For most of us, poop is not high on the list of things we’d like to think about on a daily basis.
However, as a leopard gecko owner, it’s important to be aware that the color, consistency, and smell of your gecko’s stool can be an important indicator of your pet’s health.
Healthy leopard gecko poop typically has a specific appearance and smell, and if your gecko’s stool deviates from that description, it may be worth either assessing their environment and diet for potential causes, or taking your gecko to the vet.
If you’re unsure how to tell whether your leopard gecko’s poop is healthy or not, don’t worry, because this guide contains all the information you need.
By the end of our complete leopard gecko poop guide (see also “Leopard Gecko Gender Guide“), you’ll be able to easily tell healthy gecko stool from potentially unhealthy feces, and understand how to handle the situation if you notice a problem with your gecko’s poop .
Leopard Gecko Anatomy And Pooping
The first step to understanding your leopard gecko’s bowel movements and poop routine is getting to grips with your pet’s basic anatomy.
Leopard geckos poop from two vents on either side of the base of their tail. These openings are known as the cloaca.
Interestingly, while we humans have two openings so that urine and feces can exit the body separately, geckos will also pass urates (a solid form of urine) through the cloaca.
Identifying Healthy Leopard Gecko Poop
Ideally, your leopard gecko’s stool should be solid and somewhere between brown and black in color. There should also be a white tip on the poop, which is how you know that urates are being expelled as well.
Don’t worry if you see a small patch of liquid around the feces. This is just liquid urine, and as long as there isn’t too much, and it’s not a strange color or consistency, it’s not a problem.
The consistency of healthy leopard gecko poop is also important to consider. Usually, the poop of a healthy gecko will be soft, but still solid with a distinct shape.
Sometimes, it might be a little runny, but as long as it’s not watery and the consistency doesn’t get progressively more runny, you don’t need to be worried.
Be sure to pay attention to the consistency of the urate, too. It will usually be dry and chalky, and the size of the white area should be roughly ⅓ of the poop. The poop overall should be quite small in size.
Guide To Leopard Gecko Poop Changes
If you’ve noticed a sudden or gradual change in your leopard gecko’s poop, you might understandably be concerned and may be considering calling the vet.
Taking your gecko to the vet is generally a good idea when you notice a change in behavior or bodily functions.
However, you can also get a rough idea of what the cause might be if you know what different colors and consistencies mean when it comes to gecko poop.
Here are the basics:
A small white tip on your leopard gecko’s poop is normal and simply indicates the presence of urate. However, if all the feces is white, it could mean that loose substrate or shed skin has been ingested.
Gray poop usually means the same thing as white poop, indicating that your gecko has been eating its own skin shedding or loose substrate from its tank.
Yellow poop can have some more concerning causes compared to white or gray poop. If your leopard gecko is producing yellow poop, it could mean a variety of things, but the most common causes are dehydration, calcium overdose (or an overdose of another mineral), or the presence of parasites.
As long as your gecko isn’t displaying any other concerning symptoms, you might want to try adding more water to your pet’s diet and waiting a short time to see if it helps.
The most common cause of yellow poop is dehydration, and offering more sources of water often solves the problem.
Make sure your gecko always has access to fresh, clean water and that you are feeding insects that contain a good amount of moisture.
If there are any green-colored substrates in your leopard gecko’s environment, such as moss, this could be the reason behind green poop. However, in some cases, bacterial infections or parasites can also be responsible.
If you notice that your leopard gecko’s poop is black, take a closer look. Usually, what you’re actually seeing is very dark brown poop, and that’s completely normal.
You don’t usually need to be concerned as long as your gecko’s feces is some shade of brown. The stool may be lighter or darker depending on your pet’s diet and whether there’s a lot of bile in the poop.
Ideally, your leopard gecko’s poop should be soft, but not runny or watery. If your gecko’s poop resembles diarrhea, you’ll need to ask a vet to diagnose the case.
Diarrhea in geckos can be due to parasites, unhygienic living conditions, viral infections, or even emotional reasons like stress.
Symptoms that may accompany gecko diarrhea include a loss of appetite and lethargy or fatigue. You might also notice that the diarrhea smells pungent and happens frequently.
Insects In Poop
If you can see undigested chunks of insects in your leopard gecko’s poop, this means that your gecko isn’t able to digest their food properly.
That could be because they’re getting too much of one or move vitamins, or because they have parasites.
Sometimes, cold temperatures in gecko tanks can impact digestion, but you should see your vet in case impaction is the underlying cause.
Worms In Poop
The presence of worms in your gecko’s poop usually indicates a parasitic infection, or you could be dealing with fly maggots.
Mucus In Poop
Mucus in a leopard gecko’s poop is often yellow in color. This can be down to a variety of factors, but it’s best to get your gecko checked out by a vet sooner rather than later in case the cause is inflammation or infection.
If you notice mucus in your gecko’s poop, make sure they have plenty of clean water and feed them hydrating foods at their next meal. If this doesn’t solve the problem, a vet appointment is in order.
No Poop At All
A complete stop to your gecko’s bowel movements could be down to a variety of factors. If your gecko has lost their appetite and isn’t eating, this is likely the cause of the absence of poop.
However, you will need to speak to your vet to find out why your gecko isn’t eating. Your leopard gecko might also stop pooping if it’s dehydrated, if its tank is the wrong temperature, or if its bowels are impacted.
Changes In Leopard Gecko Poop Smell And Size
In most cases, healthy geckos will produce stool with a mild odor. You shouldn’t usually be able to smell your gecko’s poop unless you purposefully sniff it close up.
This means that if you can suddenly smell your gecko’s poop strongly, it’s worth investigating the cause.
If you’ve recently changed your gecko’s diet, this could be a factor. If you typically feed your gecko roaches, but have recently introduced insects like crickets and mealworms, a slight increase in the pungency of your pet’s feces is probably nothing to worry about.
You should also consider whether you’re being diligent enough with cleaning your gecko’s tank.
A dirty gecko enclosure can start to smell bad without indicating a problem with the health of your pet – although, your gecko could start to become unwell from living in an unclean enclosure, so it’s important to clean the tank regularly.
Now, if your gecko’s poop suddenly smells very strong and unpleasant, especially if it’s also watery or a different color from usual, you should take a stool sample and make an appointment with your vet since you could be dealing with parasites or any number of health issues.
A change in the size of your gecko’s stool, however, isn’t typically anything to worry about. If you’ve been feeding larger or smaller meals, the stool size is likely to reflect this.
Unless the consistency, shape, and color also changes, you shouldn’t panic about a size difference.
Poop Frequency In Leopard Geckos
In addition to color and consistency, another way to tell if a leopard gecko is healthy from its poop is to consider frequency.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that the age, weight, and body length of your gecko will factor into how often it should be defecating.
For example, the average hatchling will weigh between 2 and 5 grams and will have a body length of up to 4 inches. Anywhere between 1 and 5 times a day is normal for a hatchling leopard gecko to defecate.
By the age of 1 month, your gecko will likely weigh between 15 and 20 grams, and measure about 4 inches in length. Your pet should poop roughly 1 to 3 times every day.
Your leopard gecko will continue to grow in the next month, reaching between 18 and 30 grams in weight and about 5 inches in length by the age of 2 months. At this point, pooping at least once a day.
From the ages of 6 to 18 months, it’s expected for leopard geckos to poop once a day. That’s based on an average weight of anywhere from 25 to 60 grams and a body length of 3 to 6 inches.
Once your gecko passes the age of 18 months, they are likely to weigh between 40 and 80 grams, and should have a total body length from snout to vent of 8 to 11 inches.
Poop frequency usually decreases by this point, and you can expect to see poop every 2 to 3 days.
Why Leopard Geckos Might Stop Pooping
While it’s always worth contacting your vet if you notice a change in the color and consistency of your gecko’s poop, a lot of the usual color and texture changes can be rectified by a change in diet or environment.
However, if you’ve noticed that your leopard gecko has stopped pooping altogether, there could be a more serious issue.
Lack Of Hydration
Thankfully, a lack of poop from your gecko might mean dehydration rather than illness. While being dehydrated is no fun for your gecko, and every effort should be taken to prevent it, it’s also relatively easy to get your gecko hydrated again.
If, along with the absence of normal bowel movements, your gecko is showing other symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, wrinkled or dry skin, or problems with shedding, dehydration could be the reason your leopard gecko isn’t pooping (see also “Most Common Reasons Why Your Leopard Gecko Is Shedding“).
A relatively easy way to tell if your gecko is dehydrated from their skin is to gently pinch a piece of skin using your index finger and thumb.
Take care not to hurt your gecko when doing this (see also “Panther Gecko Care Sheet“). The skin of a healthy gecko should spring back quickly, but if it doesn’t, this is a clear indication that your gecko is dehydrated.
A lot of people underestimate how much water geckos need because they are desert animals. However, your gecko needs a clean dish of water every day, as well as water from insects.
Make sure the dish is shallow so that your gecko can easily drink from it, since a deep dish of water can be tricky for lizards to use.
You might think you’re giving your gecko a nice treat by feeding them larger insects, but this can actually be bad for their digestion and in some cases, it can cause serious problems.
That’s because, if your gecko swallows a larger insect whole, it could result in constipation or even lead to impaction (more on this later).
A good rule of thumb when it comes to choosing insects that are right for your gecko is to avoid giving your lizard any insects that are wider than the space between their eyes.
It’s also important to remove any shells if you’re feeding shelled insects. Leopard geckos have been known to go into a state of paralysis from being fed insects with the shells still on.
Parasitic infections are fairly common in lizards, but the problem is that the parasites found in gecko poop are microscopic, so you won’t be able to see them with the naked eye.
That’s why, if you suspect your gecko might have a parasitic infection, you should schedule an appointment with your vet.
Pinworms and coccidia are the two most common parasites found in leopard geckos. While these parasitic infections are not rare, they don’t tend to arise unless your lizard’s immune system is compromised, either by illness, old age, or stress.
Some telltale signs that your leopard gecko might be struggling with a case of parasites include vomiting or spitting out food, unexplained weight loss (you might notice this in the tail as well as the body), reduced or loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Believe it or not, if your leopard gecko’s tank is too cold, they may stop pooping entirely. This is because geckos are used to warm temperatures, so if the temperature in their tank drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, their metabolic rate will slow down.
A reduced metabolic rate could cause your gecko to stop eating, and naturally, when that happens, they will stop eliminating waste as well.
Now, a loss of appetite accompanied by no bowel movements could be a sign of many medical conditions in a gecko, and it could even be down to stress.
Usually, it’s best to seek veterinary attention if your gecko stops eating and pooping. However, the first thing we recommend doing is checking the temperature of your gecko’s tank.
It’s best to use a digital thermometer since this is the most accurate way of measuring the temperature. You can also use a temperature gun.
The most important thing is to keep checking the temperature on a regular basis to make sure it’s not fluctuating too much.
If your gecko’s tank is, indeed, too cold, you have a few options for warming up the tank. A heating strip that you can put underneath the tank tends to be effective, You can also get heating pads that do the same thing.
Bowel impaction is a potentially very serious condition that can be fatal if you don’t get it treated. An impacted bowel occurs when lizards eat pieces of food that are too large, or when fecal matter builds up in the intestine and causes a blockage.
Unfortunately, if the blockage isn’t quickly removed, the digestive system can eventually collapse and organ failure can ensue.
It’s better to try and prevent bowel impaction in the first place rather than having to treat it urgently.
A common cause of bowel impaction is a leopard gecko eating things that aren’t food, such as paper towels or substrate in their tank.
Geckos will usually only do this if they’re not getting enough nutrients from their diet, so the best way to prevent bowel impaction is to make sure that your gecko’s diet is nutritionally complete.
It is also wise to avoid having especially large pieces of substrate in your gecko’s enclosure, since larger items are more likely to cause a blockage if eaten.
Symptoms of potential bowel impaction in geckos include lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal swelling and vent prolapse. You may also notice your gecko licking their vents more than usual.
Leopard Gecko Poop Habits
The general habits your leopard gecko exhibits around defecation can tell you a lot about whether they’re happy and healthy.
Some gecko pooping habits may seem strange to us humans even though they’re normal for lizards, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with what is and isn’t a cause for concern in this area.
Gecko Pooping In Hide
Geckos will usually choose one spot for defecating and stick to that spot. Typically, this will be a corner of their tank.
Once you have noticed which spot your gecko uses to poop, make sure to keep it clear so that your gecko doesn’t feel the need to defecate elsewhere, especially in their hide.
Geckos don’t normally poop in their hides because they are clean and hygienic animals that like to have their feces far away from their comfort spots. This is why they will usually poop in the corner of a tank.
If your gecko suddenly starts pooping in their hide, you should ask yourself why that might be. If you’ve recently moved their hide, especially if you’ve moved it to the place they used to use as a bathroom, that is likely to be the problem.
However, if nothing else has changed, it could be that your gecko doesn’t feel comfortable leaving their hide. Maybe the rest of the tank is too cold, or maybe they’re feeling too stressed or unwell to come out.
If the temperature of the tank is within the optimal range, it’s best to ask your vet for insight on why your gecko has started pooping in their hide.
Gecko Eating Poop
A gecko eating its own poop isn’t necessarily a sign that something’s wrong, as long as it’s occasional. Geckos aren’t really coprophagous animals, but they might accidentally eat their own poop from time to time.
Now, if your gecko is eating its own poop all the time, it could be lacking in overall calories or specific nutrients.
Assess your gecko’s diet to make sure it’s well-nourished, and if in doubt, contact your vet if the coprophagia seems to be habitual.
Gecko Licking Vents
Geckos will lick their vents for many reasons, the most common being to clean themselves after pooping. If you notice that your gecko cleans its vents after defecating, this is normal.
You might also see this behavior after your gecko has shed its skin, or when it has been marking its territory.
The only time you need to worry about a leopard gecko licking its vents is if they start licking for longer than usual, or if you see that the vents look blocked.
That’s because leopard geckos will lick more often and for longer periods when they have an infection or an impaction.
Knowing the healthy color, consistency, frequency, and smell of your leopard gecko’s poop, as well as the normal habits surrounding defecation in lizards, can help you to catch health problems and dietary issues early.
Keep a close eye on your leopard gecko’s feces and contact your vet about any significant changes.