Where to Put a Heating Pad for Leopard Gecko?

By Frank Miller •  Updated: 10/09/23 • 

Leopard geckos love belly heat because it aids proper digestion and enhances their health and well-being. A heating pad is one of the most popular heating equipment that can provide sufficient belly heat. Unfortunately, many things could go south if the equipment is poorly installed. If you are wondering where to put a heating pad for leopard geckos, stick around for a detailed answer.

Heating pads should be attached to the bottom of the vivarium between the floor and substrate. Ensure the equipment covers no more than half the tank’s floor to maintain a healthy temperature gradient. Alternatively, you can install a self-adhesive heat mat to the sides of the tank. Irrespective of your choice, improperly installed equipment can quickly lead to accidents.

Keep reading for more details about where to put a heating pad for leopard geckos. We will discuss why your scaly friend needs heat and whether heating pads offer safe and efficient heating solutions.

Let’s get started!

Heating Pad Placement in a Leopard Gecko’s Tank

Heating pads are pretty simple to install. By following several key steps, you can ensure your scaly friend is safe and comfortable. The ideal spot for a heating pad is at the bottom of your leopard gecko’s tank, under the substrate. Ensure the equipment only covers the warm side of the tank to allow your pet to move to the cool side if he gets too hot.

Alternatively, you can install the heating pad on the side of your tank. In this case, the mat merely needs to be high enough, and it is unnecessary to place anything over it. This should enhance safety by preventing electrocution, which can occur if your Leo knocks over his water bowl. There will also be minimal risk of fires caused by overheating enclosure debris or other flammable materials.

Here are more safety tips to remember when using a heating pad.

Are Heating Pads Safe For Leopard Geckos?

Heating pads are safe for leopard geckos, provided they are correctly installed and routinely checked for malfunctions. Ensure you set the right temperature for your Leo and use a thermostat to help regulate the heat produced.

Leopard geckos are ground-dwelling lizards that need heat levels ranging between 75 and 80°F on the cool end, 80 and 85°F on the warm end, and 90 and 95°F on the basking spot. Because they are cold-blooded and depend on heat from their surroundings to maintain comfortable body temperatures, you must provide a heat source in their vivarium.

In the wild, leopard geckos sleep through most of the day. They are not basking lizards but still enjoy belly heat by taking advantage of the heat trapped inside rocks. In captivity, heating pads offer a safe and energy-efficient way to keep their tanks warm, cozy, and within the recommended temperature range.

A Vivarium Set up with Under-tank Heat Pad

A Vivarium Set up with Under-tank Heat Pad

4 Vital Facts about Heating Pads for Leopard Geckos

Heating pads must be used alongside other heating equipment, such as heating lamps. They only provide balanced heating, meaning they cannot safely create a basking zone for your leopard gecko. Using both allows you to provide the most naturalistic day-night cycles by ensuring daylight hours are warmer than hours after sunset. You merely need to switch off the lamp at night.

Here are 4 crucial facts about heating pads.

1. Compatibility

Compared to most heating equipment ideal for leopard geckos, heating pads are more pocket-friendly in the long haul. They also don’t require special fittings, which makes them easier to install. Unfortunately, they are incompatible with some substrates, especially if you want to install them at the bottom of the vivarium.

For instance, a heating pad is unsuitable for bioactive setups because the direct heat will kill the cleanup crew. It is also inappropriate for use in tanks with deep substrates because it can only provide gentle heating that cannot effectively penetrate a thick substrate layer.

>Recommended Reading: Best Substrates for Leopard Geckos

2. Function

Leopard geckos need both light and heat during daylight hours. However, they only need heat during the night. This is where heat mats come in handy. They provide reliable infrared radiation, and you can always twitch the settings to ensure the tank’s nighttime temperatures never drop below 65°F (18°C).

A potential tradeoff is that heat pads produce 100% infrared C radiation. This implies they provide superficial heat at best. Although they are helpful at night, your leopard gecko needs deep-penetrating heat during daylight hours. For example, heat lamps produce infrared A, B, and C, which can efficiently heat your soft-bellied baby to his core.

3. Control

Heating pads only produce heat and are generally easy to control with a thermostat. Ensure you choose a thermostat compatible with your heating equipment and input your desired temperature settings to achieve balanced heating.

>Recommended Reading: Leopard Gecko Heating Pad Temperatures

4. Power Rating

Heating pads are energy-efficient and have a power rating of 10 to 50 watts. Although using them as your primary heat source can help keep your power bills reasonable, you can only depend on heating pads for heat output. You will still need to provide a light source for your scaly friend.

Heat pads offer a reliable supplemental heat source and can be on 24/7. They are more practical for use during power outages because you can practically power them using a portable power station. The best part is that they can last for years, perhaps a lifetime, provided the heating element remains pristine.

Final Thoughts

Heating pads provide more controlled and localized warmth and are safe for leopard geckos, provided you install them correctly. Place the equipment at the bottom of the tank, under the substrate, or attach it to the side of the tank.

Before installing a heating pad, it is vital to have an in-depth understanding of the potential perks and drawbacks of the heating equipment. Also, compare different brands and settle for a well-designed product with a reasonable number of great customer reviews.

Frank Miller

Frank Miller is the Founder of Lizard Advisor and owns several pet lizards, from leopard geckos, bearded dragons, crested geckos, chameleons, and others. The mission of this website is to make owning a pet lizard very easy for everyone, but mostly beginners. And each year, he continues to help more people learn more about lizard care and much more.