Like most other reptiles, leopard geckos shed. How much they actually do it will depend on one very specific factor, but nonetheless, it happens to all of them. Sometimes, it may seem like they’re not shedding at all because they do it so fast, but rest assured that if they’re growing, they’re definitely shedding. But to answer the question of how much they actually do it, I suggest reading on.
How often do leopard geckos shed? How much they shed will depend on their age, but while adults shed a lot less, younger leopard geckos shed a lot more because up until they reach the age of 1, they are continuously growing.
The main factor that plays a role in how often they shed is age. When they’re younger, their bones are constantly growing and because their skin can’t keep up with the growth, a new layer of it has to be exposed. With leopard geckos over a year in age though, their bones aren’t growing anymore, so they’re not shedding nearly as much as when they were younger. Read on to learn more.
A More In-Depth Understanding
Although you have an idea of how often they shed, I want to be a little more specific so that you can get a better understanding of exactly how often you can expect yours to do it by taking their age into consideration. With that said, please check out the chart below:
|Baby Leopard Gecko||Once Every Two Weeks|
|Juvenile Leopard Gecko||Once Every Two Weeks|
|Adult Leopard Gecko||Once A Month|
As you can see, baby leopard geckos and juvenile leopard geckos shed at about the same rate because both of them are still growing at a pretty quick rate until they reach adulthood but after that, you’ll notice them start to slow down and shed around once a month.
These aren’t exact numbers as some leopard geckos may shed a little sooner while others shed a little later than the timeframes I provided, but it still gives you a little more of an idea of what you can expect and when according to how old they are.
Luckily, no matter how old or young they are, they do a very good job at shedding their skin off successfully without the assistance of their owners. The only time you will need to help them with a shed is if any of it gets stuck on a part of their body and they’re unable to remove it as leaving the stuck shed on them is a safety hazard and can result in pretty serious consequences.
So make sure to keep that in mind when dealing with reptiles like leopard geckos.
Ensuring a Smooth Shed
As stated above, complications can arise if they happen to have a bad shed, but to ensure that that doesn’t happen, you’ll want to make sure you not only do, but have a few things as well. The first thing is to make sure you have a nice and moist hide.
The whole purpose of their moist hide is to exclusively ensure that they’re having an easy shed every single time, so without it, there could very well be issues. There are various different ways to make a hide moist, but if you’d like to know how I make mine moist, then it’s from using this stuff here over on Amazon.
There are people who use other alternatives that are just as safe as what I use and sometimes alternatives that are not safe at all, but the same thing I use for my moist hide is the same thing I use for my substrate, so for that reason, I like to use it because it provides me with the most convenience.
Other alternatives that have been known to hold tons of moisture are paper towels and moss. The only problem is that while paper towels are fairly safe to use, moss isn’t. Some people have had success using it, but others have had issues with their leopard gecko becoming impacted shortly after ingesting it.
So if you’ve ever considered moss, please rethink your decision. While every leopard gecko won’t consume it, there are some that will. And because it’s pretty much impossible to tell whether your leopard gecko will or not, it’s best to just not use it altogether.
Keep in mind that leopard geckos generally won’t eat indigestible items within the tank unless they feel as if they are lacking a certain nutrient. So if you’re keeping them properly supplemented, then you shouldn’t have a problem using moss. But for me personally, I just feel like it’s too risky. Whatever you decide to do though is completely up to you.
Indicators of an Upcoming Shed
Leopard geckos shed so quickly that you might not ever see them do it for months on end. But before they’re about to enter one, they’ll usually display a few symptoms that may seem a little out of the ordinary. To know what symptoms I’m talking about, check this list out:
- Not Eating
- Moving Slow
Although you may not be able to watch the shed happen, those signs and symptoms are telltale indicators that’ll let you know that a shed is coming within the next few days. Not only that, but they’ll also begin to turn very pale or white in color. While some of the other signs can be hard to spot, their change in color isn’t.
Also, while some of the listed signs may be a little worrisome, they’re completely normal. This is something that almost every leopard goes through and unfortunately, there’s nothing that we can do about it except let it pass. But thankfully, it passes as soon as they’ve shed off their skin.
While their odd behavior may be present for the days leading up to the actual shed, the process in which they get the skin off will happen within 24 hours and it’ll usually take place in an area where you can’t see it happen such as in their hide.
They’ll clean the shed up themselves by consuming it and not only because it looks tasty to them but because it provides them with nutrition and also because they’re lizards that like to keep their area clean.
Dealing with Stuck Shed
As stated above, leopard geckos of all ages are usually pretty good at making sure that they get all of their shed off with no assistance as long as a properly moist hide is available to them. But because sometimes we as owners make the mistake of not making our tanks moist enough, they’ll sometimes get stuck shed and as a result experience a few complications.
When their shed is stuck, they’ll do anything that can to get it off. They’ll bite at it, try to chew at it, and even rub the affected area against objects in the tank in attempts to rub it off. They don’t only do this because they want to get the dead skin off, but because it’s very irritating and uncomfortable to have on their bodies as well.
Stuck shed can cause great amounts of pain to the parts of the body that it’s stuck on and it can even get so serious to the point where it will cut off their blood flow to the affected body part and cause them to discolor and potentially even fall off if not treated. Actually, it’s so serious that I wrote a full in-depth article on it here.
That article not only explains some of the symptoms that you can expect to see, but it also goes a little more in detail about how you can prevent it as well. If you want to learn how to do that, which I’m sure most of you do, I suggest taking a look at that article.
It’s hard to tell exactly how often a leopard gecko will shed because they’re all different and some might shed a little sooner or later than the next leopard gecko. But one thing you can be sure of is that young leopard geckos will always shed a lot more than adults will because they do a ton of growing until they reach adulthood in their very first year of being alive.
Although they shed quick, they still show signs that it’s about to happen that will give you confirmation that it’s about to begin. To know how often your own leopard gecko does it, it’s good to keep a log on-hand so that you can track just how much they actually do it.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen and many owners have and will continue to experience stuck shed with their leopard geckos as long as these animals are kept as pets. But if you have the proper knowledge and everything set up in the tank correctly, you shouldn’t have any issues with yours.
Keep the humidity in their tank up and their hide real moist when you suspect a shed coming on and you’ll never have to deal with the complications of stuck shed for as long as you own them.