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Caring for Geckos in Winter and Summer

Summer Winter Gecko

Geckos require the proper temperature to digest the food and eliminate the waste regularly. Inadequate temperatures may cause impaction in the gecko may be impacted. In this period, the geckos get into brumation. They become slower, start reserving fat, and burn very little energy to survive until the temperature returns to favorable conditions.

They can also suffer from malnutrition as they don’t spend their energy on eating and digesting. This may lead to death, so an adequate temperature must be given to the gecko. As the geckos are ectothermic, they must regulate their body temperature by shifting to warmer and colder places.

The Importance of temperature

The primary concern is comfort. An enclosure with extreme temperatures will be uncomfortable for your gecko, and it may also cause serious health problems. Severely increased temperatures will make them overheat and die from heatstroke, while intensely decreased temperatures will cause impaction.

Symptoms of inadequate temperature

  • Not Eating
  • Impaction
  • Not Moving
  • Digging
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Burned skin
Gecko

Winter

Geckos must have a body temperature of 86°F (30°C). In case the temperature drops to 60°F or 15.5°C, the gecko survives only for few days without heat. If the temperature goes below 15.5°C, the survival rate is low.

Fundamentals of Good Heating

Temperature drops are not always because of power outages, but some gecko holders lack the knowledge of setting up a tank with the required heat. Consider the following in setting the adequate heat:

  • Set 88°F-92°F in the warm side floor near the basking area.
  • Set the air temperature 80-83°F in the warm area.
  • The temperature of the cool hide should be 8390°F.
  • The air temperature on the cooler side should have 73-76°F.
  • Maintain temperature at 67-74°F overnight.

Diseases Associated with the Cold

Stick tail disease is a term for rapid weight loss in Geckos. Geckos store fat in their tails, and when they are in brumation, they are forced to live off their tail’s fat stores since they cannot eat or digest food without heat. If they go long without sufficient heat, the fat in their tail will be consumed, so their tails look like a thin stick.

If a Gecko is exposed to cold temperatures regularly or for a long period, it may experience impaction. Impaction is when your gecko consumes something it should not, and it gets stuck in its stomach or intestines. This typically happens when its digestive system isn’t working correctly, and since Geckos requires heat to digest food properly, cold temperatures can often cause impaction.

Respiratory Infection is another common problem caused by exposure to cold temperatures. Symptoms may include laziness, sealed nostrils, and breathing with an open mouth.

Other symptoms are loss of appetite and weight loss. Take your gecko to their veterinarian immediately when your gecko suffers from a respiratory infection.

Can geckosfreeze to death?

If a gecko remains exposed long enough for its temperature to drop below its Critical Thermal Minimum (i.e., the temperature at which locomotor function ceases), then it can get stuck and potentially freeze to death.

Summer Gecko

In cold conditions, geckos become very sluggish. Geckos cannot survive intense cold for long durations. Geckos need a temperature of 68 °F during the night to get into a deep sleep. Higher temperatures during the night could prevent leopard geckos from getting into a deep sleep, which can negatively impact their health in the long run.

Heat mats can increase the temperature in the cage perfectly if it is a bit too frosty in there for him. Especially during colder months when weather conditions are unfavorable and the room temperature in your home is not ideal. The natural way of replicating the day and night cycle for your gecko would be referencing what they experience in the wild.

Ideally, you should purchase a UVB light bulb together with the heat mat if you are able to. One other very important point to remember is that a thermostat will have to be purchased along with your heat mat. Thermostats are imperative devices controlling and automatically regulating the temperature within a cage.

Avoid Infrared Light!

Do not use infrared light as it can be absorbed deep into the tissues of your leopard gecko and cause serious damage to their tissue. You should also know that some brands of compact and tube-type fluorescent lights emit hazardous short-wave UVB.

These lights cause a serious eye condition referred to as photo-kerato-conjunctivitis. Some manufacturers are still in the process of addressing this issue, whilst other manufacturers have rectified the issue. You can tell it is hurting your gecko if they struggle to open their eyes, or their eyes become swollen after a new lamp is installed.

It is best to seek professional help immediately. Lamp placement (including the type of lamp) could be contributing to the condition.

Less Consumption during the Winter

The change of seasons from fall to winter often brings a lot of anorexic geckos into the animal clinic, but, more often than not, a simple fix to their environmental temperature will make them start eating again.

If your gecko’s metabolic rate decreases due to temperatures dropping below 70°F, they will most likely stop eating. Supplemental heat is necessary; make sure to keep the room temperature around 80°F – not many people keep their homes this warm.

Winter Gecko

A heat mat works well but will not warm the air as well as it does the cage flooring, so it is hard to monitor what temperature it is where your gecko is sitting.

It is much better and more cost-effective to have a simple heat light on the enclosure. This, way you can properly monitor the basking temperature and make sure it isn’t getting too cold in your leopard gecko’s cage at night.

Sleep Cycle

Majmajoritygeckos sleep 12 hours a day, but some geckos sleep less than this time. Geckos spend their days asleep since they are nocturnal. They have sensitive eyes, so they can see things clearly even in low light. Since geckos are prey animals, they sleep in hides to be secure and to maintain the heat.

Transporting your Gecko During Winter

To maintain heat, you can transport your pet gecko in an insulated environment such as styrofoam or other insulated coolers. If your gecko is small enough and hand-tamed you, can wrap them up in a towel and tuck them inside your warm jacket.

You can also try increasing the temperature of an enclosure by placing something warm in with the reptile and then enclosing the box/carrier. Examples include:

  • Hot water bottle
  • Hot water-filled latex gloves
  • Hand warmers (available at most sporting goods stores, drugs stores, and online)
  • Hot water filled packs

What to do when the temperature gets too low

When temperatures get too low, it’s not as immediately critical as overheating so; you probably don’t need to remove the gecko from the tank while you investigate. You’ll still need to do something about it so that your gecko doesn’t get to the point where it won’t eat or move.

First, check your thermostat and thermometer and make sure everything is working. If it’s set too low, then adjust the temperatures to where they should be. If that’s not what the issue is, then there might be something wrong with your heat source.

S W Gecko

Again, this could be caused by a bad outlet or maybe even bad wiring with your source of heat. It’s not uncommon for something like that to happen. Another potential culprit for why your tank is too cold is that your room is too cold as well. This is why it’s not recommended to put your tank in rooms such as basements.

Or, if it is winter, a drafty window could be the culprit. Try to warm your room up by raising the house temperature, or use a space heater or a window insulation kit.

Summer

How hot is too hot for geckos?

If the temperatures are too high, your gecko is likely to avoid the warm spot and always hide in the cool hide. And if the temperatures in the tank are too low, your gecko is likely to spend more time on a warm side, including a warm hide. It will also eat & poop irregularly and seem more lethargic.

If your gecko gets too hot, it can die. The best way to avoid that is to have a thermometer inside the cage (not directly under the heat lamp). It should be 85°F; if it is hotter or colder, you will need to get a bulb with a lower or higher wattage.

Do geckos like to be in sunlight?

Geckos aren’t fond of being in direct sunlight, but they like to be warm. They don’t, however, spend a lot of time basking. They may get into it on occasion to get their Vitamin D3 for the day; aside from that, they really just enjoy being warm and are most often found to be active during the darker hours of the day.

If left in the sun for too long, the gecko could overheat. It is quite uncomfortable for them to be in direct sunlight. As such, exposure should be limited. Keep their exposure to a minimum – no more than ten minutes at a time in the sunlight.

Geckos enjoy being in the warmth, but the sunlight is not like their heat lamps that you regulate and keep track of every day. There are also no cool places to escape to when it gets too hot or have hides to make use of, either. Having no place to cool down is also stressful to the gecko.

Taking them outside should be done just for short periods of time, and the gecko should not be allowed to sit in the sun for too long. Even though these reptiles are denizens of the desert and the conditions there are less than temperate, they still become very stressed out when it is too hot an,d there are no places to hide out and cool down.

Tank Temperature Regulation

Thermostat:

In order to regulate your tank’s temperature, you need a thermostat. A thermostat hooks up to your heat source and allows you to set the temperature of your choice.

Having a good thermostat will take away the anxiety of constantly worrying about your tank’s temperature and will allow you the freedom of not having to always cool it down. If you plan on owning your gecko for a long time, then at some point, you’ll need to get one.

Setting your regulating device up is fairly simple and is something that you will not have to worry about for a long time until you have to replace it – which usually isn’t for many years if they’re well taken care of.

Proper temperature reading:

In addition to the thermostat, you’ll also be needing a thermometer to help you keep track of the exact temperature inside the tank.

Tank Gecko 1

The thermostat will regulate the temperature to what you need it to be, but since there are other external factors that may cause your temperatures to fluctuate throughout the day, having that thermometer will ensure that you’re getting the right readings.

If your thermometer doesn’t match up with what your thermostat is set to, then you’ll need to raise or lower your temperature on the thermostat. A simple method is getting a thermometer that just sticks onto the glass on the inside of your tank.

Things that Affects the Tank Temperature

There are variables in the environment that affect the temperatures in the tank. These could be:

  • Seasonal temperature fluctuations
  • The tank is in a drafty location
  • Sunlight shining into the tank from a window
  • Indoor space heaters

What to do when the Temperature Increases

If your tank’s temperature gets too high, you should probably remove your gecko from the tank until you can find out what’s causing the overheating. This is especially important if you have rock or tile substrate that, when heated, can burn your gecko.

First, check your heating source. Take a look at the wall outlet where it is plugged in and make sure it looks normal; sometimes, bad wiring can cause heat sources to overheat. If you have a temperature gun, use it to double-check that the temperature reading showing on the thermostat is accurate.

If your room is heating up too much from the sun, then run the air conditioning in your home or turn on a fan to get it to cool down. Look into getting UV protection blinds to keep some of the heat out if your windows are heating up the room.

Make sure you move your tank out of any direct sunlight. Even if this only occurs for part of the day, it can quickly raise the temperature much too high. Geckos are sensitive to bright light.

Keeping Your Gecko Warm during Power Outages

Your gecko should never be without heat, but sometimes certain situations are out of your control. It’s best to have a plan ahead of time so you’ll know exactly what to do during a power outage. These tips can also help get you through if your heating source breaks unexpectedly.

A portable generator that you can plug your heat source into is a great option. They are a little pricey, but they should last you many years and can potentially even help charge phones or other electronics you need during a power outage.

Another emergency solution is to use hand warmers wrapped in a sock or T-shirt (so that it isn’t too hot) for your gecko to lay on. They usually last for 8+ hours, so by that time, your power will hopefully be back up. They are definitely a great and relatively inexpensive thing to have on hand for emergencies.

Surviving without Heat

It really depends on how cold the air temperature is in the room the tank is stored in. If it is 60°F and above, they may be able to survive a few weeks. They can enter brumation (a type of hibernation) and live off of stored fat from their tails. Anything below 60°Fwill cut that survival time down significantly.

When temperatures go below a gecko’s preferred range, it can affect its ability to digest food. Food can become trapped (impacted) in their bowels, leaving them unable to eat or defecate.

Cold temperatures can also cause weight loss as they use up their fat reserves instead of eating. Respiratory infections can also happen if they are exposed to the cold for extended periods of time.

How Geckos Cool Themselves Off

Thermoregulation is what cold-blooded geckos use to maintain their body temperature. Geckos warm themselves using insolation and conduction. Insolation is the absorption of the sun’s rays, and conduction is absorbing heat from the ground.

If the gecko gets too hot, he will move into the shade or a burrow to cool off. Some geckos have adapted to be able to change color. If a gecko turns a darker color, he will be able to absorb heat better than when he is a lighter shade.

Misting

Geckos originate from arid or non-tropical terrain; however, they enjoy a little misting to keep cool and content. It is recommended to mist adult geckos twice a week or when they are preparing to shed. Humidity or moist boxes eliminate the need to mist adult geckos.

Hatchlings and baby geckos up to three months old require daily misting even with humidity or a moist box. As baby geckos’ skin sheds frequently, it is crucial to keep them moist to ease shedding. A baby gecko may not necessarily go into a humidity or moist box to shed its skin at that stage.

Misting Gecko

It happens especially when they are sharing the habitat with a hostile habitat mate. To help them, along with the shedding process, misting is required. A great time to gently mist your gecko is when they are just about to shed.

Bear in mind that only a little bit of spray is required!. The gentle mist tends to evaporate quickly and will not harm your gecko. Misting is vital when maintaining the right environment within your gecko’s habitat and meeting their daily moisture requirements.

Skin shedding is promoted, and humidity levels are perfectly maintained with misting. Your gecko can also enjoy lapping up water droplets to remain hydrated.

Remember when misting your gecko’s habitat:

  • Mist the habitat daily, especially when there is no source of water in the habitat. Geckos need water to survive and live healthily even though they originate from a dry environment. Water and moisture are also required for skin shedding.
  • The appropriate humidity level should be maintained when misting your gecko’s habitat. Humidity levels should be maintained at 40% or lower. High humidity levels, including fogging, are a result of too much misting if the ventilation is poor.
  • Geckos can experience complications with shedding when the humidity levels are kept below 20%. On the other extreme, when humidity levels are too high, exceeding 40% will increase their susceptibility to numerous infections.
  • The habitat should ideally be misted at least several times a week, and baby geckos misted occasionally.
  • The primary purpose of misting the habitat is to maintain the humidity levels of the habitat and provide your gecko with the required moisture. Watering and misting the habitat should not be confused.
  • Misting allows for the substrate within the habitat to contain the sprayed water, and as a result, watering the habitat is hardly ever necessary.

Two methods are available for misting your habitat and your gecko. You could either manually mist by using a spray bottle or provide for an automated system within the habitat.

Automated misting:

The automated misting system offers convenience, and you avoid the risk of potentially forgetting or just generally unavailable to routinely mist. It also protects your gecko from potential issues that may arise from not carrying out routine misting.

If you mistakenly forget to mist your gecko and their habitat and they are in a situation where they require misting, your gecko could face health issues. An automated misting system is also ideal for controlling humidity levels within the habitat at night when levels tend to drop.

Manual misting:

Manually misting the habitat is simply achieved with an inexpensive spray bottle and is recommended when you do not lead a busy lifestyle with a ton of responsibility. Humidifying the habitat and keeping your gecko cool can be effectively completed using a spray bottle.

Avoid excessive misting:

  • Excessively misting your gecko and his habitat results in high levels of humidity, and in turn, potentially causing respiratory issues.
  • A gecko’s ability to breathe properly is strained if they inhale very thick, hot, and humid air. It will adversely affect their bodies as they have very small lungs. As a result of this, misting should be done once a day or when required.
  • Decreasing humidity levels can become a challenge, and to avoid removing items retaining moisture from the habitat, spray the habitat once a day and once in the evening before you bid your gecko goodnight.
  • Monitoring the hygrometer after spraying in the evening is important to make sure that humidity levels drop to between 20% and 40% before going to bed. People living in extremely humid environments may have problems with the humidity dropping.
  • Respiratory infections for your gecko arenotan ideal situation since it requires special treatment and antibiotics to resolve, so it’s best not to mist the habitat numerous times a day excessively.