Why Is My Leopard Gecko Dragging His Back Legs?

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Does your leopard gecko have trouble raising its rear legs? A healthy leopard gecko should have complete use and functionality in all of their limbs, despite the fact that they have a variety of distinctive behaviors that may cause them to behave differently.

A leopard gecko’s hind legs may drag for a variety of reasons, from serious medical conditions that require prompt attention from a veterinarian, such impaction, constipation, or metabolic bone disease, to perfectly typical and healthy behaviors like scent marking.

Investigate potential causes for your leopard geckos’ peculiar behavior in order to determine whether you need to take action. Additionally, we offer a decision tree at the conclusion of this article to assist you in determining why your leo is dragging its back legs.


What Are The Common Reasons A Leopard Gecko Is Dragging Its Back Legs?

  • Scent-marking

Due to the territorial nature of male leopard geckos, your pet may simply be delineating its territory. Femoral pores, or glands that produce chemicals to leave smell marks on objects, are seen in male geckos.

Due to the fact that leopard geckos are very scent-focused creatures, it might also be employed to draw in females.

It should still be alarming, especially if it’s a persistent practice as your gecko would presumably rub its tummy on something rather than drag its rear legs.


  • Weak bones: MBD in Leopard Geckos

Secondary hyperparathyroidism caused by diet is the most prevalent metabolic bone disorder. A mouthful of an illness, for sure! Simply said, this illness happens when a reptile has insufficient calcium or vitamin D3.

We are all aware of the significance of calcium for bones. Calcium from the bones will seep into the leopard gecko blood when there is a calcium deficit. Loss of mobility in the back legs might be a symptom of the deformities and weakness that result from low calcium levels in the bones.

To increase your leo’s calcium intake, use calcium powder to your live feedings. There are numerous brands and varieties of calcium powders, some of which even have flavor options!

Only when sufficient levels of vitamin D3 are present will calcium be absorbed into the blood. Your lighting setup will be useful in this situation. For your gecko, make sure there is enough heat and UV exposure.

Because they are nocturnal, leopard geckos have reduced UV requirements and are less likely to experience a shortage of exposure. However, they may get secondary renal hyperparathyroidism, a metabolic bone disease that can be brought on by excessive UVB radiation.

To prevent this, make sure your UV lights are positioned properly and that your leopard gecko has lots of hides in the enclosure, like this one, so that it can control how much UV radiation it receives.


  • Impaction

The interior of your gecko can also be affected. When something becomes stuck in your pet’s digestive system, whether it’s food or something else, it’s known as an impaction.

In this instance, the digestive region may be affected.

Your gecko may experience pain during impaction, which could impair its ability to utilize its rear legs appropriately.

Constipation can also cause your gecko to lose its appetite and have trouble pooping, but even a constipated gecko shouldn’t be dragging its back legs.

A leo’s digestive tract swelling can exert pressure on these exposed spinal nerves, which can cause loss of function in limbs—typically the rear limbs.

You can examine your gecko physically to determine if impaction is the source of any problems with its hind legs. See if you can feel a noticeable lump or swelling by gently massaging the abdomen with your fingers slid under it.


  • Constipation: Slightly Different Than Impaction

In reptile husbandry manuals, the terms impaction and constipation are frequently used interchangeably. Although they have different underlying causes, the indications, symptoms, and treatments are generally the same.

Food passes through the digestive system very slowly, resulting in constipation, which produces hard, dry feces. An obstruction in the digestive tract itself may result from persistent constipation.

The same swelling that impaction has an effect on the spinal nerves can result from constipation, which will make your leopard gecko drag its hind legs.

Dehydration, an overly cool enclosure, or internal parasites are some of the causes of constipation in leopard geckos.


  • Injury

Additionally, there’s a chance that your pet’s back or legs have been hurt. Like humans, geckos occasionally hurt themselves. They might explore their enclosures a little too much. It might have stumbled while attempting to crawl under a ledge or perhaps it fell from a great height. The most likely reason for the loss of function in the back legs would be if a spinal injury somehow occurred close to them.


  • Leopard Gecko Slowing Down With Age

Animals kept in captivity typically live longer than their counterparts in the wild.

This is because they can receive excellent husbandry when cared for by people, which results in significantly less natural stress and pressure than would otherwise be present in their surroundings.

Leopard geckos and other captive reptiles may experience age-related problems as a result of their prolonged lifespans.


What To Do If My Gecko Drags Its Legs?

Whether you see your leopard gecko dragging its feet, keep an eye on it to determine if it happens frequently. Check for symptoms of constipation, impaction, injuries, or metabolic bone disease if it is regular but your Leo is still a small child.

Additional symptoms like swelling, bleeding, or malformed jaws are a constant symptom of these disorders.

However, it’s a good idea to take your pet to the vet whether or not you find anything. After all, they are more qualified to determine what is wrong and determine how serious the situation is.


What Are Some Preventive Measures That You Can Do?

  • Proper diet

The health and happiness of your pet leopard gecko can be significantly impacted by providing a nutritious diet. Even though it won’t always stop accidents from happening, it can reduce the likelihood of common health problems including MBD and impaction.

Lack of calcium and vitamin D3 is the most typical cause of MBD. However, it can also result from a calcium/phosphorus ratio that is out of balance or even from taking too many supplements (though this is less common).

Make certain that your gecko eats a variety of insects. A decent basic food for your pet includes crickets, dubia roaches, and mealworms, but adding superworms and hornworms also offers variety.


  • Proper enclosure

A suitable enclosure is essential for reducing the dangers of accidents and other health problems. For the welfare of leopard geckos, a suitable habitat must include furniture like caves, rocks, and wood.

Due to the physical and mental benefits, your pet should have access to climbing and hiding places. But it’s also important to make sure your pet won’t get hurt.

Heavy objects should not be placed where your pet could try to hide under them (often driftwood), as the weight could crush an exploratory gecko. Cork chunks are a lighter and less destructive alternative.

Additionally, furniture placement should prevent your gecko from jumping from a large height. Although they enjoy climbing, leopard geckos aren’t very good at it, so take care in arranging logs, pebbles, etc.

The right temperatures are also essential for your gecko’s health since they enable your pet to properly digest food and carry out other essential tasks.

It is sufficient to use a heat lamp or heat pad connected to a thermostat (around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for a leopard gecko).


  • Proper handling

With proper handling, there is less chance that your gecko may hurt itself. Your gecko may become anxious from improper care and become hostile toward everyone who comes in contact with it.

Having your gecko crawl up on your hand freely is the greatest method to pick it up. Make sure your pet is used to being handled; it can take your leopard gecko days or even weeks to tolerate you.

Make sure to hold the animal’s body; if necessary, use both hands. While being handled, your gecko could want to move around. If this happens, put your other hand in front of it and repeat as necessary to create a “hand treadmill.”

If you must, sit on the floor or at a table, keeping your hands just a few inches away from the surface; if your gecko falls, the likelihood that it will sustain major damage is decreased.

DO NOT ever handle or grab your gecko by the tail. If they are seized, leopard geckos will let go of their tails as a kind of protection.



While occasional leg dragging in leopard geckos may simply be due to scent spreading, persistently repeating this behavior can indicate a variety of health issues. In order to be safe, take care of this problem as soon as you see it!

Martin Rodriguez

Martin Rodriguez

Leopard Geckos are awesome!

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