As a leopard gecko owner, you know that hides play an important role in your lizard’s life. When they don’t use them the same way that you see other owners lizards use theirs, things start to get a little worrisome. Fortunately, though, there is usually always a reason for why they’re behaving this way and also a way that you can fix it. With that said, let’s look at some of the reasons.
- The hide is new
- The hide is too hot
- The hide isn’t big enough
- They’re being stubborn
- The hide’s opening is too big
If you’re having trouble with getting your leopard gecko to go in any of your hides whether that be the cold hide, warm hide, or moist hide, then the reasons I just listed will and can apply to any one. Because many owners have issues with trying to get their leopard gecko to go into one specific hide within the tank though, I’m now going to go over the cause and fix for each one.
Warm Hide Cause and Solution
If your leopard gecko isn’t wanting to go into their warm hide, then chances are that the hide is simply a little too warm for their liking.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it is. Leopard geckos use their warms hides to not only hide and feel safe just as they do with their other hides, but to absorb heat from their bellies into their bodies for proper digestion as well.
If they’re not getting the heat that they need in order to safely eat, then they might become impacted from attempting to eat but not being able to pass it because of a slow working digestive system due to the lack of heat in their bodies, start to act really slow and overall sluggish, or maybe even not eat at all until they’re able to comfortably get the heat that they need in order for their bodies to work the way that it’s supposed to.
With that said, you’ll want to do a few things to ensure that their warm hides aren’t getting too much heat. The first thing is to make sure that the sun from the room that they’re staying in isn’t shining directly into the tank as that can cause the temperatures within it to rise fairly high depending on how hot the temperature is outside.
You could be doing everything right in making sure your leopard gecko’s tank doesn’t overheat, but if it’s exposed to too much sunlight, then you’ll need to move it to a different location within the room so that your leopard gecko can comfortably use their hide.
Another potential reason why your warm hide could be too warm is that you don’t have a thermostat hooked up to your heat mat or heat lamp.
I’m not sure exactly how hot heat lamps get because I don’t have enough experience with them, but if we’re talking about heat mats, I know for a fact that those things can reach up to temperatures over 100° F and sometimes, even higher than that.
In order to make sure that they don’t get to that level, you’ll need a thermostat. Again, I don’t have a heat lamp so I can’t recommend a good thermostat for that at the moment if that is what you currently have. But if you have a heat mat, then I recommend checking out this one here over on Amazon.
There are some owners that try using a heat mat without a thermostat, but it’s not advised seeing as the risk of them overheating is high.
Not only does having an overly hot tank make it uncomfortable for your leopard gecko to want to go in their hide, but it could also cause them to have a heat stroke as well from being trapped in a confined area in which they can’t escape from.
So, before skipping out on a thermostat when buying your equipment or setting your tank up in the room that you want your lizard to be in, be mindful of their health to ensure their safety.
Moist Hide Cause and Solution
If you’re having trouble with getting your leopard to go into their moist hide, then please keep in mind that you are not alone. Dealing with a pet that doesn’t want to go into their hide can be a very stressful thing to go through seeing as they need to use them in order to have a successful shed.
But if they refuse to use them despite doing everything right such as making sure it stays humid and not overly hot or cold, then you could very well just be dealing with a picky leopard gecko. Before making that assumption though, you’ll first want to make sure that your moist hide is up to par with your gecko’s needs so that they can get through their shed with no issues.
With that said, you’ll want to double-check that the humidity levels in your tank are between %20-%40. If you don’t know how to check them, then you’ll need to get a humidity reader like this one here.
If everything is good there, then you could either be dealing with a leopard gecko that either isn’t used to the moist hide that you have in your tank yet or one that just doesn’t want to use it for no particular reason.
This hide here is the hide that I personally use for all three of my hides and is also one that a lot of people that I know who own reptiles use as well, but if you have a picky gecko, then sometimes making your own hide out of a Tupperware container or placing another hide in the tank that looks identical to the hides that they do actually use may be the best solution for getting them to go into it.
Also, keep in mind that since these little creatures are crepuscular, meaning that they’re most active between dawn and dusk, chances are that they actually are using their hides but you just don’t see it because they do most of their moving around while you are asleep.
If you’re dealing with this issue and your leopard gecko is entering a shed, then spraying the tank is the very best thing that you can do in assisting them with getting their shed off. You can either manually spray the tank if you have the time or you can buy a misting system like this one here from Amazon.
Either way will work, but having a misting system will allow you to set a timer for when you want your tank misted without the chance of possibly forgetting due to life’s distractions getting in the way. The best time to spray is at night before you go to bed as this is when they’ll be the most active.
You will only need to do this once a day during their shed. If the humidity rises after spraying, then watch your humidity gauge after you do it to make sure that it goes down to that 20%-40% range.
To give you an idea of what happens to leopard geckos that don’t use their moist hides or have the proper amount of humidity in their tank during their shed then check out this article here that I wrote that tells you about the consequences that they experience from having complications with their shedding process.
Cold Hide Cause and Solution
Luckily, leopard geckos not using their cold hide isn’t a very common problem, but if you find that yours isn’t, then chances are that the hide is either too cold, too small, or they’re, again, just being too picky about wanting to use it.
Assuming you have a heat mat or heat lamp, you’ll first want to make sure that the temperatures in your tank are comfortable enough for your leopard gecko to safely live in. If the cold side of your tank where your cooler hide is located is significantly lower than 75° F then your hide might just be a little too cold for them to want to hang out in.
If your cold hide isn’t too cold, then now you will need to determine whether or not your hide is too small or if your leopard gecko is just being picky.
If your leopard gecko can’t fit into the entrance of their hide comfortably or if they’re unable to turn around while in it due to it not being wide enough, then it’s too small and you will either need to look into getting a new one or making one out of an old Tupperware container so that they can hopefully start using their hide again.
If the size isn’t the issue, then the last culprit for why they won’t use it is likely that they just don’t enjoy using that hide in general. It could be a perfectly good hide, but for some reason, leopard geckos prefer using certain hides in the tank over others just because of how they look.
If you suspect that that might be the case with your gecko, then, again, see what hides they are using and make or get one that looks just like that one. This can be a nuisance to deal with, but unfortunately, making these changes is what it will take in order to ensure our leopard geckos are safe and happy.
Also, if you’d like to check out the importance of temperatures to give you a better understanding of what role they play, then take a look at this article here that I put together to help you with that.
There are many reasons for why a leopard gecko won’t use one of their hides, but if you perform a process of elimination by checking everything such as the size of the hide, the temperature, and the other potential reasons for why they might not be using it that I listed, then you should be able to find the culprit in no time.
Just remember to be patient, don’t freak out, and know that everything will be okay if you take the right steps in resolving this issue.