10 Reasons Your Leopard Gecko is Shedding a Lot

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Are you worried about your leopard gecko shedding a lot? It’s natural for these reptiles to shed, but sometimes there can be underlying issues causing excessive shedding. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 reasons your leopard gecko might be shedding more than usual.

Related: how often do leopard geckos shed?

1. Humidity

Humidity is crucial for your leopard gecko’s shedding process. The recommended range is between 40%-60%. Humidity levels above or below this range will result in shedding problems including excess shedding.

Here are some tips for maintaining proper humidity levels for your leopard gecko:

  • Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your gecko’s enclosure.
  • Regularly mist or dampen the substrate, but avoid over-misting to prevent fungal or bacterial growth.
  • Provide a humid hide, as mentioned earlier, filled with damp coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, or moist paper towels.
  • Use a shallow water dish that can help maintain humidity while providing fresh water for your gecko.

By monitoring the humidity levels and following these guidelines, you can help ensure a smooth and healthy shedding process for your leopard gecko.

2. Temperature

Ensuring the proper temperature in your leopard gecko’s habitat is crucial for a healthy shedding process.

Fluctuations in temperature can cause your gecko to shed more often or experience difficulty shedding their skin.

Leopard geckos require a temperature gradient in their enclosure, with a warm and cooler side. The warm side should be around 88-92°F, while the cooler side should be between 75-80°F.

This allows your gecko to regulate its body temperature and find the most comfortable spot during shedding.

Invest in a high-quality digital thermometer or a thermostat to accurately monitor the temperatures in your gecko’s enclosure.

Avoid using heat rocks, which can cause burns or injuries. Instead, opt for an under-tank heater or a ceramic heat emitter to provide safe heat.

Consistent and proper temperatures will promote healthy shedding and prevent other health issues in your leopard gecko.

3. Substrate

Choosing a suitable substrate for your leopard gecko’s enclosure is essential to prevent excessive shedding. An improper substrate may cause discomfort and stress in your gecko, increasing shedding.

One common mistake many owners make is using sand, gravel, or other small, indigestible substrates for their gecko enclosure.

This can be harmful, as leopard geckos may accidentally ingest individual grains, leading to impaction and other health issues.

It’s better to avoid these types of substrates and look for safer alternatives, like paper towels, reptile carpets, or non-adhesive shelf liners.

Keeping the enclosure clean is crucial as well. A dirty environment can lead to parasites, mites, and infections, which could contribute to excessive shedding in your gecko.

Remove any waste and uneaten food promptly, and replace the substrate as needed.

In addition to the type of substrate you use, the humidity level in your leopard gecko’s enclosure can also impact shedding.

A low humidity level may lead to dehydration and difficulty in shedding. To help maintain proper humidity, consider providing a moist hide area filled with damp sphagnum moss or a humidity-retaining substrate, like coconut fiber.

This will help your gecko stay hydrated and ensure a smoother shedding process.

4. Diet / Malnutrition

One common reason your leopard gecko might be shedding more than usual is diet and malnutrition. It’s essential to ensure your leopard gecko receives the right nutrients and vitamins to keep their skin healthy and promote proper shedding.

Leopard geckos require a varied diet, including insects like crickets, Dubai cockroaches, mealworms, and super worms.

These insects should be dusted with a vitamin powder supplement to help provide complete nutrition.

Give your leopard gecko Vitamin A. It is crucial in maintaining healthy skin and preventing abnormal shedding.

Pay close attention to the variety and quantity of insects your leopard gecko is eating.

Keeping a healthy and balanced diet is essential to ensure their skin remains in good condition.

Here’s a table with the different nutritional values of different food to give you a better idea:

Crickets21%6%3%14 mg/100g
Dubai Cockroaches36%7%5%800 mg/100g
Mealworms20%13%2%130 mg/100g
Super Worms20%18%3%70 mg/100g

To keep your gecko’s diet well-balanced and avoid malnutrition, rotate the types of insects they consume and dust them with the appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements.

Providing a diverse and nutrient-rich diet will ensure that your leopard gecko’s shedding process remains healthy and on schedule.

5. Stress

Stress is a common reason why your leopard gecko might be shedding excessively. In this section, let’s explore the different causes of stress and how to prevent it.

Signs of stress in your gecko include decreased appetite, weight loss, excessive hiding, glass swimming, and tail waving.

Understanding the reasons behind your lizard’s stress will help you take the necessary measures to improve its well-being and prevent excessive shedding.

One major cause of stress is an improper setup in the leopard gecko’s habitat.

Make sure your pet’s home is set up properly, with appropriate temperature, humidity, and lighting. Check for clutter or sharp objects, and provide hiding places where your gecko can feel safe and comfortable.

Here are some ways to prevent stress in your leopard gecko:

  • Provide a stable environment with correct temperature, humidity, and lighting.
  • Offer a variety of hiding places to help your gecko feel secure.
  • Avoid over-handling and give your pet space to explore its surroundings.
  • Maintain a regular feeding schedule.
  • Keep noise levels low and minimize environmental disturbances.

By addressing these stress factors in your leopard gecko’s life, you can help reduce excessive shedding and promote a healthier, happier pet.

6. Thermal Burns

Thermal burns might be the culprit behind your leopard gecko shedding too much. These usually occur when your gecko comes into direct contact with its heat source or when the environment is too hot. This kind of burn can result in excess shedding as the skin heals.

It’s crucial to monitor and maintain the temperature in your gecko’s tank, ensuring it never gets too hot or too cold. Moreover, don’t forget to provide a proper heat gradient with a cooler side for your gecko to escape the warmth when necessary.

How can you prevent thermal burns and excessive shedding in your gecko? Here are some tips:

  • Place the heat source outside the tank, or use a guard to keep your gecko from touching it directly.
  • Use a thermostat to regulate the temperature and make adjustments as needed.
  • Double-check the temperature gradients in the tank, ensuring a cooler side is available.
  • Monitor your gecko for any signs of burns, and modify the heating setup if necessary.

Taking these simple precautions can minimize the risk of thermal burns in your leopard gecko and ensure a healthy shedding process.

7. Dehydration

One common cause of your leopard gecko shedding too much is dehydration. When your gecko doesn’t get enough water, its skin can dry out, sag, and begin to peel.

This results in dryer skin which makes shedding more difficult for them. Keeping your gecko well-hydrated is crucial for healthy skin and proper shedding.

There are several reasons your leopard gecko might be dehydrated:

  • No drinking water – Provide a clean water dish or a dripping source that suits your gecko’s preferences.
  • Low humidity levels – Low humidity in your gecko’s tank can cause dehydration. The tank substrate might absorb moisture in the air, so monitor humidity levels and adjust accordingly.
  • Illness – Diseases can make your leopard gecko refuse to eat, and cause vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration and weight loss. Consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your gecko is unwell.

To prevent dehydration and ensure healthier shedding, follow these steps:

  1. Provide a clean water source for your gecko.
  2. Maintain appropriate humidity levels in the tank.
  3. Monitor your gecko’s health and seek veterinary advice if necessary.
  4. Create a damp hiding space for your gecko to help maintain the moisture in their skin during the shedding process.

By keeping your leopard gecko properly hydrated and maintaining an ideal environment, you can help reduce the occurrence of excessive shedding and ensure your gecko remains healthy and comfortable.

8. Lack of Moist Hide

Your leopard gecko could be shedding so much due to the lack of a proper moist hide. A moist hide is crucial for helping your gecko with the shedding process.

It creates an environment with higher humidity, making removing old skin easier for your gecko.

To create a moist hide, you’ll need a container that is 2-3 times the size of your leopard gecko and a substrate that retains moisture without getting moldy.

Place the substrate inside the container and put it on the warmer side of the tank.

Maintaining proper humidity within the moist hide is essential. Aim to keep humidity levels between 20% and 40%, as it helps your gecko successfully shed their skin.

If you notice your leopard gecko is shedding more than usual, ensure that you have a moist hide in place and that it is appropriately maintained. Doing so will mitigate excessive shedding and promote overall health for your pet.

9. Parasites

Parasites are one of the possible reasons your leopard gecko may be shedding excessively. These tiny critters can disrupt your gecko’s health and lead to abnormal shedding patterns.

Pinworms are a common type of parasite that can affect leopard geckos. They usually result from unsanitary living conditions or poor animal husbandry. To prevent pinworm infestations, clean your gecko’s tank regularly and remove feces promptly.

Another parasite that can cause excessive shedding is cryptosporidium.

These intestinal parasites feed on your leopard gecko’s nutrients, potentially causing weight loss and a lack of appetite.

If you suspect your gecko may have a parasite-related shedding issue, consult with a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options.

In addition to pinworms and cryptosporidium, mites can also contribute to shedding problems.

Maintaining a clean environment and checking for mites regularly can help keep them at bay. If your gecko exhibits any signs of mite infestation, consult your vet for the best treatment plan.

10. Mites

Another possible reason for your leopard gecko shedding excessively could be the presence of mites. These tiny parasites can cause much distress for your gecko, leading to increased shedding.

When mites infest your leopard gecko, they irritate the skin and can disrupt the normal shedding process. In response, your gecko’s body may try to shed more frequently to get rid of the mites. This can result in excessive shedding.

To check if your leopard gecko has a mite infestation, look closely at their skin and habitat. Some signs of mites include:

  • Small, dark specks moving on your gecko’s skin
  • Scratching or excessive rubbing against objects in the enclosure
  • Possible skin infections or redness

If you suspect mites are the cause your leopard gecko’s excessive shedding, it’s essential to treat the issue promptly. This can be done by:

  1. Cleaning and sterilizing the entire enclosure, including all hides, decor, and substrate
  2. Using a mite treatment specifically designed for reptiles, available at most pet stores
  3. Regularly monitoring your leopard gecko and its habitat for any signs of mites.

Addressing the mite infestation can help your leopard gecko return to their normal shedding routine and maintain healthy skin.

Remember to keep a close eye on your gecko’s overall health, as treating mites effectively may also require a visit to a reptile-savvy veterinarian.

How to Treat Excessive Shedding

Excessive shedding in your leopard gecko can be a cause for concern, but there are ways to help your pet through this process. Here are some tips for treating excessive shedding:

1. Provide a humid hide: A humid hide or shedding box is essential for proper shedding. Dry skin can lead to abnormal or stuck shed, so it’s crucial to maintain a high humidity level in the hide.

2. Ensure proper humidity levels: Keep the humidity level in your gecko’s tank between 20% and 40%. Using a substrate that holds moisture well can make this task easier.

3. Bathe your gecko: During shedding, bathe your leopard gecko daily for 20 minutes at a time, using lukewarm water or a reptile shedding aid. This can help soften and remove retained shed from the skin.

Remember, proper care can make a big difference in your gecko’s shedding process. Follow these tips to help ensure a healthy and stress-free shedding experience for your beloved pet.

Related: how to get stuck shed off your leopard geckos toes

Preventing Excessive Shedding

It’s essential to take preventive measures to control your leopard gecko’s shedding. Focusing on the following areas can help minimize shedding issues and maintain your gecko’s overall health.


Ensure your gecko receives essential vitamins and minerals by providing supplements. Before feeding, calcium and vitamin D3 powders can be given by dusting their food items, such as crickets or mealworms. This ensures proper bone growth and skin health, which can reduce malnutrition-related shedding.

Proper Habitat Setup

Setting up a suitable habitat is crucial for maintaining your gecko’s skin health. Ensure that your gecko’s tank has a humidity level of 20% to 40% and provide a moist hide area to aid in shedding. Proper temperature gradients within the enclosure are also essential to avoid thermal burns and dehydration-related shedding issues.

Balanced Nutrition

Feed your leopard gecko various nutrient-rich insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and the occasional waxworm or super worm. Providing balanced nutrition helps promote overall health, including preventing excess shedding due to malnutrition.

Stress Reduction

Minimizing stress is another way to prevent excessive shedding in leopard geckos. Reduce disturbances by providing a secure and comfortable hiding area. Keep their enclosure clean, safely away from noisy or high-traffic areas, and maintain a consistent day and night cycle.

When to Seek Professional Help

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter situations where your leopard gecko’s shedding still poses a problem. It’s important to know when to seek professional help from a veterinarian or reptile specialist.

First, if your leopard gecko has lingering skin that just won’t come off after multiple attempts to increase humidity and hydration, you should consult a professional. Unshed skin can cause infections and harm your gecko’s well-being.

Next, if you notice excessive shedding in your leopard gecko, it may be a sign of stress, disease, mites, or poor nutrition. A veterinarian can help diagnose and treat any underlying health issues causing frequent shedding.

Additionally, if your gecko shows signs of discomfort, such as rubbing its body against surfaces, scratching itself constantly, or showing any unusual behavior during shedding, it’s time to seek professional advice.

Other physical signs that warrant a visit to a specialist include cuts, sores, or abrasions on your gecko’s skin after a shed and any discoloration or apparent skin issue.

Your leopard gecko’s health and well-being are important; sometimes, seeking professional help is the best course of action.

Keep an eye on your gecko’s shedding patterns and overall behavior, and don’t hesitate to consult a specialist if you’re concerned about their health.

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