With the rise in ownership of crested geckos as pets it is no wonder that some of the new keepers are noticing odd behaviour that may cause alarm. So, why is my crested gecko digging?
One of these strange behaviours that our pet lizards show us is burying itself in the substrate at the bottom of its tank. Now whilst this may seem a strange thing to do at first there are a couple of valid reasons for it.
So with all of that in mind this article is going to be about crested geckos burying themselves and the reasons behind it. Hopefully by the end of the article you will have a better understanding of your new pet.
A video of a crested gecko digging and burying itself.
I feel like it is a good idea to show you a quick video of a crested gecko digging and burying itself. It shows perfectly what I will be talking about in this article and you can also check to see if it is the same behaviour as your own pet. And also because everyone loves pet videos!
Why do crested geckos bury themselves?
Ok, so I am going to give you the quick and simple answer first but I recommend sticking around and reading the full explanation. Is this the explenaiton why my crested gecko is digging?
Why do crested geckos bury themselves? There are two main reasons why a crested gecko may bury itself in the substrate. The first reason is that it is a female who is getting ready to lay her eggs.
The second and most common reason is that your crested gecko is too hot and is trying to thermoregulate in the cooler substrate. Both of these scenarios require your attention so read on to learn more.
Now that we know the reasons why our crested geckos dig and bury themselves in their substrate we can have a look at what we can do about it.
Regulating their temperature
This is the number one reason why you may notice your crested gecko burying itself so we will start with this one.
If your pet is digging in its substrate to a depth and then laying flat on its stomach it is more than likely trying to regulate its temperature. Unlike humans and all mammals crested geckos are cold blooded and rely on the environment to regulate their temperature.
If your crestie has gotten to hot it may dig into the cooler substrate to lay down in and reduce its temperature. If this is happening there are things that you can do to sort the problem.
You need to make sure that there is an accessible warm and cool side to their tank. On the warm side aim to keep the temperature at a regular 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit and in the cooler side aim for around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
For more information on this have a look at this article that I wrote.
Pregnancy and laying eggs
This second reason is less common for too reasons. First off it means you need to have a female crested gecko and second it needs to have been bread. If this has happened then the reason it is digging is more than likely that it is ready to bury its eggs.
If this happens you should leave your crested gecko to do what it needs to do. However once it is finished you can then visually inspect the area to check if eggs have been laid. There will usually be 1-2 eggs buried in the substrate.
Digging for prey
If you feed your crested gecko live prey there is a strong possibility that your pet is digging to try to find more food.
This is natural behaviour and there could be the chance that some of the prey (insects) have managed to cover themselves in the substrate. Your gecko will certainly dig for it if it suspects that there is some food buried underneath.
It is also worth noting that it could be digging and looking for prey that should not be there such as worms, maggots and other parasites. If this is the case it will need its tank cleaning as they should not be there.
Digging for humidity
Is my crested gecko digging for humidity? I write earlier in this article about how your crested gecko could be digging to cool off. Well the same can happen when the humidity of the tank is not right.
When the temperature is hot in the air of the tank it can cause condensation to form on the cooler substrate. Your gecko will be drawn to this moisture if it feels it is not humid enough in its tank. This could be do to shedding ( link goes to my crested gecko shedding article) or general comfort.
Try to keep your crested geckos tank at a constant 60-70% humidity to overcome digging and burying in search for humidity.
So, why is my crested gecko digging? Although at first it may look worries to see your beloved pet crested gecko digging like crazy and burying itself, it generally is not something you need to worry about.
As always it is best to keep checking up on any kind of unusual behaviour to make sure nothing else worrying develops.
If you do see your crestie digging try to use the above article to see if any of it applies to your pet. Make checks on the temperature and also the humidity. Work out of your gecko could be pregnant.
Once you have worked out the potential cause you can act on it and change what is necessary.
What is the best substrate for my crested geckos tank? Without doubt the best substrate ms for your crested gecko are Orchard bark, coco bedding or cypress mulch. They help to promote better humidity in the tank. Steer clear of using sand as this can accidentally be swallowed when eating which can actually lead to a condition known as compaction.
How many eggs will a female crested gecko bury in the substrate? Usually when a pregnant female has buried her eggs there will either be 1 or 2. These will normally be white and an oblong cylinder type shape.