Heating a Gecko Enclosure

Like most other reptiles, geckos need a 'heat gradient' to live happily and healthily. Since geckos are cold-blooded they must have both cool areas and warm areas so they can regulate their body temperature. Here is a quick guide to gecko heating methods.


Some gecko owners prefer to supply heat to their gecko's vivarium using an incandescent bulb, sometimes in conjunction with reflection fixtures.

Heating bulbs like this can be fitted into the top screen of the enclosure or fitted above open-top enclosures. Red heating bulbs are suitable for both daytime and nighttime. Ideally you'll need a 40-watt or 60-watt bulb to provide the right amount of heat for most all but the largest of enclosures.

You should use a thermometer to monitor temperature when using heating bulbs for your leopard geckos. The floor area closest to the heat from the bulb should be around 84 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important that the top of the vivarium or enclosure is fully ventilated when using bulbs to provide heat.

Remember that an incandescent heating bulb may provide too much heat for a small enclosure. Always bear in mind the aim is to provide your gecko with both warm and cool areas so they can regulate their own body heat.

Have a look at some heating bulbs and lamps available on Amazon.co.uk

Heating Pads and Tape

The most common type of heating pad for your gecko enclosure will sit underneath it. These can often be a really effective method of providing a heating gradient for your geckos, especially if placed under only one end of the vivarium.

TIP: A heating pad should only be placed under 25 to 35% of the enclosure to provide a suitable heat gradient so your leopard gecko can 'thermoregulate' happily!

If you have deep layers of substrate then heat from the pad may not get through as it will act as insulation. If you are unsure what heating pad you will need, just ask an expert when you are buying. Always remember to consult the instructions that come with the heating pad carefully.

If your gecko's enclosure is glass, you should raise it from it's surface slightly to allow airflow under it. This will help prevent it from overheating. An easy way of doing this is placing cardboard of thin strips of wood under each corner of the vivarium.

Click here to see some suitable heating pads available on Amazon.co.uk.

Hot rocks

One other method of heating your gecko's environment is with hot rocks. However, it's becoming less popular as their surface can become too hot and hence don't provide a suitable heat gradient. Areas of the vivarium may become too cool and so your leopard gecko may spend too much time sitting on the hot rock which may mildly burn it's skin.

If you do choose to use hot rocks, always place a thermometer in their surface so you can monitor them safely.

This article is specifically for the temperature control of a gecko enclosure. You can also read our article on how to heat a vivarium for more information.

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