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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Gecko Tail Injury Questions + Concerns


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    So today I was lifting my leopard gecko Sticky Toes' cave to mist the inside since he hates his moist box and it fell partly onto his tail and left a gash. I am no longer misting his cave because I have severe anxiety of this ever happening again so I'm not sure what to do in this case. I dabbed at the wound with a paper towel dampened with warm water to clean it and make sure it wasn't bleeding. It wasn't bleeding, just pink on the inside, and there was no swelling. I fixed up his cave so he could go back inside and rest. I lured him out shortly after with food and to check his cut again. He came out and ran into his bushes but I'm not sure if he ate yet since he had eaten earlier today, around 4-5 meal worms, so he might not really be hungry at the moment. I tilted the cave to look inside so it wouldn't drop and it was completely empty but the weird thing was the end of his tail from the gash down was missing? He just has a stump now. It's red but not bleeding, not currently swollen, but it does have a somewhat foul odor. It's not extreme, but it's just a tad bit funky. I figured that's a given because it's an open wound. I tried dabbing it lightly with warm water but it was still sore and hurt him a bit so I stopped because I didn't want to make his heart race since he's still young, he's a juvenile. I didn't want it to get infected though so I've been spraying slightly warm water on him with a little spritzer and he's not irritated by it, which is strange since he usually hates when he gets sprayed and put up a fuss when I had to spray his skin to help his shedding a week ago (his skin was also never found in the tank so I assumed he ate it? Or it disintegrated since it was nowhere when I cleaned his substrate pad.) I looked in all the places he went but the tail was gone. Did he EAT it? And can you guys just give me some tips and heads up for what to do to make sure he's alright? I don't know if he's mad at me or not he doesn't like being initially picked up but he loves being held in general and when I picked him up earlier to clean his wound he didn't even fidget when I lifted him, but his heart was racing because he was so scared. Is everything going to be okay? Am I missing anything? Any tips would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to GU from a fellow New Englander. Here are some answers to your questions:
    shed skin: yes, they do eat their shed so it's not unusual to find nothing there after they shed
    tail injury: leopard geckos are made to drop all or part of their tails if there is a trauma. That means that the tail drops off at a pre-determined joint and there is little blood or ragged looking wound. I have had this happen to a few of my geckos (over the space of years) and it's a lot more traumatic for us than it is for them, I think.
    recovery: If for any reason you have sand or some particle substrate, remove it so the stuff doesn't stick to the gecko's healing tail. Leave it alone and give it time to calm down. Within a week you should see a little pink nub sticking out of the end of the tail. The tail will regrow though it may not look like the original tail.
    spraying: it's not a great idea to spray a leopard gecko too much since they are desert creatures. If it won't go in the moist hide, you can see how it does shedding without choosing it. It may be just fine. If you really feel you want to put something in there to help it shed, Ray Roehner who wrote "The Leopard Gecko Advisor" recommends putting a crumpled up piece of moist paper towel in the hide when it's time for them to shed. You could probably do this without lifting the hide so no one will be too anxious.
    Good luck and enjoy your gecko,

    Aliza

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    The tail will regenerate at the point where the injury occurred. It will be a little stubby and not the same color/pattern as the original tail. You can use silvadene cream, neosporin cream without pain reliever or honey to apply to the tail to ward off infection. I would give the little guy some space for now and keep a moist hide in there, sometimes they use it when we're not looking or asleep. Yes they do eat their skin after a shed and it is possible that he/she ate that part of the tail if it happened to fall off.
    "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." ~ Winston Churchill

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    1.0.0- Leopard Gecko (Ziggy)
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    What substrate are you currently keeping him on? Also pictures can help some diagnose further, so if you could include some it may be helpful, but I think @acpart and @JessJohnson87covered most if not everything

    Nice to see another fellow homestuck here @turntechGodhead
    0 u 0
    Last edited by CrestedL; 01-04-2016 at 12:11 AM.
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    Correlophus Ciliatus 1.0.0
    Non-reptilian:
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    2.0.0 Cavia Porcellus
    1.2.0 Veiltailed Betta fish
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  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone, this is my first time owning any sort of reptile and so I wasn't sure if I handled any of this situation right. I was originally using newspaper but it stuck to the glass when wet and didn't agree with the heating mat underneath the tank, so now we have a type of fabric bottom we got from a local store called Dave's Dragons as it was recommended for both easy cleaning, safe for him to walk on, and natural green in color. We had almost used sand but I was too worried that it wouldn't do well with his system and I didn't know the other things used at the pet store (or any other place) for a substrate/bottom.

    He's been very active lately and even now with his tail partly gone he's still out and walking through his bushes where the heating pad is. If he gets too hot over there he goes in his cave, but he's been outside quite a bit, I just can't get a good picture of him at the moment where his tail is because is hidden behind his basking rock (which means I would either have to pick up the entire tank to see the other side or shove my head against the wall and hope it fit, ha), but I can attempt in a couple of hours when his night lamp turns to day to see if he moves where I can reach my phone camera.

    What's the average humidity I should keep it at, especially with his open wound? I've been trying to keep it centered but leaning more towards dessert trying to not let it cross over to rainforest too much. It's an easy to read color dial for myself because I can't see very well.

    Also, yay @CrestedL I'm not the only one!

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    I hope your not beating yourself up about this, it's probably a lot more common for this kind of injury to happen than any of us can know. It looks like you've already been given all the right information. All that's left for me is to say welcome to GU from another New Englander.

    Todd
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