Dealing with poop is a messy but important part of keeping Leopard Geckos.
Knowing what normal leopard gecko poop should look like can be key to keeping one healthy. It is also important for monitoring their diet and happiness.
You should also know how often they should go and what unhealthy looks like.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types and what they mean for keeping your lizard healthy.
Leopard Gecko Poop
Leopard geckos poop by lifting their tails and squeezing their muscles. Sometimes they will do a little wiggle too. They have one opening called the cloaca (which is Latin for “sewer”) that is used for poop, mating and birth. Poop moves out of the digestive system through the cloaca after all nutrients and water have been absorbed by the stomach.
Poop can be an extremely useful tool for any lizard keeper.
Shape, size, color and any discharge that comes with your gecko’s poop can give you information about their care and husbandry. For example it can tell you if they are getting the proper nutrients from their diet or if they have parasites.
The frequency of poop can tell you if your leopard gecko is well-hydrated, has the correct tank setup, or has health issues like dystocia (i.e. difficulty in birth/egg-laying).
Poop is not really complicated! Knowing what to look for with healthy stool is simple. Poop from a healthy leopard gecko should be a solid brown cylinder that is about half an inch long. It should be fairly solid and not runny or liquid.
Next to the poop or attached to it will be another, smaller solid cylinder that is white, this is urate.
A healthy adult leopard gecko should be eating 2-3 times a week, and poop should follow a few days later.
Keeping a record of how often they go and what it looks like is a great way to help diagnose health issues.
One of the first things an exotic reptile vet will ask when you go for your lizard’s annual health check is how often they eat and poop. Some will also ask what their stool looks like and for you to bring in a sample to check for any evidence of parasites.
|White or gray||Recent shedding||Leopard geckos eat their skin when they shed and this may show up in their stool. White urate can also be mistaken for poop, but it is usually much smaller.|
|Runny||Stress, infection, parasites, dirty tank or spoiled food||Diarrhea has many different causes so you will need to take a stool sample to your vet for diagnosis.|
|Green||Eating plants||Leopard geckos are insectivores and cannot digest plants. Make sure no one in your home is feeding them greens.|
|Yellow||Too much fat||Yellow bile can turn up in their poop when their diet includes too much fat from treats such as wax worms.|
|Parasites||Infected feeder insects||Parasites can cause weight loss, loss of appetite and bloody poop. Consult your vet for a stool test if you see any of these signs.|
|Soft||Dietary change or cryptosporidium||Introduce new food slowly and speak with your vet if your leopard gecko’s poop continues to be soft. Cryptosporidium is an untreatable parasite which causes weight loss, regurgitation or loose stool. It can only be detected by a PCR test and infected lizards should be euthanized.|
|Undigested insects||Exoskeleton or low tank temperature||The exoskeleton of most insects is not digestible. A fully undigested insect may be due to low tank temperature.|
Normal Leopard Gecko Poop
Leopard gecko poop has two different parts. The largest part should be brown in color and barrel-shaped, this is the food waste. It should measure about half an inch long.
The second smaller part should be white in color and round, this is the solid urine waste. Mammals get rid of uric acid in the form of liquid urine, but reptiles have a solid discharge called urate.
Leopard geckos come from dry and semi-arid countries so they take most of the water they need from their food. This results in solid urine and firm stool.
Healthy poop will always be brown and round in shape. It should be fairly firm and not runny or wet.
The urate should be a white blob attached to the poop and measure ¼ of the size of the stool. It usually appears attached to the leopard gecko’s poop or right next to it. It can be gooey or more solid in consistency depending on their hydration.
Healthy leopard gecko poop may not always look like it is described above. When leopard geckos shed they eat their skin. Much of this skin goes undigested and will show up in their poop, making it look white. This is completely normal.
Leopard Gecko poop should not be runny or watery, it should be a solid cylinder. It also should not be any color other than brown or white and should not have a strong odor. Read on to learn what unhealthy gecko poop looks like.
Unhealthy Types of Poop
If you see white leopard gecko poop it could mean that they have recently shed. Most geckos eat their shed skin and whatever skin is not digested could show up in their poop, making it white or gray. Shedding happens regularly throughout their life and happens more often in the first few years.
Remember that white urate is healthy and is usually attached to the poop.
The urate can vary in size and shape from a small white spot on the end of the poop to a long cylinder ¼ the size of the stool. Make sure you know how to identify urate so that you do not mistake it for abnormal or unhealthy poop.
If there are white specks in your leopard gecko’s poop they could be parasite eggs or cricket eggs. Cricket eggs pose no threat, but you should have your vet do a test to rule out a parasite infection.
Leopard gecko diarrhea is liquid-like, wet and may include undigested insects. Diarrhea may be caused by stress, a bacterial infection, parasites, a dirty tank or by feeding spoiled insects. Diarrhea will also be much smellier than normal leopard gecko stool due to bacterial waste.
As there are many different causes the best course of action is to take your lizard to your vet for an exam along with a sample of their poop for testing.
Lizards like barded dragons that have greens in their diet may have greenish looking poop, but leopard geckos should not. They are insectivores so they should not be fed plants or have green poop.
Start by making sure no one in your house is feeding your leopard gecko plants. It is also possible they may have eaten plants in their enclosure. You should inspect cage decor like fake or live plants to see if they have been bitten. Remove any decor that may have been eaten.
Yellow poop is normally caused by bile in the poop. Bile is used to digest fats so if your leopard gecko’s diet is too high in fat, it may have yellow poop. To prevent this you should only feed insects that are high in fat as treats.
Avoid overfeeding mealworms, super or king worms, wax worms and butter worms.
Parasites are often passed to your leopard gecko through the insects they are fed. Occasionally they can also become infected when they come in contact with the stool of an infected animal, but this is not common unless you have multiple pet reptiles in the same house.
Signs of a parasite infection include:
- Weight loss.
- Decreased appetite.
- Bloody poop.
Bloody leopard gecko poop can occur because some parasites eat the lining of the digestive tract.
Regular stool tests are recommended if you suspect your lizard has parasites. Your vet will take a sample of your leopard gecko’s poop and then perform a fecal float to detect any parasite eggs. Most parasite infections are treatable with medication like antibiotics.
One parasite that is currently impossible to get rid of is Cryptosporidium, or Crypto. Signs of Crypto include weight loss, regurgitation of food, and soft poop.
Cryptosporidium cannot be diagnosed with a fecal float, but must be diagnosed with a polymerase chain reaction test. These tests are much more expensive and only a limited number of vets are able to perform them. There is currently no treatment for crypto and infected animals will not survive.
Soft poop can be caused by a change in their diet. A varied diet is important for a leopard gecko’s health, but introducing new insects too quickly can cause soft or loose poop. It can take some time for their digestive system to adjust to the new insect.
Make sure to slowly introduce new insects alongside ones they are already being fed. For example if you usually feed five crickets, but want to start feeding dubia cockroaches too, then feed four crickets and one cockroach to start with. Gradually increase the number of cockroaches and decrease the number of crickets every few meal times.
Undigested insects in leopard gecko poop can also be caused by introducing new insects too quickly.
An undigested insect could also be a regurgitation, not poop. Regurgitation can be a sign of Cryptosporidium, so speak with your vet if you suspect this.
It is normal for some parts of insects to go undigested. Insects have an exoskeleton made of chitin which is extremely durable and difficult to digest. This is not a bad thing as non-digestible foods act as roughage. This roughage helps with digestion by keeping things moving in the digestive tract and keeps poop a healthy consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Do Leopard Geckos Poop?
How often a gecko poops will depend on its metabolism, diet and tank setup.
Metabolism is the process where a reptile turns food and liquid into energy.
Babies and juveniles have faster metabolisms because they need more energy than full grown adults. They eat more often to get this energy, which means they also poop more often. Baby and juvenile leopard geckos will usually poop once a day as they eat 5 to 10 insects every day.
Adult leopard geckos will usually poop two to three times a week. They also eat less frequently and should be fed 5 to 10 insects every two to three days.
To make sure you see healthy and regular poop, feed your leopard gecko regularly, maintain their tank temperature and keep them well hydrated. If their enclosure is too warm they may poop more often, ground temperature above 92°F is too hot.
How Long Can A Leopard Gecko Go Without Pooping?
If your leopard gecko is eating regularly then they should be pooping regularly too.
If they are a baby or juvenile you should see new leopard gecko poop in their enclosure every day. If they skip a day but resume the next, there is probably nothing to worry about.
An adult leopard gecko should be pooping every two to three days. If your leopard gecko has not pooped for over five days then you should start to investigate. The first thing you should check is their tank’s air and ground temperature.
Reptiles are ectotherms which means they depend on their environment for warmth and to be active. If their enclosure is too cold, their metabolism will slow down. This will result in delayed digestion and reduced poop.
Make sure your gecko has a daytime ground temperature between 86°F and 92°F in their warm hide. The air temperature above the hide should be between 79°F and 82°F.
If tank temperatures are okay, then your leopard gecko might be constipated.
Constipation in reptiles can be caused by dehydration or an obstruction such as a urate plug.
To prevent a urate plug or dehydration you should provide a clean water bowl and mist their tank every other day.
Dehydration or obstructions can usually be fixed by soaking your lizard in warm water for 30 minutes.
To soak your leopard gecko, place them in a water-tight container and fill it with warm water until it reaches about halfway up their back. Check the water temperature does not get too cold and never leave them unsupervised. If this does not work you can take them to the vet and have them flush your leopard gecko’s cloaca.
Impaction can also cause constipation and happens when food or substrate builds up in their stomach and stops stool from passing through freely. Common causes of impaction are feeding insects that are too large or using the wrong substrate.
To prevent impaction keep them well-hydrated, feed insects that are smaller than the distance between their eyes and use a food bowl if your gecko is housed on loose substrate.
Why Is My Leopard Gecko Not Pooping?
If your leopard gecko is eating regularly, but not pooping then it may be constipated or living in a tank that is too cold.
Constipation can be a result of improper diet, dehydration or impaction. The first step you should take is to try soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes to see if they will poop.
If your leopard gecko does not have a proper basking and ambient ground temperature then it will not be able to thermoregulate properly. If they cannot thermoregulate then they will be unable to digest their food properly.
Make sure your gecko has a daytime ground temperature between 86°F and 92°F in their warm hide from an under tank heat source.
How Do I Clean Poop?
Leopard geckos will usually only poop in one area of their enclosure, so it is usually easy to find.
Their poop is usually pretty dry so you can easily pick it up with a gloved hand, paper towel or sand scooper.
Make sure to check their tank for poop daily and remove any that you find. Quickly removing it will prevent bacterial growth and keep their habitat clean. Sometimes lizards poop in their water dishes. If this happens, immediately remove the water dish and sterilize it.
Since their stool is relatively dry it does not usually have a foul smell.
If their poop is noticeably smelly, it might have a bacterial infection or some other illness. It can also happen if you have overfed new insects that they have not adjusted to yet.
Learning about leopard gecko poop is very helpful in monitoring their health, diet and well-being.
Your leopard gecko should be pooping solid, round brown logs with white urate at one end. It is also normal to find insect wings or legs in their poop. These lizards usually only poop in one area of their enclosure so it is easy to find and remove.
Unhealthy poop is liquid-like (diarrhea), yellow, green, bloody or soft. Completely undigested insects in their poop is another sign they are sick. If you notice any of these signs take your leopard gecko to the vet for a stool sample.
There are more ways to have fun when keeping leopard geckos than looking at their poop! But you should monitor, watch and keep a log of their poop from time to time.
Want to learn more about leopard geckos? Why not read our article on the top 30 morphs.