Dehydrated Crested Gecko: Signs, Treatment & Care

Water is an essential part of every living being’s life. It is as important for your gecko as it is for you. They can get dehydrated which could have many reasons and might prove to be dangerous if not dealt with on time.

In this article, we’ll explore the symptoms of dehydration in crested geckos, discuss various treatment options, and provide valuable tips for maintaining proper hydration to ensure your scaly friend stays healthy and content.

Why is My Crested Gecko Dehydrated?

Dehydration occurs among crested geckos when they start losing more fluids than absorbing them. This means they lack enough fluids to run their daily bodily functions. Therefore it is important to make up for the lost fluids to save the crested geckos from dehydration.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Crested Geckos

As a crested gecko owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs of dehydration in your pet. Early detection can make a significant difference in the health and well-being of your gecko.

Here are some common symptoms of dehydration in crested geckos:

1. Sunken eyes

One of the most apparent indicators of dehydration in crested geckos is sunken eyes. When properly hydrated, their eyes should appear full and round. However, if you notice their eyes appearing to sink into their sockets, this could be a sign of dehydration.

2. Wrinkled or loose skin

Healthy crested geckos have smooth and plump skin. If you gently pinch their skin and it doesn’t quickly return to its normal state, or if it appears wrinkled and loose, this could indicate dehydration.

As a gecko owner, I’ve found that checking the skin’s elasticity is a simple and effective way to monitor hydration levels.

3. Lethargy and weakness

Dehydrated crested geckos may exhibit lethargy and weakness. They might be less active than usual, have difficulty climbing or gripping surfaces, and may even appear to be struggling to move.

If your gecko is usually energetic and suddenly becomes sluggish, this could be a sign of dehydration.

4. Loss of appetite

A dehydrated crested gecko may lose interest in food. While it’s not uncommon for geckos to have fluctuations in their appetite, a persistent lack of interest in eating can indicate an underlying issue like dehydration.

As a gecko enthusiast, I always keep a close eye on my pets’ eating habits to ensure they’re staying healthy.

5. Sticky mucus in the mouth and nose

If you observe a thick, sticky mucus around your crested gecko’s mouth and nostrils, this could also be a sign of dehydration. Healthy geckos should have clear mucus, so any changes in consistency or color could indicate a problem.

Causes of Dehydration in Crested Geckos


1. Inadequate Humidity Levels

Crested geckos thrive in environments with moderate to high humidity (between 50-70%). If the humidity levels in their enclosure drop too low, it can lead to dehydration. To maintain the right humidity, use a hygrometer to monitor the levels and mist the enclosure daily or invest in an automatic misting system.

2. Insufficient Water Sources

Crested geckos need access to fresh water to stay hydrated. Not providing an easily accessible water source, such as a shallow water dish or a dripping system, can result in dehydration. Remember to clean and refill the water dish regularly to prevent bacterial growth.

3. Improper Diet

A balanced diet plays a vital role in keeping your crested gecko hydrated. Feeding them a high-quality, commercial crested gecko diet that includes essential nutrients and moisture can help prevent dehydration. Avoid feeding them exclusively on dry food, as this can contribute to dehydration.

4. Overheating

High temperatures can cause crested geckos to lose water more rapidly, leading to dehydration. Ensure that the temperature in their enclosure stays within the ideal range of 72-78°F during the day and doesn’t exceed 82°F. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust your heating source accordingly.

5. Illness

Sometimes, dehydration in crested geckos can be a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as parasites or kidney problems. If you suspect that your gecko is unwell, consult a reptile veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

6. Stress

Stressful situations can also contribute to dehydration in crested geckos. Factors like inadequate hiding spots, incorrect lighting, or too much handling can cause stress, which may lead to reduced water intake. Creating a comfortable and stress-free environment for your gecko is important for their overall health and hydration.

By being aware of these common causes of dehydration and taking the necessary steps to prevent them, you can ensure that your crested gecko remains healthy and well-hydrated. Regularly monitor their enclosure conditions and behavior to detect any signs of dehydration early, so you can address the issue promptly.

How to Rehydrate a Dehydrated Crested Gecko


There are a number of rehydration techniques that you can use depending on how severe you created gecko is dehydrated.

Have a look at this chart:

Level of dehydrationTreatment
MildCan be treated with daily misting
ModerateCan be treated with long soaks in water
SevereCan be treated via injections

Mild dehydration: This type of dehydration is treated with daily misting. You may soak your gecko in lukewarm water and provide an ample amount of drinking water to your gecko to encourage drinking.

Moderate dehydration: In this type of dehydration, usually long soaks and using a large number of extra fluids are recommended by the vet to maintain an appropriate amount of hydration in your crested geckos.

Severe dehydration: In this type of dehydration, the gecko may be too weak to intake fluids so the vet will try to give the fluids via injection to help the gecko recover quickly.

If you suspect your gecko is dehydrated, it’s crucial to act quickly to help them recover. Here, I’ll share some friendly advice on various rehydration techniques that I’ve found helpful for my own crested geckos.

1. Misting

Misting your gecko’s enclosure with water is an effective way to help them stay hydrated. Crested geckos love to lick water droplets from their surroundings, so be sure to mist their enclosure at least once a day.

I’ve found that using a spray bottle set to a fine mist works best. Aim for the walls, plants, and decor in the enclosure, and watch as your gecko happily laps up the water droplets.

2. Sauna

Creating a “sauna” for your crested gecko can also help with rehydration. To do this, place your gecko in a small, well-ventilated container with damp paper towels or a moist washcloth at the bottom. Keep the temperature around 75-80°F (24-27°C) and let them stay in the sauna for about 15-20 minutes.

This technique helps them absorb moisture through their skin while also giving them a chance to drink water droplets from the damp surface.

3. Fresh Fruit

Offering fresh fruit to your crested gecko can be a tasty way to help with hydration. Geckos enjoy fruits like mango, papaya, and banana. Mash or puree the fruit and offer it in a small dish. Not only do they get to enjoy a yummy treat, but they’ll also benefit from the extra water content in the fruit.

4. Electrolyte Boost

If your crested gecko is severely dehydrated, an electrolyte boost may be necessary. You can purchase reptile-specific electrolyte supplements from your local pet store or online. Simply follow the instructions on the packaging to mix the supplement with water, and then offer it to your gecko in a shallow dish. This can help replenish vital nutrients and improve their overall hydration.

In addition to these rehydration techniques, make sure to address the underlying causes of dehydration, such as improper humidity levels or inadequate water availability.

Make sure your gecko’s enclosure is maintained at the correct humidity levels (50-70% during the day and up to 80-90% at night) and that a clean water source is always available.

If you’ve tried these methods and your gecko is still showing signs of dehydration, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles. They can assess your gecko’s condition and provide additional treatments, if necessary.

Preventing Dehydration in Crested Geckos


Let’s discuss how to create an ideal environment and ensure your crested gecko stays hydrated.

1. Proper Enclosure Setup

A well-designed enclosure plays a crucial role in maintaining adequate humidity levels for your crested gecko. Start by choosing the appropriate substrate, such as coconut coir, sphagnum moss, or a mix of both. These substrates hold moisture well and help maintain the humidity levels within the enclosure.

Hiding spots are essential, as they provide a place for your gecko to feel secure and escape from excessive heat or light. Invest in some natural-looking hides, like cork bark or artificial plants, that mimic their natural habitat.

Regular misting is vital for maintaining the right humidity levels, usually between 60% and 80%. I typically mist my gecko’s enclosure twice a day, in the morning and evening, which helps create a more comfortable environment for them.

2. Monitoring Humidity and Temperature

To prevent dehydration, it’s important to monitor the humidity levels and temperature inside the enclosure. I recommend using a digital hygrometer and thermometer to ensure accuracy.

Keep the temperature between 72°F and 80°F during the day, with a slight drop to around 68°F to 75°F at night.

3. Providing a Clean and Accessible Water Source

In addition to misting, your crested gecko needs a clean and accessible water source. A shallow water dish is suitable, but you can also use a specialized reptile dripper or even a magnetic ledge with a built-in water dish.

I’ve found that my geckos enjoy drinking from droplets on leaves, so I provide a few artificial plants for this purpose. Remember to change the water daily to keep it fresh and clean.

4. Regular Health Check-ups and Monitoring

Lastly, keep an eye on your crested gecko’s overall health and watch for any signs of dehydration. Regularly inspect their skin, eyes, and feces for any abnormalities. If you suspect your gecko is dehydrated, consult a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take For A Gecko To Dehydrate?

The time it takes for a crested gecko to dehydrate can vary depending on several factors, including the environment, temperature, and humidity levels. In general, it could take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for a gecko to become severely dehydrated. Regularly monitoring your crested gecko’s environment and ensuring proper hydration can help prevent dehydration issues.

Do Crested Geckos Absorb Water Through Their Skin?

Crested geckos do not absorb water through their skin like amphibians. However, they do drink water droplets that form on their skin or enclosure surfaces after misting. Misting the enclosure at least once a day can help maintain adequate humidity levels and provide a water source for your gecko.

Can Crested Geckos Die From Dehydration?

Yes, dehydration can be fatal for crested geckos if left untreated. Severe dehydration can lead to organ failure and eventually death. It is crucial to monitor your gecko’s hydration and address any concerns immediately to ensure their health and well-being.

How do I know if my crested gecko is dehydrated?

Signs of dehydration in crested geckos include sunken eyes, wrinkled or loose skin, lethargy, and decreased appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to address the issue promptly and consult a reptile veterinarian if necessary.

How long can a crested gecko go without food and water?

Crested geckos can survive for a short period without food, possibly up to two weeks. However, they should not be deprived of water for more than a few days. Regularly providing food and fresh water is vital for maintaining your gecko’s health.

Why is my crested gecko drinking so much water?

If your crested gecko is drinking more water than usual, it could be due to several reasons, including dehydration, high temperatures, or low humidity levels in the enclosure. Make sure to monitor the environmental conditions and adjust them as needed. If excessive drinking continues or you notice other concerning symptoms, consult a reptile veterinarian for guidance.


Maintaining proper hydration is essential for crested geckos to thrive. As a fellow crested gecko enthusiast, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding the signs of dehydration, implementing preventive measures, and knowing how to treat dehydration if it occurs.

Prevention, however, is always better than cure. By ensuring a suitable environment, providing a consistent water source, and regularly monitoring humidity levels, you can minimize the risk of dehydration for your crested gecko.

Remember that early intervention is key to avoiding serious health issues. As a responsible crested gecko owner, your diligent care and attention can significantly impact your pet’s quality of life. Stay observant, be proactive, and continue learning about the best practices in crested gecko care. Your efforts will not only benefit your beloved pet but also contribute to the broader community of reptile enthusiasts by sharing your knowledge and experience.

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