Leopard Geckos And Shedding
You may have found your leopard gecko shedding its skin for the first time. Some owners who didn’t get to familiarize themselves with the leopard geckos get surprised and panic. Believe it or not I freaked out when Sly turned bright white (usually a bright yellow). However, just so you know, skin shedding is a normal process for the leopard geckos, and all other geckos out there.
Yes, a normal leopard gecko sheds in order to remove old skin and replace it with newer and larger scales. This process is called molting or ecdysis. While this process is normal, it can usually be affected by a combination of environmental factors, which include temperature, humidity, hydration, and photoperiod.
This process of skin molting doesn’t only consist of the main skin shedding. Lack of appetite can also be seen in a leopard gecko undergoing shedding. There are also times when leopard geckos even eat their skin (in fact they usually do). These are normal and you don’t have to worry a thing.
However, at some point, due to other factors, leopard geckos can have problems molting their skin off. This condition is known as dysecdysis, or abnormal shedding. For the most part, a healthy gecko will shed its skin in one piece instead of bits. In cases of abnormal shedding, skin will come off in pieces or may not even continue to shed. Sugar my youngest one I have put a warm rag on her head as she has trouble shedding from time to time.
Dysecdysis can be caused by a number of factors. Environment plays a vital role in the leopard gecko’s shedding. If at some point the environment changes and the gecko gets a hard time adjusting, its shedding can get abnormal or even postponed. Sometimes, if the gecko has skin infections, or if it gets infested by parasites, this can also happen. Some other factors can include stress, age, injuries, and excessive handling.
Also, changes in temperature or inadequate heat in the tank can lead to the gecko being chronically stressed. Stress can lead to much more diseases, one of which is dysecdysis. Along with dysecdysis, a stressed leopard gecko can also have retarded or delayed growth. So it is crucial to avoid stressing the reptile.
Most commonly though, skin molting problems can arise from too low humidity in the environment. That’s why it is a must to keep a moist hide along with a moist substrate inside the tank for proper thermoregulation. I spray my tanks once a night and they lick the water of the glass and leafs.
Though dysecdysis seems a very simple illness for a gecko, it can actually cause serious complications. One of which is the formation of constricting bands on the toes, legs, and tails. Once these bands get formed, they can prevent blood flow to the distal areas, which can further lead to necrosis and amputation of the necrosed extremity.
That being said, dysecdysis must be treated by a leopard gecko veterinarian immediately. What you can do as the owner is to keep records of its molting cycle, and if anything goes abnormal, you can immediately bring it for a check-up.
Nevertheless, before getting a pet, you should know the ins and outs of taking care of it. If you don’t know that your pet is having an abnormal skin shedding, then you wouldn’t even know if it already has a much more serious underlying disease. So keep an eye on your pet and do your best to keep it healthy.