Leopard Gecko Shedding: Everything You Need To Know

Leopard Geckos are fascinating creatures requiring proper care and attention to thrive in captivity. One important aspect of their care is shedding, which is a natural and necessary process for their growth and health. 

Understanding the shedding process and knowing how to identify and address any issues that may arise is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your pet.

 In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons

  • Why leopard geckos shed 
  • How often and how long the shedding process is 
  • What signs to look out for to ensure a smooth shedding process
  • What to do during the shedding process
  • Causes of excessive shedding

Why Do Leopard Geckos Shed?

Leopard Geckos shed their skin as part of their natural growth process. Shedding helps them remove old, worn-out skin and replace it with new, healthy skin. It’s also a sign your leopard gecko is healthy and growing.

When Leopard Geckos shed, they’re removing the old top layer of skin, called the epidermis, and replacing it with a fresh layer. This new skin will better protect your Leo from foreign microscopic and macroscopic bacteria.

How Long Does Shedding Take?

Shedding is a natural process of Leopard Geckos’ routine, typically this isn’t a difficult process for them to go through.

Once the shedding process begins, for a healthy Leo, it’ll usually take one-three days to completely shed off the dead skin cells.

How Often Is The Shedding Process?

The frequency of shedding in Leopard Geckos differs depending on age;

Baby and juvenile Leopard Geckos shed one to two times a month, whereas once a Leo reaches roughly 6 months of age, they’ll start to slow the frequency of shedding down to once every three weeks.

By the time a Leopard Gecko reaches adulthood, typically at 18 months they’ll only be shedding once every four-eight weeks. 

Here is a simple table outlining the frequency of shedding coinciding Leopard Gecko age:

Frequency of SheddingLeopard Gecko Age
Weekly0-3 Months
Once every 1-2 weeks3-6 Months
Monthly-Bimonthly 6-18 Months
Once every 4-8 weeks18+ Months

Leopard Gecko Shedding Signs

It is essential to know the signs that your leopard gecko is about to shed, as it can help you prepare and ensure your gecko sheds properly.

Some of the signs include;

Dull, cloudy eyes: Leopard Geckos’ eyes become cloudy and dull before shedding. This is because a layer of skin forms over their eyes, which protects them during the shedding process.

Loss of appetite: Leopard Geckos may lose their appetite before shedding. This is normal and nothing to worry about. They’ll usually regain their appetite once the shed is over and they’ll eat the shed skin. This is also normal and benefits them nutritionally.

Restlessness: Leopard Geckos may become restless and agitated before shedding. This is because the shedding process can be uncomfortable for them.

Why Is My Leopard Gecko Not Shedding?

It usually isn’t a cause for concern if your Leopard Gecko hasn’t shed to their normal routine. As your Leo gets older, they’ll shed less frequently. However, if your Leopard Gecko is young and still not shedding, this could be a sign of stunted growth. Consult a vet if you suspect this.

There is also a chance you’re missing the shedding process, some Leos are able to finish their shed within a couple of hours of it beginning. This could be happening whilst you’re out or even asleep and they’ve eaten all of the evidence before you can notice.

If you own a female Leopard Gecko and they’re ovulating they’ll likely not shed during this time because it requires a lot of energy to lay a clutch of eggs. Once their clutch is laid, they’ll begin to shed as normal.

Why Is My Leopard Gecko Shedding So Often?

Reasons your Leopard Gecko may be shedding more often than usual, almost always tend to be a symptom of other factors your Leo is dealing with. 

Here is a list of external factors affecting your Leopard Geckos shedding routine;

Mites

These parasitic creatures are little anthropods, and they’ll latch onto your Leopard Geckos’ skin sucking blood and causing them great discomfort. 

Your Leo may be shedding regularly to remove these pests, however, this won’t fix the issue. You’ll need to contact a veterinarian to be instructed and prescribed the correct medication.

Dehydration

A very common reason for excess shedding is dehydration when your Leo is dehydrated their skin will dry, and crack starting the shedding process prematurely.

Incorrect Humidity Levels

Similar to dehydration, if the humidity levels aren’t set between 30%-40% their skin will dry out and begin to shed.

No Hide Spot

Leopard Geckos require hide spots, ideally lined with a substrate capable of retaining moisture. I recommend using sphagnum moss in a piece of cave decor or even a tupperware tub can do the trick. This will keep their skin hydrated and healthy throughout the day.

Stress

Stress is a cause for concern, as this can lead to many health related issues. Like humans, Leopard Geckos can get stressed out by being handled too much, cohabitation, or even just a change in their environment. Ensure you monitor your Leopard Gecko regularly to keep an eye on their overall health and happiness.

Helping Leopard Geckos Shed

Helping our pets go through processes is only natural, and it’s easily achieved by setting up the correct environmental conditions and providing a healthy and balanced diet.

Environment

You’ll need to provide the correct temperature and humidity levels to help promote a healthy shedding experience for your Leopard Gecko

  • Basking Area: 94°F-97°F (34-36°C)
  • Warm Area: 90°F-92°F (32-33°C)
  • Cool Area: 70°F-77°F (21-25°C)
  • Humidity Levels: 30%-40%

Providing rough surfaced decor within the enclosure will benefit your Leopard Gecko greatly during shedding because they’ll rub against it to help remove skin and ease the discomfort of shedding skin.

Diet

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, greatly improves your Leopard Geckos overall health and not just when they’re shedding. 

Leos are specifically insectivores, meaning they require only insects in their diet. I know healthy and balanced usually means adding in vegetables but not when it comes to Leopard Geckos.

They don’t have a cecum, so they’re unable to digest the cellulose found in fruits and vegetables.

Lighting

Leopard Geckos are nocturnal reptiles, but they still require proper UVB lighting. Leos are most active during dusk and dawn, meaning they still receive UV rays from direct sunlight. 

UVB rays help Leopard Geckos fully metabolize and digest their food and prevent vitamin deficiencies, a healthy gecko means a healthy shedding experience.

What To Do During Stuck Shed

Sometimes stuck shed can occur in Leopard Geckos, causes of stuck shed are;

  • Poor Diet
  • Poor Environment
  • Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Parasites
  • Injuries
  • Ovulation

Here are some tactics to help your Leopard Gecko when they’re struggling to shed their skin.

Bathe Them

What You’ll Need;

  • Container
  • Cup
  • Temperature Appropriate Water (80°F-90°F)
  • Toothbrush
  • Towel

Ensure the water is below chin level, I recommend having the water as high as their knees. Allow your Leo to soak in the water for 10-15 minutes, lightly pouring water on their back. 

The temperature of the water will help loosen any tough bits of the skin making it easier for them to shed. 

Mist Them

You can mist your Leopard Gecko if they’re not the biggest fans of having baths, alternatively, you’re able to mist the enclosure as this will increase humidity levels and make shedding easier for your Gecko.

Provide Rough Hide Spots

Having rough surfaces like slate tiles or pieces of bark in their enclosure will help your Leopard Gecko shed as they’ll spend time rubbing against it, releasing tough-to-lose skin.

Shedding Aids

You’re able to purchase oils and aloes which you can rub into your Leos skin with a soft Q-tip, this will soften the skin and make the process easier for your pet.

Summary

Leopard Geckos shed their skin as part of their natural growth process.

Understanding the shedding process and knowing how to identify and address any issues that may arise is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your pet.

We have covered;

  • Why leopard geckos shed
  • How often and how long the shedding process is
  • What signs to look out for
  • What to do during the shedding process
  • Causes of excessive shedding

By providing the correct environmental conditions and a healthy and balanced diet, pet owners can help their Leopard Geckos go through the shedding process smoothly.