How To Tell If Your Leopard Gecko Is Dead: 5 Signs To Watch For

Leopard geckos are hardy reptiles with long life spans of up to 20 years in some cases, and they rarely get sick. Of course, this doesn’t mean much when you see your reptile pet behaving strangely and fearing the worst.

Because Leopard Geckos are so hardy, they hide disease well, and they have very slow metabolisms and will often only show signs of illness when disease has progressed to the point where they require immediate medical intervention. Fortunately, for observant pet owners, there are some signs that your reptile is in danger, and keeping an eye out for these signs will help you take care of your pet before it’s too late.

In this article, we take a look at the various signs of a dying Leopard Gecko and what you can do about them.

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1. Fast weight loss


Any kind of rapid weight loss is the first sign of trouble. If you notice your gecko is losing weight rapidly in a short period of time, there may be an underlying disease. There are various reasons why this can happen, including poor diet, poor living conditions, infections, and parasites. The first sign of weight loss is usually in the tail — Leopard Geckos store fat stores in their tails and will live off of this if they can’t find food. A tail that is thinner than usual is the first sign of weight loss.

On average, male leopard geckos weigh between 60-80 grams and females between 50-70 grams. If your gecko suddenly sinks below this, take him to the vet immediately.

2. Lack of appetite


Loss of appetite is a sure sign of disease in many animals, including geckos. Before you panic, your gecko may be bored with its food, so you may want to try changing it. The temperature of your pet’s cage can also increase their appetite, so make sure their cage is at the right temperature and humidity.

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If your gecko is not at all stressed or dehydrated and their tank is in perfect condition, there may be something more serious at hand, and they should go to the vet.

3. Abnormal poop


Another sign that something is wrong is an abnormal or significant drop in stools. If there is no stool at all for more than a few days, there is something wrong with your reptile. One of the most common causes of sudden death in geckos is impaction. This happens when they eat something they shouldn’t, causing blockages or digestive problems. Early detection is best because you can solve the problem and get your pet checked; if left too late, impaction can easily lead to death.

Impaction can cause abnormal or reduced stools, but most commonly, no stools at all. If you notice a sudden change in your Gecko’s droppings, we highly recommend taking him to the vet as soon as possible.

4. Lethargy


Common signs of happiness and good health in Geckos are curiosity, enthusiasm and energy. If you notice your gecko’s mood and energy levels suddenly drop, it could be a sign that they are sick. Geckos will often hide in one place and remain motionless for hours if they are in pain, and if you notice this behavior, you should take him to the vet immediately.

5. Sunken eyes


Sunken eyes are usually a sign of dehydration, and if your gecko’s eyes look sunken into his face, they may be dehydrated. Dehydration can cause a number of other problems in your reptile and need to be addressed immediately. Make sure your Gecko has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink and the tank has the right humidity.

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Other signs of dehydration in geckos are loss of skin elasticity, the appearance of wrinkles on the skin, dry and scaly skin, sticky mouth, and muscle loss. These symptoms usually occur over several days and not all at once, but proper treatment should prevent this from happening.divider-gecko

How to Prevent Disease in Leopard Geckos

While some diseases are difficult to avoid, there are various things you can do to prevent your gecko from becoming seriously ill. Geckos are generally long-lived, strong, and healthy reptiles, and with proper care, they rarely get sick.

Here are some proven ways to prevent disease in your Leopard Gecko:

  • Keep your gecko’s cage clean and free of dirt and food debris.

  • Make sure they eat proper and healthy food.

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling a gecko.

  • Make sure their tank is at the right humidity and temperature at all times.

  • Always check that there is nothing in the cage that they can swallow that could cause impaction.

Can you treat a sick Leopard Gecko yourself?

There are some illnesses that you can treat yourself, even if only if they are relatively mild and haven’t progressed too far. Dehydration prevention and cure is simple: Make sure your gecko has enough clean water to drink! The humidity in their cage also plays a big role, so make sure it’s appropriate for them. Mild impaction found in the early stages can also be treated at home with a warm bath and gentle, gentle abdominal rub. This may be sufficient to loosen stool and resolve impaction; however, if this does not help within a few hours, it is best to take him to the vet.reptile leg divider

Last thought

No matter which pets you have, they are an important part of your life, and it can be very worrying and stressful if you suspect that they have a life-threatening problem. If you notice any of these signs, the best course of action is to visit the vet immediately, as just a few hours can be the difference between life and death. Plus, geckos are experts at hiding disease, so you have to act fast even at the smallest signs.

Featured image credit: somsak mungmee, Shutterstock