Dealing with a leopard gecko that has lost parts of its limbs can be a very disheartening thing to deal with no matter how close of a relationship you have with them, but because there are so many owners of these amazing little pets across the world, situations like these are not uncommon and with the right care and preparation, can be avoided altogether. But, to answer the question.
Do leopard geckos grow their toes back? Unfortunately, no. Although some parts of their body can regenerate, like their tail, for example, their toes cannot. Despite this fact, though, moving around like normal shouldn’t be hindered as a result.
A leopard gecko that has lost some of its toes isn’t subjected to a life of limited movements, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be taking the steps necessary in order to avoid this from ever happening again. While a few missing toes may do no harm to their well-being, losing all of them might greatly affect the quality of their life and how they’re able to get around as well. With that said, though, let’s see what else we can find out.
What’s the Cause?
The cause of a lost tail is usually due to mishandling, fighting with other leopard geckos, or from instinctively dropping it as a defense mechanism when they feel that they’re in danger. But, when it comes to lost toes, the cause is almost always due to a bad shed.
If your tank is humid enough and your moist hide is set up properly, then having to deal with your leopard gecko losing its toes is something that you shouldn’t have to worry about. But, when your tank is overly dry and your leopard gecko has nowhere moist to go to help soften up the shedding skin, it can get stuck on various parts of the body and cause complications.
These complications do not always result in lost body parts, but if the stuck shed is not taken care of, not spotted, or ignored, then it can very well happen. The cause for the toes coming off is due to constriction. The skin will wrap around so tight that it will stop blood flow to that specific body part altogether until it eventually dies and falls off.
Having a leopard gecko lose its toes is something that anyone can experience, but because well-experienced owners typically know to always keep the moisture in their hide up and are great at looking for signs of a bad shed, stuff like this happening is commonly seen in leopard gecko owners who are new to owning their pet.
Some Shed Easier Than Others
While most leopard gecko owners don’t experience any problems with their gecko shedding, there are others who have said that they have had to assist their leopard gecko with getting stuck skin off after every single shed.
A lot of the times the cause can be due to having the improper amount of moisture in the tank, but other times it can just simply come down to the fact that some leopard geckos are better at getting their shed off than others.
Dealing with having to constantly take the skin off after every shed can be a nuisance, especially when they’re young and shedding often, but it has to be done in order to save their toes and their life.
If you have a leopard gecko that naturally has a hard time shedding despite having a moist hide, then the work it takes to constantly get the rest of it off may start to become a little stressful for them over time and they might even become a little squirmy and aggressive as a result, but as much as they don’t enjoy going through it, it’s still very helpful for them. So, don’t hesitate to get the shed off, even if they don’t want you touching them.
Shying away from giving them help due to their behavior can make things a lot worse for not only them but for you as well and could cause serious problems down the road if they are left to try and get it off their self.
Just to make sure the shedding process isn’t causing more harm than it already is for those who do have trouble shedding, it’s best to have a great hide that does a good job at retaining moisture and making sure the skin comes off as easily and as much as possible as well.
Some owners like to create their own hides out of items that they have around the house, but to stay on the safe side, I like to provide my leopard gecko with a hide that I know for sure will help trap that moisture in all while giving them the privacy and comfort that they need when trying to get it all off as well. If you’d like to know which one I use for my moist hide along with my hot and cold hide, too, then you can find it here on Amazon.
Keeping up with the Humidity
Not only will a dry hide cause problems with shedding, but a tank that is overly dry can cause problems as well. Your leopard gecko doesn’t spend its time in the moist hide 24/7 when shedding, so it’s best to make sure the rest of the tank is humid as well.
Ways to do this is to add moss into your moist hide or buy one that already comes with moss (which I don’t recommend because of impaction risks), having a large water dish, as most of us should already have, spraying the tank, or adding in a water dripper within the moist hide to create more humidity.
If you’re wondering how this creates humidity, then let me give you a quick example. Have you ever been outside on a really hot day after it had just gotten done raining and found that the air was thicker than usual? If yes, then this is because the sun causes the water to evaporate and, therefore, causing more humidity and “thickness” in the air. The same goes for your tank.
When working together with your source of heat whether that be a heat mat or a heat lamp, a water dripper or any other body of water will do great at keeping the humidity in your tank at a fairly comfortable level for not only your leopard geckos shedding needs, but for their living needs as well.
If you’d like to go all out and provide your leopard gecko with a misting system that is great for creating more humidity while also spraying the walls of the terrarium with beads of water that they can lick off of as well, then I recommend taking a look at this one on Amazon.
Having a system like this set up will eliminate the need to manually mist (which many owners get tired of doing) and will also take away a lot of the worrying when it comes to whether or not your leopard gecko is getting enough moisture to properly shed whenever that time comes again.
Also, just like your tank’s temperature, you’ll want to make sure your leopard gecko’s humidity levels are at a certain range as well. You might notice that the levels will fluctuate throughout the day, but ideally, you’ll want them to be at about 20%-40% percent throughout most of it.
To make sure your humidity levels are staying around the range stated above, I suggest taking a look at this hygrometer here. It lets you know where your levels are at and will ensure a smooth and easy shed most times by allowing you to check how much humidity is in your tank at any given time. Knowing this information important, but it’s even more important to know right before a shed.
There are two things that you need to remember when making sure your leopard geckos shed goes smoothly and that’s making sure your hide is moist and also making sure the humidity in your tank is set right as well.
You can do everything else correctly, but if these two things are not right, then 9 times out of 10, your leopard gecko will have trouble shedding. All you have to do to avoid this is to set something in your hide that won’t cause impaction such as some damp paper towel or damp substrate (safe substrate) and then make sure the humidity outside of the hide is at a decent level as well by using a water dish and misting the tank either manually or with a misting system.
All of this might seem overwhelming at first, but once you have everything set up right, there’s really nothing else you will have to do from there aside from checking your humidity levels on occasion.
After that, there should be little to no more worry about anymore lost toes. Like stated above, most causes of lost toes are because of a bad shed, so if you can get the humidity and moisture levels under control, then everything else will just fall in place.