While a lot of lizard species are diurnal, meaning that they remain active during both the day and the night, there are a few that will only roam around when the sun goes down.
And while this does mean that you won’t have as much work to do as an owner, it can also cause some anxiety when thinking about what these small reptiles could be up to during the night hours.
So, where does this leave the leopard gecko? There’s no doubt that these spotty lizards love to sleep for long hours, which means that there is a time of the day when they tend to be at their most active and awake, specifically because of their sleeping pattern.
If you are wondering whether leopard geckos are nocturnal, and what they could possibly be doing during those hours if they are, we’ve got everything you need to know right here.
Are Leopard Geckos Only Active At Night?
There is a popular misconception that, because there are many types of lizards that are nocturnal, then this means the leopard gecko must also be a nocturnal animal too.
This isn’t exactly the case however because the leopard gecko is crepuscular, meaning that it is most active during the twilight hours between dusk and dawn.
Gecko leopards are accustomed to this way of living because it allows them to remain cool in their desert habitat without being burned or exhausted by the scorching sun in the daytime, so even when they are taken from their sandy homes and placed in a more manageable environment, they will still wake up at the same hours.
Why Are Leopard Geckos Crepuscular?
There are several reasons why the gecko leopard has adopted this behavioral pattern of only waking up between the hours of dusk and dawn, and while one is because it allows them to have a much easier time navigating the desert, it also means they can avoid large predators like foxes, snakes, and large reptiles.
The leopard gecko will also have far less competition when it’s time to hunt for food where they will scavenge for live insects including crickets, waxworms, and small locusts.
If you were wondering what exactly leopard dragons do during these hours when most of us are already asleep, they are usually either snacking on any food they can find or soaking up UV and absorbing the energy they might have missed during the day.
What Do Leopard Geckos Do During The Day?
If you’ve had a leopard gecko as a pet for any amount of time, the sight you’re probably most used to seeing is the leopard gecko being curled up and fast asleep when the sun is shining outside.
Leopard geckos will sleep, on average, for between 12 to 13 hours each day, so for many owners, there really isn’t a lot you can do with them during these hours since they tend to be very deep sleepers who can often be hard to wake up if they’ve been dormant for several hours.
Additionally, leopard geckos become a lot lazier the older they get as once they’ve matured, they will require a lot less food to maintain a healthy weight, so while younger leopard geckos will emerge now and again during the day in order to eat, older ones rarely do.
If the leopard gecko has a shelter, they can usually be found hiding away in these structures where they feel most safe and comfortable, however, they will also be commonly found lying across the floor of their enclosures if they are more familiar with their owner.
How To Take Care Of Leopard Geckos When They Are Sleeping
Any owner of a leopard gecko should always work around the sleep schedule of their pet, rather than ever trying to forcibly change their sleeping pattern since this can end up affecting their overall well-being and comfort.
With that being said, there are a few essential pointers every owner should be aware of so that they know exactly how to provide for their leopard gecko, even though it’ll be sleeping for most of the time that you’re awake.
Make Sure To Keep Interacting With Them
It’s easy to think that waking up a leopard gecko from its daytime nap is a bad idea since it could cause them to become irritated or even aggressive, but the truth is this rarely happens for these fairly innocent creatures, as long as you don’t do it consistently.
If the gecko has been sleeping for a few hours, feel free to pick them up and interact with them for a few minutes. It can even be a good idea to let them rest on you so they can enjoy being close to body heat before napping off again.
As mentioned previously however, make sure not to do this too much, otherwise, the gecko will feel like you’re trying to stop them from dropping back off to sleep.
Just because they sleep for most of the day in the comfort of their own shelters doesn’t mean that gecko leopards still don’t require lighting.
For the daytime hours, you should be providing the gecko with an incandescent heat lamp, while during the night, you should use a ceramic bulb, or even a heating pad if your tank is on the smaller side.
While fully grown leopard geckos can be fed every other day, those that are younger than a year old should be fed every day, and when you do serve them a bowl full of critters.
Leave this until late in the evening since this is when they will start hunting. Avoid feeding them random snacks throughout the day since this can end up disrupting their eating schedule.
They may not technically be nocturnal, but leopard geckos still roam around for most hours of the night, so make sure to let them rest as much as they would like during the day and only interact with them on the rare occasion to make sure they don’t get too lonely in their cage.