Now, here’s a something that many people may be unfamiliar with. A healthy leopard gecko tail, and what factors make it a heathy tail, or unhealthy tail. Through this article I will go through all the factors you as an owner should know and be looking out for on a daily basis. So here we go, how to look for a healthy leopard gecko tail.
(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).
Table of Contents
What does a healthy leopard gecko tail look like?
A healthy leopard gecko tail should look fat and plump. But how fat should a leopard gecko tail be?
The tail should start off as the same size as the body, just behind the back legs, but then start to get thicker about half an inch further down the tail. A healthy leopard geckos tails should be anywhere up to double the size of its bodies width.
How fat a leopard geckos tail should be could be the difference between life and death for these little reptiles. The reason a leopard geckos tail is so fat, is to confuse it’s predators into thinking that its tail is actually its body. This means that predators will aim for the non-crucial tail, instead of its body containing all its vital organs.
The skin patterns and tone should stay the same throughout the whole body. This means the texture and colour should continue down through the fat tail. Usually a difference will be clearly visible, so you should definitely be able to distinguish between a healthy tail and an unhealthy tail.
Please don’t confuse and unhealthy tail, with a slightly discoloured tail. Commonly leopard geckos tails can be a different colour to their bodies. Look that the plumpness of the tail for a better idea of how healthy it is. The fatter, the better (within reason).
How to keep a leopard geckos tail healthy?
Leopard geckos need to have the correct varied diet. Offer your leopard gecko a varied diet, which include all the vitamins and minerals it needs to remain healthy. Crickets, Mealworms and Dubia Roach are thought to be the best foods for a healthy leopard gecko tail.
As well as foods, make sure their water bowl is filled at all times. Dehydration of one of the top reasons a leopard gecko become ill or unwell. Bathing in water also kills any harmful parasites, which is THE main cause of disease and infection for pet leopard geckos.
Keeping a close eye on the temperature of the enclosure, in both the cool and warm end, will help to keep your leopard gecko in the healthiest condition possible. A geckos body and immune systems will work best when at the optimal temperatures.
What does an unhealthy leopard gecko tail look like?
Okay, so an unhealthy leopard gecko tail should be very noticeable. Some of the most common factors you should be looking for is a skinny tail, A tail which has no plumpness or fatness to it. And also a dull, discoloured tail.
When a leopard geckos tail is unhealthy it will commonly look like a thin stick. The tail will look very dry and the skin very wrinkled. The unhealthy tail will most likely be starved of oxygen and nutrition, so will become abnormally dull coloured. There is actually a health condition called “Stick Tail” which can develop in unhealthy leopard gecko’s, which I would recommend a visit to the vest if you suspect this.
Stick Tail and how it’s developed?
Stick tail disease gets its name from the cause of the disease itself. This disease will cause narrowness on the tail, which is due to loss of fat, thus making the geckos tail look like a stick. It is very important that you know exactly what a healthy leopard geckos tail looks like, so you can also see the difference early on in any unwanted health conditions.
Leopard geckos are vulnerable to a huge variety of illnesses and diseases and many of these can indeed lead to stick tail. Stick tail is a term used for weight loss in a leopard geckos tail, which is often caused by intestinal infection (Cryptosporidium Varanae).
Cryptosporidium Varanae is believed to be mainly caused by parasites. Medically, Cryptosporidium Varanae is a protozoal parasite that targets the gastrointestinal system, which leads to diarrhoea, loss of appetite and loss of visible health. What I mean by “Visible health” is daily noticeable changes. This includes weight loss, low moving, lack of responsiveness, heavy or irregular breathing, swells and bruising, those kind of factors.
The parasite is so small that it will be unnoticeable in any still samples, unlike many other parasites. Even microscopes will have a hard time finding them, so keep this in mind. Your best option is to inform your veterinarian and try to get a PCR test booked in as soon as possible.
Stick Tail Symptoms
The main symptoms of stick tail are weight loss and shrinking of the leopard gecko’s tails. This will continue until the tails fat has completed diminished, leaving little more than skin covering the tails vertebrae.
A leopard geckos skin, on its belly, can become very translucent. Sometimes with Stick Tail you can see little white spots that cover your geckos liver. Yes, these are visible through your geckos skin. If you ever notice this, please get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier you catch Stick Tail, the easier it is for your leopard gecko to overcome.
Diarrhoea, Anorexia, Lack of appetite are just a few other noticeable signs of stick tail illness. This can also be accompanied by your leopard gecko hiding for most of the day, spending more time in the cool end of the enclosure instead of backing, and also dehydration.
These are the main factors which you should be looking out for when your leopard gecko doesn’t seem itself. These may seem like very common symptoms, and you’re right, they are. But they’re also the clear showing signs that something is wrong. If this is the case then please seek further advise from a veterinarian.
What are the treatments for stick tail?
Treatments will vary depending no the cause of stick tail disease. If the disease is caused by a bacterial infection or parasites, they will usually be treated with the appropriate medication and antibiotics given to you by your veterinarian. If you are looking elsewhere to find the medication you need, please find out the exact medication you need from a veterinarian and stay away from generic medications for pets. For a healthy leopard gecko tail, you should always follow veterinarian advise.
You should also be aware that this disease can be passed onto other reptiles living in close proximity. You should thoroughly clean the enclosure and replace any substrate, food, and water which may also now be containing the disease.
Causes and Preventions
Make sure to have the correct set up for your leopard gecko before housing them. The incorrect heating temperature and lighting hours can cause disease to start and spread rapidly. The incorrect habitat and environment will cause a lot of stress to your reptile which can damage a healthy leopard gecko tail. When a reptile is stressed, its immune system is affected and become weaker, which makes them more likely to et disease or other health related issues.
To recap on a healthy leopard gecko tail, you should always take an interest in the aesthetics of a leopard geckos tail. A healthy leopard gecko tail should look fat and plump, with a healthy colour to it. Remember that an unhealthy tail will look dull in colour and will likely be massively reduced in size.
Keeping daily tabs on your geckos health will help you catch these illnesses or diseases early. Look for the tell tale signs of an ill gecko. These are, Weight loss in the tail, Dull colouring, Lack of appetite, Spending more time in the cool end of the enclosure.
If you see any of these signs, then please contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Check that your thermometers are working correctly and the temperatures are correct throughout the enclosure. And keep the enclosure clean. Also deep clean the enclosure after a visit to the veterinarian.
After searching and testing many different products, we have come up with our list of “Must Have” items for recommendations for both price, and durability for the best enclosure accessories.
Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here
Heat Mat – Click Here
Heat Lamp and Guard – Click Here
Reliable Thermometer – Click Here
Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here