Do Leopard Geckos Need A Heat Lamp?


by Simon Griffiths


Leopard geckos are popular reptiles among pet owners, and they’re often kept in captivity. It’s important to provide the right environment and care to ensure the health and well-being of these fascinating creatures.

One aspect of care that is frequently discussed is the use of heat lamps. Some pet owners wonder if a heat lamp is necessary for a leopard gecko’s enclosure, while others believe it’s an essential part of their habitat.

In this blog post, we will explore the role of heat lamps in leopard gecko care, including the benefits, drawbacks, and whether it’s truly necessary for these reptiles. We will also touch upon some alternative heating options to consider for those who are unsure about using a heat lamp.


Do Leopard Geckos Need A Heat Lamp?

Being nocturnal creatures, leopard geckos require both lighting and heating during the day, and only heating during the night. Your leopard gecko will require a heat lamp to maintain a consistent temperature range in its enclosure. 

The temperature gradient allows it to properly regulate the body heat. Ideally, if your gecko moves between temperatures in its enclosure, it implies that it is able to choose its own basking temperature, hence, being able to grow faster and gain more weight compared to a gecko that is kept at a single temperature. 

Leopard Gecko Temperature Requirements 

The enclosure of your leopard gecko should constitute both a hot side and a cool side. There should also be a basking spot that remains at the high ranges of both night and day temperatures.

Area  Temperature range
Warm side  Day: 89 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit

Night: 84 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit

Cool side Day:75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit

Night:68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Basking spot (surface) Day:90 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit

Night:87 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit

Humid hide Day:86 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit

Night: 83 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit


Best Heat Lamp for Leopard Geckos

1. Deep Heat Projector

The ExoRepti Deep Heat Projector provides your leopard gecko with the essential Infrared-A and Infrared-B from the sun. These wavelengths were initially impossible to replicate in-balance, using a small lamp until now.

Deep Heat Projector Leopard Gecko

  • Mimics heat from the sun using the latest in heating technology
  • Provides heat deep into the muscle tissue of your leopard gecko
  • Does not disturb nighttime cycles
  • Provides a wider and safer beam of light
  • Projects Infrared A and Infrared B

The sun provides heat through terrestrial wavelengths of light that are Infrared A and Infrared B. The deep heat projector directs the essential heat energy to the dermis of the gecko. The projected heat is available first by direct exposure, just as in the wild, and by re-radiation of the stones and the decorations of the basking zones, which release the heat upwards. The re-radiated heat energy provides belly heat thus increasing the ambient temperature. 

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Heat Lamp Alternatives 

1. Heat Mats 

Initially, heat mats were the sole go-to way for heating the leopard geckos’ enclosures. Despite having advanced options now, heat mats are still useful for controlling the temperatures of your gecko’s warm hide.  In case your warm hide is not getting sufficient warmth, you can add a thermostat-regulated heat mat below the hide box. 

The mat should be covered with 1” of a substrate to prevent direct contact. To regulate temperature, place the thermostat probe inside the warm hide. Heat mats only work efficiently when controlled by thermostats. Non-thermostat-controlled heat mats and heat rocks can burn your gecko. Non-proportional thermostats such as jumpstart thermostats are efficient in regulating heat mats. This will be a different case if you are breeding

2. Ceramic Emitters

Are ceramic emitters ideal for leopard geckos? Ceramic heat emitters provide one of the best ways of giving warmth to cold-blooded pets. They are both affordable and more long-lasting than a normal light bulb. Despite being strange-looking devices, they are worth their cost. 

Some of the best ceramic heat emitters I can recommend are Repticare brands and the Zoo Med. depending on where you purchase the products, their prices range between $20-$30 or even slightly higher for some styles. Their life expectancy spans to about five years, which is the equivalent of 25,000 hours. The watt usage is 100 watts for a 30-40 gallon enclosure and 150 watts for a 50-100 gallon enclosure. 

A ceramic heat emitter increases the inside air temperature of your terrarium to a full 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Just like a heat bulb, this product radiates heat in the direction that the fixture is pointed. However, you have to be sure the fixture is positioned as you require it to be, since it is hard to position it correctly because you can not see the light as with a light bulb.

Some people claim that you can use any regular clamp for this fixture, as long as the fixture’s receptacle is porcelain. I disagree with this notion due to the amount of heat emitted by this unit. I recommend you use a porcelain clamp lamp fixture normally designed for this fixture. The fixture’s price is a bit more, but is there a price you can put for safety? 

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Wrapping Up 

Am hopeful that this article acts as a guide for you if you intend to have a leopard gecko as your pet. These heating products for your pet will ensure that your pet lives under favorable temperatures in its enclosure, to avoid health issues such as mouth rot and impaction An ideal heating product for your pet will be dependent on your personal preference and the conditions of the exact habitat you will place your pet. By applying the recommendations from this article, rest easy knowing that you are a caring owner who wants to see the best for your pet.

Simon Griffiths

Hi guys, my name is Simon, a fellow pet lover. I love everything about traditional and exotic pets so I am here to help you create a better home for your pets.