Reptiles/Leopard gecko


I have a juvenile Leo kept in a 20 gallon tank on slate tile
With a 10-20 gallon size zoo med uth! When I first plugged it in I let it heat up it was reading 80 degrees!  But I only have a reg outdoor thermometer sitting directly on the bottom! So I put a light over the side where the uth is and now it's reading 90 degrees! Will this be ok for ambient heat and belly heat? When I put him in he was walking around quite a bit and went in the cool hide! He was walking kinda up high instead of on his belly like he normally does! Is this ok? Thank you!

Hi Anita,

That temperature range is fine. Using slate is a much safer option for the tank bottom. The UTH's were originally designed to penetrate glass and about a half inch of particle substrate rather then glass and tile so I'm not surprised that you have had to supplement with a lamp.

The most accurate way to measure the surface temperature would be with a temperature gun. They sell them in pet stores but they are likely cheaper in hardware stores. They are used to measure heat loss around windows etc.
With your outdoor themometer laying right on the surface (where your leo will actually be) then it is likely reading the temp. pretty accurately. You can always just test the tile with your hand in addition to make sure it is not overly warm. You should be able to feel a noticeable but gentle warmth when you press your hand over the hot spot. It should not be at all uncomfortable even after a couple minutes.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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