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Why is My Leopard Gecko Not Shedding – Fact Behind That

mm byArthur Lewis August 9, 2023 17 min read

If your leopard gecko is not shedding, it may be because of insufficient humidity or lack of proper nutrition.

Leopard geckos, like many reptiles, undergo a shedding process that is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Shedding allows them to grow, replace old or damaged skin, and eliminate parasites.

Understanding why your leopard gecko might not be shedding will help you address any potential issues and ensure their optimal health. So, Let’s get started

Why is My Leopard Gecko Not Shedding
Credit: animalcareclinicofconcord.com

Shedding Cycle Of Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos typically shed their skin once every month or two, although this can vary from gecko to gecko. The shedding cycle consists of several stages:

  • Pre-shedding: Before shedding, you may notice your gecko’s skin becoming dull and opaque. This is a sign that the shedding process is about to begin.
  • Shedding: During this stage, the gecko’s old skin will peel away, revealing a fresh layer underneath. Your gecko might appear slightly discolored or pale during shedding.
  • Post-shedding: Once the shedding is complete, your gecko’s skin will regain its normal color and texture. It is crucial to ensure that all the shed skin has been removed from your gecko’s body and enclosure.

Factors That Can Affect The Shedding Process

Several factors can disrupt the shedding process for leopard geckos. Understanding these factors will help you identify potential issues and take appropriate action:

  • Temperature and humidity: Inadequate temperature and humidity levels can hinder the shedding process. The enclosure should have a warm and humid hide to facilitate shedding.
  • Improper nutrition: A poor diet lacking essential nutrients can affect how efficiently your gecko sheds its skin. Ensure that they are receiving a balanced diet, which includes a variety of gut-loaded insects and a calcium supplement.
  • Dehydration: Inadequate hydration can interfere with shedding. Provide a shallow dish of fresh water in your gecko’s enclosure at all times.
  • Skin infections: Occasionally, bacterial or fungal infections can cause difficulties during shedding. Regularly inspect your gecko’s skin for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Stress and handling: Excessive stress or handling can disrupt the shedding process. Minimize handling during shedding and ensure your gecko feels secure in its environment.
  • Injury or abnormalities: Any injury or abnormalities in your gecko’s skin, such as scars or retained shed, can impede the shedding process. Monitor your gecko for any signs of abnormalities and seek veterinary assistance if necessary.

Signs Of Difficulty In Shedding

Leopard geckos shed their skin regularly as part of their growth process. However, there may be instances when your leopard gecko experiences difficulty in shedding. It’s essential to recognize the signs of trouble so that you can provide the necessary assistance.

Here are some indicators to watch out for:

  • Lack of progress: If you notice that your leopard gecko has not shed its old skin for an extended period, it may be a sign of difficulty. Typically, shedding should occur every 4-6 weeks, so any delays should be noted.
  • Incomplete shedding: When a leopard gecko has trouble shedding, it may only shed parts of its skin, leaving behind patches of old skin clinging to its body. This can lead to various complications if not addressed promptly.
  • Stuck shed on extremities: Particularly, if you observe pieces of shed skin clinging tightly around the toes or tail, this can hamper blood circulation, causing discomfort and potential health problems for your gecko.
  • Visible irritation and swelling: Difficulty shedding can lead to skin irritation and inflammation in leopard geckos. Look for reddened or swollen areas, as this may indicate discomfort and the need for assistance.

Abnormal Shedding Patterns To Watch Out For

While leopard geckos typically shed their skin uniformly across their bodies, certain abnormal shedding patterns may be cause for concern. Being aware of these deviations will help you recognize potential difficulties. Here are some abnormal shedding patterns to watch out for:

  • Patchy or uneven shedding: If your leopard gecko experiences patchy or uneven shedding, where areas of old skin remain while others have shed normally, it could be a sign of underlying issues. This condition needs to be addressed promptly to ensure the well-being of your gecko.
  • Excessive or prolonged shedding: If your leopard gecko frequently sheds, shedding more often than the usual 4-6 week interval, or if the shedding process takes longer than usual, it may be an indication of shedding complications.
  • Irregular skin coloration: Unusual changes in your leopard gecko’s skin color before or during shedding can be a sign of difficulty. For instance, if the skin appears dull or discolored, it may suggest shedding complications.
  • Frequent eye or nose rubbing: If you observe your leopard gecko rubbing its eyes or nose against surfaces more often during shedding, it could indicate discomfort. Excessive rubbing may lead to injury, so addressing the underlying issue is of utmost importance.

Common Symptoms Of Shedding Complications

It’s crucial to be familiar with the common symptoms indicating shedding complications in leopard geckos. By recognizing these signs, you can take appropriate measures to alleviate any discomfort or health issues your gecko may be experiencing. Here are some common symptoms to keep an eye out for:

  • Loss of appetite: Leopard geckos experiencing difficulty shedding may exhibit a decrease in appetite. If your gecko isn’t eating as much as usual or refusing food altogether, it could be a sign of shedding complications.
  • Restlessness or lethargy: Shedding can be an uncomfortable process for leopard geckos, and as a result, they may become restless or lethargic. If your gecko appears excessively agitated or fatigued, it may be due to difficulties in shedding.
  • Change in behavior: A leopard gecko that is struggling with shedding may display changes in behavior. This can include increased aggression, hiding more frequently, or exhibiting unusual stress-related behaviors.
  • Skin injury or bleeding: If your leopard gecko has injured its skin during shedding, you may notice signs of bleeding or open wounds. Injuries can occur when geckos attempt to forcibly remove stuck sheds, causing harm to their delicate skin.

Possible Causes For Difficulty In Shedding

Leopard geckos, although known for their ease of care, may sometimes experience difficulties during the shedding process. Shedding is a natural phenomenon that allows them to grow and replace old skin. If your leopard gecko is having a hard time shedding, there could be several underlying causes you need to consider:

Inadequate Humidity Levels In The Gecko’s Environment

Maintaining the appropriate humidity levels is crucial for a leopard gecko to shed successfully. Inadequate humidity can lead to dry skin, making it difficult for the old skin to come off. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Ensure the humidity in your gecko’s enclosure is around 40-60%. You can use a hygrometer to monitor the levels accurately.
  • Mist the enclosure daily with water to increase humidity levels. Alternatively, you can provide a moist hide box filled with damp moss to create a microclimate.
  • Avoid using heat rocks or heat lamps directly under the moist hide, as they can dry out the environment.

Poor Diet And Nutritional Deficiencies

A leopard gecko’s diet plays a crucial role in its overall health, including the shedding process. Inadequate nutrition can lead to poor shedding. Consider the following points:

  • Leopard geckos require a diet consisting mainly of live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches.
  • Ensure the insects you feed are properly gut-loaded and dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements.
  • Provide a balanced diet by incorporating occasional feeder insects like waxworms and silkworms.
  • Always ensure fresh water is available in a shallow dish.

Skin Infections Or Injuries Hindering The Shedding Process

Skin infections or injuries can impede the shedding process in leopard geckos. These issues may cause the old skin to stick, making it difficult for the gecko to shed naturally. Consider the following points:

  • Regularly inspect your gecko for any signs of wounds, lesions, or abnormalities on its skin.
  • Ensure the enclosure is clean and free from sharp objects that could cause injuries.
  • If you notice any skin infections, consult a reptile veterinarian for appropriate treatment.
  • Provide a moist hide box to help soften the old skin and facilitate shedding.

Resolving Shedding Issues At Home

Leopard geckos are known for their stunning patterns and colors, but sometimes they may face difficulties when shedding their old skin. Shedding issues can be a cause for concern for gecko owners, but fear not! There are several steps you can take at home to help your leopard gecko through the shedding process and ensure a smooth transition to their new skin.

Let’s delve into some effective strategies for resolving shedding issues with your gecko.

Adjusting The Humidity Levels In The Gecko’S Habitat

Maintaining the appropriate humidity levels is crucial for your leopard gecko’s shedding process. Here’s what you can do to ensure the right level of humidity:

  • Increase the humidity: If the humidity in your gecko’s enclosure is too low, it can make shedding difficult. Consider these methods to increase humidity:
  • Mist the enclosure: Use a spray bottle filled with room temperature water to gently mist the enclosure once or twice a day. This will increase humidity levels and provide a more suitable environment for shedding.
  • Provide a humid hide: Create a designated hide with moist substrate, such as sphagnum moss or damp paper towels. This will give your gecko a cozy spot with higher humidity, making shedding easier for them.
  • Decrease the humidity: Conversely, if the humidity is too high, it can also hinder the shedding process. Use these techniques to decrease humidity:
  • Increase ventilation: Ensure your gecko’s enclosure has adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation and prevent excessive humidity build-up.
  • Reduce misting frequency: If you’re misting too frequently, it can keep the enclosure overly humid. Cut back on misting and monitor the humidity levels closely.

Providing The Gecko With Proper Hydration And Misting Techniques

Hydration plays a vital role in helping leopard geckos shed properly. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your gecko remains hydrated:

  • Provide clean water: Ensure your gecko always has access to fresh, clean water. Use a shallow dish that’s easily accessible for them to drink from.
  • Misting techniques:
  • Mist the enclosure, not the gecko: When misting the enclosure, aim to provide moisture to the environment rather than directly misting your gecko. This prevents unnecessary stress for your pet.
  • Regular misting: By misting the enclosure, you create a humid microclimate that helps soften your gecko’s old skin, making it easier to shed.

Ensuring A Balanced Diet And Addressing Nutritional Concerns

A well-balanced diet is essential for your leopard gecko’s overall health and proper shedding. Consider the following tips:

Gut-loaded insects: Feed your gecko with gut-loaded insects like crickets, dubia roaches, or mealworms. These insects should be properly gut-loaded with nutritious foods to ensure your gecko receives essential vitamins and minerals.

Calcium and vitamin supplements: Dusting insects with calcium and vitamin supplements will provide additional nutrients that your gecko might not be getting from its primary diet.

Adequate hydration: Ensure your gecko is well-hydrated by providing a water source, as mentioned earlier. Proper hydration plays a crucial role in the shedding process.

Gentle Assistance With The Shedding Process

Sometimes, even with the best care, leopard geckos may struggle to complete the shedding process. In such cases, you can offer gentle assistance to help them along:

  • Warm baths: Prepare a shallow bath with lukewarm water and gently place your gecko in it. The warm water will help soften their old skin, making it easier for them to shed.
  • Moist hide: Create a moist hide within the enclosure using damp paper towels or sphagnum moss. Your gecko can retreat to this hide to aid in the shedding process.

By following these tips and making adjustments to the humidity levels, providing proper hydration and nutrition, and offering gentle assistance when needed, you can help your leopard gecko navigate through the shedding process successfully. With your attentive care, your gecko will be sporting vibrant and healthy new skin in no time.

When To Seek Veterinary Assistance

When it comes to shedding difficulties in leopard geckos, there are instances when home remedies may not be sufficient to resolve the issue. In such cases, seeking veterinary assistance becomes crucial in ensuring the health and well-being of your gecko.

Let’s explore the indications that suggest your leopard gecko may require professional help and understand the role of a reptile veterinarian in diagnosing and treating shedding difficulties.

When Home Remedies Fail To Resolve The Shedding Issue

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your leopard gecko may continue to experience shedding difficulties. In such situations, it is important to recognize that there are limitations to what can be done at home. Here are key points to consider if you find yourself in this position:

  • If your leopard gecko has not shed completely within a reasonable timeframe (usually within two to three weeks), it might be advisable to seek veterinary assistance.
  • Home remedies such as providing a humid hide, misting the enclosure, or offering a shedding aid like damp paper towels may not be effective in resolving persistent shedding difficulties.
  • Leopard geckos experiencing recurrent shedding issues may have an underlying health condition that requires professional diagnosis and treatment.

Indications That A Leopard Gecko May Require Professional Help

Recognizing the signs that your leopard gecko requires professional attention can be essential in addressing shedding difficulties. Consider the following indications:

  • Your leopard gecko displays signs of distress during shedding, such as excessive scratching, rubbing against objects, or prolonged periods of agitation.
  • The shedding process seems to be taking longer than usual, or your gecko is experiencing frequent and incomplete sheds.
  • Your leopard gecko’s skin appears abnormally dry, flaky, or stuck during shedding.
  • Other symptoms accompany shedding difficulties, including loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or changes in behavior.

If you observe any of these indications, it is advisable to seek the expertise of a reptile veterinarian who can provide the necessary care and treatment for your leopard gecko.

Role Of A Reptile Veterinarian In Diagnosing And Treating Shedding Difficulties

Reptile veterinarians play a vital role in diagnosing and treating shedding difficulties in leopard geckos. Here’s what you should know:

  • Upon consultation, a reptile veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your gecko, taking into account its overall health, habitat, and shedding behavior.
  • The veterinarian will assess whether there are any underlying medical conditions, such as dehydration, skin infections, or nutritional deficiencies, contributing to the shedding difficulties.
  • Diagnostic tests may be performed to identify potential causes, including skin cultures, blood work, or radiographs.
  • Based on their findings, the veterinarian will create a treatment plan tailored to your leopard gecko’s specific needs, which may include medication, dietary adjustments, or changes to the enclosure’s environment.
  • Regular follow-up visits may be required to assess the progress of your leopard gecko’s shedding and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Preventing Future Shedding Problems

Creating an optimal habitat for healthy shedding:

  • Ensure the habitat is kept at the right temperature and humidity levels to promote shedding.
  • Provide a warm side and a cool side in the enclosure to allow the leopard gecko to regulate its body temperature.
  • Use a reptile heat mat or a heat lamp to maintain an appropriate temperature gradient.
  • Place a digital thermometer and hygrometer inside the enclosure to monitor temperature and humidity levels accurately.
  • Avoid placing the enclosure in direct sunlight or near drafts, as extreme temperature fluctuations can hinder shedding.

Regular monitoring of humidity levels:

  • Maintain a humidity level of around 40-50% during the shedding process to soften the old skin.
  • Mist the enclosure lightly with water to increase humidity if necessary.
  • Use a reptile-specific humidity gauge to ensure accuracy.
  • Avoid oversaturating the enclosure, as excessive moisture can lead to bacterial and fungal infections.

Providing appropriate substrates and hiding spots for shedding:

  • Choose a suitable substrate that aids in shedding, such as a reptile carpet or paper towel.
  • Avoid loose substrates like sand, which can stick to the gecko’s damp skin and impede shedding.
  • Offer multiple hiding spots throughout the enclosure using hides or reptile caves.
  • These hiding spots provide a sense of security and encourage the gecko to shed in a safe and secluded area.
  • Ensure the hides are appropriately sized for the gecko to fit comfortably.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Why Is My Leopard Gecko Not Shedding

How Can I Increase The Humidity Of My Leopard Gecko?

Increasing humidity can be done by using a humidifier or misting the enclosure with water. Another way is to provide a moist hideout within the tank, such as a small container filled with damp sphagnum moss or paper towels.

What Should My Leopard Gecko’S Diet Consist Of?

A leopard gecko’s diet should consist primarily of live insects like crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. These insects should be gut-loaded before feeding to provide essential nutrients. Dusting insects with calcium and vitamin supplements is also crucial for their overall health.

What can I do to help my gecko shed more easily?

You can help your gecko shed by providing a humid hide, ensuring a balanced diet with proper calcium and vitamin supplementation, and offering a shallow dish of water for soaking.

Is it normal for shedding to take some time?

Yes, shedding can take a few days to a week. It’s important not to interfere or try to peel off the shed skin prematurely, as this could harm your gecko.

Could stress be causing shedding issues?

Yes, stress can be a factor in shedding problems. Make sure your gecko’s enclosure is in a quiet area, and avoid handling them too much during the shedding process.

What should I do if the shed skin is stuck on my gecko?

If the shed skin is stuck, you can create a humid environment by placing your gecko in a container with a damp paper towel. This will help soften the skin, making it easier to remove. Gently peel off the shed skin if it’s ready to come off.


It is important to closely monitor the shedding process of your leopard gecko and understand why they may not be shedding properly. By ensuring that their habitat is adequately maintained with appropriate temperature and humidity levels, you can promote a healthy shedding process.

Additionally, providing a moist hide and offering extra hydration through a shallow water dish can also aid in shedding. In some cases, dietary issues or underlying health conditions may be causing difficulties with shedding. Therefore, it is crucial to feed your leopard gecko a balanced diet and seek veterinary care if shedding problems persist.

Remember, a well-maintained habitat, proper hydration, and a nutritious diet are the keys to keeping your leopard gecko’s shedding on track. By following these guidelines and being proactive in their care, you can help ensure your leopard gecko has a smooth and successful shedding process.

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Arthur Lewis

"Hello, I'm Arthur Lewis, your guide to the untamed wilderness. Living in the heart of nature, I've found my calling in the captivating world of animals. Every day, I immerse myself in their lives, observing, learning, and documenting their stories. My writings are not just articles, but a window into the wild, offering you a firsthand experience of the beauty and complexity of our natural world. So, come along with me on this journey, as we explore the hidden tales of the wild, one creature at a time.

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