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Reptiles/Leopard Gecko Impaction


Hello, I am pretty sure that our leopard gecko is suffering from impaction. We purchased her from a pet store a year ago and she has been healthy until recently. I purchased walnut shell bedding a few weeks ago as it said on the container that it was safe for leopard geckos. Since using the bedding, she has been getting very skinny, she's always tired, she walks funny, her tail is getting VERY thin and just 2 days ago her tail is starting to dry out. I googled some ways to help impaction and I had her soaked in warm water, I put a wet cloth in her tank, I also gave her a few drops of olive oil and I massaged her belly. We have 2 geckos and the other one has no problems. This is my 7yr olds gecko and he will be very upset if something were to happen to her. Is there anything else I can do to help relieve this issue? Thank you for your time!

Jessica Segovia

Hello Jessica,

Oh no, I am pretty sure you are correct on her being impacted!  The walnut shell should not be used, at all really.  It really irritates me that they sell this loose substrate, especially for small lizards who lick their substrate a lot.  It will absolutely impact them.  
Are the other two housed with her but are not impacted yet?
If so, I highly recommend removing the walnut shell & replacing it with either non adhesive shelf liner, paper towels or even a nice colored felt.  

You can also get some canned pumpkin, sugar free applesauce & sweet potato mixed with a drop or two of olive or coconut oil to give daily to help with the impaction, too.
Some are more prone to licking/ingesting loose substrates than others.
Do you give calcium powder on a regular basis also?

Let me know how she is doing.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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