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Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

Fired Up vs Fired Down Crested Gecko: Why It Happens?

Updated On

by The Pet Engineers


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One of the most interesting idiosyncrasies of owning a crested gecko is the change in color that you will get to see from time to time.

This change of color in crested geckos is called firing up or down and it happens due to multiple reasons.

Key Takeaway:
A fired-up crested gecko shows brighter colors and happens when a gecko is stressed.
A fired-down crested gecko has dull colors. Crested geckos fire down when they aren’t stressed anymore.

What Is A Fired Up Crested Gecko?

When a crested gecko fires up, it means that its body color is going from a lighter shade to a darker shade.

This change of color that happens due to firing up is different from the color change that happens as a crested gecko grows.

The age-related change in color of crested geckos is more permanent.

That defines the foundational color or morph of your crested gecko.

fired up crested gecko
Fired up crested gecko

On the other hand, firing up is temporary and happens quite frequently for many crested geckos.

When your crested gecko is firing up, you will notice that its body starts showing more intense colors that are darker than its usual base shade.

What Is A Fired Down Crested Gecko?

The opposite of firing up is called firing down. This is when the crested gecko returns to its lighter base color.

Generally, firing down happens moments after a crested gecko is fired up.

However, in some cases, depending on why the crested gecko fired up in the first place, it may take some time for it to fire down and return to its lighter shade.

fired down crested gecko
Fired down crested gecko

Reasons Why Crested Geckos Get Fired Up Or Down?

There are several reasons why a crested gecko gets fired up or down.

Reason 1 – Defense Mechanism

When a crested gecko gets stressed or aggressive due to the presence of another animal – whether it is another crested gecko or some other animal – it may fire up.

Crested geckos are solitary animals. They do not like having any company.

So, when you try to introduce a new animal into the cage of your crested gecko, you should expect it to show signs of distress, including firing up.

However, if you have female crested geckos and a large enough tank, this behavior will subside eventually.

It is important to note that if in the presence of another animal, your crested gecko is constantly staying fired up, or firing up too frequently, you need to get your crested gecko back to its solitary tank.

Prolonged forced cohabitation will cause behavioral and physical health problems in your crested gecko.

Reason 2 – Nighttime Activity Levels

Crested geckos are nocturnal and crepuscular. This means that as dusk sets in, your crested gecko starts getting active.

And by nighttime, your crested gecko will have become playful and very active.

Because of increased activity levels, crested geckos tend to fire up frequently at night.

This firing up happens for short bursts before the crested gecko fires down again.

Anything that gets your crested gecko excited may fire it up. And so, it is completely normal to notice your crested gecko firing up frequently at night.

Reason 3 – Temperature Changes

The ideal temperature range for a crested gecko tank is between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime.

When you overheat the tank of your crested gecko, it may get stressed. Such stressful occurrences may also cause your crested gecko to fire up.

Reason 4 – Mood

Crested geckos fire up or down depending on their moods as well.

Any intense emotion such as excitement, happiness, anger, or stress can cause your crested gecko to fire up.

fired up vs fired down crested gecko
Fired up vs fired down juvenile crested gecko

On the other hand, when your crested gecko is feeling particularly laid back and relaxed, it will come back to its fired-down state.

Reason 5 – Age

It is important to note that age-related color changes are different from firing up and down.

The age-related changes tell you what morph your crested gecko is. But age does have some role to play in the firing up and down of crested geckos.

Firing up is frequent with intense emotions of excitement, stress, or anger. And a younger crested gecko is more prone to energetic and excitable outbursts than an older crested gecko.

So, you will notice that when your crested gecko is in its juvenile age, it will fire up frequently.

This is because it may experience frequent mood swings. This behavior will however become lesser as your crested gecko grows.

Do Crested Geckos Fire Up When Stressed?

Yes, crested geckos do fire up when stressed. Your crested gecko may get stressed because of one or more of the following stressors:

  • Change in temperature conditions
  • Change in humidity conditions
  • Presence of another animal
  • Improper substrate
  • Too much handling
  • Illness
  • Malnourishment
  • Presence of a perceived threat, etc.

Whenever your crested gecko gets stressed, it may fire up to show its distress or aggression.

So, if your crested gecko is firing up too frequently, especially even during the daytime, chances are that there is something bothering your crested gecko.

Make sure you figure out what it is and remove the stressor soon because stress can start having a negative impact on the health of your crested gecko.

How Do I Get My Crested Geckos Fired Up?

You should not do anything to intentionally fire up your crested gecko every now and then.

Firing up requires stressing your crested gecko out in some way. And that is not healthy for your pet.

fired up vs fired down harlequin crested gecko
You shouldn’t intentionally fire up your crested gecko

What you can do, however, is to become observant during the dusk and nighttime, when your crested gecko is most likely to fire up.

Crested geckos also fire up when they are extremely excited or happy.

So, if you’re lucky, your crested gecko may fire up when you offer it its favorite treat.


Firing up and down is the process by which a crested gecko changes the color of its body depending on its mood, environment, etc.

It is one of the many idiosyncrasies of crested geckos that makes them very popular as pets.

There are many variables that need to be factored in to know if your crested gecko will fire up or not.

As a general thumb rule, however, when any even brings up intense emotions in your crested gecko – happiness, excitement, stress, or anger – chances are that it will fire up.

On the other hand, when your crested gecko relaxes and becomes laid back, it will fire down.

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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