Why Is My Gecko Turning White and Pale? {But Not Shedding}

First time gecko owners may get spooked when they notice a massive color change in their pet. They may say, “Why is my gecko turning white and pale?”

Could it be something simple, normal and healthy? Is it a much larger concern regarding poor health and stress?

Lets examine all factors aside from shedding skin to make sure your gecko who is turning white is still healthy.

Why Is My Gecko Turning White and Pale?

Your leopard may not be shedding yet, but the most common cause of turning pale or white is due to the preparation for the shedding princess to begin in a few days. This is called sloughing.

Once the old skin that has turned pale or white sheds off, the return of normal gecko colors will be seen.

There are other reasons why geckos turn pale or white that do not have to do with shedding. They are as follows:

  • Environmental factors
  • Poor husbandry
  • Changes in temperature and humidity
  • Improper nutrition
  • Stress
  • Lack of water
  • Illness

Allow me to explain some factors outside of shedding that cause gecko skin to appear white or pale in the article below.

Why Is My Gecko Pale White?

You will be able to find the answer to this question is a couple of days when you start to notice that your gecko’s skin is shedding.

This is a great time for carefully observing the behavior of your gecko to make sure all is well. It’s ok if they do not eat much at this time. This is normal.

Look out for other possible signs of stress that could lead to the dislocation or whitening of their skin such as:

  • Abnormal poop
  • Hiding excessively
  • Not eating
  • Not shedding

Should you leave your gecko alone? What happens next is explained in this next article.

Why is My Leopard Gecko Pale?

Sloughing refers to the process before your gecko begins to shed their skin. It could occur 2-3 days prior to seeing any dry skin peeling off.

In a couple of days, you should notice that the skin is healthy and back to normal. This could happen every 4-6 weeks and even more often when they are growing juveniles.

Notice these signs without any major cause for concern:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Moody/grumpy
  • Doesn’t want to be handled

You can help with a stuck shed, but overall, this process will continue for a couple of days and the signs above should return to normal.

If they do not, you should examine further into health related issues causing the white or pale skin. We have more information on this below.

Why Is My Leopard Gecko Losing Its Color

If you notice that your leopard gecko is losing its color, there could be several possible reasons for this phenomenon. Here are a few factors that could contribute to a leopard gecko’s color loss:

  • Shedding: Leopard geckos periodically shed their skin as they grow. During the shedding process, their colors may appear dull or faded. This is normal and temporary, and their vibrant colors should return once they have completed shedding.
  • Stress: Stress can affect a leopard gecko’s coloration. When a leopard gecko feels stressed or threatened, it may darken its colors as a defensive response. This is known as “stress coloration.” If your gecko is in a stressful environment or feels threatened, it may exhibit this color change. Providing a comfortable, secure, and properly sized enclosure can help reduce stress.
  • Temperature or lighting issues: Incorrect temperature or lighting conditions in the gecko’s enclosure can impact their coloration. Leopard geckos require a specific temperature range and lighting cycle to maintain their health and vibrant colors. Inadequate heat or lighting can cause color loss or make their colors appear less vibrant. Ensure that you have the appropriate heat sources and lighting set up correctly in their enclosure.
  • Health issues: Color loss can sometimes be an indication of an underlying health problem. Certain illnesses, such as infections, nutritional deficiencies, or skin conditions, may affect a leopard gecko’s coloration. If you notice other accompanying signs of illness, such as appetite changes, weight loss, lethargy, or abnormal behavior, it is advisable to consult a reptile veterinarian for a proper examination and diagnosis.

It’s important to note that some leopard gecko morphs naturally have reduced or altered coloration compared to the wild-type leopard geckos.

Is My Pale Gecko Sick?

More often than not, your gecko who looks white or pale is not sick. They may act like this for a couple of days with sluggish behavior, hiding and not eating, but this won’t last longer than a couple of days or so.

Now, this issue could be worse than I thought. Let’s examine other reasons why a gecko would turn pale

Is My Gecko Turning White Because of the Temperature?

Your gecko could be cold and that is why the color is turning more white or pale. Make sure the enclosure is not under direct sunlight or hotter than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).

With too much heat and sunshine, your gecko’s skin could lose moisture and begin to look whiter. Also consider keeping humidity levels between 30-40%.

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Do Parasites Make Geckos White?

Sometimes. Parasites are hard to determine when they are internal. A fecal sample will be tested to find out if they are contained inside your unhealthy gecko.

It’s hard to identify this problem without a medical check. You will see some signs such as skin discoloration or abnormal poops.

Your gecko’s exotic vet will make the necessary treatment plan available to you to help relieve this condition before it worsens.

Do Geckos Turn Pale When Malnourished?

Yes. A gecko lacking proper nutrition may experience skin discoloration.

They need:

  • Moisture rich food
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Calcium
  • Insects that are not large
  • Varied diet
  • Higher quality food
  • Hepatic lipidosis prevention

A well balanced diet of higher quality foods will prevent hepatic lipidosis and other diseases. You can supplement calcium and other nutrients by dusting the insects you are feeding your gecko.

Opt for the better choices of food on sale at the exotic pet store and hopefully this will bring back some of beautiful colors we see in geckos.

Chronic Malnutrition Signs In Geckos

If your gecko has turned white or pale and they are not shedding, they could be sick. Malnutrition can turn chronic and cause discoloration. Check for:

  • Weight loss
  • No appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Mouth rot (stomatitis)

A visit to the vet will be required if your gecko after 2-3 days of these symptoms not going away and no signs of shedding are present.

Impacted Gecko Turning White

Unfortunately some of the foods we feed or overfeed can lead to impaction, digestive blockage or constipation. Your gecko could be pale from not being able to poop.

The foods must be smaller in size to prevent this. Impaction will cause stress, moodiness and may lead to pale discoloration or sunken eyes.

A warm bath, abdomen massages or a trip to the vet will help to get rid of impacted stool.

Why Is My Gecko Losing Color?

Color loss is normal for geckos who are about to shed. During this time, they may hide and not want to be touched, handled or fed.

Watch closely over the next few days to see how the skin soften and dries out. You don’t have to assist with shedding, but you can monitor the changes and notice if there are any spots that are stuck.

How Do You Know if a Gecko Is Unhealthy?

Seeing a pale or white gecko doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. They could just be shedding or preparing to enter the shedding phase once again.

This might be the first time you see it and wonder if your gecko is unwell.

Better yet, we have compiled a few telltale symptoms to look for instead of just seeing the pale discoloration.

Look for:

  • Breathing issues (respiratory infection)
  • Cloacal prolapse
  • Drooping limbs or head
  • Mouth stays open or gaping
  • Tail getting thinner
  • Lethargy and sluggishness
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

These signs indicate that something is wrong and could be hard to notice. Parasites or other medical problems will need a diagnosis. A vet can help your gecko to recover with medicine and treatment.

Do Geckos Turn White From Stress?

Yes. Geckos may lighten in color or turn pale when they are stressed or unhealthy. This could also occur during their first few weeks in a new home.

They are interacting in an environment with new bacteria. All the things we cannot see involving microparticles or the temperature could be affecting your gecko’s skin.

  • Make sure the enclosure is large enough
  • Add levels and sheltered spaces
  • Add more locations for food and water
  • Keep geckos of different sizes or ages separate

Stress can occur form

  • Overcrowding
  • Aggression/bullying
  • Loud sounds
  • Heavy foot traffic
  • Other pets
  • Bright lighting

Make a few changes and consider the location of this enclosure. You may help bring back the vibrancy in your gecko’s skin color with some minor improvements.

Leopard Gecko Pale but Not Shedding

A leopard gecko looks beautiful with spots on their body that are vibrant. Sometimes this color goes away or becomes dull.

The faded color is usually a sign that new skin has formed underneath and the old one on top needs to get pushed out.

Give it up to 3-4 days for this process to take effect. You may not notice any shedding for a couple of days and wonder if there is another issue.

If there is no weight loss, sunken eyes or abnormal poop, you can wait and see for now for this old, pale white skin to shed.

Leopard Gecko Turning White and Not Eating

It’s ok if your leopard gecko stops eating for a couple of days while they shed. They don’t like to do much at this time. It’s a normal part of their natural process.

Imagine a gecko that is shedding in the wild and still looking for food. They would be vulnerable and easy targets in their weakened state while old skin is causing them mobility problems.

Let them relax for now and be patient. The milky, gray, white or pale color will shed.

If your gecko is having trouble breathing or arrived from poor condition into a new home,. There could be underlying issues that need medical care.


While pale skin and discoloration should be watched closely, they often pose little danger. Shedding is a natural activity for geckos which is the primary cause of the color shift.

Examine your gecko’s behavior and surroundings for indications of potential stress causes if it is not shedding.

After making modifications, if lethargy and a lack of interest in feeding persist, a trip to an exotic vet is advised to rule out any ailments.


Thank you for visiting PocketPetCentral.com for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.