Has your Leopard Gecko become pale?
Are you worried your gecko may be sick because it is not its natural color?
Is your gecko behaving a little out of the ordinary?
While anxiety over these sudden changes in your gecko’s appearance and behavior is entirely normal, there is likely no cause for alarm.
This is a natural process all Leopard Geckos go through.
Still, you’re probably asking:
Why is my Leopard Gecko pale?
A Leopard Gecko’s skin will become pale for a few days as its body prepares to shed its old skin and make room to grow.
Why Leopard Geckos Become Pale
Like all reptiles, Leopard Geckos have a rough outer layer of scales formed around their skin.
Scales provide a protective barrier for a reptile while also allowing the animal to keep moisture from escaping its body.
Scales fit the size of a reptile’s body, so when the reptile is growing, it will shed its old scales.
Underneath the old layer of skin is a new, looser set of scales with room to grow.
This shedding process happens many times throughout a reptile’s life.
When they are young, Leopard Geckos will shed every month.
As they get older, their bodies do not grow as fast.
Therefore, they won’t shed as often. An adult Leopard Gecko will shed every couple of months.
When Leopard Geckos go pale, it means another round of shedding is about to begin.
The color change usually happens about 2-3 days before they start shedding.
It is their body’s way of preparing for the process.
What to Do When My Leopard Gecko’s Skin Turns Pale
The whole process of shedding, or molting, will take a few days.
In addition to the change in skin color, your gecko may also experience changes in behavior and appetite.
These changes are normal, but they may feel a little alarming to you.
If your Leopard Gecko has turned pale and started this process, here are some things to keep in mind to make the process easier for your gecko.
- Aids in removing dry sheds from snakes and lizards
- Conditions your reptile's skin and provides a visible sheen
- Helps keep the skin moist and pliable
Shedding Is Stressful
The shedding process is quite a stressful experience for these little reptiles.
It is a lot of work to get rid of old skin.
Because of this, you want to make sure to limit any added stress.
Geckos tend to isolate or go into hiding once their bodies begin the shedding process, so if you notice your gecko has become pale, it’s best to let it just be for a couple of days.
Continue to care for your pet as you usually do, but limit the amount of physical contact.
It is possible, under stress, your gecko may bite or hiss, so be sure to keep handling to a minimum.
When touching is necessary, be very gentle.
During this process, Leopard Geckos like dark, damp places where they can hide and be alone.
Make sure their regular enclosure has an area for isolation.
You may also consider moving your gecko into a smaller enclosure for shedding.
Make sure it’s dark and breathable.
Use porous bedding like peat moss or Cyprus mulch to make sure the enclosure stays moist and humid.
You will also want to mist the tank and your gecko more frequently.
Moisture helps your gecko shed its scales easier.
Take a look at our other article on things that can cause leopard geckos to stress to learn how to handle it for additional guidelines.
Shedding Causes Behavioral Changes
Because of the amount of stress the shedding process adds to a Leopard Gecko’s body, you will likely see some changes in your pet’s behavior and appetite.
You’ll want to provide some extra nutrients and calcium as you notice your gecko beginning to change color.
- Highly bio-available source of calcium carbonate
- Free of harmful impurities (not from Oyster Shells)
- Safe levels of Vitamin D3
If your gecko does not eat for a few days, do not be alarmed.
As soon as the old skin has been shed, your reptile will regain its appetite.
The first thing a Leopard Gecko will eat after shedding is its old skin.
It sounds gross, but the skin is packed with healthy nutrients to help your gecko recover from the experience, so be sure to leave the skin in the enclosure.
If your gecko does not eat the old skin for some reason and it becomes dry and crusty, you will want to remove it from the enclosure.
You may also notice changes in behavior.
Your gecko may seem lethargic or aggressive if you touch it.
Give your gecko some space as you continue to care for it normally.
Your pet will be back to normal in no time!
Shedding Is a Process
Once the shedding process begins, usually a few days after your gecko becomes pale, it takes about 24 hours for a gecko to get out of its old skin.
It may be tempting to help the process along, but it’s important to let your gecko do the work itself.
If, after 24 hours, the skin hasn’t been shed entirely, you may need to help out.
The skin around the toes is often challenging to shed, and if the old skin isn’t removed, it will affect your pet’s health.
When the old skin isn’t removed, it may cause problems with blood circulation.
Your gecko could lose some toes.
Unshed skin may also cause your gecko to become irritated and may result in further behavioral changes.
To help your gecko remove any remaining skin, set it in a shallow bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes.
The water will help loosen the skin.
Then, using tweezers, gently remove the remaining skin.
If the skin does not come off, do not force it.
Soak your gecko again for another 30 minutes.
If you still have concerns contact your vet for assistance.
If your Leopard Gecko has changed colors and gone pale, there is little cause for concern.
This is a natural process geckos go through when they are ready to shed their skin.
The method may take a few days, but once the old skin is gone, your gecko will be back to normal.