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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11424
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My leopard gecko has a bad shed around her eye and it now appears

Resolved Question:

My leopard gecko has a bad shed around her eye and it now appears as if the other eye won't open. I don't know what to do to help her as she is not eating and is getting very skinny.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear your gecko is having problems. I can give you some things that may help, but some additional information will be useful.

What substrate do you use on the cage floor?

What are the temperatures in the cage?

Do you have a moist hide box?

Has your gecko been passing normal droppings?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Anna,

My gecko is in a 10 gallon aquarim tank with another leopard gecko that is doing fine. I have two tile squares in bottom of the cage. (Easier to clean than paper towels as the paper towels curl up at the ends and the geckos go under it) One side of the cage has a heater attached to the bottom (Trying to create a "warm" area to hang out). I have lights for the day and then a black light for night, to simulate cooler temps. The temperture ranges from 90 degrees F during the day and about 80 degrees F at night. I have two "hide" areas for them. One is a hollowed out 1/2 log that I got at the pet store. The other is the top of an egg cardboard egg carton cut with openings at either end. There is no real "moist" area for do I simulate that? I do have a low, flat water bowl for them to hang out by.

THere are droppings in the cage, but it's hard to tell if they are her's or the other geckos. I tend to think they are not hers as when I put in crickets for feeding (dusted with calcium) the other gecko goes on a hunting spree while my sick one does nothing. Yesterday I tried to feed her some baby food (sweet potatoes) with an eye dropper. I couldn't get her mouth to open but I put a little drops by her mouth and she would lick it. I also left a bit of baby food in a small tray in the cage, but I have no idea if she ate any.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for waiting. I'll start by giving you a first aid measure to take regardless of what is wrong. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants), and prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak your gecko for about 20 to 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, with her still in the water, gently massage her underside from front to vent (where droppings pass out) for an additional 10 minutes. That may be enough to help her pass some feces. Be sure to supervise closely.

After the bath, put a couple of drops of saline solution (the kind made for contact lenses) in the eye that won't open. Some will seep in even though the eye is closed. Then use a cotton swab (Q-tip) to put a little mineral oil on the skin that won't shed. Don't put it all over her - just on the unshed skin. Leave it over night. In the morning, give her another bath. while she's int he water, gently run your finger over the unshed skin. If it still won't come off, you can repeat the mineral oil.

I'm glad to hear you sue tiles on the floor - they are an excellent substrate. Your temperatures and lighting can sue some adjustment. Geckos do best with a temperature gradient of 82*F to 88*F day and night. That means that the warmest side of the cage should be 88*F all the time, and the coolest 82*F. Unlike some other reptiles, geckos do better without a temperature change at night. The best way to provide the temperature gradient si with the use of under-the-cage heat mats. You may need to adjust the temperature or have more than one mat to maintain the temperatures. Geckos do not need a light of any kind at night.

It's best not to try to feed a sick gecko with a dropper as it's very easy for the food to be aspirated into the lungs. You have accidentally stumbled on to the recommended way. Using plain chicken baby food, drop a small dollop right on the end of her snout. Most of the time they will lick it off. If crickets are not eaten right away, take them out. Left in the cage, they will bite a sleeping or resting gecko. the bite marks are so tiny we can't see them, but they are very prone to infection. Such infections often spread through the body and become life-threatening. If crickets have been in the cage, that could even be why the gecko's eye is swollen. She may have been bitten.

If a couple of soaks, the mineral oil, and eye drops don't quickly result in an improvement, it would be best to take your gecko to a reptile vet. She may already have an infection or parasites. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You can use it as a checklist to make sure all the conditions are right. It includes the way to make a humid hide box. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your gecko will reach a full recovery.


(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)

Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

The Leopard Gecko is originally from Pakistan, India, and a few other countries in Asia. They actually live on hard rocky outcrops and they are nocturnal (active at night). They prefer temperatures between 82 and 88 degrees (28* to 31*C) all day and night. They grow to between 8 to 11 inches. Leopard Geckos are available in a wide range of colors and patterns which are the result of selective captive breeding. These include albino, ghost, striped, jungle, Leucistic and high yellow. These colors have been made possible through selective captive breeding. Leopard Geckos make wonderful pets for almost any age person. Leopard Geckos also make good long term pets. They can live over twenty years. Never grab by tail it will break off.

Leopard Gecko Housing: A male Leopard Gecko should never be housed in the same cage as another male leopard gecko because they will fight and possibly kill one another. A male can be housed with several females without any problems. I do not advise housing leopard geckos in the same cage with any other reptiles. A single Leopard Gecko can be kept in a ten gallon tank. For a male and a few females a twenty gallon tank or larger should be used. The cage should have a screen lid on top of it to prevent any escapes. Leopard geckos need places to hide and sleep during the day so you must provide a couple of hiding spots. They need a warm hiding spot and a cold humid hiding spot. Just put one hide box on the side with the heat light and put the humid hide box on the side that does not have the heat light. I actually prefer an under the tank heater for heat source rather than a light since the geckos are Nocturnal. For the humid hide box, paper Towels work well and easily replaced inside a hide box. You can make your own humid hide box from a small plastic shoe box or from a margarine container. Cut a hole in one end of the container and place moist paper towel inside it. The humid box should be cleaned out every week and re moistened. A humid hide box is needed so that the gecko can go in it when it needs to shed. The humidity helps the old skin come off.

Substrate: There is an abundance of products on the market that claim to be safe substrates. All Loose Substrates (Please note the link above) however are not safe to use. A substrate is what you put on the bottom of the cage for the lizard to walk around on. If a Leopard Gecko ingests any of the substrate accidentally, the substrate must pass through the digestive system. Trust me they will ingest substrate, sometimes on purpose. If it does not easily pass through the digestive system compaction will occur. Compaction is an extreme blockage of the digestive tract and is often fatal. Some substrates that I consider unsafe because they can cause compaction are: sand, bark, Calci sand, crushed walnut shells, lizard litter, gravel, aquarium gravel, and coconut fiber. The safest substrate is using paper towels or plain newspaper, non-stick shelf liner , cage carpet or ceramic tile. For any leopard geckos that are younger than six months I advise using paper towels or plain newspaper until they are at least six months old. Calcium sand is not fully digested no matter what it claims. The stuff just does not break down completely. . Leopard

Gecko Heating and Temperature: The cage should be between 82 to 88 degrees (28*C to 31*C)all day and night. There is two basic ways to heat the cage. One is to use a under tank heater like heat tape. The other is to use a black, or blue night incandescent heat light. I prefer to use a heat light. For a 10 gallon tank a 60 watt bulb should work depending on room temperature. Place the heat light on one end of the cage. By putting the heat light on one end of the cage it keeps that side warmest and allows the gecko to move to the warmer side with the light or to the colder side without the light as needed to regulate body temperature.

NEVER EVER USE A HOT ROCK, HEAT ROCK, OR ANY SIMILAR PRODUCT. Hot rocks heat unevenly and are notorious for causing terrible thermal burns. Do not buy a hot rock and if you know anyone who uses one, tell them to throw it away.

Leopard Gecko Feeding: Leopard Geckos will do very well on a diet of mealworms and crickets. I like to provide some variety in feeder insects to create a more balanced diet. Feeder insects I use are silkworms, mealworms, roaches and crickets with the legs on one side of the body pulled off. Crickets will bite your geckos while they sleep, these bites are prone to infection, so if you pull off one side of their legs then they cannot move around the cage and get to the gecko and also this prevents the crickets from climbing out of the cage. Gut load feeder insects for at least a day before putting them in with the gecko. Feed geckos insects that are not larger than the width of the head of the gecko.
Adults can be fed superworms, though I advise only feeding a couple superworms at a time. Leopard Gecko Vitamin/Mineral Supplement: For young geckos dust the feeder insects every other feeding or place a small feeder dish with supplement in it and some mealworms in the cage. For adults and babies place a shallow dish or a plastic lid in the cage with a teaspoon of calcium powder on it. The gecko will lick the calcium powder as needed. You still need to dust feeder insects every other feeding though with a vitamin supplement for young geckos. Adults use vitamin supplement once a week. Leopard Gecko Water: Use a shallow water bowl, fill with water as needed. Remove bowl from cage and clean out weekly.

Do Not Feed Pinkies

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