One of the best aspects of keeping Crested Geckos is the fact that they do best at room temperatures with the ideal range falling between 70-78 degrees F. Some Crested Gecko owners may not find it necessary to provide additional heat during cooler times of the year, but there are those who may struggle to keep temperatures in that range. Not everybody lives in the exact same climate and not all homes are heated or cooled the same. If maintaining a consistent temperature between 70-78 degrees F within your home or reptile room is not the best choice for you, consider some of the alternative ways to heat your Crested Gecko. This article will explain what you need to know to keep your geckos healthy and comfortable.
So, what is the best heat source for crested geckos?
Before we start, the most important tool for monitoring the temperature and humidity in your gecko's environment will be an accurate thermometer hygrometer. This is mandatory for any reptile species. We have used several digital thermometers and find The DTH-100 to be the most affordable and accurate. Digital thermometer hygrometers with a temperature probe are the most versatile instruments for measuring temperatures and humidity in different areas of your gecko enclosure. If you are reading temperatures consistently below 70 degrees F in your gecko enclosure, you should consider providing an additional heat source. Since Crested Geckos do not bask in direct sunlight during the day, and overheating is a major concern, elevating temperatures for this species is a little different than for other reptiles.
Some heat sources you should avoid for Crested Geckos: basking bulbs, halogen bulbs, and any high wattage bulb designed to create a basking spot. These can be too hot for Crested Geckos.
Ceramic heat emitters screw into standard reptile light fixtures. These are infrared heating elements that do not emit any light. Ceramic heaters are an excellent choice for providing the most accurate temperature for your Crested Gecko. However, to safely do this you will need to plug the fixture into a reptile thermostat to make sure that the heating element is not getting too hot for your gecko. Zoo Med makes a 25 watt Nano Ceramic Heat Emitter that is a suitable size for Crested Geckos versus the larger and higher wattage ceramic heat emitters.
Very accurate temperature control (if used with a thermostat)
Does not emit any light
Should be used with a thermostat (can overheat your gecko otherwise)
These bulbs are designed to provide a little additional heat for nocturnal species and provide some light for viewing your reptile at night time. A lot of Crested gecko keepers have the most trouble keeping the temperatures warmer at night. For Crested Geckos, using a 25 watt bulb is usually the best choice. If a 25 watt bulb is adding too much heat, you can use a lamp stand to elevate the fixture farther away from the enclosure to dial in the temperature.
Simple and cost effective
Night time viewing of your gecko
May be slightly challenging to get an exact desired temperature
Don't last as long as ceramic heat emitters
Heat tape is designed more for terrestrial species, but we see it recommended by others for Crested Geckos on occasion. You will need to use a thermostat when using heat tape. Also, since both heat tape and heating pads are for heating the floor of an enclosure or “belly heat”, they aren’t quite as effective when trying to increase the ambient temperatures within an enclosure for arboreal species like Crested geckos. You can try mounting heat tape on one side of the enclosure rather than underneath, but it will really only create a warm area and not properly heat an enclosure without creating a hot spot where the tape or heating pad is mounted.
Lasts a very long time
Not designed for arboreal enclosures
Thermostat is mandatory