Is your leopard gecko getting ready to shed?
Would you like to know more about the leopard gecko shedding process and how to help it along safely?
Shedding is always weird for us humans to understand.
But it’s a normal part of every reptile’s life cycle.
However, with leopard geckos, you need to be aware of the risks involved with shedding.
You may find yourself wondering:
How long does it take for a leopard gecko to shed?
Adult leopard geckos shed once every 4 to 8 weeks. This process is preceded by a paling or graying of their skin. Once you see this, raise the humidity in the tank, and the process should be done within 24 to 48 hours.
Look ahead for more details and ways to prevent injury from shedding.
How Long Does It Take Your Leopard Gecko To Shed?
Shedding is a normal part of every animal’s life process, but it’s most notable with reptiles as they shed their whole skin usually.
Leopard geckos fit into this stereotype.
The exact time for shedding depends on a lot of different factors.
The biggest ones to consider are the growth rate of the leopard gecko if the gecko is injured and the gecko’s age.
Young leopard geckos, such as babies and juveniles, grow much faster than adult leopard geckos do.
For this reason, a young leopard gecko will shed between every week to every two weeks.
Once adulthood has been reached, the growth rate slows down, and so does the shedding.
As adults, it’s expected for a leopard gecko to shed anywhere between four weeks and eight weeks.
Regardless of age, once you see signs of shedding, the whole process should be taken care of within 24 to 48 hours.
Injuries also have an impact on shedding as the healing process encourages shedding in the specific area, which may trigger a whole-body shed earlier than usual.
Your leopard gecko may also shed more often as an adult if it’s been eating more, and it’s getting bigger.
This is especially true with females during the breeding process.
Signs Of Shedding And What To Do When You See Them
The signs of shedding are apparent for the observant leopard gecko owner.
The main thing to watch for is lighting, paling, or graying of their skin.
If the color changes towards the light and pale spectrum, your leopard gecko may be getting ready to shed.
If you’re doing your daily checks on your leopard gecko, this will be very noticeable.
Other signs may include a lack of interest in food and a film over their eyes.
The shedding process takes up the reptile’s attention, and it won’t be interested in eating much while this is happening.
Many owners also note the leopard gecko seems less interested in playing with you and less happy in general.
Some even use the word cranky to describe their nature before a shed.
Adding all these signs up (and keeping in mind the timeline from their last shed) makes it possible to get a good guess if they’re shedding or not.
When they are preparing the shed, you have a job you need to do.
With shedding, the most common injuries come from too low of humidity.
Leopard geckos don’t need a high humidity usually.
They are one of these most moderate humidity reptiles.
But during the shed, a higher humidity level will help prevent injuries.
As signs of shedding start to appear, begin to spray down the tank with a spray bottle two to three times per day.
This will raise the humidity and keep the skin soft and flexible the leopard gecko is starting to shed.
This aids the process and is the simplest and most effective way to help the leopard gecko along and prevent injury.
After the leopard gecko sheds all of its dead skin, inspect the gecko yourself.
Look for any signs of leftover skin stuck on the leopard gecko.
Sometimes serious injuries can result from this leftover skin (more on this in the next section).
If you do see leftover dead skin, there are two things you can do.
First, spray the leopard gecko down, take a Q-tip, and gently rub and brush it against the dead skin to knock it loose.
Do this gently, and do not just pull the skin off.
If the skin remains stuck, bath the leopard gecko.
Fill a container up with warm water at the height of no more than the leopard gecko shoulders.
Put your leopard gecko in the water and let it soak for a few minutes.
After soaking, take the Q-tip and brush the skin off.
Some products may help after the shed is completed, such as a shed aid spray.
This works just like a water bottle, only a little better.
We like this one on Amazon.
- Pack of Three - 2.25oz Zoo Med Reptile Shed Aid
- Aids in removing dry sheds from snakes and lizards
- Conditions your reptile's skin and provides a visible sheen
It’s affordable and effective, not to mention entirely safe for your pet.
Injuries As A Result Of Poor Shedding
Injuries as a result of shedding come from the skin being leftover on the leopard gecko’s body.
This is easily prevented if you raise the humidity by spraying the leopard gecko in the tank down before the shed occurs, as mentioned above.
Dead skin left on the leopard gecko may cut off the circulation to the tissue around the dead skin.
In mild cases, when the skin falls off, there will be a visible injury or cut.
In more severe cases, growth in this area will be inhibited, and it’ll disfigure and harm the leopard gecko for the rest of its life.
Unfortunately, leopard geckos tend to have dead skin stuck around their toes unless you keep the humidity up.
It’s not uncommon for this dead skin to cut off circulation to one or more of their toes.
In this case, the toe will turn black, meaning dead tissue.
Once the toe has turned black, there’s nothing you can do.
The toe is dead, and it will fall off.
Normally the leopard gecko will drop the toe, but it won’t grow back.
If the toe is stuck on, take your Q-tip and gently wiggle the death toll until it falls off.
One or two toes going missing from each foot isn’t a big deal, but more than this severely impacts their quality of life.
It’s better to avoid it if possible, and luckily for you, preventing it is easy.
Make sure you spray down the tank when you see signs of shedding.
Now you know a little more about how long it takes for a leopard gecko to shed.
You’ll see signs of shedding every 4-8 weeks as an adult in the graying of the skin.
When you see this, begin spraying down the tank and leopard gecko 2 to 3 times per day.
Do this until the leopard gecko has shed its skin after 24 to 48 hours.
Remember to check for dead skin and remove it as soon as you see it.
Doing this is easy, but it’s essential for the leopard geckos quality of life.
As a good owner, this will help give your leopard gecko the best life and possibly has.
Spend Less Time Figuring Out What To Do And More Time Enjoying Your Pet
You’ll save time and money right away with this easy-to-follow digital handbook. This is the guide you’ve been looking for everywhere.