Leopard geckos are terrestrial animals that mostly live on the ground and under rocks. Naturally, you will find them in the Middle East and Asia in countries like Iran, Afghanistan and India. So, are leopard geckos nocturnal?
In summary, contrary to popular belief Leopard geckos are crepuscular and not nocturnal. They are not active the whole night, but you’ll only enjoy them at fading light at dusk and dawn during twilight.
Leopard geckos difference from the rest of nocturnal gecko is they have large eyes and ears so they can see and hear clearly at night.
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Details: Are Leopard Geckos Nocturnal?
Geckos may fall under the lizard family, but physically, they are very different from lizards. Lizards lack eyelids and lick their eyes to clean them. Finally, all geckos have vocal cords that allow them to bark as a protective mechanism to scare away predators.
Leopard geckos, on the other hand, have a unique set of features that differentiate them from your normal gecko. They lack sticky toe pads which limit their ability to climb. Leopard geckos have vocal cords just like other geckos. Leopard geckos are different from other geckos as they have eyelids and don’t lick their eyes to clean them.
Leopard geckos Described:
- An adult Leopard length is between 20.5-27.5cm and may weigh between 45-65 grams. During winter, they undergo semi-hibernation (brumation), which is triggered by low temperatures.
- During brumation, they sleep fulltime and uses energy reserves stored in their tails, waking up only to drink water.
Are all Geckos Crepuscular ?
Geckos make good reptile pets. However, you may not enjoy them much as you may want to. It all depends on the time of the day they are active.
Geckos come in different species each exhibiting its unique set of characteristics. Some are active during the day (diurnal species); others are busy act night (nocturnal) while others are active at dusk and dawn during twilight.
1. Diurnal Species (Day Geckos)
The diurnal species is made up of mostly genus Presume geckos. Naturally, they are found in Madagascar, Mauritius and some select islands in the West Indian Ocean.
In recent years, the day geckos have gotten introduced to other parts of the world like Hawaii and Florida. They have been christened with fancy names like gold-dust gecko, yellow-headed gecko etc.
Yellow geckos are mostly green with blue or yellow markings get treated like treasures by their owners. The problem with day geckos is that owners can’t enjoy them much by holding them as their loose skin may come off if strained.
2. Lygodactylus Geckos
These geckos are very different from your healthy geckos as they are heliothermic meaning they bask in the sun to gain warmth.
A good example is the Lygodactylus williamsi naturally found in Africa. The Lygodactylus geckos are very rare, and many pet dealers don’t stock them.
3. Nocturnal Geckos
Nocturnal geckos are active during the night and spend most of their day time sleeping.
There are several species of geckos that are predominantly nocturnal like Moorish gecko which active at night but will occasionally feed or drink water during the day.
Do Leopard Geckos Need Light At Night?
The establishment that Leopard geckos are indeed not nocturnal but Crepuscular led to a debate on whether they need Ultraviolet lighting. Many pet owners don’t offer UV lighting to their leopard geckos.
Surprisingly, there are no apparent health issues associated with a lack of UVB. However, research has further shown that although they don’t bask under the sun to get UV light, they use the few hours they come out to feed at dusk and dawn to get UV too.
A study has also shown that the skin of leopard gecko has a high affinity for UV in low light as compared to other reptiles. The expose’ explains why the leopard geckos spend the early hours of the morning or dusk active as this is the perfect time for them to absorb UV light.
If not exposed to UVB, health issues may arise to your captured gecko. The situation gets worsened by lack of proper supply of dietary Vitamin D. Lack of Vitamin D causes reduced utilization of calcium in their food resulting in a metabolic bone disease brought about by lack of calcium.
Which Temperatures And Humidity are good for Leopard Gecko?
Leopard gecko structures should be large enough to offer ample space for exercise and relation. It should be adequately ventilated to allow for proper aeration.
A Proper substrate should be availed, and sand is a no for geckos. Use artificial plants, cardboard boxes in place of sand as it interferes with skin shedding and if accidentally ingested may cause death to the gecko.
As a pet owner, you must put into consideration that geckos as reptiles are exothermic. It’s, therefore, necessary for you to provide an adequate heat source to raise the temperatures in the gecko housing.
A bulb offering basking temperatures of 32 degrees should be available for the gecko the whole day in the spot area. In the cool end, the temperatures should be maintained at 25 degrees.
You must monitor the temperatures and humidity levels more so during the winter to ensure that the gecko is kept sufficiently warm.
What Time Of Day Should I Feed My Leopard Gecko?
You may be wondering what the ideal time of the day to feed your gecko is. Geckos mainly feed insects like crickets, locusts etc. The live food in the form of insect gets loaded in calcium balancer, and phosphorus should not be included in the diet.
The ideal time for you to feed your gecko is between 7-9 pm immediately after its active following a docile day. It is also the best time to enjoy your pet as its up and full of glory.
The feeding lasts between 10-20 minutes after which any unconsumed live food should be withdrawn from the gecko. If your gecko is less than a year old, feeding it once in a day is enough.
Adult geckos should, however, be fed once in two days. Sometimes your leopard gecko may refuse to eat. The scenario is as a result of illness.
Sometimes when the gecko is about to shed its skin or need to reduce its food reserves, it may refuse to eat. However, you should raise the alarm if this persists for several days as it’s a sign of illness.
What Time Are Leopard Geckos Most Active?
Leopard geckos are active at early hours of the evening and very early in the morning. They remain docile during the day and also sleep after dusk only to be active again at dawn. They also use the busy hours to feed and hydrate themselves.
If you are looking to acquiring your first reptile pet, searching for the best leopard gecko species is very important.
Top of your priority should be exploring the cost of maintaining the pet as a leopard gecko can live up to twenty years, which requires a lifetime commitment.