Wondering why your Leopard Gecko is pale and turning white? This guide is for you!
We all want our leopard geckos to retain their natural color, for this could be why we bought them in the first place.
Any keeper would be worried if their leopard gecko starts turning pale or white, especially if the keeper has no idea why this is happening.
Your leopard gecko turns white because it is going through the shedding process. So, although you may be anxious about the changes this lizard is going through, there’s really no likely cause for alarm. However, you should carefully monitor your leopard gecko’s behavior to determine whether he has other problems unrelated to shedding.
Why is My Leopard Gecko Turning White?
It’s common for newbies to panic when they notice their leopard geckos are turning pale. However, regardless of what’s happening to your pet, panicking is never the solution.
In most cases, leopard geckos turn pale when just about to shed. All the same, never make this assumption until you’re sure this is the case.
Leopard geckos can also turn pale in a few other instances – for example, when he is ill, impacted, or malnourished.
About 90% of color change in your leo will be related to shedding. You’ll realize that two or three days before shedding, your leopard gecko’s color starts becoming lighter.
By one day to shedding, your pet will be almost completely pale or white. The changing of color in preparing to shed is known as sloughing.
It is a common phenomenon and happens to nearly all shedding lizards.
So, do you see why you shouldn’t panic when your leo starts turning color? It’s not a big issue, really!
However, you still have a responsibility to help your leopard gecko experience a stress-free shedding process.
How to Help Your Leopard Gecko Shed Effortlessly
Shedding is never easy for any lizard, including your leopard gecko. Nonetheless, this is a natural growth process that cannot be done away with.
To start with, your leopard gecko stops eating a number of days before shedding begins. Unfortunately, this means your pet will not get the additional energy required in the process.
Also, this process makes your pet agitated and highly irritated. He may want nothing to do with you then, and will stay cooped up in his humid time for the duration of the process.
Don’t lay too much expectation on your leo when he acts grumpier than usual. Instead, be patient with him, avoid physical contact, and provide him with the nutrients he needs when he starts changing color.
In particular, increase his calcium and high-fat insects intact a week or so before shedding begins. He will need the extra energy boost as the shedding process is not easy.
Equally importantly, ensure your pet’s humid hide is tip-top before shedding.
Remember, your pet will spend all his time in the humid hide when the shedding is underway.
Once your leopard gecko sheds, check for stuck skin, especially around the face and between the toes. If you find any, you should help him to shed them.
Do this by soaking him in shallow warm water for 30 minutes, and trying to pry off the skin gently using tweezers, cotton swabs, or a Q-tip.
Never force the unstuck skin off, as this could rip off your leopard gecko’s tender, new skin – leading to permanent trauma.
What Other Factors Can Make My Leopard Gecko Turn Pale?
#1 – Improper Enclosure Temperatures
This lizard will be adversely affected if your pet’s enclosure is constantly under 350 C (950 F).
Remember, 350 C (950 F) is supposed to be the enclosure’s hottest area. Hence, it is known as the basking spot.
Your leopard gecko goes there occasionally to get some extra body heat needed for digestion.
However, your pet is supposed to spend most of his time either in the warm zone [270 C to 320 C (800 F to 900 F)] or the cool zone [210 C to 270 C (700 F to 800 F)].
Constantly keeping your leopard gecko at 350 C (950 F) will affect various aspects of his health, including skin discoloration.
#2 – Environmental Stress
Your leopard gecko’s skin may turn white or pale if he is constantly under stress. Your leopard gecko can receive stress from many quarters.
Keep your eyes on your leopard gecko’s enclosure to identify and eliminate the stressors. These could be internal (within the enclosure), or external (from outside sources).
Internal stressors include improper tank parameters (temperature, humidity, and tank size), poor nutrition, uncleanliness, and bothersome tank mates.
External sources of stress include loud noises, harsh light, direct contact with the sun, and the presence of threatening pets.
A new leopard gecko could also be stressed because he is new in the environment. Allow this pet time to acclimate to his new habitat before initiating much physical contact.
Your leopard gecko’s color will return to normal when the stressors are done away with.
#3 – Low Water Supply
Your leopard gecko needs a steady supply of fresh drinking water to stay healthy and well-balanced. So if you notice your leo turning pale, he could be dehydrated due to lack of moisture.
Although leopard geckos get much of their moisture content from feeder insects, they still need water to augment this supply.
Lack of an adequate water supply makes their skins turn pale and papery. This color will only change if he achieves the correct moisture level.
Even so, use shallow water bowls for the drinking water. Leopard geckos are not swimmers; giving them water in large and deep water bowls puts him at risk of drowning.
Alongside the drinking water supply, ensure the enclosure humidity is maintained at optimal levels between 30 % and 40%.
Use a hygrometer to monitor this.
#4 – Improper Diet
Have you been feeding your leopard gecko the right diet? Do you have a proper feeding schedule that you adhere to?
Leopard gecko’s feeding schedules vary based on age and health status. But, all leos need to be fed a variety of insects a number of times a week.
Also, feeder insects should be dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements to fortify the leopard gecko’s health.
It’s highly recommended that you start gut-loading the insects 4 days before feeding them to the leopard gecko.
Suppose your leopard gecko’s feeding schedule is not adhered to. In that case, he’ll suffer from malnutrition, and you’ll notice his skin is turning pale.
Apart from this, feeding your pet poor-quality food leads to other health conditions, such as hepatic lipidosis, which affects the liver.
Your pet could also suffer from the stick-tail disease.
Ensure the products in your leo’s diet are of the highest possible quality. In other words, source your products from trusted dealers.
#5 – Impaction Problems
Impaction happens when a leopard gecko ingests an item that is either too large or too hard. This item blocks the stomach or the intestines, making other food items not pass through.
Impaction is one of the most dreaded conditions in which your leopard gecko can find himself.
It is accompanied by a myriad of health challenges and complications, including infections, constipation, and lethargy.
The resultant stress will transform your leopard gecko’s color to pale white. Fortunately, your vet can handle impaction very well, and your pet will resume his normal life.
#6 – Attack by Parasites
If your leopard gecko is attacked by parasites, it will be deprived of important body nutrients. As a result, your pet’s health will be compromised.
Among the things, you’ll notice when your pet is attacked by parasites are skin discoloration and lethargy.
The reptile becomes weak and starts turning a pale white. You’ll also notice that he’ll spend most of his time in the hide.
#7 – Disease and Sickness
In some cases, your leopard gecko turns pale because he is sick. Other issues that can make your leopard gecko turn white besides severe malnutrition include mouth rot.
Mouth rot, or stomatitis, is a bacterial infection commonly manifests in the mouth. This sickness can get fatal if not attended to in good time.
The leading causes of mouth rot include a poor diet, improper living conditions, stress, and a weak immune system.
A diseased leopard gecko is lethargic, has sunken eyes, and may look white. Whenever you see these signs in your pet, don’t hesitate to rush him to the vet.
#8 – Egg Binding in Female Leopard Geckos
This condition makes it hard for female leopard geckos to lay eggs. This happens because of a number of factors, such as low calcium levels in the body and impaction.
A leopard gecko suffering from this condition displays several health anomalies. For example, she may lose appetite, become lethargic, and turn pale white.
Urgently address this problem the moment you notice it in your leopard gecko. You can see the eggs stuck in your pet’s belly by putting your leopard gecko under a light.
In some cases, they can also be seen pushing through the skin.
Has your leopard gecko changed color to paler skin? Don’t panic; there’s little cause for concern. Your leopard gecko is likely preparing for a normal shedding process.
Look out for other untoward behaviors to ascertain your leopard gecko doesn’t have another problem.
If all indicators show your gecko is about to shed, do your best to help him through this process easily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Does My New Leopard Gecko Behave Strangely?
It’s common for leopard geckos to be stressed in a new environment. This is because they need time to acclimate to the environment and get used to the new sights, sounds, and smells.
Give your leopard gecko some time; he will come around. In the meantime, keep physical contact minimal.
Can I House Two Leopard Geckos Together?
You can house two geckos together as long as they are not males. Usually, there’s no problem when two or more leopard geckos are put together; they co-exist peacefully.
Occasionally, however, you may encounter incidences of bullying.
Two males should never be housed together under any circumstances. Males are highly territorial and known to fight to the death to assert their dominance.
Does Illness Cause Stress in Leopard Geckos?
Like humans, leopard geckos become stressed when ill. Whether they’re suffering from trauma, disease, or parasitic attacks, leopard geckos feel the effect of poor health.
Can My Leopard Gecko Die from Stress?
Stress cannot kill a leopard gecko directly. Stress is just a sign of a bigger problem. This problem will likely kill your leopard gecko if not addressed.
How Can I Help My Leopard Gecko Avoid Stress?
You need to identify the source of the stress and eliminate it. These stressors can be related to the enclosure, or caused by outside factors.
Either way, your leopard gecko will be fine when you eradicate the stressors.