Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

Do Crested Geckos Hibernate or Brumate 2022?

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by The Pet Engineers

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Hibernation and brumation are activities that involve resting and low activity levels in the colder seasons. It is common in many animals, including mammals such as bears, and reptiles such as lizards and geckos.

Do crested geckos hibernate?

So, yes, it is common to have your pet crested gecko hibernate or brumate in the colder seasons, especially if the region you live in has very cold winters.

Hibernation and brumation in crested geckos happen when the environmental conditions are cold and dark.

So, if you want to avoid having your pet crested gecko brumate or hibernate, always ensure that the ambient range of temperature is maintained in its enclosure, which is between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, ensure that your pet crested gecko gets exposure to natural light as per the natural day and night cycles of the rainforest – which means about 14 hours of light a day, and that too is not consistently bright.

The light during dusk and dawn should be dimmed to promote the natural sleep cycle and maintenance of the circadian cycle in the crested gecko.

Hibernation Vs Brumation

A hibernation is a form of dormancy that animals go through during the colder seasons to save energy and rest.

Hibernation usually showcases itself in the form of deep slumber – animals may sometimes be in such a deep state of hibernation that they don’t feel the need to eat or defecate for a long period of time.

But hibernation is not the only form of dormancy that an animal can experience. In cold-blooded animals, this dormancy takes the form of brumation.

While the big picture of hibernation and brumation is similar – the common objective being to conserve energy – there are distinct details in each of these processes that make them slightly different from each other.

One major difference is that in brumation, the animals have lower activity levels but they don’t go into a deep slumber, unlike during hibernation.

So, during brumation, an animal may get more lethargic, not eat that often, but will still move around on relatively warmer days. During hibernation, however, an animal continues to stay asleep.

Do Crested Geckos Hibernate Or Brumate?

crested gecko walking
Crested geckos hibernate

Crested geckos are reptiles, and thus, are cold-blooded animals. Like other cold-blooded animals, even crested geckos brumate and do not hibernate.

But, in captivity, it may often be hard to distinguish between brumation and hibernation, because there are ready sources of food and water available to the brumating crested gecko.

So, even on warmer days, it does not have a reason to move around.

That is why, when talking about the brumation of pet crested geckos, the terms hibernation and brumation are used interchangeably. In this article, the process is referred to as hibernation.

Should Your Crested Gecko Hibernate?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of hibernation for crested geckos. However, before letting your crested gecko hibernate, you should be aware of all the potential dangers of hibernating if your pet crested gecko is not ready for it:

If your crested gecko is fully grown and strong and healthy, you may induce hibernation.

Otherwise, especially if your crested gecko is young or sick, or if you are new to the petkeeping of crested geckos, you should avoid letting your crested gecko hibernate.

Play it safe and maintain the required temperature and lighting levels in the enclosure.

How Long Do Crested Geckos Hibernate?

crested gecko
Crested geckos hibernate every couple of months

Brumation and hibernation can last for a period of a couple of months, but it depends heavily on the health of the crested gecko and the conditions of its habitat.

A healthy created gecko can hibernate comfortably for up to 4 months.

In captivity, however, you have a role to play in the duration of hibernation of your pet crested gecko, because you control the parameters of its habitat.

Benefits Of Crested Gecko Hibernation

The major benefit of letting your crested gecko hibernate (provided it is fully grown and strong and healthy) is that it gets a much-needed rest.

In the wilderness, the benefits of hibernation are pretty clear – a crested gecko, being cold-blooded, cannot increase the temperature of its body to survive the chilly winters.

So, hibernating gives it the kind of shelter it needs from the cold.

In captivity, brumation and hibernation can help in the following ways:

  1. A healthy, fully grown crested gecko that can withstand the hibernation and brumation period, will benefit from hibernation in the form of a longer lifespan.
  2. Female crested geckos gain the strength they require for breeding after hibernation.
  3. Hibernation also increases the production of sperm in male crested geckos.

Right after the hibernation period ends, your crested geckos will be ready and eager to eat and mate.

What To Do When Your Crested Gecko Is Hibernating?

When you induce hibernation in your pet crested gecko, there is a lot of caretaking that you need to do before, during, and after the hibernation period.

That is why it is recommended that you only indulge in hibernation-related processes if you have enough experience petkeeping crested geckos.

Before

Before hibernation, you need to take care of the following things:

  1. Your crested gecko should be fully grown and strong and healthy.
  2. Your crested gecko needs to be well-fed before it goes into hibernation.
  3. You should consult your vet before you let your pet crested gecko hibernate.
  4. You should make gradual changes in temperature and lighting conditions because any abrupt changes will have a negative impact on the health of your pet.
  5. During the daytime, the temperatures should gradually go from 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. During the nighttime, the temperatures should go from 69 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit to around 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. The duration of light exposure should gradually decrease from 14 hours a day to 10 hours a day.

During

During hibernation, you need to weigh your crested gecko regularly.

If your pet seems to be losing more than just a few grams, you must stop hibernation by gradually bringing the temperature and lighting conditions to normal.

You should also monitor whether your pet is drinking water regularly. During hibernation, a crested gecko may not eat or poop, but it does drink water. So, ensure your pet doesn’t dehydrate itself.

After

After hibernation, you need to take care of the following things:

  1. Gradually bring the temperature and lighting conditions to normal levels. Do not make any abrupt changes in the environment. This should be carried out in a period of 2 weeks with slight changes every day.
  2. Feed your crested gecko every other day with foods that are rich in nutrients and are properly balanced.
  3. Take your pet to a vet for a regular follow-up check after the two weeks of changing temperature and lighting are over.

What Is Too Cold For A Crested Gecko?

In winter, in the wilderness, the temperatures of the natural habitats of crested geckos reach 62 degrees Fahrenheit. That is when crested geckos in the wild begin brumation.

In captivity, however, the minimum threshold for normal temperature levels is 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and 69 degrees Fahrenheit in the nighttime.

During brumation and hibernation, the minimum threshold for temperatures is around 68 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime, and close to 64 degrees Fahrenheit in the nighttime.

Any temperatures below these minimum thresholds are too cold for a crested gecko and can negatively impact its health.

cold temperature
64 degree Fahrenheit and below is too cold for crested geckos

What Temperature Do Geckos Hibernate?

Crested geckos will hibernate in the temperature ranges between 64 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below this range can have negative effects on the health of your pet crested gecko.

Depending upon their natural habitats and adaptations, different gecko species have different temperatures for hibernation and brumation.

However, generally, geckos hibernate at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do Crested Geckos Lose Weight During Hibernation

Yes, crested geckos do lose weight during hibernation. During hibernation, your pet crested gecko will only drink water. It will not eat anything.

So, it is natural and expected for your crested gecko to lose weight during hibernation.

However, make sure that you weigh your crested gecko every other day when it is hibernating. Monitor its weight loss – because even during hibernation, a crested gecko should not lose more than a few grams.

If you observe any drastic loss in weight, you should put a stop to the hibernation process and gradually bring the temperature and lighting conditions to normal levels.

Summary

Crested geckos in the wild undergo brumation. This is where their activity levels are low but they don’t stop their movement altogether, like in hibernation.

But, in captivity, your pet crested gecko will have no reason to move around even at low energy – because it has a ready supply of water, which is the only thing crested geckos consume while brumating.

That is why, for crested geckos in captivity, the terms brumation and hibernation are used interchangeably.

Only indulge in hibernation if you have enough experience with the petkeeping of crested geckos, because when done incorrectly, not only will hibernation harm your pet’s health, but in the worst-case scenario, it can also lead to the death of your crested gecko.

But there are benefits to hibernation if your pet is fully grown, strong, and healthy. The best way to move forward with this is to research the caretaking of crested geckos during hibernation and consult a vet before you go ahead with it.

About
The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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