Leopard gecko is a nocturnal animal that is mostly active in the dark and dormant at daytime; however, the habitat they live in still needs to be properly illuminated for some reasons. Be sure to understand leopard gecko lighting requirements, to install proper light source in its terrarium, and to understand how to plan the dark-light cycle of the terrarium. We will discuss more about that below.
Why Does Leopard Gecko Need Light Source?
There are several reasons why you should install proper light source on your leopard gecko’s enclosure.
1. Your lovely pet needs to know when it is a daytime and when it is night. Their life cycle and all associated activities and behaviors rely on light cycle in their enclosure.
2. Leopard gecko needs to heat up their body. Their favorite place to get heat is an illuminated basking spot. This is the reason why although they are a nocturnal animal, they may go out from time to time at daytime to heat up their body.
What Kind of Leopard Gecko Lighting Is Needed?
When it comes to planning your leopard gecko lighting, there are several types of lamp that you can use to illuminate their terrarium.
1. UV Light
UV light bulb functions as an artificial sun for your leopard gecko. It not only illuminates their terrarium with its bright white light, but also provides them with warmth. As mentioned above, leopard gecko occasionally goes out from their hiding place to heat up their body in a basking spot. You can use UV light to illuminate that spot.
It is important to understand, though, that the use of UV light in a leopard gecko terrarium should be properly controlled, or even limited. Leopard gecko is a nocturnal animal. Although they may heat up their body at daytime, they do it very rarely, so heating up under the sun is not something that is very essential for them to remain comfortable. An illuminated basking spot is not always needed, especially if you use a mat heater. In fact, excessively exposing your pet to UV light might be dangerous for them because the light may cause stress.
If you worry about your lizard’s bone development, worry not because leopard gecko is unlike other lizards, whose bone health relies on sufficient exposure to UV ray. Leopard gecko’s bone will remain healthy even with very minimal exposure to UV ray.
2. Black or Red Heat Lamp
Black or red heat lamp is a better option for your leopard gecko lighting. It is completely harmless if compared with UV ray. You can use either lamp to illuminate your pet’s terrarium and to recreate the day-night cycle inside the terrarium.
Planning Your Leopard Gecko Lighting
You should use the light to recreate the day-night cycle your pet is accustomed to. Remember that your pet will hibernate at daytime and become active at night, so be sure that they can still distinguish daytime from nighttime when they move to your house. Set a timer to turn on the light for 14 hours or 12 hours in the summer and winter respectively and to turn it off for the remaining time in a day. This rule applies even if you use a mat heater. Leopard gecko lighting is still needed even if the mat is heated.
Recommended Lighting for Leopard Gecko
The most common characteristic of the leopard gecko is taking sunbath throughout the day. When the time turns into evening, the leopard gecko is more active. This is the time for them to hunt some insects. So, what kind of lighting you have to use? Do you have to turn on or off the lighting during the evening or night? Due to the characteristic of the leopard gecko, UVB light is the best option. The reason to install this bulb is that the light is not too brighter. The color and the temperature of the lighting is close to the natural habitat of the leopard gecko. As the result, they will be more comfortable and it is safe for their skin. You don’t have to turn off the light during the evening or the night. This type of bulb is easy to install and durable enough for longer usage. At least, you can prevent a specific problem such as burn out bulb problem. By the time it is finished to install, you just need to put the bulb on the screen cover of the cage. That’s it! You can try to turn on the lamp to test it. Later, you can see how your leopard gecko reacts to the lighting.
Lighting Switching Schedule
So, when do you have to switch on and off the light? Because leopard gecko is a nocturnal animal, it means you have to switch on the light during the night. Of course, there is also the time that you can switch the light off. You may switch the light off at 10 PM and switch on at 10 AM. You can also switch off the light during the day when the sunlight brighter or in the normal condition. This switching schedule is an important thing to do to keep your beloved leopard gecko comfortable. They will be happy and healthy because it seems that they are living in their natural habitat. Moreover, you can also keep the bulb away from burned out because of heat excess. The most important, you must stick to your own switching schedule. It is not allowed to switch the light just like what you want without any specific schedule. It makes your leopard gecko get confused and it triggers stress.
Because lighting is one of the important factors to keep the leopard gecko healthy and comfortable, you need to prepare it well. There are several items you need to prepare while installing the lighting. First, you have to prepare the bulb. In specific, you may choose to install UVB bulb or one of the bulbs explained above. Due to the strict switching schedule, you can solve it by using a time switch. You can choose to use an analog or digital time switch. This item helps to control the light, especially when you have to go out all day long.
Lighting for Red Eyes and Albino Leopard Gecko
The lighting treatment is a little bit different if you have red eyes or albino leopard gecko. You don’t need to set the lighting as strict as what you do for a normal leopard gecko. Whether red eyes and albino leopard geckos are sensitive to light. Too bright light can hurt their eyes. The common sign to know that the lighting is too bright is when your gecko is blinking their eyes all the time.