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Learn everything you need to know


This book is packed with easy-to-understand information on selecting and setting up a habitat, feeding, breeding, and all other aspects of proper leopard gecko care.

Are Candles Bad for Leopard Geckos?

We all love to fill a space with the wonderful scent of candles. 

Reptile owners with leopard geckos may want to think twice before lighting up the wick of a scented candle in the room where you keep them. 

Reptiles are very sensitive to particles in the air and fragrance, so candles aren’t the best thing to burn around them, even for a short period. 

Burning scented candles around Leopard Geckos is bad. The oils used to achieve the scents are toxic, and the wicks of the candles also frequently contain zinc and other heavy metals. All-natural beeswax candles with cotton wicks are less harmful, but it is best to avoid lighting candles near geckos.

While scented candles are lovely and relaxing to burn, they aren’t the best for your Leopard Geckos. 

Let’s look into why candles are bad for Leopard Geckos. 

are candles bad for leopard geckos

Are Leopard Geckos Sensitive To Scents?

Leopard Geckos and other reptiles are very sensitive to scents. 

Inhaling the particles from scented candles and air fresheners, even for a short period, may cause respiratory infections. 

While odors from reptile tanks will get a bit offensive if not properly dealt with, it’s best to keep your reptile safe instead of covering up the smell with the harmful effects of candles. 

Cleaning the reptile cage is the best way to eliminate reptile odors. 

There are also reptile deodorizer products like this to help cut down on bad smells in reptile enclosures. 

Reptile owners should use no scent products on stinky reptile smells to prevent respiratory infections. 

You may think there is no harm from a couple of candles, but there are some concerns with the scents emitted when you burn candles. 

It’s best for reptile owners to keep their pet reptiles safe and avoid burning candles or incense around reptiles or using fragrances like air fresheners. 

Are Soy and Palm Wax Candles Safe For Leopard Geckos?

There is debate about whether certain candles will negatively affect Leopard Geckos. 

Different style candles do have different ingredients.

For example, cotton wick candles emit less harmful particles into the air, while cheap, artificially scented varieties tend to be more harmful candles. 

While natural soy and palm wax candles are better for geckos, it still puts your healthy gecko at risk. 

If you want to eliminate the smell in reptile enclosures, it’s best to clean them thoroughly. 

Ensure they have clean water as bacteria will grow in old stagnant water and cause nasty smells. 

Tap water is fine for geckos as long as you feel safe drinking it yourself. 

Make sure to clean the tank with warm water and rinse the enclosure thoroughly. 

Odors from candles, cleaners, and air fresheners like Febreze may cause respiratory issues like sneezing over time. 

You may also have a disoriented gecko or experience other issues. 

Some people will use different types of candles to provide heat for geckos. 

While temperature loss in geckos is dangerous, using a candle space heater for additional heat is unsafe. 

Geckos need heat for survival, but it is much better to use a heat lamp or heat pad to provide heat. 

Is It Safe To Use Essential Oils Around Leopard Geckos?

Some reptile owners will use different types of products for a scent to cover up odors. 

However, it is not safe. 

Even essential oils, while natural and a better alternative to an artificial air freshener, still contain too much fragrance for a gecko. 

You may encounter health issues if your gecko is exposed to these scents for an extended period. 

There are accounts of reptile owners using essential oil diffusers without issue. 

Many will only steer clear of tea tree essential oil. 

While this anecdotal evidence may point to essential oils being safe, we do not think it is worth the risk to their health. 

If you want to deodorize the air, deep clean the reptile tank or consider incorporating some air purifying house plants. 

Adding a live Areca Palm plant like this from Amazon to your space will help purify the air. 

There is no need to use artificial or chemical fragrances like air fresheners, essential oils, or candles. 

Just ensure the enclosure is clean, and the smell shouldn’t become an issue. 

Is Burning Incense Bad For Geckos?

Burning incense is very bad for geckos. Not only do they contain fragrance, but they also emit smoke. 

Both of these release harmful products into the air for an extended period, which is unhealthy for geckos. 

If you burn incense in your house, keep the door closed to the room where your Leopard Gecko stays. 

It’s best for reptile owners not to use incense in the entire house to prevent accidental inhalation. 

Smoke is not good for the lungs of any creature, but it is especially true for reptiles like Leopard Geckos. 

The risk is even higher if you have a particularly small house or room where your geckos live. 

Avoid burning anything producing smoke in your house to keep your gecko’s respiratory system healthy. 

Is It Safe To Use Air Fresheners Around Geckos?

Like all other fragrances, it is not safe to use air fresheners around geckos. 

The chemicals in air fresheners are harmful to reptiles. 

The packaging warns users not to spray the fragrance around birds on many products. 

Birds and reptiles are very similar, so the potential for harm to a bird’s respiratory system is also a risk for reptiles. 

Some people wonder if it is okay to use a plug-in air freshener, but this also releases harmful chemicals into the air. 

When you keep reptiles like Leopard Geckos, it is best to steer clear of any artificial or chemical fragrances in the air. 

If you are worried about the smell, clean the tank and address the source of the smell rather than attempting to cover it up with something capable of harming your pets. 

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