How Long Should I Leave My Leopard Geckos Light On?

Leopard geckos aren’t animals that require light but for those who want them to have it, knowing when and when not to have them on is extremely important.  Lights are useful for leopard geckos but at the same time, they can also be stressful.  To avoid stressing your leopard gecko out, we’re now going to discuss how long to leave a leopard gecko’s light on in the day, and if they even need light at night.

Let’s get right into it.

How long to leave a leopard gecko’s light on

Their lights should only be on during the day time while they’re sleeping, and off at night while they’re awake. Stay consistent about the exact times, you need to mimic a sunrise and sunset. 

Leopard geckos are crepuscular. This simply means that they are most active during the twilight period, which is dawn or dusk. This is different from diurnal or nocturnal animals that are active during the day or night. Having said that, leopard geckos tend to be a little more active at night than in the day when they sleep.

Do leopard geckos need light at night?

Leopard geckos have amazing eyesight, they don’t need lights to see in the dark. Not only that, but only having your light on during the day time helps them keep a consistent sleep cycle so that they can be healthy and also a lot less stressed.

That said, let’s learn some reasons why leopard geckos actually need light at night, in an indirect way.

1. Know when it’s night time

Leopard geckos do not like light and could technically survive without it. However, they do rely on it. It helps them to know whether or not it’s the day time or night time, which is very important.

2. Cause stress

Contrary to what some people may say, a lack of light can cause stress for a leopard gecko. That said, the light also shouldn’t be left on all of the time.

3. Consistent sleep cycle

A leopard gecko does require a certain amount of light to remain healthy and keep a very consistent sleep cycle. Just like for you and me, sleeping and waking up in an erratic cycle can be very detrimental to a leopard gecko’s health and well being.

Stay consistent with your gecko’s cycle

Most people have adapted to being awake in the day and sleeping at night. Whenever that cycle is thrown off, we feel like garbage the next day. The same goes for leopard geckos.

Since they’re crepuscular, they need their sleep during the day. If the light is off during this time, it can mess with their sleep cycle and cause them to potentially become stressed out.

To avoid that, make sure that all lights are off during the night and on during the day.

Using a heat bulb

Some owners worry that their leopard geckos won’t be able to see during the night or that they won’t get the heat that they need if their light is turned off.  As mentioned above though, because leopard geckos have such great eyesight, that’s simply not true.

They’ve adapted to living in conditions that provide them with little light, so being active during the night without any light is no problem for them.  They can navigate, drink, and find everything in the enclosure just fine without any issues whatsoever.

In addition to that, they also don’t need the light for their means of receiving heat either.  I mean, they need heat, but a light isn’t the only way that they’re able to get it.  That said, you can give it to them in two other ways.

The first way is by using a heat mat, which I’m sure everyone knows of.  And the second way is by using a non-light heat bulb.  Either way of providing them with heat can be used but because you’re using a light, you’ll probably want to use a heat bulb.

That said, I recommend this one on Amazon.  I personally prefer a heat mat, but because there are owners out there who don’t, the non-light heat bulb is another good alternative to use when giving your leopard gecko the heat that they need.

Just in case you’d like to go the heat mat route though, you can check out the one that I have here.

Although light isn’t something that is required 24/7, heat is.  So before turning the lights off completely, make sure that you have another source of heat before doing so.

For those that use UVB

If you’re someone that uses UVB, then the same thing that applies for heat lamp users will apply for your UVB light, it will need to be turned off during the night.  You may be worried that they won’t get the D3 that they need by turning it off, but since leopard geckos who live in the wild don’t get it at night either, your gecko won’t need it.

As you probably already know, UVB lights are meant to mimic the sun. It provides your leopard gecko with the D3 that they need during the day time but during the night, it’s not necessary.  The reason for this is because when the sun is down, they don’t get any D3.

So to stay as true to their natural environment as much as possible, it’s best that it’s not kept on.  Keeping your UVB on during the night time is not only unnecessary, but it can also be disturbing as well.

You may be wondering how your leopard gecko will get the proper amount of D3 that they need to remain healthy since they’re up during the day and not the night but because they frequently come out of their sleep during the day to soak it up whenever they feel like they need it, there’s nothing to worry about.

Leopard geckos are crepuscular lizards so they do spend most of their day sleeping, but when they need to, they will not hesitate to come out of their hide to supplement their bodies with whatever they need whether that be D3, water, or anything else they’re craving.

If you have a hard time keeping track of when and when not to keep your light on, which some owners do, I recommend supplementing your leopard gecko with the powder form of D3 instead.  Both sources of D3 work the same, but a lot of owners find it more convenient to use the powder instead.

Basking lights aren’t necessary for leopard geckos

Some people think that leopard geckos are lizards that bask but because they’re not geckos that are usually awake during the day time, that’s simply not the case. Leopard geckos love their light and in my opinion, it’s essential for them to have in order to maintain their health.

Although this is true though, there are some exceptions when it comes to which kind of lights are actually used.  Sunlight and light provided by a heating lamp are great for giving your leopard gecko what they need, but if you have a basking light or are looking into getting one then just know that it’s not required for this particular kind of gecko.

If by chance you’ve run across this article and you’re wondering how long you should keep your basking light on, then the answer is never. Not only will having a basking light on all of the time be more on your bills, but it will also be pointless as they don’t generally like to lay in one designated spot within the tank to soak up their heat.

Heat mats and heat lamps are more than good enough for providing your gecko with the heat that they need and will do a much better job at doing so then a basking light would.


When first bringing your leopard gecko home it can be hard to know when and when not to keep your light on but because it’s important that you stay true to what they’d be subjected to in the wild as much as possible, having it be on during the day would be the very best time to provide them with it.

Try to get on a schedule early on. An example of such a schedule could be:

  • Lights on at around 6 to 7:00 AM when the sun is rising
  • Lights off around 7 to 8:00 PM when the sun has set

The hours in which the sun rises and sets will depend on where you live but the same rules will still apply.

If you’re not exactly sure when the sun rises or sets where you live, simply type in “when does the sun rise” or “when does the sun set” into Google so that you can know for sure.  By having that information, you’ll be able to turn  your light on and off  at a reasonable time so that you’re ensuring that your leopard gecko is staying on a healthy sleep cycle.

I’m Devin Nunn, an average joe that just so happens to have a deep love and passion for everything to do with reptiles. Because taking care of them for the vast majority of my life wasn’t fulfilling enough, I decided to begin educating others about them through my articles. read more...