Making sure your leopard geckos have the right conditions to shed is extremely important for keeping your leopard gecko happy and healthy, however the majority of owners will face situations where their gecko struggles to shed properly on their own.
For example, even though my male and female leopard geckos are kept in the same conditions, for some reason my male gecko has had a succession of problematic sheds recently.
Leopard geckos should always have at least one moist hide in their vivarium – personally I make sure mine always have a moist hide in the cool side of their enclosure, and around the time they shed I will also add one to the hot side as well which creates a more sauna-like level of humidity for them.
You can see in the two photos that my male, Charizard, has shed stuck under his eye, and a little bit of rough skin on the top of his nose.
There are several signals which tell me they’re about to shed:
- They turn very pale
- They hide away in their moist hide and don’t walk around much
- They don’t want to be handled
- They stop eating their food
- They start rubbing their faces against things to loosen the skin
However, even though I provide two moist hides, and monitor the humidity levels, my male still struggles getting his face completely clear of old skin. I have spoken to other more experienced leopard gecko owners, and here are some of their pieces of advice.
Tips to help with problem sheds:
- Create a temporary gecko “sauna.” Get a tupperware box, poke air holes in it, add damp moss/ paper towels and put your gecko in it with the lid on so it can’t get out. Place the sauna over the top of a warm (but not hot) heat source – their heat mat would be perfect. Leave for 30 minutes and check on them and see if the skin is looser. Sometimes it will just come off on its own without your extra help. Sometimes you’ll need to leave longer than 30 minutes.
- Put your gecko in a shallow warm bath. This is good for geckos struggling with belly or foot shedding. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or too cold, and make sure it is no deeper than belly-level. This should help loosen skin along with some gentle rubbing.
- Shedding aid by Zoo Med – this had excellent reviews on Amazon so I gave it a try. This worked really well for the rough skin on top of my gecko’s head, but it was very difficult to put on the skin under his eye because he just won’t let me touch there without turning away. Other people rub this on their geckos prior to shedding (when the gecko turns white) and have had great results.
Always remember to check your humidity levels in your vivarium, and please PLEASE make sure you always have a moist hide for your leopard gecko! If skin stays trapped on them, it can cause a restriction of blood flow, causing to loss of toes, infection and sometimes death.
Do you have any more tips and advice for helping with problem sheds? I would love to hear them! Comment below.