Is My Leopard Gecko Happy & Healthy?

Is My Leopard Gecko Happy & Healthy?

You may not always be able to tell what your pet gecko is thinking, but there are many ways to know how he is feeling or how his general health is. Understanding your pet lizard is important as it will help you provide the best care, as well as keeping him happy. Lizards require a specific type of care, and making sure all his needs and more are met, you can guarantee yourself a happy little reptile friend!

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

Signs Your Gecko is Healthy

  • Your healthy gecko should have a good appetite and seek food regularly
  • Bright, alert, and active in evenings
  • Appropriate fat build-up in their tail for their size
  • They should have no lumps or bumps around their body
  • Clear, open eyes
  • Healthy skin, no sign of ticks or mites
  • Noses should be clean and dry; no discharge

Signs Your Gecko is Happy

  • Enjoys exploring his enclosure
  • Moves around effortlessly
  • Reacts when you touch him
  • Approaches the front of his enclosure when you approach with food
  • Flicks his tongue around (to taste his environment)
  • They enjoy relaxing in the warm spot of their enclosure
young gecko in his vivarium

Healthcare Issues in Geckos


This is normal for a Gecko and they will shed a lot of skin while they are growing. However, if you notice discolouration or paleness in your Gecko’s skin, it may indicate the humidity in his enclosure is not correct.

Tail Loss

Geckos are fragile creatures, and as a method of defence when feel threatened, will lose their tail. This is a sign of severe stress, and while your Gecko’s tail will re-grow (this takes up to four months) it is important to try and prevent it from happening. Always handle your Gecko with care and if you notice signs of distress, try to calm them by separating him from other Geckos, or removing the culprit.

Impaction & Constipation

Vomiting, loss of appetite or a ‘lumpy’ stomach, are all indications that your Gecko is suffering from impaction. This can lead to severe health problems and is caused by a number of different reasons; poor diet, lack of calcium, dehydration or over feeding. If you notice these symptoms, bring your gecko to a vet for medical attention and advice on the best course of action.

leopard gecko up close image

Respiratory Issues

Respiratory issues can stem inappropriate husbandry. If the temperature in your tank/vivarium are inappropriate, it can cause your Gecko to fall sick. Make sure to monitor the temperatures in your vivarium using a thermometer during the day and at night to ensure your heat source is properly functioning.

Metabolic Bone Disease

This is a very common issue in reptiles due to lack of calcium in their diets and inappropriate UVB lighting. This disease can lead to bowed legs and other deformities. Food supplements are very important, and make sure to provide a calcium-rich diet and plenty of vitamin D, as well as full spectrum UV lights to help metabolize calcium.

Keeping Your Lizard Healthy

Cleaning the Habitat

Like any pet, regular cleaning of your pet’s home will be required to maintain its ongoing health. Establishing a regular routine will help you to keep your lizard’s vivarium clean and disease free.


  • Remove waste, debris, dead feeder insects, and shed skin from the vivarium
  • Change water, then provide clean fresh water
  • Remove and clean any objects that have faecal matter on them


  • Clean and disinfect enclosure thoroughly
  • Also clean and disinfect interior items such as decorations, feeding and watering items
  • Replace soiled substrate.


As with all reptiles, Geckos and Bearded Dragons have the potential to carry pathogens such as salmonella; so children under five should not handle them, and hands should be thoroughly washed before and after handling.

Any Other Questions?

If you have any more questions concerning your pet gecko’s health, I recommend visiting your local reptile vet right away and getting their advice. If you are wondering about raising a lizard or looking for the right materials, be sure to drop into your local Petmania store and ask one of our Pet Care Advisors.

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