Leopard Gecko Tail Loss

Background Information

Tail loss is a defense mechanism for leopard geckos and is somewhat common. If grabbed or if something is dropped on it or if they are feeling threatened in general, a leopard gecko can drop their tail by flexing special connecting tissues that connect it to the rest of their body. Very little blood loss occurs, if any, because the blood vessels leading to the tail are constricted during this process. The tail will wiggle on its own for several minutes.

If your gecko drops its tail, it is very important to practice clean hygiene to prevent infection. Paper towel substrate changed daily or every other day is recommended, as well as additional feeding since the gecko no longer can rely on fat deposits stored in its tail for nourishment. Its tail will grow back, but it will take time and a clean environment is needed to ensure that its stump won't become infected as the new tail grows in. The new tail will also look slightly different, but function just the same.

What To Do

First, you'll want to prepare a separate holding tank with fresh paper towels as bedding and a small water dish. Once you do this, remove the gecko and its severed tail from its normal tank. Place the gecko in the holding tank.

Once the gecko is relocated, this gives you the time and space to give its regular tank a thorough cleaning. Cleaning the tank will help promote good hygiene so that the gecko's stump does not become infected. 

After cleaning the gecko's tank, remove the normal substrate and replace it with paper towels. These will need to be changed daily or at least every other day to, again, promote good hygiene and ward off infection and bacteria. 

You will also want to feed your gecko slightly more as the gecko regenerates its tail, since it is no longer able to rely on the fat stored up in its tail for nourishment. If you are feeding crickets, make sure to remove any uneaten crickets after 10 minutes so that the crickets don't bite your gecko and cause infection!

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