Adopting an unconventional pet, like a reptile, can be exciting, but on the other hand, it’s harder to learn how to care for it.
For instance, if you’ve got a house gecko, what does it need from you? Moreover, do house geckos hibernate as reptiles do in the wild?
How to know the difference and what to do when your house gecko hibernates?
We’re here to help you answer all your questions about geckos’ hibernation and the care they need through it.
Yes, most geckos go into varying periods of hibernation every year.
However, geckos, or reptiles in general, don’t need to hibernate in the same way mammals need their hibernation.
To fully understand the reasons behind this, you need to know the difference between hibernation and brumation.
Geckos go through a process similar to hibernation, called brumation.
Brumation is somewhat like hibernation, but it only happens in cold-blooded animals.
Unlike warm-blooded animals, reptiles’ bodies don’t generate heat to maintain their bodily functions. Instead, reptiles fully depend on the environment surrounding them to maintain their temperature.
In addition, reptiles’ brumation lasts a lesser time than hibernation in mammals. In this period, they regularly come out of brumation to drink water, unlike hibernating animals that stay dormant for months on end.
Furthermore, animals go into hibernation seasonally in their native homes.
However, reptiles, or more specifically geckos, can adapt to most places and only brumate when the temperature drops so low that they can’t survive the cold and need to reserve warmth.
Yes, like most geckos, house geckos hibernate, or more accurately brumate.
House geckos brumate when the temperature drops lower than appropriate for their body heat.
In addition, this mostly happens in fall or winter, but it can vary according to the weather in your area or even the heating system in your home.
Yes, most types of geckos hibernate or rather brumate when needed.
However, house geckos aren’t a specific species. The most common species of house geckos are geckos native to Asia.
With this in mind, your house gecko can be of any breed.
It can be a leopard gecko, crested gecko, tropical gecko, mediterranean gecko, or even an infamous tokay gecko.
All these types of Geckos hibernate but the temperature that requires hibernation may vary from one type to another.
As we said before, the first indicator that your gecko is in hibernation is any sudden drop in temperature, most commonly in winter. Most geckos often brumate when the temperature drops to 75 °F or lower.
When your gecko starts brumation, there will be some signs you can easily observe to determine your pet’s condition.
For instance, your gecko may start walking slower than it usually does, or it can even stop moving altogether for long periods.
In addition, they may find themselves a hiding spot and stay in it without moving for weeks.
They’ll eventually move to eat or drink, but mostly they’ll eat a lot less than their usual meals. Furthermore, they can even lose their appetite for long periods.
With this in mind, you might also notice that your gecko has stopped defecating.
When you observe the signs above, don’t panic and remember these are normal brumation patterns.
In addition, you can easily check your gecko’s breathing and temperature to make sure your pet is alive and well.
Any temperatures less than 60°F can cause geckos to have severe digestive or even respiratory problems that may lead to their demise.
House geckos’ survival depends on proper heat because they can be in danger if their temperature drops for extended periods.
For this reason, geckos depend on you to emulate the appropriate temperatures for them to live.
Most geckos thrive in temperatures from 86°F to 90°F, and it’s optimal to maintain these temperatures at all times. In the appropriate climate, geckos can manipulate their conditions to get cooler or warmer when needed.
For instance, in areas with lower temperatures, a gecko can bask in the sun or hide in a warm spot to raise its body temperature.
In contrast, in higher temperatures, geckos seek colder hiding places.
However, even during brumation, geckos can only survive temperatures above 60°F.
At 60°F, geckos may survive up to a month in brumation.
Unlike hibernation in mammals and birds, geckos only hibernate when and as long as they need to.
For this reason, geckos can stay in hibernation throughout cold winters, as they may enter their brumation state from early September to late October and last until April.
However, geckos’ brumation is more erratic than ordinary hibernation. Unlike mammals who hibernate for a fixed season, geckos can slip into brumation mode even when the temperature dips for a week or two only.
In addition, different types of geckos will vary slightly in the length of their brumation and the required temperature.
Now that you know what to look for when your gecko goes into brumation, you can assist your reptilian friend through its brumation cycle.
Here are some things to make brumation a smoother transition for your gecko.
- First, you need to emulate the geckos’ natural habitat. To achieve that, provide your pet gecko with a shelter with many hiding spots so it can rest in brumation.
- Before brumation even starts, check up on your gecko’s health and make sure it’s fit for this phase. That’s because hibernation can further damage your pet’s health if they’re already having problems.
- In addition, give your gecko less food to initiate the brumation phase and to solve any digestive problems it may be facing before hibernation.
- Keep offering small amounts of food and water close to the gecko’s hiding spot during the brumation cycle.
- Provide your pet gecko with water and a humid environment to keep it hydrated throughout winter.
- Above all, observe your gecko closely and monitor for any changes. For instance, your gecko’s skin should be vibrant, and it should be visibly breathing.
- Monitor the temperature of the gecko and make sure it stays stable and doesn’t go beneath 60°F for any reason.
In the wild, geckos usually brumate to reserve their food and energy during the low temperatures of winter.
Pet geckos may not need to brumate because of the scarcity of food or water. However, hibernation can be caused due to reproductive cycles.
For this reason, the hibernation of pet geckos can synchronize reproduction and stimulate mating in reptiles.
Before adopting a pet gecko, you should know more about these sneaky creatures.
One of the most common questions is, do house geckos hibernate?
Technically, house geckos, as well as wild geckos, don’t hibernate but they undergo a similar process called brumation.
When your gecko is in brumation, it’ll move slower or stop altogether and rest in one spot. In addition, it’ll consume less food and water during that period.
Brumation lasts weeks or months, all you’ve to do is stay patient and help your pet through this phase.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.