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Why Do Crested Geckos Fire Up And What Does It Mean?

A photo of a pet crested gecko on a hand.

Crested geckos are fast becoming one of the most popular pet lizards to care for and for good reason. They have fun and unique personalities and they do not mind a bit of handling. In fact some would say that they enjoy a bit of attention. Why do crested geckos fire up?

A term you may hear every now and again though in the crested gecko world is that someones crested gecko is “fired up”. This may be leaving you with some questions. What is a fired up crested gecko? Why do crested geckos fire up? Is it harmful?

Well in this article I will explain everything you need to know to give you a better understanding of your pet and its behaviours.

Why do crested geckos fire up?

Why do crested geckos fire up?

What is a fired up crested gecko and why do crested geckos fire up?

Lets jump straight into this. I bet you are wondering what is a fired up crested gecko?

A fired up crested gecko is the term that is used when a crested geckos skin tone changes color. You will notice that the skin goes a lot darker and this can make it look more defined. The reasons for this happening are not known exactly but there are many theories.

So now we know what the term means, have you seen it in your own crested gecko? Leave a comment below if you have.

In the next part of this article we are going to look at some of the theories why it is believed crested geckos fire up.

A video showing crested geckos firing up.

I feel like it is best to give you a quick video that I found on YouTube that shows perfectly what crested geckos look like when fired up and fired down.

You will then know exactly what I am talking about and also be able to compare it to your own gecko at home.

Why do crested crested geckos fire up?

Ok so below I am going to go into a bit of detail about some of the ideas we believe may be the reasons for crested geckos fired up. We do not know for sure but these are scientists and hobbyists best guesses.

Stress and defence.

One of the reasons why we believe crested geckos fire up is a stress response mechanism.

When the crestie feels threatened whether this is from another crested gecko or rough handling it may fire up. If you would like to read my guide to handling a crested gecko safely this link will take you too it.

The reasons why it may do this are not clear but it could be an involuntary response to the situation it finds itself in.

There are many situations where a crested gecko could become stressed. One of the main ones is trying to introduce it to a new crestie. Have a look at this article I wrote for more information.

Adapting to the environment.

A lot of owners of pet crested geckos have noticed that they fire up at night and fire down during the day.

The reason why we think this happens is a lot more clear. During the day they would preferably be a lighter shade of color to help blend into their natural environment. For this reason they fire down during the day.

Obviously on a night time they need to be darker in color to help blend into the night so they fire up.

Both of these actions are natural responses to help them avoid encounters with predators.

A photo of a fired up crested gecko next to a fired down one.

This is what a fired up crested gecko looks like next to a fired down one.

You can see in the above photo how the crested geckos coloring could help it avoid being detected by predators. Darker during the night and lighter during the day. Make sure they have enough good hiding spaces.


Why do crested geckos fire up? It seems to be the case that a fired up crested gecko is a natural reaction. So in theory there is nothing to worry about.

However if you think that it could be due to stress then you should really look at ways that you can reduce the stress levels. After all an increased stress level in your crested gecko can reduce its potential lifespan.

If you notice that your pet is firing up largely at night then you have got nothing to worry about.

Another point to note is that some owners have reported that their crested geckos never fire up! So if yours doesn’t then this is also something natural and nothing to worry about.