Can Leopard Geckos See in The Dark? Yes, 350 Times Better!

Leopard geckos seem to be some of the sweetest and most personable geckos out there, but that begs the question for a lot of keepers: how do these silly little guys survive in the wild?

Though leopard geckos make great companions, in the wild they are very good at surviving the harsh, dry climate they inhabit.

Leopard geckos’ habitats can be ruthless, with predators seemingly around every corner. With this and many other factors considered, leopard geckos have evolved to be nocturnal.

Since leopard geckos are mostly active at night, they must have excellent vision in this scenario to be able to sense and escape predators while also being able to hunt for their elusive prey.

Leopard geckos can see incredibly well at night, as well as during the day, which makes them incredibly adept at hunting for food and navigating their environment.

How well can leopard geckos see in the dark?

Leopard Gecko in the Dark

Leopard geckos can see exceptionally well in the dark. They can see just as well at night as they do in the day.

A leopard gecko’s vision sensitivity is found to be 350 times higher than that of humans.

As leopard geckos hunt at night, they must be well aware of their surroundings to notice what could be the minute movement of an insect that could very well be their next meal or the twitch of a predator preparing to strike.

Can leopard geckos see color? 

Leopard geckos do have color vision. This is due to a small structure in their eye called a cone. 

They have multiple of these cones that can detect UV light along with the colors blue and green.

This gives them a wide array of the spectrum to see, and the UV light helps reptiles identify prey even more accurately because some of them have UVA colors within their markings.

How do leopard geckos see in the dark?

Leopard Gecko in dark terrarium

Leopard geckos’ eyes have many of the same parts as human eyes. The structure found in the eye that can detect light is called the retina. 

It has unique cells that convert the light that they catch into electrical signals, which then are transported through nervous tissue up to the brain, where the image is interpreted.

A leopard gecko’s retina is extremely sensitive and receptive to even the smallest amounts of light. This intense sensitivity allows them to still see and interpret images even when there is barely any light out, as it is at night.

Because their retina is so powerful, leopard geckos have evolved to have slitted pupils. As the pupils are opening which allows light into the eye, they must be specialized to accommodate their retina. 

These pupils can decrease in size to become almost paper thin, which decreases the amount of light that is let into their eyes in the daytime. 

This way the retina can still be sensitive enough to see at night, while not being at risk of being damaged during the day.

Best lights to use to safely observe your gecko

When it comes to daylight, incandescent lights are great for daylight and some heat, along with your UV light which would be something like a T8 or a T5  bulb.

There honestly is not a whole lot of conclusive evidence that either encourages or condemns blue and red lights, but many keepers have had bad experiences and don’t recommend them.

Finding the light that works best for you and your reptile in these instances is best. Since evidence is lacking, doing some personal experimentation never hurts to find which works best for your unique situation.

It is also important to allow your gecko to have a day and night cycle. Making sure to turn off the overhead lights at night time is a good way to make sure that their circadian rhythms are in check.

How to Provide Heat Without Light for Your Leopard Gecko at Night 

There are many ways that you can provide your leopard gecko with adequate heating without having to use any sort of lighting.

A good way to keep your reptile warm at night is to use an under-tank heat mat.

Please by all means do not use a heat rock, as they have been shown in many instances to cause severe burns on many reptiles.

Another way to do this is through a ceramic heat emitter. These provide supplemental heat without using any light but still are used overhead in a fixture in the same manner that a heat or UVB bulb would be used. 


Can leopard geckos see infrared light?

Because leopard geckos only have three cones in their eyes, they cannot see red light, however, it is best to avoid all light, as they can see perfectly fine at night and the lights can disturb their circadian rhythms, or their natural day and night sleep cycle.


Leopard geckos are truly amazing animals, with their impeccable eyesight, they can see perfectly clearly at night. 

Due to their ultra-sensitive retinas, they can perceive even the most minute amounts of light. Their vision is even calculated to be 350 times more precise than that of a human.

Having the right lighting for your leopard gecko is very crucial to their health and well-being, so always make sure to provide UVB, a heat source, and darkness at night.

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