Crested Geckos come from the island rainforests of New Caledonia. These islands have very specific temperature and humidity ranges year-round!
So how are Crested Geckos kept all over the world in many different climates?
The task for any keeper is to provide a suitable temperature gradient and humidity range. This usually means specific lighting and nighttime misting.
Keep reading to learn what the ideal humidity and temperature for Crested Geckos are. We also share how to make adjustments to heat or cool their setup and control humidity…
What to Know
- Crested geckos are most comfortable in temperatures that range from the low 70°Fs to the low 80°Fs. However, they are hardy enough to live in temperatures that are occasionally higher or lower than this range.
- Nighttime temperatures may drop 5-10°F degrees, which happens naturally when the lights go off.
- The humidity for a Crested Gecko should generally range from 60-80%, with a higher humidity in the evening when they start to hunt.
- Low tech solutions for cooling a Crested Gecko when the home is hot include putting an ice pack in the setup, and moving the tank to the basement.
Crested Gecko Temperature
Crested Geckos enjoy tank temperatures between the low 70°Fs and the low 80°Fs during the day, with a temperature drop as low as the mid 60°Fs night. A ~10°F degree drop at night is perfectly fine.
During the winter, lower temperatures closer to the mid 70°Fs in the daytime is best.
|Between the low 70°Fs and the low 80°Fs
|Between the low 70°Fs and the mid 70°Fs
Crested geckos are arboreal which means they enjoy climbing trees. In the island rainforests of New Caledonia they live at the top of tree canopy. Because of this, they thrive with higher temperatures toward the top of the tank and lower temperatures toward the bottom.
Their tank should be designed to have higher temperatures toward the top. This is usually done by putting a light at the top of the cage.
Crested Geckos don’t require belly heat the way terrestrial (ground dwelling) geckos such as Leopard Geckos do because they are arboreal.
It is very important to be able to accurately check the temperature inside the tank. The best way to do this is to use either a laser thermometer “gun”, or a digital thermometer with a probe.
A laser thermometer works by pointing it at the spot to be measured and pressing the button to get a temperature readout. Typically, they are used periodically to monitor basking spot temperatures. A probe thermometer takes a little longer for the temperature to be read, but it can be left in the tank at the desired location.
The temperature inside a Crested Gecko’s tank is normally similar to the temperature in the room where it is placed.
Currently, on a warm May evening, my living room and the inside of the gecko cage are both 78°F.
Most homes in the US will have an ambient room temperature that’s within a Crested Gecko’s preferred temperature range of low 70°Fs and the low 80°Fs. This is especially true for those homes with heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.
It has been my experience that having temperatures above or below the “ideal range” is not a problem for a short period of time. After all, even in New Caledonia, temperatures occasionally reach the mid 90°Fs or drop to the low 60°Fs.
Author Tip: The best way to set up a Crested Gecko tank is to use information about their natural climate. Once the temperature gradient is established, routine and consistency become the key ingredients for maintaining a reasonable range.
I strongly favor the approach I have shared above. I have been very successful with it, as my five Crested Geckos, ranging in age from 6 to 17 years, will attest!
If tank temperatures get too high, there are two good solutions.
On very hot days when the temperature is above 85°F, a Crested Gecko will enjoy having an ice pack in their cage. This can be as simple as a bottle of water that’s been put in the freezer the night before.
Ice bottles can be left in the enclosure during the day and re-frozen at night.
If the gecko is too hot at the top of the cage, it will likely move to a lower part of the cage to be near the ice pack.
More Reptiles exotic veterinarian Dr Jerry Ayaebi (DVM) says, “Monitor your Crested Gecko after introducing the ice pack and see how close it tends to get. There is a small chance that the gecko could develop health issues if it begins perching on the frozen surface.”
Another solution, if you have a basement, is to set up a temporary enclosure in the basement.
When I had only one Crested Gecko, Spencer would spend hot days in his own “summer house” in the basement. Now that I have three large Crested Gecko cages, I prefer the ice pack solution.
The most important thing to remember is that there’s no single “right temperature.”
In the majority of cases, the ambient temperature in the house is going to be comfortable. I find no need to check the temperature all the time and to make micro adjustments.
If tank temperatures get too low, there are a few good solutions.
The best solutions are either to use an LED or fluorescent light at the top of the cage, or to attach a heat source to the side of the cage (e.g. a rubberized heat cable).
Some care sheets recommend using a high wattage incandescent heat light. This will likely dry out the enclosure, making it difficult to maintain the humidity and plants. In my opinion, it is not a good idea.
A better approach is to use LED or fluorescent lighting that gives off less heat.
I checked one of my Crested Gecko enclosures on a cool June day. The temperature with an LED light strip installed was 72°F at the top of the cage and 68°F at the bottom.
Another solution is to install a heat source on the side of the enclosure.
My preference is for a heat cable, which is a thin, rubberized heated cable that can be taped to the side of the enclosure in any configuration.
I don’t recommend using a heat mat since it will generate a rectangle of solid heat which may burn your Crested Gecko’s feet.
Crested Gecko Humidity
Crested Geckos come from a heavily forested, humid environment with a typical year-round humidity of between 73 and 79%.
Most care sheets will recommend a humidity for Crested Geckos of 60 to 80%. While this is a good range to aim for, and one that is easily achievable with daily misting, this humidity level dos not need to be maintained 24 hours a day.
If enclosure humidity drops slightly below 60% a few hours before the next misting, this will not affect them.
Crested Geckos don’t come from a soaking wet environment.
Constantly wetting the enclosure will lead to mold, mildew and a waterlogged substrate.
Humidity is best established by spraying the enclosure with water droplets, called “misting”. There are automatic misting systems available, but in my opinion, a spray bottle is more than adequate.
The best type of spray bottle holds 48-60 ounces of water and has a latching feature so the spray can stay on without the need to keep squeezing a trigger. Pictured below is my 56 ounce spray bottle with a latching handle.
The usual schedule for Crested Gecko misting is to mist in the evenings.
Mist until you raise the humidity above 80%.
During the next 24 hours, the humidity will gradually decrease, sometimes below 60%, possibly as low as 40%.
Since you will be misting daily (and in very dry environments twice daily) it is much healthier to not worry about humidity. In order for the humidity to remain generally within the acceptable range of 60 to 80%, the following actions should be taken:
- Use a tank that is mostly made of glass, or other non permeable material, with a limited screen area for ventilation. Front opening tanks made of glass with a screen top for ventilation are excellent choices.
- Keep live plants in the tank. Plants provide more surface area to trap and keep water droplets. Crested Geckos often enjoy drinking water droplets from the leaves.
- Even though Crested Geckos rarely use a water bowl, keeping a water bowl in the enclosure also helps to maintain humidity.
Author Tip: Avoid using a stick-on dial hygrometer like the one pictured below, since it is rarely accurate. A better choice is a digital hygrometer with a probe.
If an enclosure is designed with the appropriate lighting, heating and humidity (as described above), your Crested Gecko should thrive.
Watching their behavior and health will give you a good idea if the temperature and humidity is right.
Here is what to look for to determine whether your gecko is thriving:
- Active and moving around the tank for at least part of the evening or night
- Evidence of droppings
- Eyes are not sunken
- No difficulty shedding, for a guide to Crested Gecko shedding read our tips here.