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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Northern California
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    Default Changing weather and temperatures - should I change my husbandry?


    Here in Northern California the temperatures have dropped from being in the 70s to being in the 50s. (As someone who grew up on the East Coast, I'm embarrassed to call that a cold snap!) We also just changed to Daylight Savings Time.

    Scooter has been noticeably less active lately, and typically just hangs out in one of her hides. Her appetite has also decreased, although not to the point of being completely off food. When I woke up this morning, the ground on her cool side was measuring 67 degrees!
    The air above her warm side is measuring about 70 degrees.

    I have a ceramic bulb heat emitter, so I plugged that in, set it above her cool side, and set it to about 78 degrees.

    I know leos get a little less active in the winter, but I want to make sure she's getting the temperatures she needs. I also have an additional UTH which I could plug into her cool side if you think that would be better.


    Her health information is below. Anything that's changed recently I italicized. Mods, if you prefer only one Scooter thread, please connect it to this thread in the Health and Diseases section.

    Health information:

    General Information
    Species of lizard: Leopard Gecko
    Gecko's name: Scooter
    Morph: Normal or High Yellow
    Gender: Female
    Age: 2 years
    Weight: Not sure
    Total length: About 7 inches
    Length of your reptile when you first acquired it: Recently acquired
    Source (pet store, breeder, previous owner): Previous owner was my mother, who bought her from a non-big box pet store about 18 months ago
    Captive bred or wild caught: Captive bred

    Enclosure dimensions (length x width x heighth):12x12x30
    Cage (type, size): 20 gallon long glass aquarium
    Substrate provided: 90% tile, 10% paper towel
    Types of hiding places provided: Warm hide, cool hide, moist warm hide
    Is there a humidity hide? location?: Yes, warm side
    Please describe any other furnishings: Fake plants
    List recent changes in the environment, if any: I recently got a new hide for her, which is currently on the cool side. She seems to like it, I don't because it's very difficult to see in. I want her to feel like she can get away, but I like to have some idea that she's okay.

    Artificial lighting
    Incandescent (“screw-in” bulbs): wattage(s): None
    Fluorescent (tube bulbs):
    Access to ambient daylight from a distant window: Yes
    Note: I live in a studio apartment, meaning if I have the lights on at night, Scooter will see it. I try to reduce the lighting at night and point it away from her cage.

    Do you have a thermometer(s) in the cage? Yes
    What type and brand of thermometer (digital with probe, temperature gun, LCD strip, analog (circle), combo digital thermometer/hygrometer, stainless steel aquarim type, other): I have two Jumpstart Hydrofarm digital probes. The one inside her warm moist side is set to 91, and is connected to the UTH. The other measures her cool side - just this morning I connected it to a ceramic bulb emitter, as I've been worried about her cool side being too cool!
    What is the ground temperature right on the substrate under the warm dry hide: 88 to 92ish.
    What is the air temperature on the warm end about 4 inches up from the ground: About 70.
    What is the air temperature on the cool end about 4 inches up from the ground: Need to measure.
    What device(s) are used to maintain the temperature (Under Tank Heater, heat light, ceramic heat emitter, Flexwatt heat tape, hot rock, other): Medium (made for 30-40 gallon tanks) UTH from reptitherm. Recently added the ceramic bulb on the cool side to make sure it doesn't get TOO cool.
    Ventilation space for your UTH by elevating the tank above the shelf (some UTHs come with sticky feet for the tank corners): Yes, also going to add some tiles, don't want my apartment to catch on fire!
    Are you using a thermostat(s)? Yes, one for UTH, one for ceramic heat emitter.

    Which hide does she/he spend most of her time? Recently she rotates between her cool hide and her warm dry hide when she's sleeping. When she's more active will hang out on top of a hide.
    Is the temperature decreased at night? by how much? Right now no.

    Is the humidity measured? No, need to get on that!
    Humidity range: Unknown

    Insects and worms, list type: Dubias are her staple. I add in meal worms, horn worms, and butter worms for variety.
    Regular diet fed to the insects and worms: Adult beardie food + collard greens.
    Are the insects and worms formally “gutloaded” 1-2 days prior to feeding off to your gecko? If so with? For the refrigerated mealworms, I take them out about 12 hours before feeding and put them in a container with turnip greens and oatmeal. The dubias get the beardie food + collard greens.

    How often do you feed your gecko? Every other day - every three days
    Please list any supplements (with brand names) used. How are they given and how often?

    What calcium brand are you using? with D3, without or both? Zoo Med Reptile Calcium with Vitamin D3 (Note: Just got this recently, have just started including it)
    Is the calcium in the tank with D3 or without? No
    Multivitamins (include brand name)? ReptiVite without D3 (Note: Just got this recently, have just started including it
    Please list any recent additions/changes in the diet: None

    General Health
    If your gecko is sick, please describe the signs and how long your gecko has been showing these signs: I hope she's not sick, but she's been more lethargic and less hungry than usual. Wondering if it has to do with the weather changing.
    Is your gecko’s general activity level normal, decreased, or increased? Decreased
    Is your gecko’s appetite normal, decreased, or increased? Decreased, but not off food

    Have you noticed any of the following?
    Weight (loss or gain): None
    Discharge from the eyes or nose: Nope
    Increased breathing rate or effort: no
    Change in the droppings: no
    ---white or yellowish: White, sometimes a little yellow-ish in one part
    ---size of urates as compared to size of feces: Roughly the same
    Abnormal skin color or shedding: no
    Parasites on the skin or in the feces: no
    Weakness: no

    Previous problems and/or illnesses: Scooter went through a period about six months ago (while living with her previous owner, my mom) when she was wasn't eating and became very skinny. My mom reexamined the husbandry and gave her something (an antibiotic? Don't remember) with a stopper, and now she's back to having a nice, healthy tail.

    Other Critters in Same Cage or in Household: Just me
    List other animals that are kept in the same cage: None
    Recent acquisitions (new pets within the past 6 months): None
    Are any of your other pets ill? Nope
    Likes Elizabeth Freer liked this post

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Somerville, MA
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    In my opinion, as long as there is belly heat in the low 90's, the air temp can get lower and it will be fine. On cold days, the gecko may spend more time in the warm hide which will trap air from the heat source and be warmer. Some of my leos go to the cool side in the winter and brumate on their own. It's not unusual for them to eat less and be less active. I think winter temps get pretty cool in some parts of their native habitats in mountainous Afghanistan and Pakistan. Air temps that are too hot can tend to dehydrate the gecko. Here are 2 Gecko Time articles that discuss temps too hot and yearly cycle of gecko behavior:

    Eyelid Dysecdysis in Leopard Geckos - Gecko Time - Gecko Time
    The Yearly Cycle with Geckos - Gecko Time - Gecko Time

    Thanks muffin_song thanked for this post

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Northern California
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    Thanks, Aliza! I appreciate the reassurance that this is normal. Also, I love your blog!

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