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Crested Gecko Dying Signs – 08 Signs My Crested Gecko Is Dying

I’m glad you’re here. Crested Gecko Dying Signs is one of the most informative care guides you can find. That will make you become a better pet owner.

Having a pet is like having a kid. It means responsibilities. When you notice that your kid is sick, you’ll do everything you can to help him. It’s that simple. But it’s a different story with reptile lizards, especially when you can’t tell when the lizard is sick.

On that note, this article aims to address the confusion of telling when a crested gecko is sick. Most crested gecko owners have this challenge because some sick symptoms are not readily visible like others.

Hence, some keepers have lost their pets because they either didn’t notice the symptoms to give treatments on time or they gave the wrong treatment or both.

To be a good keeper, you must know when your crested gecko is sick, even at the early stages. You must know what each symptom means and what causes them, and you must know what to do to help the lizard before going to see a vet.

These may sound like lots of work but nothing to worry about. This article will help you get every useful tip you need.

In the end, you’ll be able to optimize your care and live happily ever after with your loveable pet.  Let’s delve into the topic in detail.

This article has been reviewed by Dr. Gospel. Read more about our knowledge control process here.

8 Crested Gecko Dying Signs

8 Crested Gecko Dying Signs
8 Crested Gecko Dying Signs

There is a clear difference between ‘my crested gecko is sick’ and ‘my crested gecko is dying’. Signs that your pet crested gecko is dying include:

  • Loss of appetite for a long time.
  • Excessive basking or staying in the cold end all the time.
  • Weak jawbones and swollen limbs.
  • Lethargy (unresponsiveness to stimulus when the lizard isn’t brumating).
  • Excessive weight loss.
  • Droopy and sunken eyes.
  • Not pooping or bloody poops and diarrhea.
  • Shallow/faint breathing.

When you see any of these abnormal behaviors in your pet crested gecko, you should know that something is wrong with Its habitat.

When you feel cold on a snowy afternoon, you put on thick clothes or turn on the heater to warm up.

Similarly, if your pet crested gecko is refusing to eat, has sunken eyes, is unable to walk or breathe, and basking all the time, it is because something is wrong with its diet, substrates, temperature, and humidity levels.

What this tells you is that you need to evaluate your husbandry to know where your fault is and correct it before it gets worse. Unfortunately, most of these symptoms do not show up early which is why some keepers lose their pets before they get to see a vet.

Ideally, you should have a habit of regularly examining your lizard to keep tabs on its health than to be sorry. To keep proper records, you must first know what to look for.

The next sections focus on crested gecko dying signs, causes, and what you should do to save your lizard’s life.

How To Tell If Your Crested Gecko Is Sick?

It’s simple to tell if your crested gecko is sick if you know what to expect from a healthy lizard.

A healthy crested gecko will always be active and alert, clean, and stocky (that is, heavily built). But when your lizard is behaving lethargic, not eating and pooping, having trouble walking and breathing, then it is sick.

Any other behavior that falls out of normal behaviors is an indication that your crested gecko is sick and maybe dying. A regular examination will help you to figure out when something is wrong in time. Three of such hints are loss of appetite, inactivity, and weight loss.

10 Signs Of A Sick Crested Gecko

Signs Of A Sick Crested Gecko
Signs Of A Sick Crested Gecko

Before going into details, it’s important to note that most of the symptoms mentioned above can be a sign of more than one illness or disease in crested geckos.

For instance, loss of appetite is often the first way your lizard will respond to any fault in its habitat. What this means is that most times you may think that your pet is suffering from a particular disease, whereas it is suffering from another kind of disease.

Misdiagnosis and wrong treatment in reptiles is a mistake you should try to avoid. This can cause the death of the animal. To avoid it you must always consult your vet before giving treatments for symptoms you aren’t clear of the cause.

Loss Of Appetite For A Long Time

Is your crested gecko leaving some food after each meal, not eating at all, or not even responding to an insect you drop in its cage? All these signs mean that something is wrong with your pet lizard.

A healthy lizard is a happy lizard. An unhealthy lizard is not just unhappy but will lose appetite for food. Loss of appetite is one of the first signs that something is wrong with your pet crested gecko.

It can be infectious diseases, wrong temperature, and humidity, or an open wound. Loss of appetite in pet crested gecko should not be taken lightly. 

The root cause should be addressed immediately to prevent death.

Excessive Basking Or Stays In The Cold End All The Time

Crested geckos are ectothermic. This means that they rely on their environment all the time to regulate their body temperature. They bask when they feel cold and hide when it is hot. These behaviors are normal.

However, when these behaviors are in excess, then something is wrong in the habitat. When your crested gecko basks all the time, it’s trying to tell you that the temperature in its cage is low while the humidity is high.

High humidity increases the amount of moisture in the cage. This will encourage bacteria that can cause respiratory infections to thrive.

Excessive basking can also be a sign of parasitic infestation where the lizard is trying to bask to get rid of the bugs.

On the other hand, if your lizard stays in the cold end or hides all the time, it’s an indication that the cage is too hot. Higher temperatures can cause belly burns and sometimes death.

Maintaining an ideal temperature of not higher than 80⁰ F and not lower than 72⁰ F is the rule of thumb.

Weak Jawbones And Swollen Limbs

Every reptile lizard in captivity needs a balanced diet to be healthy. This means a diet with the right proportion of calcium, protein, vitamin D3, vitamin A, phosphorus, water, and other essential nutrients.

Each of these nutrients has a significant role to play in the health of the lizard. While some nutrients are needed in high amounts, some are better off without.

For strong bones and limbs, your crested gecko needs a sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D3 to absorb the calcium. This will enable it to move and be active.

Where your pet crested gecko is acting lethargic (that is appearing weak in the legs) with swollen limbs, it’s an indication that it is suffering from calcium or vitamin D3 deficiency. This condition is often a symptom of a disease called Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

If your care is optimal, your pet crested gecko will get its needed amount of calcium from its diet and vitamin D3 from either its foods or UVB lights. However, poor dieting will result in this condition.

Thus, if you suspect that your pet gecko is suffering from metabolic bone disease, supplement its diet with calcium and vitamin D3. Severe cases of metabolic bone disease that have affected the legs should be treated by an experienced vet.

To prevent your lizard from having metabolic bone disease, supplement its diet with calcium/vitamin D3 especially if you’re not sure of the quality of the food you’re feeding it, or the effectiveness of its UVB lights.

Lethargy (Unresponsiveness To Stimulus When The Lizard Isn’t Brumating)

During brumation in winter, your crested gecko will appear inactive just to conserve some energy and survive the season. In the wild, it is one of their natural survival instincts.

Thus, in captivity, they’ll do this as well. However, when your crested gecko is appearing lethargic when it isn’t yet winter, it means that something is wrong with its health.

A healthy crested gecko is always alert, has clear bright eyes, and is active. A healthy crested gecko will also enjoy basking, climbing, and moving around its enclosure.

On the contrary, a sick crested gecko will stay in one place for hours and will prefer to hide than to bask. They’ll also look pale and weak in the bones. Once you notice these lethargic behaviors, evaluate its cage temperature to be sure it isn’t below normal.

If your temperature and humidity level are normal, take it to see a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Excessive Weight Loss

Your crested gecko will lose weight if it hasn’t been eating for a long time or if it is dehydrated. As mentioned earlier, loss of appetite that will result in weight loss can be a sign of so many diseases.

Evaluating your husbandry coupled with a proper medical diagnosis will tell you what is wrong and what needs to be fixed.

Droopy And Sunken Eyes

Generally, healthy crested geckos have clear and bright-looking eyes. But their eyes will look sunken and droopy if they’re dehydrated or if they have not been eating.

Three ways that reptile lizards get water into their bodies are through the food they eat, the water they drink, and the skin when they’re soaked.

Hence, when you realize that your crested gecko is having sunken eyes because of dehydration, soak or mist it in warm water or you offer it more water to drink.

Sometimes, sunken eyes can be a sign of an infection. To be sure, we advise you to see your vet for proper diagnosis and advice on what to do.

Not Pooping (Impaction)

No poops in reptile lizards can be because of two factors. Either your lizard has not been eating or drinking enough water or is impacted. This is because a lizard that is eating well and on a regular basis is expected to poop.

However, if your lizard has been eating but is not passing out poops as expected, then it’s likely that your lizard is constipated. Dehydration can also cause impaction in captive geckos (lizards).

To correct this, you need to offer your lizard fresh clean water to drink and also soak it in warm water once a day to loosen the poops.

A situation where your crested gecko has not been eating for a while is an indication that it is sick. Loss of appetite for a long time will lead to no poops.

In this case, identify the cause for your lizard’s appetite loss and correct it. It can be a decrease in temperature, infection, or mouth rot.

Bloody Poops And Diarrhea

Every lizard droppings have two parts. One part is usually white and chalky and the other part is black, brown, or green and solid. The whitish part is the lizard’s uric waste while the brownish or black part is the lizard’s poop [Reference].

That said, if your lizard is having watery poops or blood in the poops, it’s an indication of intestinal parasite infection. Treatment of parasitic infestation is better done by a vet.

Thus, once you notice this symptom in your pet crested gecko, you must see your vet for proper medical diagnosis and treatment.

Shallow/Faint Breathing

Breathing difficulty is a sign of respiratory infection. Respiratory infection is a disease that affects the lungs usually caused by excessive moisture in the cage. When humidity is high, it creates room for bacteria and viruses to thrive.

These bacteria will in turn attack your lizard and give your lizard breathing difficulty. You may see your pet struggle to breathe or breathe with its mouth open (gasping).

Can You Treat A Sick Crested Gecko?

Yes, you can, if you know what sickness is affecting your lizard and why. Crested geckos like bearded dragons are hardy lizards. They rarely fall sick except there’s a fault in their husbandry.

Even when your gecko is sick before you make plans to see a vet you can give some treatments depending on the symptoms and the severity of the symptoms.

Below are some illnesses that you can treat and what to do:


If you’re sure it’s an impaction, give your lizard fresh and clean water to drink. Soak or mist it in warm water once a day for at least two weeks and observe the changes.

Loss Of Appetite And Lethargy

Poor temperature and humidity levels can cause these signs. To put your lizard again in the mood to eat, check your temperature and humidity levels using a thermometer and ensure that they are at the appropriate range.

In many cases, loss of appetite or lethargy isn’t because of wrong cage temperatures. To confirm if it’s because of an infection and what type of infection it is, consult your vet.

Weak Jawbones And Swollen Limbs Caused By Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

As explained in the sections above, weak bones and swollen limbs can be treated by supplementing their diet with calcium and vitamin D3.

Dust their feeder insects with the calcium supplement and also ensure that your UVB is working adequately to provide sufficient vitamin D3.

Respiratory And Skin Infection

Check for high humidity and correct it to the right percentage. Besides doing this, take your pet to see a vet for proper treatment of any type of infection.

Ill Symptoms That You Can Treat At Home

The sick symptoms you can treat at home include:

  • Sunken or droopy eyes. You treat this by hydrating your lizard.
  • Impaction or no poops.
  • Weak jawbones and swollen limbs. These are signs of the early stage of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Ensure you supplement its diet with calcium and vitamin D3.
  • Retained shed. This can be treated by hydrating and soaking your lizard in warm water.
  • Lethargy or inactiveness. Evaluate your temperature and raise it to normal.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss. Evaluate your husbandry to know why.

When Do You Need A Vet For Your Crested Gecko?

If at any point, you are confused about the meaning of the signs your crested gecko is exhibiting, then you need to see a vet before any treatment is given. Other than that, see a vet when your crested gecko has severe cases of any of the symptoms mentioned earlier.

Crested Gecko Sickness Symptoms That You Need A Vet

  • Loss of appetite for a long time.
  • Excessive basking or stays in the cold end all the time.
  • Weak jawbones and swollen limbs.
  • Lethargy (unresponsiveness to stimulus when the lizard isn’t brumating).
  • Excessive weight loss.
  • Droopy and sunken eyes.
  • Not pooping or bloody poops and diarrhea.
  • Shallow/faint breathing.

How To Help Prevent Sickness In Crested Gecko?

  • To prevent sickness in your crested gecko, the most important thing you must have in mind is proper husbandry. Husbandry that simulates the wild in temperature, humidity, diet, cage accessories, and many more.
  • Proper Nutrition: Give only quality foods to your crested gecko and ensure that you buy these foods from trusted sources. Also, give your lizard varieties to offer a balanced meal.
  • Maintain good hygiene at all times. This includes washing your hands before and after handling your pet.
  • Ensure that appropriate temperature and humidity levels are maintained in the cage. Have a thermometer to measure and keep records.
  • Weigh and record the weight of your crested gecko at least once a week.
  • Occasionally check to ensure that your heating, lighting, and UVB bulbs are working properly.
  • Do not overlook the importance of handling your pet. Handling creates a bond between you and your pet. It also helps your pet to feel safe around you. Hence, handle your pet from time to time.

Occasionally take it out of the cage and bond with it. This way, you can easily notice in time when something is wrong for proper actions to be taken.

  • Avoid making your lizard feel stressed in its habitat. Eradicate everything that can cause stress.

Wrapping Up

Crested geckos make good pets. Not only because of their looks and disposition but also because of their hardy nature. These lizards like with every other species of reptile lizards have a preferred optimum temperature range in which they thrive.

Besides temperature, these lizards get exposed to certain things in the wild such as basking in the sun at a certain temperature, burrowing and eating certain kinds of foods. This implies that, in captivity, all these conditions must be met for them to be healthy.

However, when one or more of these requirements aren’t met, the lizard is exposed and becomes vulnerable to sickness and attack. This is why your crested gecko becomes sick.

Moreover, if the symptoms aren’t seen and treated in time, your lizard may die before you know it.

This article seeks to help you improve as a caregiver. We hope that you have luck caring for your pet crested gecko.

Keep in mind that, a knowledgeable keeper coupled with optimal care makes a healthy crested gecko.

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