Crested Gecko

Are Crested Geckos Nocturnal and See In The Dark? YES! How And Why

While some geckos are diurnal, Crested Gecko are nocturnal, meaning they do most of their activity at night. Because of this, Crested Geckos have adapted to be able to see in dark or very low light environments. 

In this article, we’ll learn all about how and why Crested Geckos can see in the dark and other facts that make these animals so interesting.

Why Are Crested Geckos Nocturnal?

As stated previously, Crested Geckos are adapted to be able to see in low light or in complete darkness, thanks to them being nocturnal creatures.

These geckos evolved over time from animals that were awake during the day and had terrible night vision, just like humans, into animals that were awake and moving about during the night and needed night vision to survive and find food.

How can they see in the dark?

Because these geckos evolved from their diurnal ancestors, who were active during the day, they needed to adapt to seeing in lower light due to the newer species being nocturnal ones.

The lizards and geckos that the Crested Geckos evolved from had eyes similar to humans in that they were made up of cones and rods that allowed them to see in the daylight and have less vision in darker environments.

Because the lizards did not need to see as well in the dark, over time, they eventually reduced the amount or lost all of the rods in their eye structure, leading to poor nighttime vision. This posed a problem for the Crested Geckos, who are nocturnal animals.

Once the geckos had evolved into the ones we know now, they needed to adapt their eyes to see in the nighttime with what they had. The cones they had left had to grow larger over time and become more sensitive to light to allow for good night vision.

Now that the geckos have the size of cones they need to see in the dark, they have the amazing ability to see in the night and live and hunt for food, allowing them to thrive.

How good is their vision in the dark?

Crested Geckos have amazing vision during the darker hours of the night. During the daylight hours, when they are sleeping, the slits (pupils) in their eyes will shrink to a very small size to block out as much light from entering the eye as possible.

At night, when they explore their environment and hunt for food, the pupils will enlarge, and this allows as much light to enter the eye as possible and enables them to see clearly.

Because of this, they will be able to pick up on things and movements that humans simply would not be able to see. Crested Gecko’s eyes are about 350 times more sensitive to light than human eyes.

At night, their vision is so good that they can distinguish colors from one another in very dim to no light.

Can they see color in the dark?

Not much research has been done on the ability of Crested Geckos to see in color. However, it is suspected that these animals can see UV, blue and green, thanks to their cones. Without the rods in their eyes that their ancestors had, they would likely be unable to see the fuller spectrum of colors similar to humans.

There has been speculation that if geckos can see some colors, then they would be able to distinguish between them, similar to how diurnal animals and humans do during the daylight hours.

Do they need light at night in their tank?

There is much speculation and different trains of thought when it comes to this question. Some believe the Crested Geckos should not have a light placed in their cage at all during the nighttime. Others believe that adding light into their cage can help them see even better while they are awake at night.

While both ideas are fine, ultimately, geckos do not need the aid of a light in their cage at night to see. In fact, it is thought that adding in a light, especially one that is too bright may cause them to think it is daytime and lead them to sleep at night and mess with their natural rhythm.

If you’re going to put light into their cage, you could do so for the purpose of viewing your pet as they go about their business each night, as many owners do. To do this, you would want to look for fairly dim blue or red lights.

This will help you see your gecko at night but will not be likely to cause them to think it is daytime.

How do they spend their time at night – what do they do?

At night, Crested Geckos become active and move about their cages. While they are active, they may be doing things such as looking for food, exploring the environment, or, if they’re in the wild, they may be socializing, hunting, or moving about without the fear of predators such as birds.

It can be interesting to watch your pet move through the night and see how they interact with their environment while normally you may be asleep and unaware that they are doing so much activity.


If you’re considering bringing home a Crested Gecko as a pet or you already own one, hopefully, this article taught you a little bit about their nighttime habits and how and why they are able to see so well in the dark. They are the most fun pets that can teach you a lot about nocturnal creatures and how they have adapted into the perfect nighttime survivors and hunters.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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