How I removed stuck shed from my leopard gecko in 30 minutes

I have owned my leopard geckos since 2017, and have never had any issues with shed getting stuck on their toes, however I noticed that my female gecko had some white skin accumulating on one of her front toes.

Skin accumulating on front toe

Luckily there wasn’t much to remove, and I noticed it before too many subsequent sheds were able to accumulate and cause problems like her losing a toe.

However it looked like there were multiple layers of skin, which tells me that I regrettably missed the signs that she’d had a bad shed a month or two ago, and that perhaps her conditions were not adequate.

See: Why is my leopard gecko having shedding problems?

This is why it’s so important to check your geckos frequently – even if it is tough to get them to come out of their favourite spots.

I think the combination of warmer weather, a new routine brought on by their recent house move, and perhaps stress of moving house meant that she didn’t shed as efficiently as before.

Firstly I tried using shedding aid with a cotton bud/q-tip to peel back the skin, but with limited success – she wouldn’t stay still and I got impatient, so instead I filled a dish with warm, shallow water – just enough that her feet would be immersed. I put this shallow dish within a smooth-sided container in case she tried to escape.

Once she had soaked for a few minutes, I gradually managed to pick away the skin bit by bit with my finger nail and it came away pretty easily (see video below).

My fingernail ended up being more efficient than the cotton bud, and therefore less distressing for her, because I was more accurate with my attempts to peel back the skin. She eventually sat still and let me remove the remainder, and I managed to get all of this done in under 30 minutes.

Overall this was much less stressful than I imagined – it helped that I had the assistance of my sister, so if you’re struggling just having someone else gives you that extra confidence and another pair of hands. Thankfully there was not a great deal to remove, and I am just so glad that I caught it early.

I have written in more detail about shedding and other methods for removing shed, because a shallow water bath may not be appropriate for all geckos, particularly if the shed is stuck around their face: How to remove stuck shed from a leopard gecko

13 comments

  1. My leopard gecko dropped his tail before I got him. It’s starting to grow back, and he seems to be shedding normally, but I noticed today there is a bit of shed still caught on his tail. I’m worried my trying to remove it will cause him to drop it again – but I know I have to. Suggestions?

    He’s probably less than 4 months old, no recent changes to diet

    [You can sort of see it on this picture – hanging right off the tip. ](https://preview.redd.it/fb3hynpfukk71.jpg?width=756&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b41463ca85afe8c97578b129b7c7cf87fe3b9ad7)

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    1. Oh this is such a difficult one 😦
      I understand why you don’t want to go touching his tail, so that should be a last resort.
      Have you tried using shedding aid? If it was me, I would try to spray the end of his tail regularly with that as it’s more moisturising than water and will keep his skin supple for longer.
      Perhaps try that every few days; and more often if he’s turned white and about to shed?

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  2. On the directions it says to use the fingers to rub it in. On a regenerating tail, should I just spray it directly or use a q-tip? He doesn’t like anything really happening with that area, obviously.

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    1. If it was me I would just spray it straight on, and would try to avoid touching the tail as much as possible. But it’s hard to advise as I’ve never needed to. I’m currently massaging it into my geckos feet but feet are much much easier! X

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    1. I’m so glad it worked! Yeah I’m having a similar problem with my gecko, I think she’s going to keep getting it stuck on her toes. I wonder if it’s because I’ve missed a little bit and it’s causing more to get stuck. I’m planning on spraying it on her feet every time I can, so that hopefully it stops being a problem area eventually! I’m so glad your little guy is doing better 🙂

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