Do leopard geckos need tropical or desert UVB?

Answered by Tom Adger

Leopard geckos are native to the arid regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of India. These areas typically have a desert climate with high temperatures and low humidity. So, when it comes to providing UVB lighting for leopard geckos, it is not necessary to mimic a tropical environment.

In the wild, leopard geckos are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular, which means they are most active during the evening and early morning hours. They spend their days hiding in burrows or rocky crevices to escape the heat of the sun. Therefore, while UVB lighting is not a requirement for their survival, it can still be beneficial for their overall health and well-being.

UVB light is responsible for the synthesis of vitamin D3 in reptiles. Vitamin D3 is essential for proper calcium absorption and utilization in their bodies. Without adequate UVB exposure, leopard geckos may develop metabolic bone disease (MBD), which can lead to skeletal deformities and other health issues.

To provide UVB light for your leopard gecko, you can use a reptile-specific UVB bulb. It is important to choose a bulb that emits both UVA and UVB wavelengths, as UVA light also plays a role in their overall health. The bulb should be placed in a fixture that allows for the proper distance and positioning above the enclosure.

Now, let’s talk about the temperature requirements for leopard geckos. As mentioned earlier, they come from arid regions, so it is important to provide a temperature gradient in their enclosure. This means having a warm side and a cool side.

The warm side of the enclosure should have a basking spot with a temperature range of 90-95°F (32-35°C). This can be achieved using an under-tank heating pad or a ceramic heat emitter. It is important to monitor the temperature using a reliable thermometer to ensure it stays within the desired range.

On the cool side of the enclosure, the temperature should be around 75-85°F (24-29°C). This allows your leopard gecko to thermoregulate by moving between the warm and cool areas as needed.

In addition to the basking area, it is important to provide a hide or shelter on both the warm and cool sides of the enclosure. This allows your leopard gecko to feel secure and reduces stress.

To summarize, while leopard geckos don’t require UVB lighting to survive, providing UVA/UVB light can greatly enhance their overall health and immune system. It is important to provide a 90-95°F basking area on the warm side of their enclosure, along with a cool side and proper hides for them to feel secure.