Although known to mostly spend their time climbing branches and foliage, some crested geckos are often found preferring to stay on the ground for various reasons.
Why Your Crested Gecko Is On The Ground: Crested geckos are arboreal lizards, which means they are usually found on higher branches and other climbing structures around them. Occasionally, however, they spend more time on the bottom of their enclosure and although this may seem worrisome, it isn’t necessarily alarming. The crested gecko might prefer the humidity on the ground level or perhaps it just can’t climb.
As long as your crested gecko is looking healthy and behaving normally, its time laying around on the bottom is nothing to worry about. Crested geckos look for places where they feel safe and secure and sometimes that just happens to be the bottom of their enclosure.
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Crested geckos need foliage in their enclosure
If a crested gecko doesn’t have enough climbing structures in its tank, it will have no choice but to spend more time on the ground. More than half their tank needs to be filled with vines, plants, and foliage so they are able to jump around and leap from branch to branch.
Crested geckos are expert climbers and even enjoy climbing up the glass of their tank. In the wild, these lizards live in bushes and trees so having a tall terrarium with fake plants they can jump around on is a good idea.
When there is a lack of things they can climb on, crested geckos can be noticed curling up on the bottom of their tank. In order to keep them healthy and active, it’s important to set up their enclosure in a manner similar to their natural habitat.
This will also help them feel safer as they prefer being hidden in branches and foliage as opposed to being exposed and easily visible.
Looking for moisture
The crested gecko thrives in humidity, which can be maintained with regular misting as well as a substrate that retains moisture. When the humidity in the terrarium is too low, the crested gecko is more likely to stay on the ground looking for more moisture.
Similarly, it could also be a cause for concern if the humidity is consistently too high. This would cause the tank to be wet, which would make it difficult for the crested gecko to stick and climb on the surfaces.
Shedding also causes the crested gecko to spend more time on the bottom looking for additional moisture. It is essential for humidity to be increased in the tank for a few hours a day while shedding continues.
Shedding can take up to three to seven days and during those days, the crested gecko won’t be able to stick to surfaces properly. This is an additional reason due to which it will be seen spending more time on the ground.
Additionally, if you notice that your crested gecko is constantly looking to bury itself in the substrate and stay there for a while, it could be a sign that you need to check the temperature in their tank as this usually happens when they are trying to cool themselves down in the surrounding heat.
If your Crested gecko has problems with shedding, read our article on bathing Crested geckos – we show you a great method you can use to help your Crestie shedding without stressing the animal too much!
Keep the crested gecko’s feet and tank clean
If you have noticed your crested gecko sliding down the glass surfaces of its tank, you probably need to check its feet to make sure they are not dirty.
Having trouble sticking to glass or other material in their enclosure is yet another reason why you may find your crested gecko spending more time on the bottom.
Dirt can easily accumulate under their feet and this hampers their ability to climb and stick on surfaces around them. Food, shed and loose substrate are easy to get stuck under their feet and around their toes.
Creating a sauna for them or cleaning their toes with a q-tip can easily solve this common problem. When their feet are clean, they will tend to stick more to surfaces.
Crested geckos are active at night
No doubt, it can be a bit stressful to see your crested gecko lazily lying at the bottom of his tank during the day but you need to remember that these lizards are known to be more active at night.
Crested geckos are not too fond of bright lights and would prefer to stay hidden under some foliage or between some branches during the day.
This is also the time when they sleep so if you don’t see them move for an hour or two at a stretch, don’t necessarily assume that something is wrong.
At night, however, they mostly stay awake and enjoy climbing around and jumping from one side of the tank to the other. It is quite possible that you mostly get to see the lazy or sleepy hours of your gecko’s day and are asleep through the hours when he is most active.
That’s why Crested geckos do not need light at night. Having lights on at night can even result in health problems! Read more on that in our article here!
Gravid crested geckos spend more time on the bottom
If you have a female crested gecko and your notice she is spending more time on the bottom of her tank as opposed to climbing around, there could be a chance she is gravid.
Gravid crested geckos move around the floor of the tank looking for an egg-laying spot that feels safe to them. During this time, you will notice that her belly is round and she will have gained some weight.
If you notice this behavior, you could help her by setting up an egg-laying box for her.
When to worry about your crested gecko’s behavior
Crested geckos have a tendency of switching between being lazy or extremely active. Sometimes they won’t stop leaping around their tank and some days for various reasons, they just may want to stick around in the same spot.
However, if your crested gecko seems overly lethargic and doesn’t seem to be moving much at all, you may want to check for illnesses.
Shedding and being stressed could be the most common reasons why it’s laying in the same spot or burying itself in the substrate, but sometimes this could also be because they are suffering from some illness or injury so pay close attention to their actions.
Bone and joint issues in crested geckos make them reluctant to climb around their tank.
How to tell if a crested gecko is dehydrated?
A dehydrated crested gecko is easy to spot. You will notice that its skin is appearing wrinkly and feels dry. Your gecko will seem quite lethargic along with having visibly sunken eyes. Crested geckos can easily get dehydrated, so it is essential that you mist regularly and always have water available for them.
What are the signs that your crested gecko is stressed?
Being outside their tank for an extended amount of time is known to cause stress to the crested geckos. The wrong temperature or humidity level, lack of food or handling to often can make them stressed. Often a stressed crested gecko will flatten its body to the ground and appear as if it is looking away or trying to hide.