Do crested geckos need light at night? Is it okay for them to have limited to zero visibility? You might be asking these questions especially if you have a newly set up enclosure, and you are wondering how your crested gecko will do during the night.
Crested geckos do not need light during the night. They can go about their regular night time activity even without lights. However, it is handy to have a bit of light just to help with their visibility. The use of harsh light at night will disrupt the night and day cycle of your crested gecko.
Then why is it that some people use the moon, red, or blue light? How does this affect your crested gecko at night? All this and more will be answered in this article. So read on to find out how you can make your crested gecko’s “nightlife” a little bit better.
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Why Crested Geckos Do Not Need Light At Night
Crested geckos are crepuscular which means that they are active during the late hours of the night up until the wee hours of the morning. Therefore, the absence of light is their signal that it is time to come out. This is the reason why the lights should be off at night.
If there are any bright lights, your crested gecko might mistake it to be daytime which will prompt him to stay in much longer. In this way, he will just be sedentary and will wait for the lights to go away.
Which by now, we know that the lights will just be brighter as morning approaches.
What happened is that your crested gecko already missed his night cycle and he will just be sedentary during the day, as he waits for night time. By the time night arrives, and the light is still on, your crested gecko will simply think that it is an extremely long day.
This does not only stress your crested gecko, but he will have trouble sleeping. He might not even have the power to thermoregulate. More than that, you will notice that he will not come out for food or even drink.
All of these problems, caused by something so simple, and that is leaving the light on at night.
Now that we have established that leaving that light on is not a good idea, why is it that some people use a different light at night? That is what we are going to discuss in the next section.
The Use Of Viewing Lights
The viewing lights that we are referring to are the red and blue lights that some owners tend to leave on during the night. Both of these lights are used in order for you to view the activities of your crested gecko during the night. Moreover, they also provide a heating factor.
The red lights are also often called infrared bulbs and for some people, this is their ideal choice for night time heating. On the other hand, blue lights, which are also called moonlight bulbs are simply used for you to be able to view the inside of the enclosure at night.
Problems With The Use Of Viewing Lights
As much as you want to see whatever it is that your crested gecko is doing at night, we highly suggest that you refrain from using any viewing lights.
The reason behind this is that your crested gecko is still able to detect the wavelength of these lights which will lead him to think that it is day time.
Unlike humans, crested geckos are tetrachromats, which is just a fancy way of saying that they have four cone types inside their retina.
Thus, they can interpret light in a different way. Other studies have shown that the rainbow humans see is a much more colorful rainbow for crested geckos.
More than that, there are also studies where it was shown that sometimes, their cone types work together in order to produce a much more vivid reflection of color.
For example, your crested gecko cannot see the red light, but having other cone types, one or two cone types will work together in order for your crested gecko to see a much vivid red or it will possibly translate as yellow or white.
So does this necessarily translate to your crested gecko staying in? Not exactly. It will just disrupt some of his activities. His day and night cycle will not be disrupted from the get-go, but he is surely bothered by that light. Which is why to be on the safe side, try to keep the lights off.
How Long Can You Turn On Viewing Lights?
You can turn on these viewing lights for a limited time during the night or early morning. We are only talking about two to three hours. The reason being, no matter how disruptive these lights can be, they are still a source of heat which is great for regulating the temperature in the tank.
But immediately after viewing your crested geckos, you should turn it off so that they will be able to do their daily routine. In the event that you forgot to turn off these lights, you will notice that your crested gecko will be a bit lethargic and might refuse food the following day.
What About Visibility?
You might be surprised that your crested gecko will do just fine in total darkness. He will still be able to explore, eat, and drink. The reason why some owners leave a light on is to just help with their visibility.
Do not get us wrong, without the light, your crested gecko can see clearly, but having that slight light can help them see better.
Moreover, it is also natural to have a bit of light as that is what happens in the wild. It is not pitch dark, but there is that slight light from the moon. The goal here is to mimic the environment in the wild as much as possible, and having a dim light helps with that.
So what type of lights are acceptable? These are the following:
- Dim hallway light that does not directly hit the tank
- Dim night lamp from one corner of the room
- A window that lets the light from the moon enter the room
Why Is Light So Important?
You might be wondering why there is such a fuss with proper lighting when it comes to your crested gecko. But the truth of the matter is, sunlight has effects that are unrelated to the conscious vision of reptiles.
Not only their eyes but also their parietal eye (commonly referred to as the third eye) send information to the different parts of the brain that are in charge of the circannual and circadian rhythms.
Further, there are areas that are sensitive to light in the brain of your crested gecko. This may lead him to react to the glow of the light through his skull.
In accordance with the natural light of day and night, the position of the sun, or even the amount of blue that comes from the light gives specific information to your crested gecko.
Such information consists of the season of the year and even the time of the day. In return, your crested gecko will adjust his activity levels and also his seasonal and daily behaviors. This may be related to their thermoregulation or their reproductive cycle.
As you can see, even if they are crepuscular, their overall behavior still depends on their perception of day and night. Therefore, if you get the lighting wrong, this will have an adverse effect on your crested gecko.
For example, Crested geckos should not be awake during the day. If your Crestie is, read our article on what to do if your Crested gecko is awake during the day here!
Best Option For Lighting
As you might have noticed by the time you get to this part is that natural lighting is the way to go. Not only is it easier to maintain, but it is best for your crested gecko. Of course, you should still use bulbs for heating and temperature regulation. But, you do not need any fancy lights.
Of course, no amount of artificial lighting can replicate the system of lighting in the outside world. Natural sunlight has such a complex intensity and full spectrum. At the same time, there are subtle changes as the day goes on.
Not to mention the fact that there are also light movements.
With that said, it is better if your crested gecko is exposed to as much natural light as he can. No amount of red and blue light can even compare to that.
It is best to leave the lights off in your crested gecko’s enclosure so it can maintain his regular day and night cycle. In the event that you want to view his activity at night, you can always use a red or blue light, but these lights should only be on for a few hours.
If you still want to leave a bit of light to aid in your crested gecko’s visibility, you can make use of the light in your hallway and make sure that it does not directly hit the tank. Moreover, if the light is too harsh, you can cover the side of the tank with cardboard or cloth.