Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

Do You Need a Heat Lamp For Your Crested Gecko?

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by The Pet Engineers

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If this is your first time having a crested gecko as a pet, then it is completely understandable why it may get a little overwhelming for you when it comes to the temperature adjustment of the enclosure of your pet.

In that case, you may be confused about whether you really need a heat lamp for your crested gecko. Or can a heat mat work just as well? Or, instead, do you even need either of these things?

The purpose of this article is to make this decision less intimidating for you, especially if you are getting a pet crested gecko for the first time.

Do Crested Geckos Need A Heat Lamp?

If you live in a region of moderate temperatures, then your pet crested gecko will not need any additional heating in the form of a heat lamp.

Do you live in a region where the daytime temperatures are between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit?

Do you live in a region where the temperatures do not go below 65 degrees Fahrenheit?

If your answer to both these questions is yes, then you do not need to keep a heat lamp in the enclosure of your crested gecko.

However, it may be a good idea to keep a heat lamp in the enclosure of your pet crested gecko during winter. In the colder seasons, the temperature at nighttime becomes a little unpredictable.

There is always a chance of the temperatures falling below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, it is a good idea to keep a heat lamp or source with adjustable temperature in the tank or enclosure of your pet crested gecko.

Do Crested Geckos Need A Heat Lamp At Night?

If you live in a region where the temperatures at nighttime fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, then you will need to install a heat lamp in the enclosure of your pet crested gecko.

A heat lamp will allow for a particular spot inside the enclosure to be consistently maintained at a constant temperature.

So, during cold nights when the temperature is below the minimum threshold of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, your pet crested gecko will have a spot to go and rest.

A heat lamp is also beneficial for bigger enclosures as it is difficult to maintain consistent temperatures in larger tanks.

If, however, you have a small enclosure and you live in a region where the temperature does not fall below the minimum levels, you don’t need to install a heat lamp even at nighttime.

How to keep your crested gecko warm with heat lamps

How Long Should The Heat Lamp Be Turned On?

The first thing that you need to note when installing a heat lamp in the enclosure of your crested gecko is that there has to be a place inside the tank which is at a colder temperature.

This will allow the crested gecko to cool off in case the hot side of the tank becomes too hot.

Secondly, the heat lamp should not be switched on during the nighttime – especially not when you are about to doze off.

The heat lamp should not be on without supervision, because you will need to regulate the temperature of the heat lamp.

Finally, you should note that the heat lamp should not be switched on for more than 3 hours. In fact, 3 hours is the average threshold – in most cases, you will observe that within an hour of keeping the heat lamp on, your crested gecko starts moving to the cooler side of the tank.

This is because although the heat lamp is concentrated on one spot, the heat eventually radiates and increases the temperature of the entire tank.

So, on average, a period of 1 to 3 hours is more than enough to bring your crested gecko’s enclosure above the minimum temperature level.

Crested Gecko Temperature In Habitats and Enclosures

Before we get to the accessories needed to regulate the temperature of the enclosure, it may help to understand what are the temperature requirements of crested geckos.

Crested geckos have their origins in the rainforests of New Caledonia, which means they evolved to thrive in humid and warm environments.

Keeping this in mind, the ambient range of temperatures for the enclosure of your pet crested gecko is between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is important to have a temperature gradient inside the tank. Moreover, do not expose your pet crested gecko to temperatures higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period.

heat lamps keep crested geckos warm
Crested geckos like it warm

Crested geckos are sensitive to temperature changes and will overheat and dehydrate if exposed to higher temperatures.

Similarly, they will get too cold and dehydrate if exposed to lower temperatures than the minimum threshold.

Temperature changes can also act as potential stressors that affect the appetite, energy levels, and consequently the overall health of crested geckos.

What Happens When Crested Geckos Are Exposed To Cold Temperature?

It is easily imaginable for us to predict what will happen when a crested gecko is exposed to very hot temperatures.

But what happens when a crested gecko is exposed to temperatures that are too cold?

When the temperature of its tank is consistently lower than the minimum threshold of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, a crested gecko will start showing symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, and slow digestion.

The slowing down of digestion of crested geckos can further increase the risks of constipation and impaction.

And in extreme circumstances, if the temperatures are too low, it can lead to hypothermia and eventual death of the crested gecko.

How Cold Is Too Cold For Crested Geckos?

The ideal temperature range for crested geckos during the daytime is between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. During the nighttime, your pet crested gecko can tolerate temperatures as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

But any temperature below the minimum threshold of 72 degrees during the day and 65 degrees during the night can start showing negative effects on the health of your crested gecko.

Do Crested Geckos Bask?

No, crested geckos do not bask in the sunlight or any basking light. During the daytime, a crested gecko will actually spend its time in hiding, under the foliage, to rest.

Do not include any halogen or other kind of basking light in the enclosure of your pet crested gecko, as it can elevate the temperature of the environment and make the tank too hot for your pet.

This exposure to excess heat can have adverse effects on the health of your crested gecko in terms of dehydration, loss of appetite, constipation or impaction due to slower digestion, and difficulties during shedding.

Heat Lamps Vs. Heat Mats

There is a debate among crested gecko enthusiasts and owners as to which is better – heat lamps or heat mats.

Each one has its pros and cons, and so, instead of taking one side over the other, it makes more sense to base your choice on the needs of your crested gecko.

Here, the advantages of both mats and lamps are listed. You should opt for what seems to match your pet’s needs – and remember to be dynamic with the choices.

You may have to change your choice based on the changing needs of your pet crested gecko. Now that that’s out of the way, here are the 2 major advantages of heat lamps and heat mats:

heat lamp
Heat lamp

Heat Lamps

  • Concentrated source of heat, allows for stronger heating in the bigger tanks.
  • Well suited for regions where nighttime temperatures fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat Mats

  • Allow for a gradient of heat inside the enclosure
  • Do not need to be switched on and off

Conclusion

If you live in a region where the temperatures are naturally between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and don’t fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit during nighttime, then you don’t need a heat lamp.

The natural heating will provide for the ambient temperature conditions of your pet crested gecko’s enclosure.

However, if the temperatures at your place fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to provide heating in the form of heat lamps or heat mats to prevent your crested gecko from falling sick due to extreme cold.

About
The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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