you will need to intervene by slowly breaking the hibernation. Furthermore, if they don’t improve you might have to take your gecko to the vet.