Is your leopard gecko sleeping irregularly, or does it seem to be sleeping for longer than you think it should? Then you really need to know the answer to, “how long do leopard geckos sleep?”. Through this article we will dive into all the reasons why your leopard gecko may be sleeping more than it should, and what an average time for your gecko to be sleeping should be.
(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).
Let’s get started.
How Long On Average Should a Leopard Gecko Sleep For?
First thing you should know is that leopard geckos are nocturnal/crepuscular. This means they are awake during the evenings and mornings to hunt for food and water, and sleep through the majority of the day.
Leopard geckos will naturally sleep for around 12 hours a day. In the wild, their natural habitat is just too hot to be active during the day. Their commonly semi-desert environment hits temperatures in excess of 35 Degrees Celsius at its peak, which is far too hot for a leopard gecko. During this time geckos will usually find a safe, cool spot under a rock to rest for the day.
Rocks offers a number of safety factors which you can use when furnishing your enclosure. Leopard geckos prefer to sleep under some sort of cover. They are very low down on the food chain, so there are loads of predators out during the day which are looking for a meal. The most common places for leopard geckos to sleep is under rocks, under leaves, and beneath fallen trees or branches. These offer the best shelter and protecting from both the heat of the day and predators.
You should try to replicate this in a leopard geckos enclosure as much as possible as this will help them to feel safe and secure. Unfortunately their natural instinct will tell them to fear predators, even if there’s no real threat for a pet gecko. Having access to at least two or three hides, will ensure that your gecko has different places to rest throughout the day to ensure it gets its needed 12 hours a day rest.
Sleeping Habits of Leopard Geckos
Common sleeping times
We already know that leopard geckos are crepuscular, so they are most active at dusk and dawn. Don’t be surprised if you hear them come to life as you’re settling down to sleep. This time of day is technically their morning, so they will be most active around this time.
Therefore, for the same reason, your gecko should be very quiet during the day. So expect a silent enclosure throughout the day, this is completely normal. You should be slightly concerned if your leopard gecko is awake throughout the day for most of the time.
Aligns with other house pets
Leopard geckos are not very predatory reptiles. They are more likely to become prey to other larger animals such as birds, snakes and other larger lizards. But, as a pet this can now sometimes include other house pets such as dogs, cats and rats.
If your geckos enclosure is located in view of other domestic pets, then it’s very common for geckos to align their sleeping pattern in accordance with other house pets (and potential predators).
If your leopard gecko works out that your cat or dog is awake during the early hours of the day, then it will likely settle down to sleep a little earlier than usual, and visa vera. This becomes second nature as they do exactly the same in the wild to prevent becoming another animals meal.
They develop a sleeping schedule
There are many animals in the wild, including reptiles, that are opportunist sleepers. This means they will sleep whenever they feel is safe to do so. Whether this be during the day, or at night. Leopard geckos on the other hand create a sleep/wake schedule which is developed over time. Almost like analytics.
Leopard gecko have the ability to develop a very unique body clock time schedule. This schedule begins from the very moment it’s put into a new surrounding, such as a new enclosure. They will subconsciously keep track of all the timings of potential threats or predators, and calculate time throughout the day of most risk.
For example, times which people come home from work and school, and the dog is running round excited to see them. This would be a time a leopard gecko would think to rest up, and hide underneath its rock.
On the opposite side of this, when people are settling down for the night infant of the tv and not really moving too much between rooms. This would be a time which your gecko may be slightly more active as it knows around this time, there is not much movement around its enclosure.
What Causes Leopard Geckos To Sleep More Often?
There are a number of different reasons why a leopard gecko may be sleeping more often than the recommended 12 hours a day. Even if this does sounds a lot already. Unlike many other lizards, geckos aren’t though the be that hardy in the reptile world. They need specific dietary and environmental requirements to live a healthy lifestyle, and its factors which circulate around these two aspects which can have an affect on a leopard geckos sleeping pattern.
The six factors you should be aware of include; a healthy/varied diet, correct enclosure temperature, correct lighting hours, correct humidity levels, position of enclosure, and illnesses/diseases.
A Healthy and Varied Diet
Providing your leopard gecko with a staple, healthy and varied diet is one of the key ways you can ensure its healthiness. An incorrect diet can lead to fatigue and will lead to a very lethargic gecko. This will no doubt decrease your geckos energy levels and will cause it to sleep for longer and irregular times.
A healthy leopard gecko diet should consist of crickets, meal worms, cali-worms and locus for larger geckos, with foods being no bigger than your geckos head. Adult geckos should be fed once a day with a small amount of food, or once every other day with a larger amount.
For more information on leopard geckos diet, please follow these links;
Correct Enclosure Temperature
Having the correct temperature inside your leopard geckos enclosure is crucial to its sleeping pattern. Too hot and it will seek cover to get out of the heat, and too cold it will also sleep to reserve energy.
The enclosure should have three variant temperatures. The temperature should roughly be 28-30 Degrees Celsius in the hot end, with a basking heat of 30-32 Degrees Celsius underneath the heat lamp. In the cool end the temperature should be 24-26 Degrees Celsius, whilst at night the temperature shouldn’t dip below 18 Degrees Celsius.
If the temperature is too cold then your leopard gecko may start the brumation process, which is a reptiles version of hibernation. They will sleep for longer periods of time throughout this process. You’ll want to avoid this at all costs throughout the warmer months of the year.
For more information on leopard gecko enclosure temperature, please click the link below;
Correct Enclosure Humidity
Leopard geckos need a relatively dry environment to live in which replicates their natural semi-desert habitat. Having a hydrometer in the enclosure will ensure you keep the levels just right, anywhere between 30-40% humidity is best.
Usually just having a water bowl in the enclosure will keep it at the required 30-40% needed, so no extra work should be needed. If the enclosures humidity is higher than required, then opening the enclosure door and letting some fresh air in should do the trick. Just make sure your gecko doesn’t attempt a great escape in the process.
On the flip side, if the enclosure humidity is too low, then you can always use a spray bottle to spray a couple squirts of water into the enclosure. This should bring it up to the correct levels your leopard gecko will need.
Correct Lighting Hours
For this reason it is important that you have a lighting system which replicates the gradual increase and decrease in light from day to night, and night to day. Leopard geckos are most active at this time, so this is something you absolutely need.
Having the correct lighting hours plays a huge part in a leopard geckos sleeping patterns. Naturally, when the light begins to fade, a leopard gecko will become more active and wake up from its days sleep.
To be able to do this effectively, I would suggest buying a timer, with a dimmable lighting system, so you can perfect the gradual change in light. Replicating it as closely to a natural sunrise and sunset as possible.
For more information on this subject, please click the link below;
Position of Enclosure
The positioning of the enclosure is another key reason why a leopard gecko may sleep more than it should. You have to think about the surround factors that could play a part in the irregular sleeping pattern. For example, if you have any pets that can be seen from the enclosure, or are continuously near by. Pets are perceived as threats to a gecko, so they will always hide from other household pets.
Also being located in a room which has constant lighting will have an affect on a geckos sleeping pattern. If the enclosure is located in the room with a TV in it, then the noice coming from the TV will keep the gecko awake when it should be sleeping. Also tat night he brightness of the TV could be forcing your gecko to remain in hiding, when it should be starting to wake up, at its most lively time of the day.
Illnesses and Diseases
Finally, and probably the most crucial reason for a leopard gecko to sleep longer than it should is because of an illnesses or disease. Any illness or disease will naturally drain your gecko of its energy, fighting to regain its health.
If you feel that your gecko could be ill, for any reason, please seek professional advise from a veterinarian.
Follow the links before for more information on leopard gecko diseases and illnesses;