Amazingly leopard geckos, and many other little lizards have evolved over many years to be able to detach their tails on demand, as a means of defence. Yes, that’s right, leopard geckos purposely make their tails fall off in the event that a predator latches onto them. This incredible feature may well save a geckos life more than once over. But what happens with leopard gecko tail regrowth?
As a leopard gecko owner, you should know what to do in the event of this ever happening.
First of all, you should probably ask yourself, what are the possible reasons why the tail has fallen off. Answering this question will give you the ability to avoid this happening again in the future.
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Tail regrowth and possible reasons why your leopard geckos tail has fallen off
This is most likely the common reason why a leopard gecko detach its tail. Many new gecko owners will usually forget that a leopard tail can detach, so they’re not always thinking about the consequences of handling their pet correctly. Leopard geckos are fast, and curious, so this pairing makes for an inquisitive reptile.
Leopard geckos take a while to gain the trust of a human so handling can be very stressful for them. Commonly a leopard gecko will try to evade being handled at first, however this is where the problems can start.
As a leopard gecko tries to flee, and run away, many new owners will try to stop them by grabbing them, just like a predator would. Obviously a leopard gecko doesn’t know that you are of no harm to them, so they will naturally be scared. In an attempt to catch your gecko when it is running away, you will most likely cause its tail to fall off.
It has become stuck
You should know by now that a leopard geckos tail is very fat. Almost the size of its body. So you can understand why sometimes it may get stuck, specially in a new enclosure, or an enclosure which has just been re-furnished.
Keep this in mind when you are filling your enclosure with hides, rocks and climbing apparatus. A leopard geckos will enjoy climbing over, under and through its apparatus, so make sure there is enough room for them to freely pass through.
Be sure to place the furniture well enough apart so that there is no chance of your gecko becoming stuck or wedges between something. Leopard geckos can detach their tails at any time, so it doesn’t need to be a treat from a predator all the time. Sometimes it can be as a mean to free itself from a position where they have become stuck.
The tail has become infected
Lastly, if you are quite confident the first two points have been avoided, and there is no way either of them could be the reason for your geckos tail falling off, then perhaps it could be due to an infection.
There are a number of infections which can lead to a gecko tail falling off. Infection such as “stick tail” and “tail rot” are just a couple of the more common tail infections. These infections can cause a lot of pain for a leopard gecko and no doubt a lot of stress also. These infects can be treated if caught early, however if the tail has fallen off then you haven’t noticed it soon enough.
I would suggest to stick take your gecko to a veterinarian and explain what has happened. They may offer some antibiotics to help cure the infection and have a better chance of a healthier tail to regrow after.
Will a leopard geckos tail regrow?
Yes. A leopard gecko has the ability to regrow its tail again once it has been detached. There is also no limit to how many times a leopard gecko can regrow its tail. It totally depends on the individuals healthiness and age. A leopard gecko which has a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet has no limit to how many times it can regrown its tail.
An unhealthy leopard gecko on the other hand may struggle to regret its trail at the rate of a healthy gecko. The process of losing a tail and regrowing it is extremely stressful for a gecko. So sometimes they may want to take their time in regarding it, specially if they know they’re actually not in much danger, like a pet gecko would realise after a coupe of years.
In the wild, this is a leopard geckos main defence system again predators. So when they lose their tail, it is of high priority to grow another one back as soon as possible, before another predator has a go at catching the little lizard.
Does tail regrowth cause any harm to the leopard gecko?
You may fond this hard to believe, but the actual process of detached their tails is painless. Leopard geckos do not feel any pain from the detached itself, however they may become stressed as a result.
High stress levels is the main cause in illnesses for a leopard gecko. When a geckos tail is detached, it has done so because of a traumatic experience. An experience which they deemed as life threatening. Otherwise, they simply wouldn’t have detached their tail.
If humans had the ability to regrow limbs on their bodies, you could probably imagine this to be a very stressful and energy consuming concept. Stress levels in a leopard gecko will be very high once the tail has detached. As a consequence, you may find your leopard gecko to become very lethargic and lacking in energy.
This is completely natural. Leave them to it.
The best thing you can do at this point is leave your leopard gecko to its own accord. The less stress you can cause them the better. Feed them with high fatty foods. This will help to rejuvenate the tail to a healthy size again. Make sure to keep the enclosure clean also and reduce handing until your gecko has regained its health and energy.
What happens to the detached tail?
First of all, stay calm. This may sound stupid, but it’s quite an unreal situation to view for the first time. The tail won’t just fall off and be still on the floor. Even though it’s detached it will still wriggle and fling itself around like it is still alive.
In all honesty, I didn’t even know this happened when I first saw it. It was a shock to me also and yes, it freaked me out a little. There’s something very unnatural about seeing a limb which is still moving after being detached from the body.
This is meant to happen though. The wriggling will trick a predator into thinking they have made a catch and the lizard is still wriggling to get free. When in reality, the little lizard is already hidden under a rock, well out of view.