Fat Leopard Geckos

Leopard gecko armpit bubble
An armpit bubble on a leopard gecko being held in a woman's hand. Adrienne Kruzer

How can you tell if your leopard gecko is fat? It is often hard to tell if your pet is overweight but there are a few indicators to help you know how much food is too much food. One common and obvious indicator of a fat leopard gecko are armpit bubbles. You may have noticed these little bubbles that seem to pop up overnight or just be behind one leg and they can be very concerning if you don't know what they are.

What Is In a Leopard Gecko Armpit Bubble?

Depending on what your leopard gecko is storing in excess, these bubbles can contain fat, vitamins, protein, or calcium and other minerals (things that you use to gut load insects). If you suspect your gecko is a little overweight or gets a lot of calcium, he or she could form these bubbles. Therefore, a fat leopard gecko will most likely have armpit bubbles filled with fat. But fat leopard geckos aren't the only geckos that develop these bubbles. 

These bubbles make it look like your gecko has small air sacs or blisters in his armpits. Both male and female geckos get them.

Should You Be Worried If Your Leopard Gecko Develops Bubbles?

These bubbles will not hurt your leopard gecko nor should you be concerned about them. They are not painful, uncomfortable, or cause any sort of problem for your leopard gecko. They also will not pop (nor should you try to pop them) like a blister.

They are a completely normal thing for some leopard geckos to have and are simply an indicator that your gecko is storing something. Some breeders feel that these bubbles are a sign of good health and are always calcium storage but it is still debated as many owners notice that these bubbles disappear with weight loss.

Will Leopard Gecko Bubbles Go Away?

The armpit bubbles on a leopard gecko may come and go. Sometimes they pop up overnight and then are gone after a day or two while other times they stick around for weeks or even longer. Sometimes they may seem larger than other times or one may stay while the other one disappears from the other armpit. A fat leopard gecko may hang on to these bubbles longer if the bubbles are filled with fat but there is really no way for you to know what these bubbles are storing unless they are sampled by your exotics vet and sent to a lab for analysis.

If these bubbles disappear they may or may not come back. If your gecko does not have an excess of anything then they will have no reason to store something in their armpits. Malnourished and underweight geckos will not have these bubbles since they are most likely lacking in all the things that these bubbles would contain. Blood work can be performed to monitor calcium levels if you are concerned you are not giving enough or too much of the mineral but as aforementioned, some people believe these bubbles are a good sign that you are providing adequate calcium in the diet.

If you suspect what you see on your gecko is not normal or are not these bubbles of storage then do not hesitate to make an appointment with your exotics vet.

Leopard geckos can get abscesses that look similar to these bubbles from mealworm and cricket bites, thermal burns from being too close to their heat lights, from sitting too long on a hot rock, and other sources. In addition, if your gecko ever stops eating for longer than a week, hasn't defecated for awhile, or overall seems lethargic, make an appointment with your vet to get your gecko checked out. 

Other Indicators That Your Leopard Gecko is Fat

A leopard gecko also stores fat in their tails. The tail should be nice and thick but not wider than their head. Their legs shouldn't turn into little sausages nor their belly be too round. It may be hard to tell if your leopard gecko is overweight therefore many owners monitor their gecko's weight. A gram scale can help you record weekly weights and that way you can notice an upward trend if your gecko starts packing on the grams.