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Why do crested geckos “fire up?”

As if their uniquely spiny, frilly, and eye-lashey charm weren’t enough, crested geckos naturally change colors to become even more beautiful before your very eyes. Read on to find out what this process is called and why it takes place.

What is “firing up?”

Crested geckos are nocturnal, so when they wake up in the evening, it’s their time to shine! When your crestie awakens, he or she will fire up, which is an intensifying of its skin tones. This is when your gecko will have the richest variation in pigmentation and color. 

Think of firing up a lot like booting up a computer, or turning on a cellphone, or starting up a car. When it’s active, it’s “fired up!” If you want to watch your gecko change colors in the tank without disturbing him or her, install a blue or black light.

What is “firing down?”

It follows that if a crested gecko fires up during the nighttime when it’s most active, it would fire down during the daytime, when it’s time to go to sleep. Firing down is a form of camouflage. Since it’s lighter during the day when cresties rest, becoming lighter in color helps them to blend in at the time when they are less active and more vulnerable.

Think of firing down a lot like the Human Torch, who would say “flame off!” when he was finished fighting crime for the day. Some cresties seem to be fired up or down all of the time, which is perfectly normal. But keep in mind, they will also change color in response to stress and mood.

Are you looking for someone to check on your crested gecko during the evening? Contact us to make arrangements with a pet sitter who can check on your crestie at night.


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

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