Unlike some other reptiles, leopard geckos don’t have eyelids, so they shed the skin around their eyes.
Usually, leopard geckos shed their entire skin in one piece, starting from the head and ending at the tail.
They eat their shed skin, which helps them recover nutrients and moisture lost during shedding.
In this article, we’ll explain what shedding is, why leopard geckos do it, how often they do it, how to tell if they’re about to shed, how to care for them during shedding, and how to handle common shedding problems.
Let’s get started…
Is It Normal For Leopard Geckos To Shed Their Skin?
How often do leopard geckos shed?
The number of times leopard geckos shed depends on different things like their age, size, how fast they’re growing, what they eat, how healthy they are, and the conditions where they live.
Usually, younger and still-growing leopard geckos shed more often than the older, fully grown ones.
Baby and young leopard geckos might shed every one or two weeks, while adult leopard geckos might shed every four to six weeks.
But keep in mind, this isn’t a strict rule, and some leopard geckos might shed more or less frequently than others.
How to tell if your leopard gecko is about to shed?
Look out for these signs that your leopard gecko is getting ready to shed:
- The skin color and pattern may look dull and faded.
- There might be a whitish or bluish tint on the skin, especially around the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Your gecko may lose interest in eating or become less active.
- It may prefer to hide or stay in a humid hide.
- You might notice it rubbing or scratching against the substrate, decorations, or enclosure walls.
These signs usually show up a few days before shedding, and they’re normal and not harmful.
But, if your leopard gecko seems distressed, uncomfortable, or shows signs of infection like bleeding, swelling, pus, or a bad smell, it’s important to see a vet as soon as you can.
How to care for your leopard gecko during shedding
Shedding is a stressful and vulnerable time for leopard geckos, so they need some extra care and attention from their owners.
Here are some tips on how to make the shedding process easier and safer for your leopard gecko:
1) Provide a humid hide and a moist substrate
When your leopard gecko is shedding, it’s crucial to create a comfortable environment by providing a cozy, humid hide and a damp material under them.
A humid hide is a small, dark space that’s a bit damp, helping to soften and loosen the gecko’s skin.
For the damp material, you can use things like sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, or even paper towels. These materials retain moisture and keep the gecko’s skin from getting too dry or sticky.
Make the humid hide by using a plastic container, cardboard box, or ceramic pot. Cut a hole for the entrance, fill it with the damp material, and place it on the warm side of the gecko’s home.
Keep an eye on the humidity and moisture levels, and if needed, spray some water. It’s also important to regularly clean the hide and the damp material to prevent mold and bacteria from growing.
2) Don’t touch your leopard gecko when it’s shedding
Another important step for taking care of your leopard gecko while it’s shedding is to avoid picking it up.
Handling it during this time can make it stressed, irritated, and harm its skin, possibly leading to infections or injuries.
It might also disrupt the natural shedding process, causing bits of old skin to get stuck. So, it’s best to give your leopard gecko some space and let it shed on its own.
Just keep an eye on it from afar to ensure it’s comfortable and in good health.
3) Monitor your leopard gecko for any stuck shed
Stuck shed happens when bits of skin don’t come off completely and stick to the body.
This can lead to discomfort, swelling, infection, and in severe cases, loss of blood flow or tissue death (necrosis) if not taken care of.
Stuck shed can happen anywhere on the body, but it’s especially risky on the eyes, toes, tail, and vent (the opening for pee and poop).
4) Offer calcium and water
The final step for taking care of your leopard gecko during shedding is to provide them with calcium and water.
Calcium is a crucial mineral necessary for bone and skin growth and maintenance. Shedding can reduce the body’s calcium levels, leading to health issues like metabolic bone disease (MBD).
To prevent this, give your leopard gecko a calcium boost. You can either sprinkle their food with calcium powder or place a dish of calcium in their living space.
Water is vital for skin hydration and elasticity. Shedding can cause dehydration, resulting in dry and brittle skin and other health problems.
Ensure your leopard gecko has access to fresh water, either through a dish or a water bottle in their enclosure. Occasionally mist them with water to help keep their skin moist.
I am Abdul Kader, the founder of Hellocutter.com. I have a passion for all things tech and love finding ways to use technology to make our lives easier. I have a background in computer science and have been working in the tech industry for over 10 years.