Soaking in water dishes is a behaviour often seen in pet Leopard geckos. It is a fairly common and often normal behaviour, but it should also alert keepers of potential problems.
From time-to-time owners will found one or all Leopard geckos soaking in the water dish. Naturally, soaking is a great way to aid in the process of skin shedding and helps loosening dry skin. Soaking behaviour in Leopard geckos might also be an indication that something is wrong, or at least that something can be improved upon. Excessive soaking behaviour can also be an indication of the following:
- Shedding problems
- Too little moisture in the hiding box
- Mite infections
- Impactions and/or obstructions
Incomplete or difficult shedding in Leopard geckos will also be evident by spending a lot of time in the water dish. Leopard geckos should shed their skin in one complete piece or at least a few large pieces. The main reason for skin shedding problems is mite infections and not enough moisture in the hiding box.
Overheating and dehydration
Soaking behaviour in Leopard geckos if often in indication that the environmental temperatures are too high and that dehydration might start to happen.
Impactions and/or obstructions
Very often dehydration is also a result of not enough moisture being absorbed through the intestines – e.g. in the case of obstructions. Obstructions will be highly suspicious if a Leopard gecko has a swollen abdomen and/or is not eating and defaecating.
The bottom line
When soaking behaviour seems excessive and there are other abnormal behaviour or signs, it is very often it is a good idea to consult an experienced herpetologist or a reptile friendly veterinarian for a consultation with the pet.
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