Are Red Lights Bad For Leopard Geckos? [Effects & Impact]


Leopard geckos are popular pets due to their docile nature, vibrant colors, and relatively low maintenance.

They’re originally from the arid regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, which means they’re used to living in warm, dry environments.

Knowing this, it’s essential to provide them with suitable habitats to ensure their health and happiness.

Proper lighting is crucial to the well-being of leopard geckos. It helps regulate their circadian rhythm, affects their mood, and aids in their digestion.

So, what color light is best for leopard geckos? The answer isn’t always straightforward, and it’s important to understand the effects of different light sources on these reptiles.

Fun Fact #1: Leopard geckos have eyelids, which is quite rare among geckos. This feature allows them to blink and keep their eyes clean.

Understanding Red Lights

Types of Red Lights

Red lights come in various forms, such as incandescent bulbs, LED lights, and infrared heat lamps. They’re commonly used in reptile care because they’re thought to provide a source of heat without disturbing the animal’s sleep.

However, it’s crucial to understand the effects of red lights on your pet before deciding to use them.

Common Uses for Red Lights in Reptile Care

Red lights are often used as a supplemental heat source, especially during the night. The idea is that they can provide warmth without emitting bright light that could potentially disrupt the reptile’s sleep.

However, the question remains: are red lights bad for leopard geckos?

Fun Fact #2: Leopard geckos can detach their tails as a defense mechanism against predators. The tail will eventually regrow, but it's essential to provide proper care during the healing process.

Are Red Lights Bad for Leopard Geckos?

The Effects of Red Lights on Leopard Geckos’ Sleep While it’s true that red lights produce less visible light than other types, recent research suggests that leopard geckos may still be sensitive to them.

This means that using a red light in their enclosure could disrupt their sleep and cause stress.

The Impact on Their Circadian Rhythm

Leopard geckos, like humans, have a circadian rhythm that regulates their sleep-wake cycle. Red lights can confuse their internal clock, making it difficult to distinguish between day and night. This confusion can lead to stress and poor health in the long run.

Red Lights and Heat Regulation

Although red lights do provide some heat, they might not be the most effective or safest option for regulating your leopard gecko’s enclosure temperature. Too much heat can be harmful, while too little can make it difficult for them to digest their food properly.

So, why is red light bad for reptiles, including leopard geckos? It’s mainly because it can interfere with their sleep and circadian rhythm, leading to stress and health issues.

Alternatives to Red Lights for Leopard Geckos

Ceramic Heat Emitters A better option for providing heat without disrupting your leopard gecko’s sleep is a ceramic heat emitter (CHE).

CHEs emit heat without producing any light, making them ideal for maintaining a consistent temperature in your gecko’s enclosure, day and night.

Under Tank Heaters

Under tank heaters (UTHs) are another great alternative to red lights. These devices attach to the bottom of the enclosure and provide gentle, consistent heat without emitting any light.

UTHs are particularly suitable for leopard geckos since they are ground-dwelling reptiles and absorb heat through their bellies.

Infrared Heat Lamps

Infrared heat lamps emit minimal light and are less likely to disturb your leopard gecko’s sleep. When choosing an infrared heat lamp, opt for one that produces minimal visible light to ensure your gecko’s comfort.

Creating the Ideal Environment for Your Leopard Gecko

Proper Temperature and Lighting

Ensuring your leopard gecko’s enclosure has the right temperature and lighting is crucial for their well-being. The ideal temperature range is between 88-92°F (31-33°C) on the warm side and 75-80°F (24-27°C) on the cooler side.

A digital thermometer can help you monitor the temperature accurately. For lighting, use a low-intensity UVB light during the day to mimic their natural environment.

Providing a Comfortable and Natural Habitat

Create a habitat that mimics your leopard gecko’s natural environment by adding hiding spots, a shallow water dish, and a substrate suitable for burrowing. Providing a comfortable space for your gecko will reduce stress and contribute to their overall happiness.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Gecko’s Environment

Regularly monitor your leopard gecko’s environment to ensure it remains optimal. Check the temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of the enclosure. Make adjustments as needed to maintain your pet’s safe and comfortable space.


To answer the question, “Are red lights bad for leopard geckos?” — yes, they can be.

Red lights may disrupt your gecko’s sleep and negatively affect its circadian rhythm, leading to stress and health issues.

Instead, consider using alternatives like ceramic heat emitters, under-tank heaters, or infrared heat lamps to maintain a comfortable temperature without interfering with their sleep.

Remember that providing the right environment for your leopard gecko is essential to their well-being.

Focus on maintaining proper temperature and lighting, creating a natural and comfortable habitat, and regularly monitoring and adjusting their environment as needed.

Following these guidelines will set your leopard gecko up for a happy and healthy life.

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