Ask Seth: Shedding Problems

I have a pet leopard gecko shedding and the skin has not all come off.  Why does this happen and what should I do to help her?

Leopard geckos shed their skin like all reptiles and amphibians, and leopards shed their entire skin all at once. Frequency of shedding varies, depending on the age and growth rate of the gecko. Younger geckos shed much more often than adults. You will know when your gecko is preparing to shed because its colors will get duller, and then it will turn whitish immediately before the shed. Leopards usually eat their entire skin in the process of shedding. This strategy is important for wild leopard geckos for two reasons. First, they expended the energy to make the skin; they aren't just going to let it go to waste! Second, bits of lizard skin in an area may tip off predators that they are in a good place to hunt tasty lizards.

Usually the gecko is able to pull the shed off easily, but sometimes they have problems, especially if they do not have the proper humidity during shedding. You should always check your gecko after it has shed to make sure it was able to peel all the skin off. Leopard geckos often have problems with removing skin from their toes. If shed skin is not removed promptly from a toe it will become constricted, and as the lizard grows, the toe will become constricted to the point where the shed skin can cut off blood flow to the toe. If this is not caught in time the toe can die and fall off. This is not a big problem, as it usually heals quickly, but I think they are happier with all their toes.

Do you have a pet leopard gecko? Did you ever encounter any shedding problems? Let us know it the comments!

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