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Why do Leopard Geckos Have Fat Tails?




A close-up image of a pink leopard gecko with a fat tail, against a textured background. Exploring the question: "Why do leopard geckos have a fat tail?"

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If you are keeping a pet, you need to know as much as possible about your animal to offer the necessary care. It is prudent to show concern over the condition of your animal and any notable changes in its body and behavior.

Consequently, you can note signs of ill health and address them as soon as possible. Leopard geckos are lovely animals that any animal lover can keep.

If you have a gecko pet, you will notice its tail is large compared to the rest of the body.

A healthy leopard gecko should have a fat tail. Geckos are natively habitat to arid areas where food is not always available. These animals usually store fat in their tails, and the fat reserve helps the animal survive during periods of food shortage.

Are you concerned about the size of your pet’s tail? I have prepared this post to help you understand why your leopard gecko’s tail may seem unusually big and how big it should be.

Is your leopard gecko’s tail smaller than usual? Read on and find out how to feed your animal right for good health.

Why Is My Leopard Gecko’s Tail So Fat?

Like other animals native to harsh environments, Leopard geckos often face difficult conditions when food becomes inadequate.

For this reason, the animal needs to store as much fat as possible its tails store structures found under the skin called adipose tissue for leopard geckos.

The fat in triglycerides is structured into adipocytes, primarily large lipid droplets.

Fat storage in leopard geckos serves various critical purposes in the animal’s daily life. These include:

Source of energy

Leopard geckos can go for long periods without food, and if you have these pets, you will notice that they can go for a few days without food.

And your pet won’t die if you forget to feed your pet for a week. However, this does not mean you neglect your animal. During these periods, the fat reserve is broken down to provide energy for the animal.

Energy obtained from stored fats in leopard geckos is utilized in various functions, including hibernation, starvation, and reproduction.

In leopard geckos, hibernation is referred to as brumation. This natural metabolic slowdown occurs in leopard geckos over a year old during the most incredible months.

According to experts, the period is essential for all geckos’ health, whether in captivity or the wild. And some keepers will want to provide artificial cooling to provide similar conditions for a year and older leopard geckos at home.

During brumation, the animal will show specific behavior and symptoms. The animal becomes less active and eats less. It may also go into hiding for weeks and prefer spending more time in the cooler areas of its enclosure.

You need to be careful and keep an eye on your animal for signs of an illness. In some cases, you may mistake a condition for hibernation.

Your animal may refuse to wake up or show significant weight loss in such cases.


Studies show that female leopard geckos utilize a lot of energy in reproduction, and the fat energy goes toward the production of more large healthy eggs. These eggs contain considerable amounts of fat and protein necessary for developing and feeding a healthy young one. A leopard gecko egg contains 6 milligrams of calories per milligram. Also, between 13% to 48% of their total energy is expended on egg production.


Leopard geckos, like other reptiles, rely on their immediate environment for thermoregulation. For this reason, their rates of endogenous heat production also vary, especially when the animal is in motion or during digestion. These two factors combined pose challenges in heat regulation in the animal.

Reptiles generally have complex and high heat flow mechanisms whereby they exchange heat with the environment through conduction, radiation, convection, and evaporation.

All these mechanisms require significant energy as the animal tries to manage its internal body temperatures.

Additionally, leopard geckos will use behavioral mechanisms to regulate their temperatures, including moving closer or away from the sun.

Can a Leopard Gecko’s Tail Be Too Fat?

Are you concerned that your leopard gecko’s tail is too fat? a healthy leopard gecko should weigh between 40 and 100 grams, and a fat tail is usually a sign of a healthy animal.

Naturally, the animal is supposed to have a fat tail due to fat deposition.

The animal’s tail usually is the same size as its body from where it connects to the hind legs gets thicker as it progresses.

You should be worried if the animal’s tail becomes thin or smaller. If your leopard gecko’s tail is getting abnormally thin, it could be due to a disease commonly known as stick tail.

The leopard gecko loses all its tail fat with these diseases, appearing as a stick. It can be due to parasitic infestation in the animal’s stomach that feeds on most of its nutrients, starving the animal.

Starvation and malnutrition are also other causes for thinning of leopard geckos’ tails. You, therefore, need to feed the animal appropriately by providing it with the right diet and food quantity.

Poor feeding also results in other problems such as poor shedding and sight.

Your leopard gecko could also lose weight due to stress and egg retention. These two are closely related to female geckos that often retain their eggs due to stress.

The other possible causes of stick tail in leopard geckos are metabolic bone disease and impaction. The metabolic bone disease occurs when the animal’s bones lose most of their calcium softening.

And it could be due to low levels of vitamin D or kidney-related problems. On the other hand, Impaction occurs from ingestion of inappropriate material, which interferes with food movement along the digestive tract.

How Can You Get Your Leopard Gecko Fatten?

Is your leopard gecko losing weight? If you are certain poor nutrition is the cause of your animal’s condition, you need to adjust its diet for them to attain the required weight.

Also, you can consider including supplements, eliminating stress, providing food at the right schedule, and maintaining the appropriate temperatures in both the cool and warm areas of the enclosure.

There are various causes of stress among leopard geckos, and the animal’s living conditions can potentially stress out the animal.

You need to ensure that the animal has adequate space, and if you are keeping more than one animal, keep an eye on them to ensure they are not fighting.

The enclosure should also provide your animal with areas for hibernating or hiding whenever the animal needs to. Also, remember the animals requires favorable conditions for shedding.

You can also include insects with more fat, such as butter worms, super worms, and waxworms; a diet of mealworms, silkworms, hornworms, crickets, and B.dubia roaches is sufficient to provide the necessary nutrients for the animal.

As you feed your pet, don’t forget to provide it with sufficient water to keep the animal hydrated.

Also, it would be best if you kept the enclosure in the appropriate temperatures for the animals. Remember, the animal relies on the environmental temperatures to regulate its own.

FAQ’s on Leopard Gecko’s

Conclusion in Why do Leopard Geckos Have Fat Tails?

Leopard geckos’ fatty tails are usually a sign of good health. You don’t need to worry about your leopard gecko being too fat.

The fat reserves in these animals’ tails are essential for various functions in the animal. It acts as a source of energy for the animal during hibernation, during reproduction, and at times of starvation or food shortage.

If your leopard geckos tail is getting too thin, you have every reason to worry. The often causes for this include diseases, poor nutrition, stress, and poor living conditions.

By addressing the underlying problems, you can get your animal to gain weight and fatten its tail.

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