Coughing or gagging?


New Member
My baby Milo has seemed to be having this issue since I got him 10 days ago. He's been doing what I guess is coughing or gagging, and he makes a bit of a squeak when he does. Then after doing it a few times, he shakes his head so violently, he nearly knocks himself over. Is there any reason why he's doing this? Is there anything I can do to help him?
When a leopard gecko is surprised or startled they will sometimes make a high pitched squealing sound. They do this to startle you long enough that they have time to escape. This is most common with younger leopard geckos but can happen occasionally with adult geckos too. Many owners claim that squirting a leopard gecko with a misting bottle will sometimes make them squeal.

retrieved from Leopard Gecko Behavior & Body Language


New Member
I know what the OP is referring to. It's not the squeeling of being startled. I have one gecko that has always occasionally done this but I'm not sure what it is. He is a big, healthy boy so I haven't been too worried about it.


New Member
Unforfunately, I am familiar both with "normal squeaking/barking" and the unfortunate "possible other".... My first geckos were ill and had constant upset stomachs from their parasites (inside them). Most common after eating, they would come out of hiding, repeated open their mouth and shake their head several times, and attempt to vomit. This would result in some squeaking/barking while they tried to vomit. Sometimes they vomited, sometimes they didn't.

also, there is a cute little situation that isn't so often...occasionally they will get water or dust in their nostrils and they will sneeze/squeal/shake-head until their nostrils are clear.


Please fill out the "healthcare questionaire" available in this folder of the forum. (ESPECIALLY where you got your gecko, because chainstores are notorious for not quarantining sick leos and alot more leos get sick). If there is a problem with your habitat, answering the questions will help find the problem. If you don't have a "gram scale", please try to post a picture so we can see your leo's general weight & tail-size.


you should take him to a vet to check him over incase it serious.
gagging could be due to something lodged. one of mine has done the gag and head shake as they are trying to regurgitate undigested food.
i severe parasite burden could also cause something like that too


New Member
Thanks for your advice, guys. He hasn't done it since I posted this, so I'm going to wait until it happens again before I call a vet. I have to find one that deals with reptiles first though. :(

I filled out the questionnaire form.


About your leo:
- Sex - Unknown
- Age & Weight - Unknown (picture provided above)
- How long have you owned your leo - Bought him on 1/20/14
- Where was he/she obtained (ex. Pet store, breeder, wild caught, friend) - Pet store

A) Health/History
- How often do you handle your leo - Usually once a day, sometimes more. He likes to nap on me and wander around (only on my bed and with supervision at all times)
- Is your leo acting any different today? If so how does he/she normally act which differs from now. - No, only occasional gagging/coughing/squealing and shaking his head around.
- Has he/she had any problems in the past, if so please describe. - Only had him for a short while, so I'm not sure.
B) Fecals
- Describe (look any different than normal) - They look normal
- When was the last time he/she went - Earlier today before he took a nap with me.
C) Problem
- Please briefly describe the problem and how long it has been going on - It's only happened a total of two or three times since I've had him. He shakes his head violently enough to cause him to lose his balance, and he makes a squeaking noise and looks like he's trying to cough.

A) Enclosure
- Size - 5 gallons, until he gets bigger (make it easier for him to hunt). I have a 10 gallon set aside for him, and I plan on getting a 20L gallon once my room is renovated :)
- Type (ex. glass tank) - Glass tank
- Type of substrate - Newspaper
- Hides, how many, what kind - Three. Two toilet paper rolls and the cup he came in (moist hide) with a cut out to go in and out through
B) Heating
- Heat source - Heat mat and heat lamp
- Cage temps (hot side, cool side) - 85 F on the hot side, and 70 on the cool side
- Method of regulating heat source - I monitor it to make sure it doesn't get too high or too low
- What are you using to measure your temps - Digital thermometer
- Do you have any lights (describe) - Black light heat lamp
C) Cage mates
- How many (males, females) - None
- Describe health, or previous problems

Describe Diet:
A) Typical diet
- What you're feeding (how often, how much) - Two crickets once a day
- How are you feeding (hand fed, left in dish, ect) - I put one cricket in the tank at a time and let him hunt them down
B) Supplements (describe how often)
- What vitamin/minerals are you using (list brands) - Not sure, the crickets came with some sort of food in their box
- What are you gut loading food with - Whatever food was in the box.

I do plan on getting those orange cube things from the pet store when I go back sometime this weekend to get him more crickets. The box is a pain, so I'm going to not get the box this time and put them in a kritter keeper instead, and I'll get the orange cubes.

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