Have you noticed your gecko hiding more than usual lately? While geckos do spend a fair amount of time tucked away in crevices and caves, excessive hiding may indicate that something is wrong.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Make sure your gecko has proper heating, plenty of cover and hides, a stress-free environment, and food within reach. Handling should be minimal during this hiding phase.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover all the possible reasons your gecko may be hiding and exact steps you can take to get them to come out and thrive again.

Ensure Proper Heating is Provided

Providing proper heating for your gecko is crucial for their health and happiness. Here are some key tips for setting up an ideal thermal environment:

Daytime Hot Spot of 88-92°F

Geckos need a basking area or “hot spot” during the day reaching 88-92°F. This allows them to properly digest their food and regulate their body temperature. Place a 50-75 watt incandescent bulb or ceramic heat emitter over one side of the tank to create the hot spot, using a thermostat to control the temperature.

Nighttime Temps in the 70s

At night, temps in the tank can be allowed to drop into the 70s, which mimics the natural cool-down geckos would experience in the wild after sunset. Just be sure the temperature doesn’t fall below 65°F, which can cause health issues.

Thermometer for Monitoring

Use a digital thermometer with a probe to carefully monitor the temperatures in your gecko’s tank, both on the warm side and the cool side. Adjust heating accessories as needed to maintain optimal hot spot and overall tank temperatures. Proper heating is crucial for your pet’s thriving!

Under Tank Heater, Ceramic Heat Emitter

An under tank heater or ceramic heat emitter attached to a thermostat are two great options for providing controlled, focused heat in your leopard gecko’s terrarium. They can establish an adequately warm hot spot when combined with an overhead dome light on during the day.

Always use temperature regulators with any heating tool to avoid overheating.

Setting up proper heating for leopard geckos does require some specialized equipment and regular monitoring. But maintaining ideal temperatures will reward you with a healthy, active gecko. A thermometer, thermostat, under tank heater and basking light are critical accessories for your setup.

With the right temperatures and a temperature-controlled hide box, you can convince even the shyest gecko to come out of hiding!

Provide Adequate Hides and Coverage

At least 3 hides – warm, cool, moist

Having at least 3 hides available for your gecko is crucial to making them feel secure. This allows them to thermoregulate properly and gives them options for where to hide. One hide should be on the warm end of the tank, one on the cool end, and one moist hide in the middle.

The warm hide helps them digest food, the cool allows a temperature gradient, and the moist supports shedding. Place the hides partially under decor or plants to make them more enticing. Providing proper hides is key to getting a shy gecko out and about.

Plenty of plants, rocks, wood to feel secure

In addition to designated hides, having ample decor and coverage options available helps create a more enriching habitat. Placing plants, rocks, branches, and wood throughout the enclosure allows your gecko multiple spots to take cover and observe their surroundings safely.

This makes them more comfortable overall. Aim to fill at least half the tank floor space with decor. Stack rocks and wood to form caves and crevices. Plants like succulents and air plants help provide canopy coverage as well. The more secure a gecko feels, the more likely they will leave a hide.

Partially cover the tank walls

Covering parts of the glass walls and back of the tank also helps with security. This allows your gecko to feel less exposed and observed. You can use reptile-safe background paper, cork panels, or fake vines and leaves.

Avoid complete coverage though, as you want to maintain proper ventilation and some visibility. Striking a balance between coverage and open space helps create a naturalistic environment geckos feel at ease in.

Pay extra attention to covering the back and any high-traffic sides of the tank that see a lot of people walking by throughout the day.

Caves, tubes, bridges

Adding caves, tubes, tunnels, and bridges creates a more complex and enriching habitat as well. These allow your gecko to not only hide, but also climb, crawl, and fully utilize 3D space. Tubes and tunnels can be created from cardboard paper rolls, PVC pipes, or flexible reptile hammocks.

Bridges can be pieces of cork bark or driftwood leaning against rocks or walls. Stacked rocks or logs form natural caves. These structures encourage activity, exploration, and engage their natural climbing instincts.

A multi-level tank gives your gecko more opportunities to come out while still feeling cover is nearby.

Reduce Environmental Stressors

Creating a low-stress environment is key to getting your gecko to come out of hiding. Here are some tips on reducing potential stressors in their enclosure and interactions.

Avoid loud noises, excessive handling

Geckos have sensitive hearing and can be easily startled by loud sounds. Try to keep noise levels low around their enclosure. Also avoid handling your gecko too frequently, as this can cause unnecessary stress.

Make sure enclosure is escape-proof

Geckos are natural hiders and will try to find any small cracks or openings to squeeze into. Thoroughly check that their enclosure has no gaps or holes where they could potentially escape. This provides a sense of security.

Keep routine and interactions gentle

Reptiles thrive on consistency. Try to feed, handle and interact with your gecko on a regular schedule. Move slowly and gently when reaching into their enclosure, avoiding quick gestures that may scare them. With routine gentle handling, geckos gain confidence and are less likely to hide.

Provide UVB lighting on a cycle

Proper lighting is essential for geckos. Use a UVB lamp on a 12-14 hour day/night cycle to mimic natural conditions. Turn off the lamp at night to allow a period of darkness. Having consistent “sunrise” and “sunset” cues minimizes environmental disruption.

Ensure the lamp is replaced every 6 months, as output declines over time. Proper lighting helps regulate natural behavior patterns like activity and feeding.

Additionally, monitor the temperature gradient across your gecko’s enclosure. The cool end should sit around 75°F while the warm end reaches 90-95°F to allow thermoregulation. Use under tank heating pads, ceramic heat emitters or incandescent bulbs if supplemental heat is needed.

Proper temperatures prevent your gecko from hiding to escape discomfort.

You can reference detailed lighting and heating recommendations at: https://www.reptiledirect.com/leopard-gecko-care/

Optimizing their environment by addressing factors like temperature, lighting, security and consistency is key. When geckos feel safe and comfortable, they are much more likely to come out of hiding and exhibit natural behavior!

Ensure Proper Nutrition

Providing proper nutrition is crucial for keeping your gecko healthy and encouraging it to come out of hiding. By gut loading feeder insects, dusting them with supplements, offering hydration, and providing diet variety, you can make sure your gecko’s nutritional needs are met.

Gut Load Insects with Greens and Veggies

Gut loading feeder insects like crickets, mealworms, and waxworms before feeding them to your gecko boosts their nutritional value. Allow the insects to eat nutritious greens and vegetables like kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, and more for at least 24 hours before feeding them to your gecko.

This packs more vitamins and nutrients into the insects to then pass on to your gecko when eaten.

Dust Insects with Calcium+D3 Supplement

Lightly dusting insects with a calcium + vitamin D3 supplement provides additional nutrients geckos need for strong bones and muscles. Use supplements specifically formulated for reptiles. Zoo Med’s Repti Calcium with D3 and Fluker’s Calcium with D3 are excellent options.

Dust insects at every other feeding.

Provide Water Bowl for Hydration

Dehydration is a common reason for lethargic geckos in hiding. Provide fresh, clean water at all times in a small, shallow bowl within your gecko’s habitat. Change the water daily. Ideally, use filtered or bottled spring water instead of tap water, which may contain harmful additives like chlorine and fluoride.

Vary Diet – Crickets, Mealworms, Waxworms

For optimal gecko nutrition and encouragement out of hiding, provide a variety of feeder insects like:

  • Crickets – great staple feeder with protein
  • Mealworms – high in protein and fat
  • Waxworms – feed sparingly as treats due to high fat

Rotating various feeders gives a balance of different nutrients. An ideal gecko diet consists of approximately:

80% crickets Provides sustainable nutrition
10% mealworms Boosts protein and fat intake
10% waxworms Offers treats and stimulation to leave hiding spots

By following these gecko nutrition best practices, you can encourage a shy gecko out of hiding while supporting its health. Check out ReptiFiles for more detailed information on feeding geckos properly.

Coax Gecko Out with Food

One of the best ways to encourage a shy or hiding gecko to come out of its enclosure is by tempting it with its favorite foods. Geckos have excellent senses of smell, so placing tasty treats near the entrance of its hiding spot can help pique its curiosity and appetite.

Here are some tips on using food to coax your gecko into view.

Use favorite foods like mealworms or waxworms

Most geckos go crazy for juicy mealworms and waxworms. These nutritious insects make the perfect snacks for encouraging geckos out into the open. Place a few worms in a shallow feeding dish, then set the dish near wherever your gecko is hiding out.

Place on dish near hide entrance overnight

Sometimes a gecko may be too shy or stressed to emerge from hiding right away. In this case, you can leave an appetizing mealworm dish out overnight near their hideaway. Turn off any bright overhead lights and offer some privacy.

Often a hungry gecko will be tempted to creep out while everyone’s asleep to grab a midnight worm snack!

Drop food near entrance to pique interest

For especially stubborn or stressed cases, try dropping or dangling single worms, crickets or treats like tiny bits of fruit right at the entrance of where your gecko is hiding. The movement and delicious smell can help get their attention and give them an easy-access treat for when they work up the courage to emerge.

Don’t force handling – offer food reward

It can be concerning if your gecko stays in hiding for days or weeks on end, but it’s important not to forcefully pull them out. This will just further stoke their anxiety. Instead, start by calling their name gently and placing their favorite treats where they can easily snatch them up.

With consistent tempting snacks and positive encouragement, you can help guide them back into feeling comfortable exploring again.

The Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians recommends speaking softly and moving slowly with a hiding gecko. With patience and yummy foods, in most cases your reptile will eventually relax and become curious enough to venture out on their own again. 😊


While some hiding behavior is normal for geckos, excessive hiding may signal that something in their habitat needs adjustment. By ensuring proper heating and housing, reducing stress, providing nutrition, and using food to entice them out, you can get your gecko out of hiding and back to their happy, healthy self in no time.

With some simple tweaks to care and patience, you’ll have your gecko feeling comfortable and confident again. Monitor their behavior and if hiding persists, it may be wise to have them looked at by an exotic vet as well.

With the proper environment and care, your gecko will be back to their normal routine in your home.

Similar Posts