Why Do Crested Geckos Fire Up? (Firing Up and Firing Down)

Crested Geckos are loved for their varied color patterns, and are one of the most popular pet lizards in the reptile community. However, what often leaves many in awe is their uncanny ability to “fire up,” undergoing a noticeable change in color intensity. Why does this phenomenon occur? Is it merely a random display, or does it echo deeper physiological and environmental cues?

What Is A Fired Up Crested Gecko?

“Firing up” is when a crested gecko’s skin turns from a light to a dark color. But don’t confuse this with the color changes a gecko goes through as it grows older.

The color changes that come with age stay for good. This sets the main color or morph of your gecko.

On the other side, “firing up” is just a short change. It happens a lot with many geckos. When a gecko fires up, its skin shows darker, brighter colors than usual. It’s like a quick color show they give from time to time!

Why Do Crested Geckos Fire Up

Crested Geckos exhibit a captivating phenomenon termed “firing up”. This dynamic color change isn’t just a mere display of nature’s wonder; it has solid scientific explanations tied to it.

A crested gecko firing up is not a random occurrence. It’s intricately related to a combination of factors:

1. Temperature Fluctuations

Crested geckos predominantly change colors in response to variations in environmental temperature. Cooler temperatures often cause them to “fire down” and appear duller, while warmer temperatures instigate the “fire up”, making their colors more vibrant and intense. This change can be seen as a biological adaptation to absorb or reflect heat.

2. Emotional State

Similar to chameleons, crested geckos also alter their coloration based on their mood and stress levels. An agitated or frightened gecko may fire up more frequently. However, it’s imperative to understand that frequent and prolonged color changes tied to stress can be detrimental to their health.

3. Time of Day

These nocturnal wonders are more likely to fire up during the evening. Their nightly adventures, combined with other environmental factors, make the evening the prime time for this phenomenon.

4. Mating Rituals

Like many species in the animal kingdom, Crested Geckos use color as a tool for communication during mating. A fired-up male can signify dominance, readiness, or an invitation for courtship.

Why Do Crested Geckos Fire Down?

Crested geckos don’t just “fire up” – they also “fire down”. Temperature plays a pivotal role in their firing up and firing down. When the environment turns cooler, often during nighttime or when there’s a dip in ambient temperature, crested geckos will fire down. This means they will show paler colors compared to their fired-up state. From a biological perspective, darker colors absorb heat more effectively. So, in cooler conditions, a fired-down state, with lighter colors, helps them avoid absorbing excessive heat, thus maintaining their body temperature.

A crested gecko might fire down as a response to a potential threat, making them less noticeable to predators. This, in essence, is a survival mechanism that’s been deeply embedded in their DNA over generations.

Furthermore, crested geckos fire down when they’re at rest or in a state of relaxation. This could be after feeding or during their usual resting periods. It’s an assertion of their comfort level, signaling that all is well in their environment.