Leaf-Tailed Gecko Temperatures & Lighting Requirements

Lighting

Leaf-tailed geckos benefit from a consistent day/night cycle of 12 hours each (for example, 7am-7pm). The best way to accomplish this is with a timer like the Century 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 — A Zoo Med ReptiSun 2.0 compact fluorescent should do the trick. No additional light should be needed unless you wish to provide a basking spot, discussed in the next section.

If you would like to be more precise about how much UVB your leaf-tailed gecko receives, invest in a Solarmeter Model 6.2 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: 72-75° day, 65-68° night (22.2-23.9°C, 18.3-20°C)
  • aff. henkeli: 72-75° day, 65-68° night (22.2-23.9°C, 18.3-20°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: 72°F day, 65°F night (22.2°C, 18.3°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 never exceed the maximums (or minimums) outlined above.

Certain species, namely U. giganteus and U. guentheri, may benefit from an 80-82°F basking spot created with a 60w incandescent bulb. However, a basking spot should only be implemented if it will not raise overall terrarium temperatures.


PRO TIP: Track your terrarium’s temperatures with pinpoint precision by using a temperature gun like the Etekcity Lasergrip 774. I use mine all the time!

Next → How much humidity does my leaf-tailed gecko need?