Should I Turn My Leopard Gecko Heat Lamp Off At Night?

Wondering if you should turn your Leopard Gecko Heat Lamp off at night? This guide is for you!

Cold-blooded animals like your leopard gecko need heat to carry out their activities. But unfortunately, these animals cannot generate their own heat.

This means you must supply your leopard gecko with an external heat source 24/7.

A heat lamp is an essential tool that should not be turned off at night if you want your leopard gecko to enjoy robust health. Your gecko cannot live for long without it. Lack of heat subjects your gecko to untold suffering, and may even lead to death.

In the event that you must turn off your gecko’s heat lamp at night, you should provide your pet with a suitable heat source alternative.

Good examples of this are ceramic heaters and heat mats.


What Are the Uses of Heated Lamps at Night?

#1- Helps with Digestion

Being cold-blooded, your leopard gecko cannot digest the insects it eats without an external heat source.

Actually, this reptile will not have the energy to eat the bug in the first place.

Suppose you want your leopard gecko to benefit from the nutritional content of the feeder insects you serve. In that case, you need to give it a steady supply of heat day and night.

A lack of adequate heat leads to poor digestion and bowel movement. As a result, your leopard gecko may suffer from impaction.

What is Impaction?

When a leopard gecko swallows something that can’t pass through the stomach, it suffers from impaction.

This problem also happens when this reptile cannot process the food in its stomach. Your leopard gecko may be unable to process food because it lacks the energy to do so.

Without heat from a heat lamp or heat mats, your gecko experiences a build-up of harmful bacteria in the stomach because the food is not moving.

This problem is further compounded by all the fecal matter in your pet’s body.

If you get the heat lamp up and running, the gecko can secret the right stomach juices, and everything starts functioning normally.

#2 – Encourages Your Gecko to Eat

Your leopard gecko will refuse to eat if you switch off the heat lamp at night. From years of evolution, geckos are wired to use external heat to ingest and process food.

Your leopard gecko instinctively knows that without a reliable source of heat, eating food leads to impaction.

Keeping the heat lamp on at night encourages your leopard gecko pet to eat. Indeed, heat is most important to these reptiles from dusk when they’re most active.

#3 – Stabilizes Your Gecko’s Behavior

Does your leopard gecko behave funny each time you turn the heat lamp off? This is a sign that your pet does not like it when the heat is off.

In most cases, leopard geckos become fatigued and inactive when denied heat at night. They move from being inquisitive and adventurous pets they are too sluggish reptiles.

Turning off the heat lamp is like stealing the source of their joy and happiness when they need it most.

If your leopard gecko becomes unusually inactive at night, find out what could be wrong in the enclosure.

You’ll likely find the heat lamp turned off, most likely inadvertently. So bring back the joy into your gecko’s existence by turning the heat lamp back on.

#4 – Makes Life Easier for Gravid Geckos

Pregnant geckos or those about to lay eggs have exceptional needs. They need to access the right amount of heat to produce mature eggs that give out strong hatchlings.

If your leopard gecko is gravid, it needs adequate heat throughout the day. Switching off the heat lamp at night would make your pet uncomfortable and stressed.

Make the life of your gravid gecko easier by leaving the heat lamp on at night. But, of course, this equipment must self-regulate to maintain the right temperature.

Heat is an excellent ally to your gecko if it is well-controlled. However, too much or too little of it can worsen things for a stressed gravid leopard gecko.

If your gravid gecko starts acting up whenever you switch off the heat lamp, there’s a good reason for this.

Denying this reptile heat continuously will likely jeopardize your pet’s life.

#5 – Supports Shedding Geckos

Leaving the heat lamp on makes things easier for your shedding leopard gecko. But, of course, the needs of a shedding gecko are particular.

This animal needs to be kept under the right temperature and humidity levels throughout the day. This enables the skin to remain supple, and peel off naturally during shedding.

Too much heat can dehydrate your gecko, further complicating the shedding process.

On the other hand, lack of heat at night can expose your gecko to hypothermia, considering that the new skin is very tender and sensitive.

#6 – Alleviates Breathing Problems

Does your leopard gecko have breathing problems? As the treatment for this goes on, be careful not to make things worse by switching off the heat lamp at night.

Breathing complications are usually linked to adverse temperature changes. For example, if the enclosure is too cold, your leopard gecko’s breathing becomes labored.

You need to leave the heat lamp on at night to boost your beloved pet’s health and overall wellbeing.

How Does Heat Lamp Prevent Respiratory Infections?

A proper heat system helps your leopard gecko breathe well. A heat lamp controls both the temperature and humidity levels, directly impacting your gecko’s respiratory tract.

Because your gecko is cold-blooded, not having heat at night affects his breathing. Your pet cannot expand his lungs properly if the atmosphere is cold.

This makes him more susceptible to respiration-related complications. Protect your gecko’s health by keeping the heat lamp on at night.

Human beings perceive that cold and flu get worse when the weather is cold. Therefore, doctors advise us to take warm liquids when a nasty cold hits.

Imagine how worse things can get for your gecko, considering it cannot generate internal heat.

Providing your gecko with an external source at night enables it to breathe more easily. As a result, your gecko eats and drinks right.

Although treatment for breathing problems is available in the form of antibiotics, prevention is always better than cure.

This means you should do everything you can – including providing adequate heat – to ensure your gecko doesn’t get breathing complications.

Heat lamps are great for keeping your leopard gecko warm during cold nights. Also, they provide your gecko with the warmth it needs to carry out its usual biological functions.

If your pet is denied heat for long, it won’t be able to eat, drink, eat, and digest food normally. In extreme cases, leopard geckos die because of heat deprivation.

As such, it’s absolutely necessary that you turn on your leopard gecko heat lamp at night.

Why Does My Leopard Gecko Need Heat at Night?

Your gecko heat lamp is a good source of heat during the night. Other sources include a heat mat and a ceramic heater.

Unless you have suitable alternative sources of heat, don’t switch off your gecko’s heat lamp at night, as this could give rise to a plethora of problems.

Leopard geckos don’t have many problems during the night because they benefit from the ambient temperature.

What is the ambient temperature? As the sun burns during the day, it heats up the ground. Therefore, ambient temperature combines heat from the ground and air temperature.

Geckos have become experts at harnessing this heat at night to perform their bodily functions.

Unfortunately, geckos in captivity have no access to ambient temperature, considering they are indoors.

This is why you need to turn your leopard gecko heat lamp on. The heat it generates helps your reptile friend to:

  • Breathe normally
  • Move around the enclosure normally
  • Drink water
  • Hunt and Capture insects
  • Digest the food
  • Pass stool
  • Mate and reproduce

How Do Leopard Gecko Heat Lamps Work?

Used well in the enclosure, heat lamps create the right gradient. This is important for your leopard gecko because it constantly seeks the right temperature based on its heat needs.

The heat lamp is placed in the hot zone of the enclosure. Here the heat lamp gives hot temperatures your leopard gecko can bask in when it needs heating up.

However, if the heat gets too hot, the leopard gecko can migrate to the enclosure’s cooler part.

This is the shaded area of the enclosure where the hot temperatures don’t reach.

You can also leave a small gap in the enclosure for the sunlight to stream in during the day.

Although your leopard gecko may not opt to bask under the sun when there’s a heat lamp, give them that option anyway.

Although your leopard gecko heat lamp provides heat for your pet, it makes the shaded area of the enclosure more appealing.

Your leopard gecko enjoys sitting for short periods in the cool zone and moving to the heated area.

The gecko will sometimes prefer to spend extended periods near the heat lamp. For example, if your gecko feels unwell, it may move closer to the heat lamp to generate more energy.

The same also happens when this animal wants to raise its body temperature for enhanced metabolism.

Without a proper heat lamp, your gecko’s enclosure may get too cold, and your gecko may become sluggish.

Do I Need a Heat Lamp if I Live in a Warm Climate?

You need a heat lamp for your gecko’s enclosure even if you live in a warm climate.

Because the enclosure is indoors, it may be hard to recreate the natural day-night cycle without the right equipment.

At the same time, the room with the enclosure is prone to experiencing different pressure and temperature changes because of outside influences.

For example, a cold air draft may drastically change the temperature in the tank, significantly disadvantaging your leopard gecko.

A properly installed heat lamp creates the stability your leopard gecko needs to thrive.

It’s important that you install thermometers and hygrometers to monitor the temperature and humidity of the enclosure.

It’s common for temperatures to get too high and humidity too low in warm climates.

By closely monitoring the tank’s temperature, you’ll be able to make the adjustments necessary to keep your leopard gecko safe.

Can My Leopard Gecko Go Without a Heat Lamp at Night?

Your leopard gecko needs the right day-night temperatures to function optimally. If this cycle is not maintained, your gecko’s behavior gets erratic.

Its conduct becomes abnormal, and it won’t be long before this reptile falls sick. An external heat source is essential to a leopard gecko’s life.

At the same time, the heat emitted by the heat lamp must be right. This equipment won’t serve its purpose if the temperatures it produces are too low.

Your leopard gecko will not be able to generate the energy it needs to go about its life normally. If the lamp is too hot, on the other hand, your pet becomes very uncomfortable.

As such, your leopard gecko heat lamp must always have the correct readings. Unfortunately, this means you must constantly check on it to ensure that the degrees are not off.

If your gecko does not get enough heat during the day and night, it will exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • General weakness and sluggishness
  • Drooping eyes
  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Withdrawal to their hides
  • Moody and temperamental

How Should I Heat My Leopard Gecko’s Tank?

Ensure that the right temperature gradient is established to correctly heat your leopard gecko’s tank. Borrow a life from the day-night cycle leopard geckos goes through in the wild.

The leopard gecko’s enclosure should have a warm and cool zone. The heat lamp should be in the warm spot to provide the heat your gecko needs.

When the gecko has had enough of the warm zone, it can move to the cool zone to cool down.

Maintain temperatures between 280 C and 350 C (82F and 95F) during the day. The temperatures at night should not be lower than 180 C (64F).


Leopard geckos need heat to thrive in their enclosure. You can provide heat by installing a proper heat lamp in the tank.

Keeping the heat lamp on at night is okay, as the gecko needs it to carry out various activities.

However, you can also opt to use a heat mat or ceramic heater, especially if it’s not feasible to leave the heat lamp on at night.

The bottom line is that your leopard gecko cannot do without heat. It needs a suitable external source of heat day and night.

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