Do Leopard Geckos Shed?
The Short answer is Yes like most reptiles in the world, leopard geckos do shed their skin quite often!
This can be an interesting and amazing thing to watch first hand if you are lucky enough to see it in action.
How Often Do Leopard Geckos Shed?
Adult leopard geckos once they are fully grown, around 1 year old they will shed about once per month,
However, younger geckos and juveniles will shed more often as they are constantly growing in size,
The constant growth will cause the geckos to shed more often and they are literally growing out of their own skin.
The faster the gecko grows and the bigger it gets, the more often it will shed until it reaches its full adult size.
Once an adult size is reached and the gecko has stopped growing the shedding will slow down to around once get month give or take a few weeks.
Leopard gecko shedding process
When a gecko is getting ready to shed you will notice that its skin will start to dull and turn Gray in colour,
This will be more noticeable in geckos with vibrant colours like orange and yellow, the skin will start turning a white almost transparent colour when the gecko is about to shed.
When the gecko is ready to shed it will need a moist place to sit for a while to ensure enough moisture to loosen the skin to help with the shedding process.
Leopard Geckos shed all of their skin in one go instead of small bit and pieces over time he normally shed from the face first and the shed peals back kind of like a banana, It almost as if they are leaving a small geckos suit behind, if they have a good shed and nothing gets stuck, almost the same as some snake
When the gecko starts to shed it will aid its shed by pulling the shed off with it teeth and eating it.
Leopard geckos eat their shed
.Leopard geckos eat there shed for a few reasons, one reason is that shading can take a lot of energy out of the gecko as is it was doing a good workout the animal will need to replace it energy somehow and eating it skin on by fat the easier option ad it is right there in front of them.
Another reason leopard geckos eat their skin is because like every domesticated animal in the world they were once a wild creature, the eating of there skin is a form of survival tactic, leopard geckos are quite small and can become prey to larger animal very easily, so to make them harder to track Leo’s eat their own skin to leave no trace behind and eating their skin is easier and faster than burying it.
Leopard geckos can go off food near shedding time
when a Leo is getting ready to shed it can go off food for a short time before its shed, once it has shed and eaten its shed it can also be a few days to a week or more before it eats again.
Just keep providing food to your gecko a normal and it will eat as and when it needs to, there are a number of reasons for a gecko can go off its food with shedding being one of them a few other reasons are stress, change in environment, temperature changes and brumation. (Kind of like hibernation when the temperature frot to about 60F – 15.5C)
Sometime when a leopard gecko sheds it can have problems with stuck shed, the stuck shed is mostly caused by the skin being too dry and not having enough moisture in the skin before the shedding starts.
To remove stuck shed your gecko my try and rub itself again a rough surface in order to remove the shed, this can sometimes resulting the gecko damaging the fresh skin under the shed and leaving a would that will need to be kept clean and you may need to take your gecko to a vet to be looked at
Another comment problem with shedding is the toes if the gecko doesn’t have a good shed it most likely sticks and build up around the toes, it left integrated this can result in the gecko losing toes
What happens if a leopard gecko has a bad shed
If you notice that your leopard gecko has shed and it still has some stuck shed you can help remove the shed for your pet as you don’t want it to hurt itself or lose any toes
DO NOT just grab the skin and try to pull it off, it the skin it stuck on hard this can really hurt the animal and go more damage than good, Instead what you want to do is dampen the skin a little to help it peal of easier,
Depending on were the skin is this can be done in different ways, if the stuck shed is around the head/face area you want to be extra careful not to damage the eyes and ear holes, wet your fingers and with your damp fingers gently peel off the loose skin keeping your thumb close to the geckos head and run it along the geckos head towards the nose slowly detaching it from the skin, and be extra careful around the eyes
you can also use a reptile shedding aid spray to help loosen the skin kind one like this (Reptile shedding aid)
What to do with stuck shed on toes
When I bought my first 2 leopard geckos one of them a female, white and yellow, mac snow named Volcano by my daughter, had really bad shed stuck on her toes to the point it looked like she had webbed feet on 2 of her feet and she had already lost a few toes so I had to take action in order to stop her losing any more toes
To remove the stuck shed from toes again you have to dampen the area you can do this by putting your Leo in a shallow bowl of water or even on a damp paper towel for 10 – 15 mins after that take a damp cotton bud (que tip) and gently run it down the geckos toes one at a time, this can be a slow process depending on how thick the shed is…
This is probably the most comment form of shedding problem for leopard gecks because the toes and small and delicate areas making it easy for shed to get stuck, it the Leo has a bad shed 2 or 3 times in a row without the shed being removed from the toes the gecko can and will lose it toes making it hard for it grip things when climbing, even tho leopard geckos are not normally big on climbing they still do from time to time it also helps them grip thing like your shirt or top if you put them on you like a lot of people do.
What leopard geckos need to have a good shed
For a leopard gecko to have a good shed it will require the setup (its enclosure) to be set up optimally and have the necessary thing it needs to help with loosening the skin.
The enclosure will have to have a hot side of about 90F – 32.2C provided by UTH (Under Tank Heating)from heat tape, heat pads or heat cable, and a cold spot of around 80F-26.6C the exact temperatures can vary by a few degrees either way and still be fine, the point purpose of the temperature difference is so the gecko can move around from hot spot to cold spot as needed to self-regulate their temperature.
The enclosure will have to have a moist hide ( A place for your gecko to site and let the moisture to loosen its skin)a moist hide is made up of some kind of box, container or cave-like tunnel with a damp substrates on the floor, the 3 most commonly used substrate for a moist hide are…
- Paper towel
Paper towel is best for new gecko owner and for young juvenile leopard geckos because it is cheap, easy to use and easy to keep damp and replace when needed.
- Coco Fiber
Coco Fiber is also a good option but would use it more for fully grown adult geckos as adult geckos will be less likely to swallow it causing impaction. coco fibre is good because it is easy to keep moist, it can last a long time without having to be replaced and it is relatively cheap if you buy a big brick of it.
- Sphagnum moss
Sphagnum moss is also another alternative that people use for their moist hide it is around the same price as coco fibre or just a little more expensive depending on where you get it from, Sphagnum moss it more natural and can hold moisture more than the other two but because it can also cause mould.
I personally use damp paper towels for all baby to juvenile leopard geckos I then change over to coco fibre once the gecko has reached maturity and has been moved to a larger enclosure.
I spray the moist hide bedding/substrate with water as needed, normally once every few days or so.
I would like to thank you all for reading and I hope you found the answer you where looking for
If you have any Comments or questions, leave them below and I will do my best to answer!