6 Reasons Your Leopard Gecko is Turning Yellow

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If you notice that your leopard gecko is turning yellow, there is no need to fret. Fortunately, this infrequent color change can be explained and is typically harm-less or easily reversible. This article will go over some of the most common reasons this happens. 

Why is my Leopard Gecko Turning Yellow? 

Your leopard gecko could be turning yellow because of it’s tank temperature, stress, shedding, nutritional deficiencies, or aging. However, there is no reason to be concerned if your Leo is still regularly eating, pooing, and is active.

6 Potential Reasons Your Leopard Gecko is Turning Yellow

1. Your Leopard Gecko is stressed

Leopard Geckos are creatures of habit. A sudden change in diet or variation in feeding time can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. 

Leos grow accustomed to their owner’s behaviors and can exhibit symptoms of stress if handled excessively or by unfamiliar individuals. 

This stress can present itself on the gecko’s skin as a dark or light hint of yellow. Keeping to a fixed feeding schedule and limiting holding your Leo will help cause this color to fade. Limit unfamiliar people handling your Leo and ensure they only hold them when necessary. 

Additionally, introducing new foods to your Leo in stages rather than abruptly will also avoid stress and color changes. 

2. The tank temperature is imbalanced

As with other reptiles, your Leopard Gecko can’t self-regulate their body temperature, and they rely on a stable environment to remain healthy and comfortable. 

Check your tank setup and ensure that Leo has both a cool and warm space as well as some hiding spaces. Use a thermometer to ensure that your warm zone is approximately 28 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius (83 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). The cool zone should be about 21 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). 

If your Leo is too cold, they will turn a darker yellow to absorb more of the heat around them. This color change also relates to the added stress from an environment that is too hot or too cold.  

A heated pad on one end of your Leo’s tank should address this issue. Carefully monitor the temperature and adjust until the environment is optimal. 

3. Your Leo has a vitamin D3 or calcium deficiency

A lack of nutrients can also play a part in your Leo’s discoloration and yellow appearance. A calcium and vitamin D3 deficiency are the usual culprits and should be immediately addressed. 

It is best to address a vitamin D3 deficiency through diet by providing your leopard gecko with insects dusted in supplements. UVA and UVB lights also work well, but extended exposure can darken your Leo’s skin, especially if your gecko is naturally more albino. 

If you must use a UV light, reduce the time it is on or alternate between a heating mat and a UV light. In addition, provide a variety of hiding spots for your Leo. This should reduce the discoloration caused by too much UV exposure. 

Calcium powders can be purchased at most local exotic pet stores or make your own calcium powder. Make this powder available by sprinkling it in various areas of your leopard gecko’s tank. Your Leo will enjoy licking it off, and it will assist with both the deficiency and yellowish color of their skin.  

Related: Is calcium sand good for leopard geckos?

4. Your Leopard Gecko is about to shed

If your Leo is about to shed, a darkening or yellow or brown color change is no need for concern. Leopard geckos frequently shed when they are young, and as adults, they continue to shed. Your leopard gecko will probably turn pale when it is time to shed.

If you notice excess skin on your Leo’s tail, head, or legs or find it spending a lot more time in its hide, it is most likely about to shed. Be patient, and a couple of days after shedding, their skin color should return to its normal shade. 

Your Leo will only need your assistance if they battle to remove the shedding skin themselves. However, if their appetite is not good, it would be best to visit your vet as they may be suffering from an infection or abnormal and unhealthy shed. Also note that sometimes they will actually eat their shed skin and you might not know the shed has even happened.

5. Your Leo is growing up

Leopard gecko’s skin patterns and colors change up until 18 months of age. Leopard gecko morphs such as the tangelo, bright yellow, orange morphs, carrot tails, etc., only darken after 1 to 3 years of age.

It is usually relatively easy to spot a young Leo. Typically, they will have dark bands on their bodies or will be in the process of developing their spots. This color change is a normal part of their development and is no need for concern. 

6. The tank substrate is to blame

If your Leo is darkening and developing a deeper yellow skin, it is good to relook at the tank substrate you are using. 

Artificial substrates, as well as loose sand, pebbles, and coco fibers, can have a darkening effect on your Leo. 

Changing your substrate to a sand mix or using flat stones or slate instead is a better option. Alternatively, use organic or natural tissue paper and roller towel instead. 

If the darkening is related to the substrate, you should gradually notice an improvement in your Leo’s discoloration. If there is no change, inspect your tank for other factors that may be playing a part in your Leo’s change. 

Adult Leopard Geckos come in various colors but commonly appear yellow with black spots. If this is replaced with a deeper, brighter yellow, it is beneficial to discover the cause and correct it where necessary.

Although the discoloration is ordinarily not a reason for concern, some issues such as incorrect tank temperature, stress, and nutritional deficiencies can be a great source of discomfort to your Leo. A rule of thumb would be if your Leo is regularly eating and defecating, and your tank environment is flawless, then the color change is most likely natural and risk-free. 


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