Day gecko with nose injury/issue

I have had my giant day gecko for a little less than 2 years with little issue. When she was a baby she did a have bad shed but it cleared up with some husbandry tweaks and she has been good until the last couple months. A spot on the front her nose started developing, sort of a dark weird looking scale. I thought no biggie give her a couple sheds should go back to normal. It started look more irritated and degraded a little, becoming a rather sore spot. I dabbed some silver cream on her nose a couple times but unfortunately she licks it right off. I gave it a couple more weeks and it started to look much better and showed signs of healing. Sadly checking on her today though it has suddenly gotten much worse again, with the soreness starting to spread even more. It looks like the scales on her lip/nose have degraded.

I don’t ever hesitate to take my animals to the vet but this particular animal I do worry about the additional effects it could have on her health. She is not handle-able and frantically runs away from human interaction most of the time. I have a had a few times where she has trusted me enough to sit on my hand but even the slightest movement unnerves her. The one time I thought she might need a small bit of help getting a piece of shed off her toes resulted in a full drop of her tail and some skin sloughed off because she shoved herself between two pieces of decor (and boy am I still kicking myself for this, though all I did was try to slowly get my hand close to her with some tongs, I didn’t even end up touching her).

So in short, I am looking for some advice. It really seems like her nose was healing but now I am wondering if she has some sort of infection going on, but I worry the stress of going to the vet and receiving treatment might actually stress her to the point of further harm. What should I do?

It’s understandable that day geckos aren’t handleable, so vet treatment would probably be out of the question. Just a quick question to anyone out there who has experience with this, how are day geckos sold, if they can’t really be handled(which I’m under the assumption that none can be handled without extensive taming) how are they put in containers to be sold? @mblaney might have some good advice, this sounds like it could be mouth rot, scale rot, or nose rubbing. What are your temps and humidity and is there enough cover in your enclosure that your gecko would feel safe or would there be something that would stress her out more than usual? Also some pictures might help to identify the problem.

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Along with everything @erie-herps has asked, do you have an open sided tank with a screen top?


My advice is most definitely to call your exotics vet and ask them for help. If they don’t understand that a day gecko can’t be handled, it could just be the receptionist’s ignorance, or it could be that the practice doesn’t have experience with day geckos. It is not worth the risk to take her into a dog/cat vet.

The rostral abrasions you describe sound pretty classic for self-inflicted trauma, usually because of some kind of stress caused by imperfect husbandry. Though a tumor, thermal burn from a heat source, wound, etc. are all possible causes, I am guessing they are less likely. I do not have the experience to address possible issues with husbandry and hopefully someone else can help with that aspect. Just generalizing, some common causes include too much foot traffic around an enclosure, too many animals in an enclosure, too small an enclosure, not enough hiding spots in the enclosure- things along those lines.

If consulting a vet (via phone- they may charge a consulting fee, be open to a Zoom visit, or something along those lines- it’s worth asking) isn’t an option, then give a super thorough description of your husbandry, so the day gecko keepers here can get a better picture of your situation. (Edit: it might be a good idea to give a thorough description here regardless of whether you see a vet or not. Exotics vets have to care for hundreds of species, so a given vet may or may not be super familiar with their care requirements- it’s not realistic to expect a reptile vet to know everything for every species. In contrast, hobbyists are often very familiar with the husbandry aspect.)

This is part of a generalized treatment protocol for the medical aspect of rostral abrasions (it won’t be effective at all if the underlying cause isn’t addressed), but I do not have the knowledgebase to know whether this would be helpful or too stressful.

  • clean wounds gently with dilute chlorhexidine (1 part chlorhexidine: 30 parts saline or tap water). This is more of a rinsing- scrubbing/debriding shouldn’t be done at home.
  • ensure nostrils are not blocked
  • apply topical antibiotics (1% silver sulfadiazine cream is fine)
  • in reptiles, topical treatments take a long time to be effective; I’d expect a need to repeat treatment (not sure if daily or twice daily would be best) for at least 3 weeks, probably much longer.

Definitely post pictures of the enclosure & the wound- severe ulcerations may require surgical debridement. It is not uncommon for bones to get exposed or infected with major nose rub. In that case, I am guessing that they would have you bring the gecko in, in a container with a window you can see into, then they might ‘gas it down’ (anesthetize it by pumping gas anesthetic and oxygen into a container so she can be examined and treated while unconscious. They might also be able to administer a long-acting, injectable medication- though this exists in mammals, I don’t know whether it’s safe to use in reptiles.


Here is a picture of the injury.

I did realize something (after reading @erie-herps post) that did change around the same time I started noticing her nose getting like this. I started temporarily placing baby snakes in tubs beside her enclosure. When those snakes were active I would every once in a while she would be very interested and would seemingly be trying to get to them through the glass. I didn’t think much of it at the time but as I am at work 8+ hours a day I am thinking she must be rubbing her nose due to that much more often than I was able to notice. I am going to move the snakes or completely block of her ability to see them asap just in case.

I don’t have a photo of the enclosure at this very moment but it’s a 18x18x24 bioactive exo terra. Hot spot is 95F and ambients range from 75-82. Humidity is 70-80% and has an automatic misting system. It’s furnished with wood/corkbark and snake plants/philodendron. There is slightly less cover than usual, one of my plants died and have had trouble getting one to replace it but that happened in the last 2 weeks. It may have contributed to the sudden worsening of her nose, but I am not sure.

I know my exotics vet is very competent, but I also know that they will not give any advice without an in person exam or do any sort of video conference. I am willing to take her, I just fear what is going to happen to her as she is just so skittish. I got her into a container once when she was still a baby but she has become a lot more unpredictable as she has grown.

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Aww poor little Geico gecko girl…hope she gets better.


It looks and sounds like it could be nose rubbing or striking at the glass, I’d block out three sides with cardboard and leave the front visible. Also I’d move the snakes or at least make them not visible (unless the gecko would be able to smell them).


I have blocked the two sides and the back has a foam background so only the front is visible. I’ll be watching closely to see if this changes anything. If she doesn’t improve I’ll see what my vet suggests.

Thank you all for the help and input, it’s always appreciated.


If you’re able, please keep us updated- it can help us all learn. :blush:


Sorry it’s been a while but I -think- her nose is getting better. I believe the rubbed area is scabbing over and beginning to heal. I’ve been dabbing silver cream when I have the opportunity onto her nose, but not too often since she licks it off. Here is a pic, let me know your thoughts.


In my opinion it looks a lot better, it does look like it’s starting to heal back and is more smooth versus rough. It looks like your little day gecko should be just fine :smiley:


I agree with @erie-herps- she looks to be going on the right track. :smiley: It appears to be granulating in nicely. Well done & keep us posted on her progress!


How is she doing? Let us now!

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I was actually just thinking about this thread again. Life has been pretty busy so it’s escaped my mind for a while.

It’s been… a rollercoaster. Her nose was almost completely healed and then she rubbed it to hell again. I have been trying to ensure there is absolutely nothing to stress her or to have her attention outside her enclosure. I have some sort of food whether it be pangaea or a few bugs daily to ensure it’s not her searching for food. After a couple months it was once again pretty much all healed, just would take many sheds for scales to grown back. Just the other night, she has messed up her nose more than ever before. Feeling pretty defeated. I am constantly checking temps and humidity in case that’s the issue. I’ve added a couple more plants for cover. I’m kind of at my wits end trying to figure out how to make her stop.

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What side is she rubbing on, if she’s rubbing on a covered side then you should contact a vet about the behavior rather than the physical damage. If she’s rubbing on the non-covered doors I would recommend covering those with one way tint.

Unfortunately I’m not sure which side she has been recently doing the rubbing on. She always seems to do it when I’m at work/out or asleep. Before when I did catch her months ago doing it, it was always the side where I had some baby snakes stacked beside her exo terra, but I have since moved those guys to the snake room (over 2 months ago) and all sides besides the front were covered with paper. Since I seem to have exhausted all options I am getting a vet appointment and trying to make a plan on how to get here there without her doing more self harm.

You could just put a large deli cup behind her and tap her with your finger or object (eg small paintbrush). Once she’s in the deli cup you could try transferring her to a larger container/enclosure and if possible not even have to take her out of it during the appointment.

If it happens just like that… I’ll be very ecstatic haha. She doesn’t trust me as much now since I’ve been tricking her into getting silver cream on her nose every once in a while and even more recently she hasn’t been falling for it. She typically disappears the moment my hand gets near her and she is very mistrusting of unfamiliar objects (delicups), but I will hope she will be cooperative. I expect though I will have a day gecko launching itself out of the enclosure to get as far away from me as possible.

You could try to train her, if there’s a certain food that she likes (eg bananas) then you could put some on your hand to teach her that your hand = food. Then you could try to pick her up and reward her. You could also try not giving her food one day and putting a bit of food on your finger and putting it where her dish is. Essentially try to get her used to you.

She was pretty okay with hands before, but she is an animal that just probably won’t ever completely trust people. I had her to the point where she would come out on my hand and eat off of it, but the slightest motion and she would disappear. It took about a year to get to that point. Even while licking food off my fingers she would do her warning chirps indicating she wasn’t entirely comfortable with the situation. She loves bugs I think most, but I know first hand it won’t get her to overcome any fear.

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