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Issue W/ Toe Shed

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  • Issue W/ Toe Shed

    Hey all, wondering if anyone's ever had a problem like this...

    I have a ~2-3 y/o male crestie who seems to have one very specific problem with his sheds. When I got him from the breeder he had a bit of his tail missing from a bad shed the breeder hadn't caught in time, but since he's been with me he's always shed completely clean without a fuss EXCEPT for these 1-2 very specific spots. He will, on occasion, wind up with tiny pieces of stuck shed exclusively on the ends of his innermost back toes - the sort of stubby ones on the very inside, if you know what I mean. The skin doesn't ever wrap around the toe, so I'm not worried about constriction or toe loss, it's more like a small flap on the bottom of the toe that's still attached at the very tip, but I still obviously need to get it off. The problem is, it does NOT come off easily. I'll soak some paper towels thoroughly in lukewarm water and put them in his kritter keeper and then leave him in there for a while, usually with the top covered in foil to get super high humidity. Typically 15-20 minutes of this. I'll then try to remove the bits of skin still stuck on the very ends of his toes, but they really don't like to come off, I feel like I have to pull very hard and I'm worried that I'm hurting him.

    He REALLY hates both the sauna and the removal process, and it's very hard for me too, my fine motor skills aren't that good and it's very hard to restrain a small squirmy lizard that can get a grip on anything, plus the toes are so little and tucked in they're hard to access to begin with. It's very stressful for both of us, he's normally a very chilled out laid back little guy but he gets quite distressed when I have to do this to him and I feel awful even though I know it needs doing. It doesn't happen every shed, but often enough to be an ongoing problem. At first I wondered if he just wasn't being careful about getting it all off, but given that it's very difficult for me to remove even with a good soak I'm starting to wonder if he just physically cannot always get it off for some reason. Is it even possible to have some kind of anatomic or other health issue that might trap the skin there?

    Typically I've had his humidity on a pretty solid cycle of 80-90% or higher at night and 50-60% during the day. I've experimented both with slightly higher humidity during the day (without the tank being wet, I haven't had to add more water or spray more just cover the top of the tank more) as well as keeping it closer to (but not below) 50% during the day and neither the slightly higher or lower humidity seems to effect how often this occurs or how difficult it is to handle when it occurs. He does have a piece of cork bark in his tank which is fairly rough, though I plan to get some more come my next local reptile expo at the beginning of September. As I said, the rest of him always sheds perfectly, no other issues at all with bits getting stuck, it's just those two stubby back toes.

    Has anyone had a problem like this before? Is there something else I can do to make it easier to remove those bits of stuck skin? If it keeps happening I might just take him in to the vet, at first I just kind of wrote it off as a fluke, but it's been happening consistently enough and long enough that it's really become an ongoing issue and it isn't doing either of us any good.
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