Newbie worried about Gecko behavior

LivinLikeLee

New Member
Hey y'all. I'm a newbie reptile owner, who got a 3-4-year-old leopard gecko a couple of weeks ago. They've been living pretty peacefully in their terrarium until now. We don't actually know the gender, because the former owner was unsure. They've been acting really amicably and was very active the last couple of weeks until they suddenly started being a lot more aggressive, skittish, and difficult this last week. Before this, they would window surf once in a while and would want to leave the terrarium. They even let me try to rub some of their dead skin off while handling them. I've been trying to keep the space around them pretty relaxed, got calcium for their food (both one pure calcium and one with D3), the heating mat is at 77° Fahrenheit (25° Celsius) which I'm actively trying to fix, but has been that way since the former owner got them. There was a short period where they were addicted to super worms because I honestly didn't know better, but they're eating like normal again. In the beginning, there were a lot of new elements added to their habitat, but they didn't seem to mind. Nothing much has changed within this week, other than I added a new hide a week before. Being a beginner, I am trying to make their living situation the best possible, but I'm very worried that I've accidentally traumatized or mistreated my gecko somehow. Please help.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
I have no idea if there's anything in particular going on with your gecko. However, I do find with my (many) geckos that often one will adopt a particular behavior for days, weeks or months and then change to a different behavior. Sometimes with a new gecko it's a question of behavior changes because they are finally comfortable with their new environment. Sometimes they may be stressed by changes to their environment. It's really hard to know. For example, my leachianus gecko (a different kind of gecko) has gone through periods where it's extremely cage defensive, meaning that when I need to reach into the cage for any reason it tries to bite me. For the past year or so (I've had it for over 9 years) it's been fine. Keep talking to your gecko, try to get a more effective heat mat (consider ZooMed heat cable which you can tape on to the bottom of the cage and then remove and re-tape with no consequences) so the floor temp can be in the low 90's (you may then need a thermostat if you don't already have one), and watch for the behavior to swing back into a more reasonable (to you) area.

Aliza
 

LivinLikeLee

New Member
Thank you! They've been having some shedding issues, so getting them out of the terrarium has been hard. I really want to help them out, but they're not at all interested in getting out of the terrarium in my bedroom anymore. They keep running into their hide when I get close. I hope that I can rebond with them before they suffer from all the dead skin.
 
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Bliss13

Member
Do you have a moist hide? If he is having issues with dead skin I would suggest a warm bath to help with shedding. You don't want the dead skin to stay on too long or it can cause issues especially with tails and fingers. Does he look like he is having any necrosis of his fingers or tail? He might be in pain if he is acting more aggressive.
 

LivinLikeLee

New Member
I do, I've had it since I got them. Their toes are looking pretty bad, because I'm positive that the last owner never took care of them. They get really panicky when I try to give them a bath or put them in a sauna. Any tips?
 

Bliss13

Member
You could try spraying their toes down with warm water. Then use a q-rip to try to ease the shed off. Being gentle of course. Or if you have long nails you can use those. The sooner you get the shed off the better.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
The q-tip is likely not going to do it but the fingernails usually do the trick. One thing to try is to hold the gecko gently against your stomach and to cover its head with your shirttail. The gecko thinks it's hiding and is a bit less distressed.

Aliza
 

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