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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11513
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My leopard gecko is in horrible shape! :( he can open s

Customer Question

My leopard gecko is in horrible shape! :( he can open his mouth or his eyes. He's really weaker and skinny. And he has bits of his skin that he couldn't take off. :,( I have no idea what to do.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. How old is Gecko?
Customer: Cant*
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Gecko?
Customer: I don't know. I got them last year and the owners didn't know how old he was.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. I apologize that no one responded to you sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just logged in and saw your question. I'm sorry to hear your gecko is not doing very well.

The best thing you can do is take him to a reptile vet. If you don't already have one, give me your zip code, and I'll find one for you.

In the meantime, I'll give you a first aid measure. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human children). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of half Pedialyte and half water. Soak your gecko for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day, be sure to supervise closely. After each soak, you can put a drop of saline solution- the kind for contact lenses - in each eye. Some will seep in around the closed eyelids.

Check the temperatures in the cage to make sure your heating equipment is functioning properly. The warm side should be 88*F and the cool side 82*F, day and night. If he doesn't have a moist hide (a cave), provide one.

The first aid measures may help keep up his strength, but it will be best if you can schedule a vet visit very soon.

Because pet stores give out so much incorrect information on care, I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. She has many years experience with lizard rescue. You can use it as a checklist to make sure all the conditions are right. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope your gecko will reach a full recovery.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. 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. . 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

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I am just checking to see how your gecko is doing. do you need any additional information?


Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry about the long reply. He is doing a little better now. And my zip code is 84404 it'd be great if there is a reptile near me!
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'm glad to hear he's doing a little better. I'll check the directories and see if there is a vet near you. I'll be back in a few minutes.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

OK, here the ones I found, in order from nearest to farthest. Sometimes vets move around, so be sure to call first to make sure the reptile vet is still practicing in that clinic.

Ben Lomond Animal Clinic
David A. Linsley, DVM
1380 North Highway 8989
Ogden, UT 84404
Telephone:(###) ###-####/p>

Pet Vet Animal Hospital
Eric Bostrom, DVM
1499 S. State St.
Clearfield, UT 84015
Telephone:(###) ###-####/p>

Parrish Creek Veterinary Clinic
Douglas W. Folland, DVM
86 North 70 West
Centerville, UT 84014
Telephone:(###) ###-####/p>

Wasatch Exotic Pet Care Inc.
Laurel Harris, DVM
2675 E. Parley�s Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Telephone:(###) ###-####/p>

North Cache Veterinary Service
Dr. Cliff Mitchell
191 West 100 North
Richmond, UT 84333
Telephone:(###) ###-####/p>

I hope one of these will work out for you. Let me know if you need anything else.

Please take a moment to rate my service. I will appreciate it very much as that is how I am compensated for my time. Thank you!

I hope your gecko will soon be thriving.