Leopard geckos are among the most popular pet reptiles thanks to their simple care and friendly demeanor.
One physical aspect which concerns many owners of these pets is when they change colors and patterns.
It is easy to wonder if them turning yellow means something bad.
Leopard geckos can turn yellow for various reasons, including aging, stress, shedding, and nutrient deficiencies. Most of the time, this is normal and not a reason to be concerned. If changes in behavior or diet accompany the changing colors, it may be more serious.
Keep reading to learn more about what changes are normal to see in your gecko, which changes to look out for, and how to keep your gecko healthy.
Changing Colors Is A Normal Part Of Gecko Aging
The most likely reason your leopard gecko turns yellow is that they change a lot as they age.
Comparing a baby gecko to what it looks like as an adult can result in a different-looking reptile.
Both colors and patterns can change dramatically.
The most common difference you’ll see is an increase in spots and any bands across their body turning into spots, but colors can change too.
You’ll most commonly see a baby gecko change from light pinks and pale yellows to darker and more vibrant yellows with dark spots.
This change can look like your geckos are turning yellow and is a normal part of them growing older.
You have nothing to worry about if you don’t notice any changes in their eating or behavior.
A newborn gecko will continue to change colors for the first year and a half of its life.
If you’re buying a young gecko, expect quite a bit of color and pattern change along the way.
If you’re buying from a breeder, ask the morph to get a good idea of what they’ll look like as an adult since the babies are not a good indicator.
Geckos Can Change Color Due To Stress
Various reptiles will change colors based on mood, from chameleons to crested geckos.
Leopard geckos are not known for their ability to shift colors.
Stress is one of the biggest reasons a leopard gecko might turn yellow in a short period.
Signs of stress can include a Leo turning a darker yellow than normal or turning an otherwise non-yellow gecko a yellow tint.
Many different factors might trigger unnecessary stress in your pet due to their tank environment and diet.
Limited hiding places, too much heating, or a lack of heat can cause stress.
At least two hides, one dry and one humid are important for a gecko to feel secure.
A heating pad should be placed on one side of the tank.
The other side should be unheated.
This will allow your gecko to choose the right temperature for them.
Overhandling is the other biggest cause of stress for a leopard gecko and is easy to avoid by paying attention to the gecko’s behavior.
Fast breathing, skittish behavior, biting, and hissing are clear signs of overhandling and should be left alone until the next day.
Leopard geckos are great pets who do well being handled frequently, but getting them to this point should be a slow and steady process, giving them plenty of time to get used to you and being handled.
Skin Color Can Change Before A Leopard Gecko Shed
While it may not be a dramatic change, your leopard gecko’s colors will dull before they shed.
This can cause them to turn a pale yellow and just seem cloudy.
This is, however, totally normal color changing to see from them.
The closer your gecko is to shedding, the duller and more pale they’ll seem relative to their normal colors.
This stage should not last long; usually, they only seem dull for a day or two before they shed.
Afterward, their colors will be more vibrant and defined.
Be sure your geckos have access to a humid hide with a damp paper towel or moss, as this will assist in their shedding.
Soaking them in warm water can help if they are struggling or have shed on their toes, but it is not usually necessary.
Right after shedding are some of the best colors from a gecko with vibrant yellows and dark black spots (or other colors for different morphs).
Your Leo Might Be Suffering From Nutrient Deficiencies
Nutrient deficiencies are another common problem that results in dark or pale yellowing.
The most common cause is calcium deficiency.
If your geckos turn a dark yellow, it may be due to a calcium deficiency.
This is easy to treat with a Reptile Calcium Supplement With D3 offered in a small container for the gecko to choose when to digest some.
Dusting their meal worms or crickets in calcium powder before feeding is another option to treat a deficiency.
A breeding female leopard gecko is especially susceptible to calcium deficiency with the work it takes to produce eggs.
If you choose to breed your geckos, properly gut-load and dust insects with vitamins and calcium.
When To See A Vet
For the most part, any changes you observe in your leopard gecko are probably due to simple factors and are nothing to be concerned about.
Aging and changing colors are normal for them, and stress and calcium deficiencies are easy to treat early on.
It is time to see a vet when you notice something wrong with your gecko other than a color change.
This can include shifts in behavior, no longer eating, loose stool, and other changes to their health.
Leopard geckos are very tough animals, and most problems are easily treated at home if caught early, but internal parasites and other issues will need medical attention if left untreated.
If you notice a change in your gecko and can’t change it in a few days, or your gecko suddenly declines, then it is time to see a vet.