Leaf-tailed geckos benefit from a consistent day/night cycle of 12 hours each (for example, 7am-7pm), although some species like U. phantasticus do better with a 14-hour day. The best way to accomplish this is with a digital programmable timer.
Although these geckos are crepuscular, they tend to sleep out in the open during the day in the wild, naturally exposing themselves to sunlight. Breeders and collectors generally agree that UVB is strongly recommended for their health. The type of UVB bulb you will need to use generally depends on the height of the enclosure you are using. Here are some options, based on the enclosure’s height:
- 18″ tall
- 24″ tall
- 36″-48″ tall
If you would like to be more precise about how much UVB your leaf-tailed gecko receives, invest in a Solarmeter Model 6.5. Aim for a maximum UVI reading of 1.0-2.0 at the closest point to the lamp. If you can’t afford a Solarmeter, here’s a rough estimate of the distancing you will need:
- Zoo Med Compact Coil Reptisun 5.0, 26w — 4-6″ / 15-20cm
- Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 5.0 — 4-6″ / 15-20cm
- Arcadia T5 SO ShadeDweller 7% — 8-10″ / 20-25cm
(Recommendations are provided assuming the use of an Arcadia or Vivarium Electronics fixture for T5 lamps, and a Zoo Med fixture for T8 and compact coil bulbs. Using a different fixture than recommended is likely to change the bulb’s expected output.)
Note that bark mimics like the Fimbriatus, Lineatus, and Alluaudi groups are likely to naturally receive more UVB than leaf mimics (Ebenaui group). These are the latest observations by herpetologist Mark D. Schertz.
Although in theory all members of Uroplatus can be kept fairly comfortably at an ambient temperature of 72-76°F (22.2-24.4°C), different species evolved to thrive at slightly different temperatures, depending on what part of the island they inhabit. All seem to benefit from a temperature drop at night, which also helps promote air circulation in glass enclosures.
- fimbriatus: 76-78°F day, 70-74°F night (24.4-25.6°C, 21.1-23.3°C)
- henkeli: 73-77° day, 65-68° night (23-25°C, 18-20°C)
- aff. henkeli: 72-75° day, 65-68° night (22.2-23.9°C, 18-20°C)
- sameiti: 77-82° day, 72-75° night (25-27.8°C, 22.2-23.9°C)
- sikorae: 72-78° day, 68-72° night (22.2-25.6°C, 20-22.2°C)
- aff. sikorae: 72-78° day, 68-72° night (22.2-25.6°C, 20-22.2°C)
- giganteus: 75-78°F day, 68-73°F night (23.9-25.6°C, 20-22.8°C)
- ebenaui: 68-75°F day, 62-70°F night (20-23.9°C, 16.7-21.1°C)
- phantasticus: 68-77°F day, 65-68°F night (20-25°F, 18-20°C)
- fiera: 68-75°F day, 62-70°F night (20-23.9°C, 16.7-21.1°C)
- finiavana: 72-75°F day, 68-72°F night (22.2-23.9°C, 20-22.2°C)
- fotsivava: No data
- kelirambo: No data
- malama: No data
- pietschmanni: 73-76°F day, 65-68°F night (22.8-24.4°C, 18.3-20°C)
- alluaudi: 74-76°F day, 68-72°F night (23.3-24.4°C, 20-22.2°C)
- malahelo: No data
- guentheri: 72-75°F day, 65-68°F night (22.2-23.9°C, 18.3-20°C)
- lineatus: 75-78°F day, 72-75°F night (23.9-25.6°C, 22.2-23.9°C)
Reptiles are poikilotherms, so although leaf-tailed geckos have been proven to be able to survive being kept at a certain ambient temperature, providing a low-intensity basking spot is likely to be beneficial. This basking temperature should be very low, between 80-85°F/27-29°C.
However, a basking spot should only be implemented if it will not raise overall terrarium temperatures to dangerous levels. This means that providing a basking area may not be safe in enclosures that are too small to accommodate an appropriate thermal gradient.
How to Heat Your Leaf-Tailed Gecko Terrarium
The best heat source for a leaf-tailed gecko is a heat lamp. White or clear low-wattage incandescent/halogen bulbs work very nicely.
If you are using a small terrarium hood like the Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium Hood to house your lights, I recommend the Exo Terra Daytime Heat Lamp. The exact wattage you need will depend on enclosure size, design, room temperature, and other factors, but start with the 25w and go up or down from there depending on your needs.
If you are using a small 5.5″ dome lamp like Zoo Med’s for your heat bulb, then I recommend starting with the 25w Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp. Dome lamps are also compatible with dimmers, which can be a very handy feature for controlling the basking temperature in your gecko’s enclosure.
- PRO TIP: Track your terrarium’s temperatures with pinpoint precision by using a temperature gun and a digital probe thermometer.
- Introduction to Leaf-Tailed Geckos
- Leaf-tailed Gecko Shopping List
- Uroplatus Species
- Terrarium Size Requirements
- Substrate Options
- Temperatures & UVB (YOU ARE HERE)
- Humidity Requirements
- How to Decorate a Leaf-Tailed Gecko Terrarium
- What to Feed Your Leaf-Tailed Gecko
- Handling Tips & Body Language Info
- Common Diseases & Other Health Questions
- Additional Resources