5 Signs to Tell Your Leopard Gecko is Dehydrated

By Frank Miller •  Updated: 09/24/23 • 

Dehydration can be fatal for any animal, and leopard geckos are no exception. Although leopard geckos don’t drink water too often, you should keep a dish of fresh water inside the vivarium or mist the enclosure. However, leopard geckos sometimes get dehydrated, which happens if they have not taken or have access to water.

In the years I’ve had leopard geckos, I rarely see them get dehydrated. However, dehydration is common with rescued leopard geckos that previous owners have neglected. If you suspect a leopard gecko is dehydrated, here are some signs you should check out for.

1. Wrinkled & Dry Skin

One of the observable signs that your leopard gecko is dehydrated is wrinkled and dry skin. A leopard gecko will have fairly soft and elastic skin in a healthy state. However, as it gets severely dehydrated, the skin loses its flexibility and becomes rough and flaky.

A Rescued Leopard Gecko That is Skinny and Dehydrated

A Rescued Leopard Gecko That is Skinny and Dehydrated

The skin is also mostly shiny, so when you see it getting duller, then there is a chance it is dehydrated. If you notice any difference in your gecko’s appearance, then you should have it checked. However, a gecko’s skin usually starts to change before shedding, so be sure to differentiate if it’s shedding season.

2. Lethargic

If you own a leopard gecko, you know it is curious in nature. When in a healthy state, a leopard gecko will want to explore its enclosure, warm up in the evening, and also hunt down prey when you place it inside its enclosure.

However, if your leopard gecko exhibits signs of sluggishness or it slows down, then this might be a sign of dehydration. If you ignore these signs, it can lead to adverse health issues and even death. Apart from dehydration, signs of lethargy can be impaction, injury, and other health complications.

3. Sunken Eyes

When in a normal state, the eyes of a leopard gecko are round and full. Various factors can cause the leopard’s eyes to be sunken, and dehydration is a common cause of sunken eyes. Apart from dehydration, Any sign of sunken gecko eyes indicates a sick animal.

Leopard Gecko With Sunken Eyes

Leopard Gecko With Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes appear when the eyes of the gecko look deeper than usual. A leopard gecko, like a few other reptiles, has moveable eyelids. As a leopard gecko gets more dehydrated, the eyelids dry up and become challenging or harder to move. This makes the eye appear sunken, and you might also notice the eyelids are not moving.

4. Yellow Urate

For a leopard gecko, urine and poo come out from the same hole, called a cloaca. For a normal and healthy gecko, the poop will be dark brown with a solid white substance attached at its end. This solid white substance is referred to as urates.

If your leopard gecko excretes a yellow urate instead of white, then this could be a sign of dehydration. Apart from dehydration, a yellow urate could be a sign of excess calcium.

However, because most reptiles suffer from metabolic bone disease more than excess calcium, a yellow urate is a high chance of dehydration. A lack of urate could also mean your leopard gecko is dehydrated or not drinking much.

> Recommended Reading: Leopard Gecko Poop Color Explained

5. Constipation & Impaction

If your leopard gecko has not been pooping for a while, then there is a chance it may be dehydrated. If you’ve provided a freshwater source, ensure they can drink from it. Sometimes a dehydrated leopard gecko is unable to drink from a water source.

Besides dehydration, constipation can be a sign of feeding your gecko harder-to-digest meals. On the other end, Impaction can be a sign that your Leo has eaten a huge meal or might have swallowed something inedible. A home remedy you can try is to soak the gecko in water; if the problems persist, seek medical advice from your local vet.

Impacted Seminal Plugs That Have Abscesses

Impacted Seminal Plugs That Have Abscesses

Apart from these five signs, there are also other symptoms you can tell a leopard gecko is dehydrated. These include problems while shedding, dry membranes, and dried mucous membranes. If your gecko is dehydrated, try injecting fluids, ensure your Leo can drink from the provided water bowl, and ensure the humidity and temperature are checked.

Frank Miller

Frank Miller is the Founder of Lizard Advisor and owns several pet lizards, from leopard geckos, bearded dragons, crested geckos, chameleons, and others. The mission of this website is to make owning a pet lizard very easy for everyone, but mostly beginners. And each year, he continues to help more people learn more about lizard care and much more.