Beginner’s Corner: Understanding the Day and Night Cycle of Your Gecko

Posted on: September 13th, 2013 by JE

Large population of Tokay geckos are found in the rainforests of Southeast Asian countries. These are tropical countries. The temperature ranges from 25 degrees Celsius (77 °F) during wet season to 35 degrees Celsius (95 °F) or higher during dry or summer season (which can reach as high as 40 °C or 104 °F).

Tokay geckos are arboreal animals. They live in trees, cave walls, and other elevated areas hiding in crevices. They prey on bugs, worms, crickets, and small vertebrates such as small frogs, lizards, and young mice. Tokay geckos, being nocturnal, spend most of their daytime hiding or sleeping in their hides. They are more active in the evening. Their daily activity starts after sunset. They hunt and socialize after sundown and sleep again at sunrise.

Tokay geckos have no eyelids. They cannot blink. To remove irritants and to keep it moist, they lick their eyes from time to time. Their iris contains fixed lens that expands in darkness. Their eyes are 350 times more sensitive to light. This gives them a good night vision, however, at the same time, this is the reason why they cannot see at daytime. Too much light blinds them.

Re-creating Daytime and Nighttime Cycles

Tokay geckos need 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime. This is relatively easy. You simply synchronize it in real time. This means, when its morning or afternoon, you turn the lights on in the enclosure and turn it off when evening comes. However, you need to understand that light is not the only factor that you have to consider. Above all, temperature plays an important role in the day and night cycle of Tokay geckos.

Daytime temperature must be maintained from 80°F to 95°F, and nighttime temperature from 70°F to 80°F. But be careful; lower nighttime temperature may lead to respiratory infection. So make sure that you still provide a good nighttime heat source.

One way to better recreate the day and nighttime cycle of your Tokay gecko is to use nocturnal lighting or what we call nighttime lights. It serves two purposes, first, it allows nighttime viewing of your reptile, and second, it is also a good heat source. While nocturnal lighting is not necessarily indispensable for Tokay geckos, and that they can do without it, it is still highly encouraged. It helps to accurately recreate the natural night cycle in their natural habitat, which of course, help lessen the stress and other stress-related disorders.

There are several nighttime bulbs or lightings that are available in the market. Some of the common types are black or red lights, nocturnal incandescent lights, ceramic bulbs, and infrared heat lamps. It is recommended that you use timers to automatically turn on or off these lightings.

More Tips

Make sure to install your daytime and nighttime lightings away from your pet’s reach. These are heat bulbs and they are hot enough to cause severe burns on your Tokay geckos if they accidentally touch it. Always exercise proper precautions when installing your heat bulbs.


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