Leopard geckos, like most reptile species, will shed their skin every once in a while. It is very important that you understand why a leopard gecko sheds, when a leopard gecko sheds, and how to help a leopard gecko shed its skin. Knowing all this information can help you ease the shedding process for your leopard gecko.
Why do Leopard Geckos Shed Their Skin?
The main reason why leopard geckos shed their skin is because of growth. Once they outgrow their old layer of skin, they shed it to allow the new layer of skin to take place. Another reason for shedding is due to illness or injury.
How Often Do Leopard Geckos Shed?
It is hard to estimate the amount of times a leopard gecko will shed without knowing the age of your gecko, reproductive status, rate of growth (parasites), environmental factors, nutritional factors, and etc… Every leopard gecko is different and will shed at different times. There is no real way to time the shedding of your leopard gecko. But on average, a leopard gecko will shed about once a month growing up. After your leopard gecko reaches maturity, the shedding will decrease.
How to Help Your Leopard Gecko Shed?
It is very important to understand that you can not help your leopard gecko shed it’s skin by pulling the old skin off yourself. If you pull the old layer of skin off when the new layer of skin is not ready, you will most likely rip the new skin off of your leopard geckos back causing serious problems (bleeding, wound, infection, etc..). Make sure your leopard geckos sheds its skin off himself. Although you can not physically pull the skin off, you can help the skin come off in other ways.
A humid hide very important to have in the enclosure while your leopard gecko is shedding. It is a container containing high humidity levels that will allow your leopard gecko’s skin to slide off easier. Below, I will illustrate on how to make a humid hide.
Toes are the biggest concern when your leopard gecko sheds. The reason is because the shed will sometimes stay on certain toes (without the owner knowing) causing blood circulation issues. After a few sheds being retained on the toes, blood circulation will at some point stop causing your leopard gecko to lose its toes. This usually only happens with a few toes, not the whole foot. This is why it is very important to inspect your leopard gecko after a shed to make sure the entire old layer of skin has come off. If you see that the shed is still on some of your leopard gecko’s toes, you can grab a Q-Tip and dab it in some lukewarm water and apply it to the toes. This will moisten and soften the shed allowing your leopard gecko to shed it after a period of time. This is not normally a problem, but it does happen sometimes.
How to Make a Humid Hide
As stated above, the humid hide is probably the most important object in the enclosure for your leopard gecko during its shedding process. Below is how I make mine.
As the humid hide, you can use the Zoo Med reptile cave or the Exo Terra gecko cave. Both will work great. As for the humidity substrate, you can use sphagnum moss, eco earth loose coconut fiber, or a mix of both. Personally, I use the sphagnum moss. It retains water really well. Some people even go with paper towel, but I find that it dries out way too quickly. If you are on top of moistening your paper towels daily, then paper towels can be used.
Once you place the substrate into the humid hide, just moisten the substrate and place the humid hide in the enclosure (away from the heat lamp so it doesn’t dry out), and you’re done. Just check it daily to make sure the humidity is good. Avoid allowing crickets from going into the humid hide, as they may treat it as an incubator to lay their eggs.
How do You Deal With Your Leopard Gecko Shedding?
Do you know of any other types of problems or solutions that you’ve come across while dealing with your leopard gecko shedding? Share with us your thoughts and recommendations below in the comments section.