Leopard geckos unlike most of the other animals have their body temperatures far more attached to the environment than anyone can ever fathom. Their survival and healthy highly depends on the availability of natural light for the provision of the required nutrients. Research indicates that leopard geckos use the environment as a means of body temperature control. If you have such an animal at home as a pet, you have to ensure that you provide an alternative source of UVB light. Otherwise, the health, comfort and survival of your pet will be at stake.
Sources of Leopard Gecko Light
Mostly, pet owners are advised not to keep their pet cages in places where sunlight can reach. Excess sunlight can overheat your animal and its habitat resulting in dehydration or death in severe cases. Also, taking them outside to bask in the sun might as well not be okay because you will be required to do it the same time every day. With the human busy days, such a schedule might not be possible hence leading to a situation where the animal does not get enough vitamin D. to avoid such an instance, you should consider artificial light for a leopard gecko. Through the use of heat and light bulbs, you can provide a thermogradient where you place a lamp at one edge of the cage where heat and light are at its maximum and less in the other corners. Where the bulb is placed, the temperatures during the day should range between 28 t0 30 degrees and 24 to 26 degrees at night.
At night, the temperatures in the cage should not be allowed to go below 18 degrees. The use of a ceramic heat lamp or a heat mat makes this possible. It is not only the heat from the lamps that are necessary but also light. The light spectrum of natural light is rich in vitamin D3 that is very essential to the gecko. Creating bulbs that have almost a similar spectrum has ensured easy keeping of leopard geckos as pets. If the environment in which the pet lives does not receive any UVB light, the survival of the animal becomes threatened. You can easily notice the obvious health issues that the animal starts to suffer from. These pets are crepuscular animals rather than nocturnal as it was earlier speculated. This means that they mostly tend to busk in dusk and dawn when the light is not so much. At such a time, their skin is able to absorb almost all the vitamin D that strikes it. They have the ability to absorb more UVB when the light is low in comparison with the other animals. This makes the best time for their busking to be the few hours when the sun is rising and when it is setting
The essence of UVB Light
In a cage where the leopard geckos live, they are prone to various health issues when they do not have access to UV light for reptiles or when their diet does not contain vitamin D. when this happens, the body struggles to fill the gap by producing vitamin D3. This is not enough for the survival of the animal. Vitamin D helps the reptile’s body to synthesize calcium obtained from the food it consumes. When there is less vitamin D, calcium synthesis is hindered and this leads to a deficiency of calcium in the body.
Essentially, the animal suffers from a metabolic bone disease characterized by a weak skeletal structure. The bones become brittle and weak and the animal cannot walk comfortably and that its bones easily break. T5 or T8 tubes are the best light tubes for leopard gecko with a 5-6% UVB light. Moreover, hanging the bulb as far as possible is recommended since it helps in creating a UV gradient. This light should be available during the day when the animal is active and switched off at night to allow it to rest. For albino leopard geckos, a bulb that generates about 2% of UV light should be used due to their hypersensitive nature.
Just like humans, leopard geckos require UVB light for survival and good health. This light can either be obtained from the sun which is a natural source or from artificial UVB bulbs. When you have a cage for leopard gecko , you should acquire such a light bulb in order to promote your pet’s health. However, the percentage of UV should be maintained at 5-6 % since these types of geckos absorb maximum UVB when the light is low.