Leaf-Tailed Gecko Temperatures & Lighting Requirements

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Lighting

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. They type of UVB bulb you will need to use generally depends on the height of the enclosure you are using:

If you would like to be more precise about how much UVB your leaf-tailed gecko receives, invest in a Solarmeter Model 6.5 for Reptiles. According to observations of UVB levels in Uroplatus geckos’ native habitat, wild Uroplatus are exposed to between 0-15 µW/cm2. 5-10 µW/cm2 being estimated as a safe range for captive geckos.

Note that bark mimics like the Fimbriatus, Lineatus, and Alluaudi groups are likely to receive more UVB than leaf mimics (Ebenaui group). These are the latest observations by herpetologist Mark D. Schertz.

Temperatures

Although in theory all members of Uroplatus can be kept fairly comfortably between 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)

Leaf-tailed gecko temperatures should not exceed the maximums (or minimums) outlined above.

Certain species, namely U. giganteus and U. guentheri, may benefit from an 80-82°F basking spot. However, a basking spot should only be implemented if it will not raise overall terrarium temperatures.

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.

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Keep reading:

  1. Introduction to Leaf-Tailed Geckos
  2. Leaf-tailed Gecko Shopping List
  3. Uroplatus Species
  4. Terrarium Size Requirements
  5. Substrate Options
  6. Temperatures & UVB (YOU ARE HERE)
  7. Humidity Requirements
  8. How to Decorate a Leaf-Tailed Gecko Terrarium
  9. What to Feed Your Leaf-Tailed Gecko
  10. Handling Tips & Body Language Info
  11. Common Diseases & Other Health Questions
  12. Additional Resources