Taking care of a Leopard gecko can be a little tricky. Geckos might be tiny, but their care needs are sophisticated and demand attention. When it comes to the temperature requirements, keep a few important things in mind before you bring a Leopard gecko home.
When catering to Leopard geckos, it is necessary to set up a vivarium/aquarium that can mimic its natural environment. Make sure that you understand the importance of the thermal gradient before setting up a home for your gecko.
Create a Thermal Gradient
You cannot maintain a static temperature inside your gecko tank. Leopard geckos are cold-blooded, so they tend to absorb heat from the environment around them. You’ll have to maintain a balance between two temperatures—cold on one side and warm on the other side.
To achieve varying temperatures, you will have to divide the vivarium into two parts. Maintain a temperature ranging between 75 – 80°F on the cool side. A temperature drop is necessary during the night to provide an ideal environment for your gecko. Maintain a temperature around 80 – 85°F on the warmer side. By doing this, you will create a thermal gradient inside the tank.
Maintaining the temperature on the warm side can be a little tricky; you will need a suitable source for the heat.
Here are a few great options to heat the gecko tank to the optimum level.
1. Use a Basking Light
Use a basking light—the standard incandescent bulbs, either tungsten or halogen, will do just fine. These bulbs produce lower UVA light, which, as per some studies, “greatly improve the immune system, health, and wellness of all reptiles.”
These bulbs provide the right amount of heating and lighting setup for geckos. It is advisable to invest in a good environment thermometer to measure and set the temperature accurately.
2. Use Deep Heat Projector
A deep heat projector also works just like an incandescent bulb and produces heat. However, deep heat projectors don’t produce any light, unlike incandescent bulbs. So, if you’re looking for a setup where you only require heat and not light, this is your go-to source of heat.
Deep heat projectors emit both infrared A and infrared B light but what makes the projector stand out is its ability to emit light at the same wavelength as the sun does. Install a deep heat projector if you’re looking for a closer-to-nature option.
3. Use Heating Pads
Heating pads are commonly the readily available option when it comes to heating small compounds. However, if you’re catering to more than one geckos, a heating pad might not suffice, and you will have to explore other heating options.
All heating sources should be connected with a thermostat to monitor the temperature. You most certainly don’t want to overheat the container. A thermostat is no less than a necessity to avoid any accident.
The Ideal Temperature for Leopard Geckos at Night
A high temperature during the nighttime can disturb the deep sleep of Leopard geckos. On the other hand, a too-cold temperature at night can disturb the digestion process and may lead to respiratory infections.
To avoid any such circumstances, use a heat source to keep an ideal temperature for geckos during the night. Heat mats or ceramic heat emitters are a good source of heat to stabilize the enclosure’s temperature.
Many experts recommend lowering the temperature of the tank during the night because it keeps geckos healthier. Lowering the temperature at night is suitable as it helps to create a natural environment for geckos. The suitable temperature gradient for these reptiles during the nighttime should range between 70 and 75°F.
Leopard geckos prefer to bask on the warm rocks, heated by sunlight during the daytime. You can provide this warm rock effect in the Leopard gecko’s tank with infrared lamps for heating the ground during the night.
How Can External Factors Affect the Temperature of Gecko’s Tank?
Several external factors can affect the temperature of your Leopard gecko’s tank. You should be aware of these factors to minimize their impact by taking the following rectifying measures.
Drafty Location: If you have placed your Leopard gecko’s tank in a drafty location, it can cause a decline in temperature.
To avoid a too low temperature caused by such external factors, place the tank somewhere where there is less flow of the cooler air. It will help maintain a warm environment for geckos. Never bring it closer to a window where the sunlight falls directly on the tank.
Air conditioning/Space heaters: External factors like air-condition or space heaters may also affect the ideal temperature required for geckos. To maintain and adjust the temperature of the tank where such external factors are in play, you need to adjust the heat sources.
To resolve the temperature variation caused by external factors, make sure to check the tank’s temperature several times a day. A slight change of 1 or 2° is not harmful to your pet. But, if the temperature rise or fall is above 2°than ideal temperature requirement, make necessary adjustments to adjust it.
How To Maintain the Ideal Temperature for Leopard Geckos?
Monitoring your Leopard gecko’s enclosure is significant, as it allows you to maintain an ideal temperature. You can keep check of temperature by using two digital thermometers (one for the warm side and another for the cold side of the enclosure)
Heat mats are used to maintain a warm spot, the place where a Leopard gecko rests its belly while feeding. The hot temperature warms the body of geckos, which ultimately helps facilitate the digestion process. That’s why leopard gecko keepers should place the food of these reptiles on the warm side.
To keep a suitable air temperature, you can install a basking lamp on the warm side of the gecko’s tank. The thermostat can be attached to a heat source to regulate the temperature levels within the tank. You should purchase heating devices (such as heat mats/lamps or basking lamps) before buying a thermostat because the thermostat must be compatible with the wattage of the heating source. This technique is useful to avoid any malfunctioning because of overloading.
Sometimes, you may notice a difference in the value of the temperature of the thermostat and thermometer. This may happen because of seasonal variation in the room temperature that also affects the temperature inside the leopard gecko’s tank. So, you need to adjust the thermostat according to the temperature reading on a thermometer.
How to Regulate Temperature If It’s Too High or Too Cold?
If the temperature of the tank is too hot, geckos will overheat. It may even cause them death because of heatstroke, as Leopard geckos have no mechanism to cool down themselves on their own.
The physical appearance and behavior of our geckos help us analyze whether the temperature is too high for its body. For example, if the leopard gecko is panting, it’s a sign to understand that the temperature is not suitable.
Similarly, burned skin clearly tells that enclosure’s temperature is too high. Skin burns may also occur when a tile or rock substrate gets too hot when the temperature in a tank rises. Avoid using hot rocks for heating your gecko, as they don’t always know when to move away and thus may end up burning themselves.
Ways to Reduce a Tank Temperature
- A high temperature can cause a leopard gecko to pass out. Immediately remove the gecko from the tank if the temperature is too high.
- Adjust the temperature on the thermostat to an appropriate level.
- The temperature may be too high because of certain external factors, such as excessive exposure to sun heat rays. The installation of UV protection blinds is a good way to address this issue. A cooling fan can be helpful too in this situation to normalize temperature.
Ways To Raise Gecko’s Tank Temperature If Too Cold
Sudden cold temperature not only disturbs the comfort of geckos, but it is also a cause of certain health problems. A cold temperature may prevent regular bowel movements in geckos. Here are some of the reasons why a temperature inside a leopard gecko’s tank may fall and how to resolve such problems.
- Faulty wiring in a thermostat can make it unable to heat the tank properly. You can rectify this by either making necessary repairs or by replacing the thermostat.
- The cold room temperature may also cause the tank’s temperature to fall. So, if the room is too cold, adjust it by using some heat source. Avoid keeping geckos in the basement as they are typically cold and do not offer natural heating mechanisms.
Allow Your Gecko to Bask a Little
Make a basking corner where your leopard gecko can get some light and warmth. The warm corner of the gecko aquarium is the most suitable for basking. Like most other reptiles, geckos prefer dry surroundings; make sure to monitor the humidity inside the aquarium.
Make sure you compliment the warm side with an appropriate lighting system. This will allow the gecko to feel comfortable and not miss out on outdoor light. Using a reasonably set UVB bulb is a good idea. Although Leopard geckos rarely rely on sunlight, light exposure tends to boost immunity and the overall well-being of the gecko.