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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.

What to Do If Your Leopard Gecko Drops Its Tail

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.

Why Would a Gecko Drop Its Tail in Captivity?

Geckos really don't have to worry about predators in captivity, unless your cat can get into the enclosure or you are inappropriately housing a small gecko with a larger reptile (this is BAD and you should separate them). However, pet geckos will still drop their tails when they are stressed or threatened.

Common Reasons a Gecko Will Drop Its Tail

  • Bullying from cagemates
  • Illness/low immunity
  • Being grabbed by the tail
  • Stress and fear
  • Skin issues and retained skin on the tail
  • Bacterial, fungal, or protozoan infections
  • Abscess or swelling in the area

Why Do Geckos Drop Their Tails?

Tail-dropping is a defense mechanism that helps the reptile escape predators. Many geckos and smaller lizards do not have any real defense mechanisms like secreting nasty oils when bitten or playing dead when harassed, so they rely on their tails to help them get away from predators in the wild. When a bird, mammal, larger reptile, or any other predator tries to grab at a small gecko, it can drop its tail to distract the predator long enough to dart off into safety.

When a small reptile drops its tail, the tail continues to wriggle and flop around (as seen in the video) to distract the predator, giving the gecko enough time to find safety.

Always Consider Working With a Veterinarian

While informed first aid and at-home care is generally fine for experienced reptile owners, if this is your first time dealing with an injured gecko, reach out to your nearest reptile veterinarian. Always do what's in the best interest of your companion.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Curious on August 14, 2020:

When they drop there tail can it cause problems like leg swellings and loss of appetite

Cambria Pabon on April 06, 2020:

Thanks for telling me because fell off

bernice on July 12, 2019:

how do you clean its tail if there is sand on it?

AnneL333 on November 02, 2018:

Alex, sometimes their bodies don't think they need the tail anymore, so it doesn't grow back. From my minimal understanding, this is perfectly normal. If you are very worried, I'd suggest a vet call at least.

Alex on November 01, 2018:

My Geckos tail fall of like 5 mounths ago and it havent make any progress at reproduce its tail. Im worried that it wont grow back HELP

Ronnie Inglis on September 13, 2018:

My leopard gheckos tail is got like a wound on either ends of the tail how do you treat it

Ameila on August 03, 2018:

Use papertowels or clean foam. DO not include anything loose that could move and go into your gecko's wounded tail.

Kaz from Atlanta on May 26, 2018:

Most of that "care" is silly overkill. Geckos regrow their tails just fine in the wild, without anyone cleaning the stump or keeping them away from the equivalent of substrate.

Oh, and there's mounting evidence that neosporin actually is bad for a human wound, much as it turns out hydrogen peroxide definitely is. So I wouldn't put it on a lizard, either. Again, if the lizard is healthy and well fed (including being free to choose what nutrition it actually needs), then its own immune system can handle things just fine.

Marcella on September 26, 2016:

My geckos tail fell off today and his name is Franko we think he got in a fight with his wife Fregreka because she was holding his tail. Or he is starving to death because he is super skiny and his skin is turning pink but he won't eat!

Briar on February 03, 2016:

You should never put any reptile in any sort of fine, loose substrate (ESPECIALLY not sand) as they can swallow the sand and it can become impacted and KILL your reptile (this goes for all geckos, beardies, etc, unless the anima does not constantly lick its surrounding substrate, such as a monitor of any kind.)

emileigh on July 21, 2014:

Ok my gecko droped her tail can they die i have another gecko in there with her and also the other day i droped her and she started flicking her tail but she stop i thought she was going to drop it but didn't till today is that normal?

marcus on January 17, 2014:

my gecko dropped his tail a part grew back but now its just hard please help

Bon on August 09, 2012:

How lOng does it take my geckos Tail to grow back

leokid21 on June 26, 2012:

my baby leo tail just fell off today she's on reptile carpet I just cleaned it and put her to soak in warm water now what should I do

Amanda on May 18, 2012:

My lizard was in his cage for a while. i went to get him later and he didn't have a tail. why?

mel on April 04, 2012:

i am going to get a leopard gecko and I am worried about its tail falling off, how do i prevent it? please reply soon.

Ang on March 30, 2012:

my gecko just dropped its tail. Before that he was shaking and twisting his head around when i was holding it; he looked dead not moving. Then after he was able to stand up he walked around and then dropped his tail. he also got sand in his eye. I dipped him in water but the eye doesn't look as clear as his other. He also was twitching again. I put the calcium supplement on his food the same day is tail was dropped. I am going to remove the sand tomorrow so his tail wont be infected. Should I do anything else to help him out?

studude on March 23, 2012:

How do i prevent tail from falling off?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 01, 2012:

Remove the sand.

qwejhrbfefef on March 01, 2012:

My gekos tail is falling off and it lives in sand. What should I do so it does not get infected?!?!?!?!

Felicia on January 11, 2012:

my leopard gecko just dropped his tail because if was getting fed and his wood hut got dropped on him. I just feel so bad. It never should have happened. The tail was beautiful. Anyway, should we feed anything differently? Or more often?

VictoriaFrank on January 07, 2012:

my leopard geckos tail hasn't even grown half way back and its been a year is this bad?

Victoria Frank 2019 on December 11, 2011:

My leopard geckos tail was dropped about 8 or 9 months ago and its tail grew ok at first but now its just getting fatter and fatter not longer should I be worried? please respond as soon as possible

charlene on November 22, 2011:

my leopard gecko has fallen off. I think it was cause my cat was trying to get her and scare her. What do i do, i have another gecko in the tank and also i have wood chipping in the tankk. Thanks charlene

Vidar on November 20, 2011:

My sister's gecko's tail fell off yesterday. she doesn't have tank mates. We didn't touch her at all. i want to preserve the tail how do I do that.

Kristen Werner on October 16, 2011:

My gecko is about 5 years old. I was out of town for about four days this week and asked someone to take care of my house and housesit. When I came home, I think they were looking at my gecko because his shelter was moved off of the heating pad that I have for him. When I saw him,a very small part of his tail had fallen off.

Was this just my friend handling him wrong and scaring him, or was it a heating issue from his shelter being off the heating pad?

Also, I keep a little bowl of calcium powder in his habitat for him to eat because I read that you should do that. I also feed him regularly. I don't think that malnourisment is an issue.

I just don't see how the tip of his tail could fall off. I thought the whole thing falls off. What should I do to keep it clean? Will it grow back all deformed and weird?

Thanks.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 29, 2011:

It sounds like a nutrition problem. Is the gecko eating? What substrate are you using? What are the temperatures?

jennifer on September 28, 2011:

My geckos tail has been shrinking and he got discolored whats wrong with my gecko

david on March 29, 2011:

Do you think its fine feeding a 6-7 inch leo superworms?

DavidLink on March 10, 2011:

My gecko lost his tail about a month ago and it is growing back nicely, but now it looks like he is starting to shed - but only on the tail and the skin won't come off. Any ideas? Should I be worried?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 20, 2011:

I would be careful, as you don't want the gecko trying to climb on it and getting a thorn in the toe.

Leapord gecko on January 18, 2011:

Hey! I was wondering if i could have a live cactus in my cage? Im a leapord gecko! And can you reply if it is apropiate to have one in my cage. And what i mean about "Apropiate" I mean safe! Please comment back thanks! And (just like a minature cactus not a big one. I mean one like a three inch)

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 05, 2011:

There realy isn't any odd type of albino. There are three strains, none of which are considered odd. A malnourished gecko may have trouble regenerating, or the gecko's regenerated tail just may not grow back fully. Regenerated tails aren't all the same, and not all geckos grow them back the same.

The morph isn't going to lead to vitamin deficiency. A poor diet and improper husbandry would cause illness though.

Erik on January 03, 2011:

I bought a leopard gecko that had recently dropped it's tail. It's been a year and it still has not fully grown back. It grew fast at first, but slowed down after some time. Is there anything I can do? P.S. I don't know if this makes a difference, but it is a odd type of albino. It still has the pattern and pigment in it's eyes, but no color. I forgot the name for it. But could that lead to some vitamin deficensy that could prevent the tail from growing?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 31, 2010:

I would keep an eye on it for now.

Jilli on December 30, 2010:

You helped me when my gecko's tail fell off, and now I need your help again. While I was giving Geico water this morning, I watched him lap it up. I noticed that the front of his tongue was bright red, and then it gradually faded into a soft pink. Also, the part of his tongue was bright red, was a little bigger than the other tongue. Can you help me? Thanx.

abby on December 25, 2010:

thank you for the charts, my family and i got a small baby gecko at the pet store. we felt bad for the small gecko, espescially when one of the pet store workers told us that while cleaning the leo cage, the hide fell on him and he dropped his tail he also got a couple scrapes in his back, head, and jaw. the other leopard geckos in the cage picked on him, and so he could not grow his tail back right away. i thought that maybe it would not be able to grow it back, but these charts give me LOTS of HOPE! thank you again

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 24, 2010:

If it's from one of the breeders, I recommended, it'll be a healthy gecko. Good luck though. $35 is actually a lot for a plain albino.

rania on November 23, 2010:

i sent one of the people an email and im waiting for a reply but it sounds like they have a really good price thank you so much. they have an albino for only 35, but im waiting on a picture to see if its healthy

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 23, 2010:

That is odd, as I have seen leopard geckos for sale on those sites that fit your budget. I saw them yesterday. You may need to shoot them an email.

Yes,the last is my site, and the two leopard geckos that I have available are the only two.

rania on November 22, 2010:

i didnt find much in the websites but thanks. im guessing the last website is yours. if it is are those the only to geckos you have available

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 22, 2010:

You're going to pay more for emerines and raptors than the other morphs, but depending on the quality of the morph, you'll pay more or less.

You probably won't find a raptor or emerine for $40 or under.

Check out these breeders. They may have something you're looking for. I think one actually has Raptors for $40.

www.albinonile.com

www.retributionreptiles.com

www.goreptiles.com

Rania on November 21, 2010:

Not any morph in specific, sorry

rania on November 21, 2010:

im looking for any morph in specific but it has to be a adult female and not to expensive, but i open for any kind. And yes that would be helpful.

few morphs that i would like:mack snow, blizzard, rainwater, jungle,emerine, stripe,raptor or patternless

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 18, 2010:

There are many breeders selling for cheap. The higher end morphs may still come with a price over $40, but that all depends on the breeder and the quality of the animal. What are you looking for, and that will be easier for me to narrow down breeders for you.

rania on November 17, 2010:

hi, i was wondering if u know a good breeder or someone who is selling almost any leopard gecko

morph under $40

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 28, 2010:

It is possible... Unless she absorbs them, which is common for first time breeders, or if she becomes egg bound.

rania on September 27, 2010:

so maybe a couple weeks till shell lay them rite

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 27, 2010:

The female is either ovulating or they are eggs.

rania on September 25, 2010:

i have a home made incubator and yes the right equipment. Theres two white things in her lower belly but they dont like eggs, is it organs or something my male doesnt have it.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 25, 2010:

If they are of breeding age and weight, they've probab.y already bred. It can take as long as a month or more for a first time breeding female to lay her first clutch.

Do you have the incubator and proper equipment ready for hatchlings? They can have up to 16 a year with just one mating period.

rania on September 24, 2010:

ok, i have decided to not get another, but my male hasnt mated with my female yet, when will they, its been a month since i put them together, i havent seen any eggs

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 24, 2010:

30 gallon tank has the surface area of a 20 gallon tank. It will fit two geckos, but is actually the ideal surface area for just one. The problem is that 30 gallon tanks are taller, which make it a little harder to heat.

Plus, keep in mind that geckos prefer to be housed individually, and they do better when housed individually. Your male will breed with the female, and you won't be able to stop it.

The new gecko would need to be quarantined for at least 30-60 days to ensure that it isn't ill and doesn't carry parasites.

Bullying and stress will always be a concern.

rania on September 23, 2010:

so maybe a 30 gallon tank?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 23, 2010:

Neither of those tanks will fit all three geckos. Both a 10 gallon and a 15 gallon is only suitable for one gecko each.

Remember that any new gecko needs to be quarantined for 30-60 days before introducing it to existing geckos.

rania on September 22, 2010:

hi, i have two geckos, a male and a female, and i was thinking about getting another, i have a ten or fifteen gallon tank, if i put enough hides is that good to house them.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 22, 2010:

Remove the sand, it can cause impaction. The pet store you bought her from has no clue what they're doing. Plus, the sand will infect the newly dropped tail.

There's nothing you can do and no need for medications. Just remove the sand to prevent infection and impaction.

james tasker on September 22, 2010:

hey ive got a baby female lepard geko she has just droped half her tail will she be ok if not is there any med's that casn help im using sand for her i got her from a shop and they said use sand and he had his in sand aswell

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 11, 2010:

Without a proper thermometer, you can't know for sure whether or not the tank is too cold. Definitely don't guess. What substrate are you using? How long have you had the gecko? Have you tried another insect other than what the gecko is used to?

cassie on September 10, 2010:

hi i have a gecko that dropped its tail and it seemed fine until now that i look at him he seems really skinny. his spine seems to stick out more than usual. i gave him mealworms and i left them in there cause he wouldnt eat them right away. i think he ate a few of them cause there not all there. i have a heating pad in the cage so i dont think hes too cold but idk whats wrong. im afread hes not going to eat enough.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 07, 2010:

The gecko could have overeaten or it isn't getting proper temperatures.

Lindsey on September 06, 2010:

a bunch of crickets, sorry

Lindsey on September 06, 2010:

Ok but the other day i also noticed something in the tank there was a bunch of smushed together and im guessing one threw up, what happened?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 04, 2010:

Lindsey, I would keep a close eye on it, and keep the geckos separate

Christen, it's hard to say what to do other than to just keep an eye out.

Christen on September 02, 2010:

Today was a horrible day in our home. I walked downstairs to find our jack russell terrier had jumped thru the top screen of our 4ftx2ft all natural, self-sustaining terrarium. I walked downstairs to find her frantically digging & running thru the tank - our leopard gecko was upside down without his tail. We removed them both immediately. Cleaned our gecko and placed him in a separate clean container back into the terrarium so he can get warmth. He is traumatized - his color is pale and he is not moving much, but is breathing what seems to be normally. We too are traumatized. Our terrarium is our fav hobby and we baby it and our super awesome gecko. Any advice would be helpful. There are no herpetologist available and we are in hopes that we can nurse our little friend back to health. Help us help our gecko please!

Lindsey on August 31, 2010:

He stopped bleeding is he fine now? He's also not eating its been 3 weeks since ive gotten him, what can i do?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 31, 2010:

It could be constipation or parasites. See if you can take a fecal sample to a reptile vet to check for parasite.s

Lindsey on August 30, 2010:

well i found a little red around the where he poo's on one.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 30, 2010:

If you have them housed together, it could be bullying. It could be parasites. Do you see a cut or any dried blood anywhere on the gecko?

Lindsey on August 27, 2010:

Hi Whitney, I recently got a second leopard gecko and its been 2 weeks. Yesterday i found a drop of blood in the cage. Im worried sick and want to find out what happened. the only thing in th cage was 1 cricket. What could have happened

Megan on August 24, 2010:

Ok, Thanks. your information was really useful

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 24, 2010:

You can use paper towels, just moisten them for the humid hide

Megan on August 24, 2010:

I use paper towels over sand for my gecko. What substrate should i use for my humid hide

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 23, 2010:

The toes are the hardest spots to shed, but with proper humid hide, temperatures, and overall health, the gecko shouldn't have any problems.

Humidity on a regular basis should be low, but as mentioned in the comments and on my care sheet, that a humid hide is a must! It helps ease shedding, but should only be moist when the gecko is going into shed.

https://hubpages.com/animals/Gecko-Didnt-Shed

You can use water instead of the shed aid. It does the same thing. By buying the shed aid product, you're just wasting that money, when water does the same job.

You also have sand in the enclosure which is a nono.

Anna B. on August 22, 2010:

I only help remove the skin when it is soaked in the Sheeding Aid because I know not to pull it off. But the skin, even for Geckos that sheed easily, is tricky for them to get off of their toes. My gecko had that problem all the time until I helped him with the Shedding Aid. I only help remove the skin on the toes because the rest comes off fine.I didn't know about the tubberware container part through, I'll try that instead of buying some shedding Aid, Thanks for the tip.

I don't really understand what is needed humidity-wise in the tank. The information sheet I got told me to keep humidity at 10-30, pretty dry. Does humidy effect the shedding process at all, and if so what is needed to help my Gecko?????

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 22, 2010:

Anna, the sand is a bad choice of substrate to begin with, as the gecko can ingest it and become impacted, which can be fatal. If the gecko has recently lost the tail, the sand needs to be removed, as it can infect the wound while healing.

Megan, a healthy gecko will naturally have a fat tail. I've seen some geckos though that naturally don't have a super fat tail, but are still really healthy and not underweight. Generally a healthy diet of crickets and/or mealworms will be fine. Make sure that you have a humid hide that is moist when the gecko is going into shed.

Anna, it's not safe to pull off the skin unless you've soaked the feet and losened the skin. Plus, it's cheaper to use a tupperware container, cut a hole in the lid, put moist paper towels in it and create a cheap humid hide. Shed Aid is an overpriced product that is really a waste of money, as water will do the same thing.

Anna B. on August 20, 2010:

Megan, I had the same problem with my leopard Gecko's shedding. I bought this stuff called Shedding Aid and it is like a conditioner for their skin while they shed. Just spray it on them then rub it gently into their skin. However, even with the Shedding Aid, you many need to give her some help. I pick up my gecko and hold him in one hand while I use twezzers (the small ones you use on your face and such) to remove the shedding very carefully. The Shedding Aid even helps to remove dried on sand on the toes of the gecko. Sheddin Aid can probably be found at any pet store and is about $6.00 to $8.00. Dispite the proice it does help the shedding process.

Megan on August 20, 2010:

My gecko has been having trouble getting the shed off her toes and her toes have been falling off. she doesnt have claws any more too. What can i do to help her?

Megan on August 20, 2010:

Hi,

I was wondering how to get a really fat tail for your gecko. i know a lot of people who feed there geckos meal worms more than crickets and they have super fat tails. Is that better for them?

Anna B. on August 20, 2010:

Hi, I have a leopard Gecko that lost his tail and it healed back wonderfully, the only problem is that when he gets the new tail wet the sand will stick too it. When I get the stuck sand off with a skin conditioner it is a little bloody. Does this mean that he can no longer have sand in his cage because his tail is so soft that if it get's wet the sand will harden onto it.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 16, 2010:

Throw it out. There's no need for it to be in there.

amy on August 16, 2010:

what do u do with the tail once it has fallon off and its wigerling around ??

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 09, 2010:

I'd just leave it alone.

Lynda on August 06, 2010:

is temp ok in the 90's 24hrs or do I have to figure out a way to lower it during the night?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 05, 2010:

Lynda, I didn't think 78F was right. Ha. You may want to prop up the reptile carpet with something, like try putting another piece of carpet down or adding some paper towels under the carpet where the UTH is. This will help create a buffer between your gecko and the heat. You want the temperature to be between 85-92F, which 90-92 ideal.

Kirstin, do you see anything in the eyes? Like skin or anything that may be causing the eyes to stay closed? Are they puffy? Do they have any discharge? You may want to do a lukewarm soak a few times a week, and try to loosen any skin around or in the eyes. It may become infected, which you'll need to have a vet check out the gecko.

Definitely add a humid hide to the enclosure which will make shedding easier for the gecko.

Kirstin on August 05, 2010:

You seem to know a lot about reptiles... I was wondering if you know what to do when your gecko doesn't open it's eyes. Apparently, my husband said that he didn't know that it needed more moisture when shedding it's skin and now it's eyes won't open. He's been following the recommended saline solution eye drops, but it hasn't corrected the problem. We're going on over a week now with this issue and I don't think it's eating because it can't see. Any suggestions?

Lynda on August 05, 2010:

I did just that and now the probe is more in the middle of the heat pad. Big difference! Unfortunately when I got up this morning it read 100.4!! My leo was in her humid hide and I unplugged the heater. That sounds a little high. I thought I should let it cool down. Can a person put a thermostat on these heaters?! Matbe I need a buffer? I thought the temp extremes were 70-90 degrees.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 05, 2010:

Try lowering the probe to see if full contact will get a better reading. If the temperatures are still below 80F, you'll need to find another heat source, such as the heat bulbs.

You can provide calcium in the worm dish, that will be fine. You'll just have to change it a little more often.

Lynda on August 04, 2010:

daytime temp is reading 78.5 right now but I also have the red light on (careful not to call it a heat lamp, but your are right, that's what they call em!). I had checked late at night so it had been on for over 6 hours. UTH takes up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the tank on the bottom. Perhaps my probe isn't positioned correctly. I have it pointing down onto the carpet and touching it, but it is suctioned to the side at the same time. Maybe not enough of the probe is touching the target? It's really just the tip. Bulb is a 50w infrared. I have seen the ceramic ones you speak of.

How's about that calcium? separate dish or ok with the feed worms?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

Reptile carpet is perfectly fine. The red bulb isn't manufactured to increase temperatures, and it's not a heat lamp. Lights are just to provide lighting; the true heat lamps do not produce lighting and are ceramic coil. The UV bulbs produce more heat than a regular light (even those that are labeled as basking lights), but those aren't necessary for leopard geckos.

Is the UTH appropriately sized for the tank? It should cover about 1/4-1/3 of the tank. Sounds like you have a 20 gallon long tank, so a 10-20 gallon zoomed uth would suffice.

It is odd that it's reading so low. How long did the probe stay there before it wouldn't top over 75?

Lynda on August 03, 2010:

ok, I went shopping. Purchased an UTH, small, (my tank is 24"L x 12" W x 14" H. Also got a hide with moss. Made the moss slightly damp and put it on the warm side of tank. Got a digital thermometer, and put probe on the bottom. Problem: The surface temp is always about 75 degrees. I put the red heat lamp on during the day but that doesn't necessarily increase the substrate temp (I use reptile carpet) Is that ok and will my leo seek the warmer temp up higher nearer the heat lamp? Yes he can climb up onto wood to bask. Also, can I leave some calcium powder in the feed dish (I have a baby that is eating mealworms that are dusted)so that even after the worms are eaten, there is still powder in there or does it need a separate "bowl" too?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 03, 2010:

It's an under tank heater, so you want to put it under the tank. They can't see red, so it's not bothering the gecko. It's doubtful that the light is putting off enough heat to affect what the gecko is feeling on the surface of the tank. You want to use a digital thermometer with a probe to monitor the surface temperatures. There is a link above for care, as well as another for setting up an enclosure.

Lynda on August 02, 2010:

The UTH goes under the tank itself or under the carpet substrate? (sorry, new at this!) The heat lamp is a pet store purchase, typical red light of 50w. It gets the temp up but I am worried about the constant red light for at night. Also, I assume I only want to "heat" half the tank.....so not the side where the food and water are located?! What I don't have is the damp moss "hut" that is recommended....my leo is a baby so I assume that is quite important for it's shedding. Can you tell me what the best set up is for that and/or misting requirements?

thanks

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 02, 2010:

The UTH is best for leopard geckos, and you won't need the heat lamp at all. You want to make sure that the surface of the tank is around 90F, not necessarily the air. Any sources of light should be shut off at night around the same time each night, if it's just a true heat bulb, it won't produce light, and more than likely, you'll need it on throughout the day/night during the winter. I would suggest a timer, if it's a light. I would advise the purchase of an under tank heater.

Lynda on August 01, 2010:

we just brought our baby leopard gecko home and don't have a heat pad. We have a heat lamp, but hubby says only to have it on during the day. Is that advisable? Still summer here but what do we do when the weather changes: keep lamp on all the time? get a heat pad?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 30, 2010:

I don't see why the tail would shribble up like that. Keep an eye on the prolapse, as you may have to take the gecko to a vet for proper correction. Sometimes light prolapses can be corrected at home, but severe prolapses may need surgery.

lucca on July 30, 2010:

i forgot to mention, I just adopted him from a friend 3 weeks ago who just moved back to UK so the only info I have about leopard geckos is what i have discover through the net and the odd weeks of pet sitting, I dont know any history on him or how old he is just that he is yellow, spotted, 5 inches long and named spike, normally i give him 7 worms a day (as told) and normally he eats them and once a week i shake the worms in vitamin and calcium powder....I really enjoy my leos company and hope for a happy healthy strong life for him, but i am scared that he is really not doing well...should i be worried about his current situation???? (written above)

thanks Lucca

Lucca on July 30, 2010:

I am not sure but I think my leo had a prolapse, i noticed for a couple days it looked like there was sand stuck to it just under his tail by the back legs and his tail seemed a little shriveled, So I put him in a large container of luke warm water just enough to cover his body but not his head and maintain the temp for about 15 mins and switched the sand to paper towel. when i put him back into his tank there was some traces of blood but it looks as though his prolaps fixed its self, but his tail is still shriveled a tiny bit....anything i can do

Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 17, 2010:

They are nocturnal, so you probably won't see the gecko out and about. Can you attach a picture? I'm not really sure what you're describing.

Meag on June 16, 2010:

We have a large leopard gecko in my store and he is in a habitat by himself. He rarely comes out from his hidey-hole so Im not sure what has stressed the poor guy, if in fact thats what is going on. His tail is extremely swollen and purple (it wasnt this purple before). It looks like it might explode! Is this a precursor to his tail dropping or is something bad going on? Any help would be so much appreciated! Ive already learned so much from your info, thanks!!