Do Leopard Geckos Need UVB? Is It Beneficial?


by Simon Griffiths


Do you know that it’s human nature for us to want to provide our pets with the best habitat? Well, the same case applies to reptile pets such as the Leopard gecko. Keeping your leopard gecko in a near-perfect natural habitat will help it grow healthy and live a happy life.

Achieving the right conditions and habitat for your leopard gecko can be a daunting task. However, you can do so with the right products. This begs the question, do leopard geckos need UVB? Yes, they need this special light because it’s impossible for them to access sunlight when in captivity. UVB radiation helps geckos to produce vitamin D3, which is needed in the absorption of other nutrients.

Some people will refrain from using UVB light in their leopard gecko enclosures and instead, they will try using dietary means to achieve sufficient amounts of vitamin D3.

If you still want to know a lot about leopard geckos’ UVB requirements, keep reading as we’ve discussed it in detail.


Do Leopard Geckos Need UVB?

It would not make sense to have UVB lights installed in a terrarium if it does not benefit the animal. For your information, UVB lights are not used for decorative purposes. They play a huge role in the development of your leopard gecko. Below are a few benefits of providing your gecko with UVB lighting:

1. Strong bones

As you well know, exposure to ultraviolet B rays helps with bone development in most reptiles. Vitamin D3 ensures that calcium in processed and absorbed in the leopard gecko’s body, thus preventing Metabolic Bone Disease.

As long as the gecko is getting enough vitamin D3, you can rest assured that it will develop strong bones and grow healthy.

2. Healthy Skin

Exposure to UVB light can have a positive impact on your leopard gecko’s skin. You will notice that the gecko will enjoy laying under the light from time to time. The gecko will develop healthy skin and won’t have problems when shedding.

Geckos that are regularly exposed to UVB lighting tend to develop a vibrant color on their skin. If this is not a good sign of healthy skin, then I don’t know what is!

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3. They become more active

Although leopard geckos are crepuscular animals, they can become more active when exposed to UVB. You will see them move around more often and they tend to be happier. Ultimately, the decision will depend on the situation, for instance during breeding.

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Do Leopard Geckos Need UVB at Night?

Although UVB lighting can be helpful, experts recommend that you limit its usage to daytime only. In simple terms, UVB lights should only be left on during the day and switched off at night.

You have to maintain the normal day/night cycle and this means that UVB bulbs or fluorescent lights are unnecessary at night.

Think of it this way! If the leopard gecko was in the wild, then it would be exposed to sunlight for a limited amount of time. The same case should apply in captivity.

Extending the use of UVB lighting at night might cause stress and even interfere with your leopard gecko’s sleeping cycle.

How Long To Leave UVB Light On For Leopard Gecko

Even though UVB lights are considered beneficial, they should not be left on for an extended period of time. In fact, experts recommend leopard gecko keepers use UVB lights for a maximum of 8 hours a day.

Providing excess amounts of UVB lighting to your gecko will cause too much stress. Do not allow these lights to have unfavorable effects to your leopard gecko.

Leopard Gecko UVB Percentage

There is no standard UVB percentage recommended. The Percentage may differ a bit depending on the height of the said enclosure. The higher the vivarium, the more energy is required.

Now that leopard geckos do not need a lot of vertical space, you can go for anything that is below 10%. In most cases, you should go for 2% or 5% if you are using a fluorescent UVB bulb.

What Watt UVB Bulb Is Good For Leopard Geckos?

Due to the small nature of leopard geckos, you should not use high-wattage UVB bulbs. For instance, if your gecko is housed in a 10 or 20-gallon vivarium, then you should stick to a 25-watt UVB bulb or thereabout.

Anything that is around the 25 watts range should keep your energy bills pretty low. All in all, you can go with a higher-wattage UVB fluorescent bulb if you are not worried about energy bills and have a large vivarium.

Do Albino Leopard Geckos Need UVB?

This is one of the most divisive questions among leopard gecko keepers. To make things clear, Albinos can use some low amount of UVB lighting. You might notice that they are a bit uncomfortable under strong lighting. This means you should limit the amount of UVB lighting you are exposing to the albino.

Too much light can harm the gecko’s eyes and cause a lot of discomfort on their skin.

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Tips To Remember When Using UVB Lighting For Leopard Geckos

  • Limit the use of UVB for 8 hours only to avoid toxicities
  • Use A low wattage UVB bulb
  • Fluorescent UVB bulbs are better than the traditional bulbs
  • Provide a sufficient amount of hides when using UVB light
  • Always change the UVB bulb after 9 to 12 months

Wrapping Up! – Do Leopard Geckos Need UVB?

Well, we’ve come to the end of this post. It’s our hope that you have learned a lot about the interaction between leopard geckos and UVB lights. We can conclude that the use of UVB lighting is necessary for beginner leopard gecko keepers. Experts can provide D3 supplements instead of using UVB lighting.

In case you want to take the dietary route, then I would suggest that you stick with natural D3 supplements instead of synthetic ones.

Avoid the mistake of using both UVB lighting and D3 supplements as it might be too much for your leopard gecko.

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.