The temperature in a leopard gecko’s cage is crucial to every leo’s health and wellbeing. Achieving the precise temperature in a leo’s cage is especially important at night when the temperature tends to drop.
Leopard geckos need a temperature of 68 °F during the night to get into deep sleep. Higher temperatures during the night could prevent leopard geckos from getting into deep sleep, which can hurt their health in the long run.
In the wild, leopard geckos surface at night when temperatures are cooler and lie on a warm rock. It is vital to mimic a leopard gecko’s natural environment in a cage at night. There are a few things you can do to achieve the optimal night-time temperature. Keep reading to learn more!
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What Temperature Should A Leopard Gecko’s Cage Be at Night?
Leos are crepuscular creatures often hiding away in warm shelters during the day and surface at night for fun activities, like hunting in particular. In the wild, they are known to lie on rocks at night.
These rocks have been warmed to the perfect temperature great for relaxing after hunting or even relaxing while hunting for prey. It provides a great view for spotting prey and then devouring them.
You should always simulate the natural habitat within the cage to help your leo lead a healthy life. Temperatures in your leo’s cage during the night can be programmed anywhere from 68°F to 70°F.
These are considered ideal temperatures, but it is recommended to keep it at 68 °F. Some people even keep their leopard geckos at 61 °F during the night but since this requires expert knowledge, we recommend not to go that low.
The low nighttime temperatures encourage your leopard gecko to go into a deep sleep at night after hunting. Your leopard gecko’s sleep could be disrupted, though if the temperature in the cage is too warm.
Research has indicated that nighttime temperature drops are healthier for your gecko than if you were to maintain the same temperature as during the day. Leopard geckos are capable of withstanding temperatures as low as 60°F.
If you find that your home is extremely cold, you may want to consider a heat source for your gecko at night. Ceramic heat emitters (like this one) or heat mats (like this one) are ideal ways to increase the temperature in your leopard geckos cage.
Using Heat Mats To Maintain The Correct Temperature For Leopard Gecko During The Night
Heat mats can increase the temperature in the cage perfectly if it is a bit too frosty in there for him. Especially during colder months when weather conditions are unfavorable, and the room temperature in your home is not ideal.
A heat source would also be necessary during summer when air conditioning is turned on at night in your home. Leopard geckos would be uncomfortable and may struggle to try to find a space to warm up.
A heat mat is practical to set up as it is placed right at the bottom of the cage. No bulbs or fixtures are required to get your heat mat going if you prefer not to use these devices and are looking to save. Heat mats tend to last quite long as well, so you’re getting great value.
Although some keepers may disagree, bulbs may be a more natural way of replicating the day and night cycle leos would experience in the wild. Ideally, you should purchase a UVB light bulb together with the heat mat if you are able to do so.
If you’re only able to buy a heat mat at this stage, you can upgrade your cage with a bulb at a later stage. You can read more about lighting setup later in this article.
Heat mats may help your leopard gecko get to a temperature to aid proper food digestion. With the absence of a heat source, your leopard gecko may not be able to process food adequately and experience potential issues with excretion. They won’t be able to move around properly either.
If you are looking for a high-quality heat mat that gets the job done, we recommend this one right here on Amazon.
Thermostats Are Necessary When Using Heat Mats
One other very important point to remember is that a thermostat will have to be purchased along with your heat mat. Thermostats are imperative devices controlling and automatically regulating the temperature within a cage.
Or else, you may run into serious issues with accidentally burning your leo and possibly even causing its death. We recommend getting this thermostat right here. It is also compatible with the heat mat we mentioned above.
Ceramic Heat Emitters Are Also Fantastic For Heating During The Night
When you are having trouble with your cage temperature consistently dropping below 68°F, ceramic heat emitters (CHE’s) are ideal as a supplemental heat source.
CHE’s raise the cage’s temperature; however, it should only be used in extreme situations where temperatures are consistently at a low as they can get quite warm.
CHE’s are ideal for leopard geckos and are able to emit heat without any light. Care should be taken to make sure that CHE’s are not overheating the entire cage. Installing a thermostat is also required with CHE’s. Your gecko would still need a cool spot within the cage
Why You Should Not Use Infrared Lights (Red lights) In Your Leopard Gecko’s Tank
Lighting is essential, and extra care should be taken to provide light for a leopard gecko in captivity. Leopard geckos thrive from sunlight and heat or the artificial light provided to them in their cages.
However, it is essential not to use infrared light as it can be absorbed deep into the tissues of your leopard gecko and can cause serious damage to tissue.
You should also know that some brands of compact and tube-type fluorescent lights emit hazardous short-wave UVB.
These lights cause a serious eye condition referred to as photo-kerato-conjunctivitis. Some manufacturers are still in the process of addressing this issue whilst other manufacturers have rectified the issue.
If your leopard gecko has issues with opening their eyes or their eyes become swollen after a new lamp is installed. It is best to seek professional help immediately. Lamp placement, including the type of lamp, could be contributing to the cause of the condition.
Lighting Setups Help: Here Is Why
By using an appropriate lighting set up during the day, you could potentially create the perfect temperature for your gecko at night. The lighting during the day allows the cage to stay warm at night.
Even the rocks and substrate are heated during the day and stay warm at night. It is easy to reach the correct temperature at 68 °F even without heat mats and CHE’s with the right lighting setup.
Some people do not use heat lamps at all, and in this situation, you should be using a heat mat as this would contribute to simulating a natural environment for your gecko as they tend to sleep on hot rocks in the wild.
Bear in mind; if you choose not to install an appropriate lighting system, you may be putting your leopard gecko at risk of serious health issues in the long run as lights are necessary to create a day and night cycle for leopard geckos.
A time switch can be used to conveniently set up the times you would like the lights to be turned on and off on a daily basis in the cage.
UVB lights are said to positively impact the health of leopard geckos.
This is not proven but it seems that many owners “feel” that their leopard geckos are more active after using UVB lights (Update: A study showed that UVB lights are actually beneficial for leopard geckos.).
We recommend getting this UVB bulb for your leopard gecko as it has a lower UVB output, which is good for leos.
You need to be aware of a few lighting tips when you’re creating a lighting system for your leo’s cage:
- The light should not be directed from the sides of the cage, but rather be positioned directly above the cage. There are ridges just above you leopard gecko’s eyes, which resemble eyebrows and are meant to shade the sensitive area of the eye. However, if the lighting is incorrectly placed at the sides of the cage, then your leopard gecko would be more susceptible to eye damage.
- Your leopard gecko could suffer from critical eye damage with misuse or incorrect placement of the UVB light.
- Light placement above the tank, as opposed to the sides of the tank, is perfect, as are lamps that are placed to rest on the mesh lid of the cage.
- Lights bulbs should not be too strong for the size of the cage. A heat bulb with 75W is a good choice for most 20 gallon leopard gecko tanks.
- Lights should be placed at an appropriate distance about six inches away from your leopard gecko.
- Temperatures below the heat lamp should always be monitored. We highly recommend getting a temperature gun to monitor these temperatures: hot spot, warm zone, cool zone.
- Place hides and caves on the light and darker sides of the cage.
The ideal temperature in a leopard geckos cage at night is set around 68 °F.
If you are struggling to maintain the temperature in your home, this could affect the temperature of your leo’s cage. There are different heating options available at your disposal in the form of heat mats, heat lamps, and ceramic heat emitters to increase the temperature.
Bear in mind the adverse effects of infrared light and make sure you are protecting your leopard gecko from potential lighting damage to the eyes. Otherwise, maintaining night-time temperatures should not be a tough task!