Gecko Care – shedding
It is known that the different species of gecko to shed their skin a little differently to one another, the most common gecko to be kept in captivity is the leopard gecko so we will concentrate on their shedding behavior here now to give you a good indication on how geckos shed their skin.
A leopard gecko will shed their skin roughly every 2 to 4 weeks. As your gecko is edging nearer to the time they will shed you will notice their skin color dulls a little.
It is important that you have an area in the tank that is kept moist to aid in the shedding, some people spray the entire tank with a water spray in the days before the shedding will occur, do not soak, just mist. The gecko’s skin will become loose and the shed will begin, the gecko will pull the skin from its body and eat it, this takes no more than 2 hours to complete and is very fascinating to watch.
Once the shedding is complete it is important to notice if all the skin has been removed or not, sometimes geckos can leave a little skin around their toes, snout and eyes. Skin that is left can cause problems for the gecko, for example, skin let around their toes can end up restricting the blood flow to the toes and they can fall off if the dead skin is not removed.
Any skin that is left on the gecko is fairly easy to remove. One method is to place the gecko in a tub with ventilation holes with a damp towel on the base for the gecko to stand on. Leave the gecko inside for a few hours while regularly checking to ensure that they do not get too cold, inside this humid environment the gecko may be able to easily remove their skin. If the gecko does not remove the skin themselves then you may need to intervene, if they have been placed in the tub with the damp towel then this should have loosened their skin making it easy for you to remove it. You can use a wet cotton bud to wipe away at the skin gently.
This is easy for the feet as you can soak them in the water but what if the skin has not removed from their snout or eyes? If this is the case then dampen a cotton bud and wipe away at the skin ensuring to keep the cotton bud wet. This can take a lot patience and sometimes even several attempts until the skin is removed. The skin should flake off as you rub it, never pull at the skin as you can easily damage good skin underneath leaving a wound prone to infection.
Always be very careful when removing skin from the eye area as to not damage the gecko’s eyes or eyelids. Also take care when removing skin from the nostril area as to not let any water get into the gecko’s nostrils. If you have tried but to no avail then it can help to rub a small amount of vegetable oil over the dead skin to help soften it before you try again.