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What to Do If a Leopard Gecko Drops Its Tail

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Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and other exotics since 2003.

Leopard Gecko Tail Drop

In my five years of working with leopard geckos, I never had one drop its tail until recently. While changing my hatchlings from my old rack to my new one, one of my tangerine leopard gecko hatchlings dropped her tail. It startled me a bit.

Why Did My Gecko Drop Its Tail?

When transferring my gecko from the holding container to the new rack, it tried to jump out of my hands. At that moment, I grabbed my gecko with my other hand. Big mistake, because I accidentally grabbed the tail.

The tail quickly started shaking and wriggling, and I immediately thought to put her in the tub so that she wouldn't drop her tail. Well, what I didn't notice was that the tail was already halfway off and it was torn halfway through. The second I put my gecko in the tub, the tail flopped right off. I was slightly worried, but I knew exactly what to do. I have been working with reptiles for five years.

Day 1

Day 1

Day 34

Day 34

First Aid for Geckos

Beloow, you will find pictures of a successfully regenerated leopard gecko tail from day one to day 31. Keep in mind that you may find different treatment options, but the following tips for first aid helped my tangerine leopard gecko hatchling heal up and recover nicely.

1. Remove the Substrate

If you are housing your leopard gecko on loose substrate such as sand, calci-sand, dirt, or wood shavings, you will want to remove it all and throw it in the trash or outside (however you want to dispose of it). If you leave the gecko on the loose substrate, it will be hard to keep the wound clean, since substrate can get into the open wound and cause an infection.

2. Set Up a Hospital Tank

If you house the gecko with a mate, you will want to set up a hospital tank with paper towels as the substrate. Make sure that you have appropriate heating and overall housing necessities in the hospital tank. You want the enclosure to mimic the regular enclosure in order to reduce stress.

3. Maintain a Proper Environment

The key to making sure that your leopard gecko successfully regenerates its tail is to keep the area clean and to keep the housing at an appropriate temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Feed Normally

Continue feeding the gecko normally, and remove any uneaten crickets after 15 minutes, give or take.

5. Monitor the Wound

Check on the leopard gecko daily, so that you can closely monitor the wound for signs of infection. If you think that you see signs of infection, you can apply a veterinarian-approved antibiotic.

6. Consider Veterinary Care

If the tail is infected, you will want to take your gecko to a qualified reptile veterinarian as soon as you can. Just make sure that you do not let the situation get too serious before acting on it.