Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizard species due to their beautiful color patterns and easy care. Leopard geckos are also one of the easiest reptile pets to handle.
Leopard geckos have a natural instinct to seek out dark places and hide. This is due to their natural environment of sandy soils in which they hunt for prey.
So, in order to make your leopard gecko happy, you need to provide an environment that resembles this natural habitat with ample hiding spots.
The problem is that many people invest in a nice cage for their leopard gecko, but do not consider lighting. While your leopard gecko will be fine for a while without proper lighting, they will not show off their beautiful pattern!
This article will go into detail about the different types of lighting for your leopard gecko, as well as what settings are best for each type.
What color bulbs are best for a leopard gecko?
When choosing what color bulbs to use for your leopard gecko’s enclosure, the safest bet is to use natural sunlight-similar warm-tone bulbs.
These types of bulbs mimic the warmth of the sun and tend to cost a little more than colder shades like red or blue. They also tend to be less harmful to your reptile.
Some leopard geckos may display some slight changes in behavior depending on the temperature of the bulb. For example, they may be more active at warmer temperatures or sleep more at cooler temperatures.
However, it is important to keep in mind that leopard geckos are desert species. Thus, they are adapted to warm environments! A cooler bulb may actually be better for them in the long run.
When changing bulbs, make sure to do it slowly so as not to stress your pet out. Try switching them one for one until you find the ones that are best for your leopard gecko.
What temperature should my bulb be?
When choosing what temperature your bulb should be, you want to make sure it is not too hot. A too hot bulb can cause burn marks on your gecko’s skin and lesions on their body.
The ideal temperature for a leopard gecko is between 95°F and 100°F. This can be measured with a thermal probe or a reliable thermometer. A thermal probe is a device that measures temperature in both air and object.
It is best to use a thermal probe to measure the temperature of the bulb rather than a thermometer due to the fact that they are very accurate. A thermometer may read higher or lower than what the actual temperature is, but a thermal probe will read exactly what the temperature is of what it is measuring.
What wattage should my bulb be?
When choosing what wattage your bulb should be, you want to make sure it is not too high or too low.
Too high of a wattage can cause burns, thermal stress, and overheating. This can ultimately lead to death!
Too low of a wattage will not provide enough light for your gecko to see correctly and find food. They need some light to hunt properly!
A general rule of thumb is to get a 100W bulb for every 100 square inches of space. This means if you have a cage that is 100 square inches, you want to get a 100W bulb. If you have a larger cage, then get a higher wattage bulb to account for the larger space.
Make sure your bulb is the same type of socket as your cage though! Some are magnetic while others are pin sockets.
Do I need a special brand of bulb?
No, you do not need to have a special brand of bulb to maintain your leopard gecko’s environment. Normal full-spectrum bulbs work just as well!
Many people invest in the Reptile UVB bulbs because they are a higher quality bulb that emits higher levels of UVB rays. The problem with these bulbs is that they cost much more than normal full-spectrum bulbs.
Reptile UVB bulbs are mostly sold online due to their high price, so it is hard to find ones at your local hardware store. Amazon and eBay are good places to look, however.
If you already have a reptile bulb in your cage, then there is no need to replace it unless it burns out.
Where should I place the light?
When choosing a light for your leopard gecko habitat, you should make sure the light is off to the side. You do not want the light to be above or in front of the tank.
The tank should have some light, but it should come from the sides. This way, your gecko can navigate around its habitat and find food and hiding spots.
If your gecko grows accustomed to only one kind of lighting, it will be hard to change that. Changing the lighting occasionally can provide your gecko with some variation in its environment.
Some people choose to use no lights in their leopard gecko habitats. This is up to you and what you think your gecko would like! Some breeders have noticed more activity at night when they have no lights, so that is an option for you to try.
General tips: Make sure there are no bright lights in the room, and keep the window curtains closed so that there is not a lot of unnatural light entering the room.
Do I need a reflector?
A reflector is not necessary for leopard geckos, but it can help enhance your cage setup. A reflector will add some extra light to your enclosure to let your reptile crawl around and bask in the sun.
Generally, a reflector is used when the animal needs an extra amount of warmth. By placing a reflector behind a lamp, the light is bounced off a different surface creating more warmth.
In the case of leopard geckos, they do not need extra warmth, but it looks pretty cool to have them bask in the sun on the top of the cage!
If you would like to purchase a reflector, make sure it is thick enough to withstand scratching. Plastic or thick cardboard are good alternatives. fabric ones may also work, but may not hold up over time.
How far away from the animal should the light be placed?
When setting up your leopard gecko habitat, you should place the light somewhere far away from where the gecko will be. The light should be far enough away that it will not disturb the gecko, but close enough so that it will sufficiently light the cage.
Geckos navigate by using sensory cells called camphair cells. These cells are found on the skin and detect faint changes in the environment around them.
In low-light environments, these cells become more sensitive to any change in brightness. This is why your gecko will feel more comfortable in a darker habitat with less distractions.
A too-bright habitat can be stressful for a leopard gecko, and may cause them to be less active.
How many lights do I need?
When choosing your leopard gecko lighting, the most important thing is coverage. You need to make sure that every part of the cage is covered by at least one light.
The best setup is a dome light in the middle of the cage and an overhead light. This covers all sides and top and bottom. If these are not possible, then add a side light or overhead light instead.
These reptiles are diurnal, which means they are active during the day. They use their vision to hunt for food and navigate their habitat.
Make sure to replace your bulbs as they burn out, this is important for your gecko’s health.