What to do if your Leopard Gecko losses its tail
One of the defense mechanisms that a leopard gecko possesses and perhaps what they are most known for is their ability to drop their tail when attacked by a predator. This is a defensive mechanism that many lizard species can do. This phenomenon to detach their tail when needed is called autonomy. This happens by fractures being created in the tail bone and then vasoconstriction occurs to avoid blood loss. The detached tail will begin to twitch and can twitch for half and hour, allowing the gecko to escape. The gecko will then start to regrow its tail, it never regrows the same as it was but instead it regrows deformed, usually shorter and fatter, and also smooth. The tail of a leopard gecko is a very important fat store, In the wild during times of low food they use the fat to survive off of.
However in captivity they can lose their tails a few different ways. One is from another gecko, if cohabited, bites their tail. Another is improper handling that causes the gecko stress and to drop its tail. These are the two most common reasons for tail loss.
Now what to do if this happens?
The first thing is don't freak out, this is a natural ability your gecko has and is very rarely fatal or dangerous for the gecko, even though it can be quiet shocking to witness. Next you want to separate your gecko if it was with other geckos. This reduces the stress and allows your gecko to regrow its tail in peace. During the early stages of it regrowing you want to make sure the substrate your gecko is on is very clean. I suggest using paper towels and nothing else. No dirt or loose substrate should be in the cage as this can get into the wound and could cause infection or other problems. Also during the first week of the tail regrowing I would keep the paper towel damp. The extra humidity seems to help aid the tail growth, and prevent any shedding or drying out problems. The last thing is to make sure you feed your gecko a lot, this includes calcium and vitamin powder on the food and in a dish for them to lick up as well. The tail is where leopard geckos store a lot of fat that they use to survive. Now in captivity they always have a steady food source but it's still important to give them the nutrients to regrow the tail completely and get them back up to a proper weight to help them fight illness and keep them healthy. When you do these things you shouldn't have any issues and your gecko should make a full recovery. The tail will grow back completely but it will just look a bit misshapen as well as being smooth. But geckos with regrown tails do absolutely fine and should continue to live a healthy life.
- Rohman Taylor