Should Leopard Geckos Feel Cold To The Touch?

Leopard Gecko feeling cold

Leopard geckos may feel cold to the touch for a variety of reasons. One of the first things people notice when handling a leopard gecko is that they might feel cold to the touch. This is primarily because leopard geckos are cold-blooded animals. Unlike humans, who are warm-blooded and maintain a constant body temperature, leopard geckos rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. In essence, their body temperature is a reflection of the ambient temperature of their surroundings.

Maintaining optimal tank temperatures is crucial for the well-being of a leopard gecko. Their native habitats are often warm, so replicating this environment in captivity is essential. To achieve this, reptile enthusiasts use external heat sources like heat mats or lamps. These tools ensure that the tank temperature is within the desired range, allowing the leopard gecko to thermoregulate efficiently.

Key Takeaways:

Temperature Range: Leopard geckos require a warm side of their tank maintained between 88 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit and a cool side ranging from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperatures should stay between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat Sources: Utilize heat mats placed beneath the tank or heat lamps positioned above to ensure consistent warmth. Always pair your heat source with a reliable thermostat to regulate temperatures effectively.

Health Concerns: Cold temperatures can lead to health issues like impaction, fungal infections, and hypothermia. Regularly monitor your gecko’s environment and be aware of signs indicating these conditions.

Impaction Risks: Cold environments can slow a gecko’s digestion, increasing the risk of impaction. Ensure suitable temperatures and monitor for signs like a swollen abdomen or lethargy.

Fungal Infections: Continuous exposure to cold can make geckos susceptible to fungal diseases. Watch for symptoms like skin discoloration or inflammation.

What Factors Affect Leopard Gecko Body Temperature?

Leopard Gecko feeling cold

Leopard geckos, like all reptiles, are greatly influenced by their environment. Several factors play a role in determining their body temperature. The primary factor is the tank temperature. This artificial environment is where the leopard gecko spends most of its time. Thus, ensuring the right temperature inside the tank is crucial.

External heat sources also play a significant role. These can be in the form of heat mats or lamps. They help in providing the necessary warmth, especially during colder days or in climates that don’t naturally suit the leopard gecko’s needs. However, it’s not just about the tools used but also about where and how they are positioned. The placement can create different temperature zones within the tank, offering the gecko options for thermoregulation.

The natural environment outside the tank, including room temperature and external conditions, can also impact the internal temperature of the tank. For example, a tank placed in a room with direct sunlight or near a heating vent can become too warm, even if the external heat sources are set correctly.

To ensure the tank’s temperature stays consistent and within the recommended range, it’s vital to use thermometers. Monitoring different areas of the tank helps in understanding the temperature gradient. Typically, the warm side should be between 88 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, while the cooler side should range from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This gradient allows the leopard gecko to move between areas and regulate its body temperature effectively.

Reasons Why a Leopard Gecko Might Be Cold

Leopard geckos, being cold-blooded animals, can sometimes feel cold to the touch. While it’s natural for their body temperature to reflect their environment, there are specific reasons why a leopard gecko might feel colder than expected.

One primary reason is the tank temperature. If the tank temperatures drop below the recommended range, the leopard gecko will naturally feel cold. They rely heavily on external heat sources, such as heat mats or lamps, to regulate their body temperature. Without these sources providing adequate warmth or if they malfunction, the gecko’s body temperature will decrease.

In addition to the overall tank temperature, other factors within the tank can influence how the gecko feels. An inappropriate hide or basking spot can lead to the gecko staying on the cooler side of the tank. If the hide is placed in a cooler area or if the basking spot doesn’t provide enough warmth, the gecko might not receive the heat it needs.

Brumation, a form of hibernation for reptiles, can also be a reason. During brumation, leopard geckos might become less active and stay in cooler areas. It’s a natural process, but it’s essential to ensure the gecko is healthy and the conditions are right.

Lastly, discomfort with the warm side of the tank can deter a gecko from basking. This discomfort could be due to various reasons, such as too high temperatures, lack of proper hiding spots, or even disturbances in that area.

Potential Problems When The Leopard Gecko is Too Cold

A leopard gecko’s well-being is closely tied to its environment, especially the temperature. When they are exposed to prolonged cold temperatures, it can lead to a variety of health issues. From shedding problems to respiratory complications, cold temperatures can have adverse effects on these reptiles.

Dysecdysis (Shedding Problems)

Dysecdysis refers to the problems leopard geckos might face during their shedding process. Cold temperatures, especially when combined with low humidity, can lead to dehydration. This dehydration can make the shedding process difficult for the gecko. When the humidity levels in the tank are not optimal, the old skin doesn’t come off easily, leading to shedding problems.

Maintaining proper humidity levels is vital to prevent dysecdysis. Adding a dish of water in the leopard gecko’s enclosure can help in increasing the humidity. Additionally, providing a humid hide, a special hide filled with moist substrate, can offer the gecko a place to facilitate the shedding process.

Respiratory Problems

Cold and dry environments are not just uncomfortable for leopard geckos; they can be downright dangerous. Such conditions can lead to potential respiratory problems in these reptiles. When their environment is not optimal, leopard geckos become susceptible to respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

Signs of respiratory issues in leopard geckos are evident. Owners might notice lethargy, where the gecko is less active and seems fatigued. Breathing difficulties can manifest as rapid or labored breathing, sometimes accompanied by a wheezing sound. Another clear sign is a clogged or dripping nose, indicating mucus build-up due to the infection.

If a leopard gecko shows any of these symptoms, immediate veterinary care is imperative. Delaying treatment can lead to worsening conditions and severe health complications. Typically, veterinarians prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection. Additionally, adjusting the temperature in the gecko’s enclosure can aid in their recovery.


Hypothermia is a severe condition that occurs when a leopard gecko’s body temperature drops significantly below its normal range. This drop in temperature can lead to a series of health complications that are detrimental to the gecko. One of the first signs of hypothermia is sedentary behavior. The gecko becomes less active, often staying in one spot for prolonged periods.

Other alarming symptoms include weight loss and sunken or shut eyes, indicating the gecko’s deteriorating health. Hypothermia can also cause problems with shedding, leading to stuck shed on the gecko’s skin. Another evident sign is a loss of appetite, where the gecko refuses to eat, further weakening its condition.

It’s crucial to recognize these signs early and treat hypothermia promptly. If left untreated, the condition can lead to a painful and unnecessary death for the gecko.


Malnutrition is a concerning health issue that can affect leopard geckos, leading to a range of complications. At its core, malnutrition refers to the lack of proper nutrients in the gecko’s diet, which is essential for their growth, energy, and overall well-being.

One primary reason for malnutrition in leopard geckos is their slowed metabolism during cold temperatures. A decreased metabolic rate means the gecko processes food at a slower pace and, as a result, often experiences a decreased appetite. This reduction in food consumption can quickly lead to a lack of essential nutrients.

Over time, the consequences become evident, with the gecko experiencing significant weight loss. One severe manifestation of malnutrition is the development of stick tail disease, where the gecko’s tail becomes noticeably thin and emaciated.

To prevent malnutrition-related issues, especially during colder temperatures, it’s vital to ensure the gecko receives proper nutrition. This might involve adjusting the diet, ensuring a warm environment to boost metabolism, and regularly monitoring the gecko’s weight and overall health.


Impaction is a serious health concern for leopard geckos. It refers to the blockage in the gecko’s digestive tract, often caused by the ingestion of substrate or other indigestible materials. This blockage can lead to severe digestion problems and discomfort for the gecko.

Cold temperatures play a significant role in exacerbating impaction issues. When the enclosure is not warm enough, a gecko’s digestive efficiency decreases. This slower digestion, combined with the ingestion of indigestible materials, can lead to impaction. The importance of maintaining a suitable temperature gradient in the enclosure cannot be overstated. By ensuring a warm basking area and a cooler resting area, geckos can regulate their body temperature and improve digestion.

Symptoms of impaction include a swollen abdomen, lethargy, and a lack of bowel movements. The gecko may also show signs of discomfort, such as dragging its hind legs or straining.

To address impaction, several treatments can be beneficial. A warm bath can help relax the gecko’s muscles and promote bowel movements. Gentle belly massages can also assist in moving the blockage through the digestive tract. However, in severe cases or if the home remedies do not show improvement, veterinarian assistance is crucial. They can provide specialized treatments and, in extreme cases, surgical intervention.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections in leopard geckos are a topic of concern, especially since there’s limited knowledge about the full extent of their implications. What is known, however, is that continued exposure to cold temperatures can make these reptiles more susceptible to fungal diseases. Cold environments can compromise the gecko’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to infections.

Common signs of a fungal infection in leopard geckos include inflammation, often visible on the skin or around the eyes. Discoloration of the skin, ranging from white to yellowish patches, can also indicate the presence of a fungal infection. Additionally, weight loss, even when the gecko’s diet remains unchanged, can be a concerning symptom of an underlying fungal issue.

What Is The Best Temperature Range For a Leopard Gecko?

Leopard geckos, originating from arid regions, require specific temperatures to thrive in captivity. Ensuring the right temperature range in their enclosure is crucial for their health and well-being.

For the warm side of the tank, the ideal temperature should be between 88 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit (31 to 33 degrees Celsius). This area allows the gecko to bask and absorb the necessary heat, aiding in digestion and overall comfort.

On the cooler side, the temperature should range from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celsius). This gradient allows the leopard gecko to regulate its body temperature effectively, moving between the warm and cool areas as needed.

Nighttime temperatures are equally essential. While it’s natural for temperatures to drop slightly during the night, it’s vital to ensure they don’t fall below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

This ensures the gecko remains comfortable and reduces the risk of health issues related to cold exposure.

How To Ensure The Right Temperature: Sources of Heat

Maintaining the correct temperature for a leopard gecko is vital, and there are various sources of heat available to achieve this. Each source has its benefits, and the choice often depends on the specific needs of the gecko and the preferences of the owner.

One popular option is the heat mat. Placed beneath the tank, heat mats provide consistent warmth from below. They are particularly effective for leopard geckos, as these reptiles naturally absorb heat from the ground in their wild habitats.

Another option is the heat lamp. Positioned above the tank, heat lamps radiate warmth downwards, creating a basking spot for the gecko. When using a heat lamp, it’s essential to ensure it doesn’t produce too much light, especially during nighttime hours, as it can disrupt the gecko’s natural day-night cycle.

Regardless of the heat source chosen, it’s crucial to pair it with a reliable thermostat. A thermostat helps regulate the temperature, ensuring it remains within the desired range and preventing any overheating or excessive cold spells.

Creating a temperature gradient within the tank is also essential. This gradient provides the gecko with options, allowing it to move between warmer basking areas and cooler resting spots as needed. By offering this range, the gecko can effectively thermoregulate, ensuring its body temperature remains optimal.

Want to take care of your little leopard gecko friend? Ensure you know what makes him sick, and keep toxic substances away from its enclosure.