Leopard Gecko Shedding

Why Do Leopard Geckos Shed?

Humans shed their skin in tiny pieces.  And pretty much all living mammals do shed their skin.  Reptiles are no different than mammals in that aspect.  Our bodies and yes leopard gecko’s bodies do this as we grow.  The new cells need to be replaced; therefore shedding is an element of life.

The big difference however is instead of shedding their skin in tiny pieces, leopard gecko shedding happens all at once.

How Often Do Leopard Geckos Shed?

There is no clear cut answer to this question, because it heavily relies on age and growth rate.  Some leopard geckos shed more frequently than others. It makes perfect sense that no two geckos will shed at the same exact rate, we’re all a bit different to each other.  When geckos are smaller or babies they tend to shed more frequently.  This is because their growth rate is much higher than an adult.

But as a general guide, leopard geckos will tend to shed every week or two when they are babies, and around every month when they are an adult.

You can tell when it’s about to happen because their color will change quite drastically and get much more dull looking. Then the skin will turn a whitish color as it starts to actually separate away from their body.

The first time I saw my leopard gecko, Sly, shed I was actually kind of shocked.  I thought she might be sick or something.  So it’s good to be aware in advance of what shedding looks like.

Leopard Gecko Shedding Problems

Toes SheddingIt’s usually a stressful time for your leopard gecko to shed.  The reason being is because it takes them 24 hours to shed their skin.  Typically, they don’t eat for a day before shedding their skin.

Your gecko can have some problems with shedding which can shorten their life or diminish their quality of life.  Typically you will see two different kinds of problems when shedding:-

  1. The first problem, is where you will see excess skin around their toes.  This skin can actually cut off the circulation of blood to their toes.  If that goes on for too long they can lose their toe.
  2. The other problem can be not shedding all the way.  Typically, you could see patches where they haven’t shed their skin properly.

How To Help A Leopard Gecko Shed

First and foremost, if you haven’t already checked out my leopard gecko feeding guide I would make sure you have their diet correct.  Next, make sure you have their habitat set up correctly.

Assuming you have already read those two articles and your leopard gecko is still having shedding problems I would consider:

Give Them A Bath

Leopard Gecko BathYou can give your leopard gecko a bath.  Make sure the water is lukewarm.   They can swim and this will help soften up their skin so they have an easier time shedding.

Make sure you don’t fill the bathtub too high.  And always stay with them the whole time – that way if they start to sink you can save them from going under the water and drowning.

Try A Sauna

I know it sounds a little silly, but you can make a little ‘sauna hide’ for your leopard gecko.  To do this I would use a tupperware/plastic box, spray bottle, and a paper towel.

To make your gecko sauna:-

  1. Spray the paper towel.
  2. Put the paper towel inside the tupperware/plastic box.
  3. Then put your leopard gecko inside for 30 minutes.

Optionally, you can cut a gecko sized hole in the top of the lid you put on.  That way they can crawl out of the hide whenever they want to.

Again, do NOT leave your gecko alone! We don’t want them suffocating in a closed plastic box!

This should help your leopard gecko to shed more easily.  You can repeat this process every day if you like.

Give Them A Massage

Additionally, you can use this method to supplement the bath and sauna treatments.  You can use a wet cotton ball, and gently rub the the leopard geckos toes, or other problematic areas.  Make sure you don’t apply to much pressure because they do have fragile little bodies.