Seeing your leopard gecko struggle with its health is truly heartbreaking. But is it dying? Or Just Sick?
Below we will go over what to look out for if you suspect your leopard gecko is dying.
How Do You Know if your Leopard Gecko is Dying?
Some of the top signs that your leopard gecko is dying are weight loss, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Dying leopard geckos also have sunken eyes and do not produce droppings.
Since leopard geckos usually store fat in their tails for emergency cases, it’s quite alarming when they start losing weight there and in other parts of their bodies.
Unless they are brumating, these reptiles should not be using their fat reservoirs. As such, weight loss is definitely a sign that something is wrong, especially if it happens quickly. It could be caused by:
- Poor nutrition
- Unsuitable living conditions
However, the best way to determine what is causing your leopard gecko’s weight loss is to take them to the vet.
Loss of appetite
This symptom usually goes hand in hand with weight loss. It can also be caused by disease, impaction, parasites, poor nutrition, and unsuitable living conditions.
However, it can be caused by other factors like stress. Leopard geckos get particularly stressed when they have to share a tank with others and compete for resources.
They also get stressed during the egg-laying process, making eating uncomfortable for them.
When your leopard gecko sticks to one side of the tank and doesn’t move much, it could be sick and dying.
After all, leopard geckos are usually active. They love to explore their tanks, bask in the sun, and hunt prey.
Apart from sticking to one side of the tank, lethargy can manifest in a variety of ways including:
- Lying near water bowls
- Consistently staying inside the hides
- Staying stationary for hours on end
Common symptoms of dehydration in leopard geckos are sunken eyes, the presence of sticky mucus in the mouth, wrinkly skin, muscle loss, and energy loss. If the dehydration continues, your leopard gecko can die.
That’s why it’s important to consistently provide your reptile with water and take them to the vet if they still become dehydrated despite this. This can be a sign of disease, especially when it’s accompanied by diarrhea.
Lack of droppings/abnormal droppings
When your leopard gecko’s droppings become abnormal or are gone altogether, they are definitely sick.
A lack of droppings is a particularly dire sign and can indicate that your reptile is at the end of its life.
This means that your Leo is impacted or isn’t eating anything. On the other hand, a few droppings are a sign that your gecko is eating too little food.
Other types of abnormal droppings to keep an eye for include:
- Green droppings – these can be a sign of parasitic infection, digestion problems, diet change, or substrate ingestion
- Droppings with undigested food – these can be watery and have noticeable insect parts. These usually indicate low tank temperatures, parasite infection, or the onset of impaction.
- Chalk white/gray droppings – these usually indicate that your leopard gecko ate shed skin or bright-colored substrates.
- Soft soup-like droppings – these are usually yellow/white and can have brown bits. They can indicate parasitic infection, weakened immunity, or sudden diet change.
- Worm-infested droppings – these have pink curves and can even be watery. They indicate a bacterial or parasitic infection.
- Particles in droppings – this is a surefire sign that your leopard gecko ingested substrate particles or other foreign particles.
Remember, normal droppings have three main parts. One part is dark-colored waste, another is yellow/white uric acid, and the last one is yellow/transparent pee.
What commonly kills leopard geckos?
The main causes of death among leopard geckos are:
Impaction is undoubtedly the leading cause of death among leopard geckos.
It is a blockage of your leopard gecko’s digestive system and is usually caused by the ingestion of foreign objects like substrate particles.
What makes impaction dangerous is the fact that it can be hard to notice until it’s too late and your leopard gecko is dead. But impaction can be treated easily if you catch it early.
Some may do this by feeding their reptile a few drops of olive oil to ease the blockage out of its digestive system.
Others may give their Leo a warm bath and rub its belly. Ultimately though, it’s always best to consult with your vet when you suspect that your reptile is impacted – better safe than sorry.
Diseases and infections
When it comes to diseases and infections, the most common and deadliest one is undoubtedly Cryptosporidiosis.
This protozoan parasitic infection negatively affects your leopard gecko’s digestive system causing diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Over time, this can make your reptile’s tail stick-like and can even kill them. So if your gecko exhibits these symptoms, take them to the vet’s office immediately.
Unsuitable tank temperatures
One of the most overlooked causes of death in leopard geckos is unsuitable tank temperatures. Higher temperatures than required are particularly known to fry leopard geckos to death.
Leopard geckos 10 to 20 years in age can easily die of old age. As these reptiles get older, they become less active and less willing to eat. If they continue not eating, they eventually lose a lot of weight and die.
How to keep your leopard gecko alive and healthy
If you want your leopard gecko to stay alive for as long as possible and thrive health-wise, you need to do the following:
- Regularly clean and organize your leopard gecko’s tank
- Wash your hands before and after handling your Leo
- Avoid housing several leopard geckos in one tank
- Keep a sick leopard gecko away from its tank mates until it recovers
- Provide your reptile with a healthy diet and the necessary supplements
- Take your gecko the vet’s when you suspect something’s wrong
- Ensure that your gecko’s tank has the right temperature and humidity levels
- Always provide your gecko with water
Because of how easy it is to end up with a dead leopard gecko, it’s important to take action immediately if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.
The sooner you get your leopard gecko treated, the higher their chances of survival.