Crested Gecko Shedding: Dos and Don’ts for Pet Owners

Shedding, also known as molting or ecdysis, is the process where the crested gecko periodically removes and replaces its outer layer of skin. Unlike humans, who continuously shed skin cells, crested geckos do this in one noticeable process. They outgrow their old skin, and it must be replaced. It is a natural process that every crested gecko undergoes regularly throughout its life.

How Do Crested Geckos Shed their Skin

Crested geckos prepare for shedding by allowing the outer layer of skin to detach. The color of the skin may appear dull, and the eyes may look cloudy. This is a definitive sign that shedding is imminent.

Their skin will start to peel, often beginning around the head and working down the body. This is a swift and uncompromising process.

Once the shedding is complete, the crested gecko’s colors will return to their vibrant state. Any remaining shed skin must be removed by the gecko or the owner.

How Often Do Crested Geckos Shed?

Crested geckos’ shedding frequency varies with age. Juvenile crested geckos will shed more often than fully grown geckos.

  • Juvenile Crested Geckos (under 1 year): Shedding occurs more frequently, typically every 1-2 weeks.
  • Adult Crested Geckos (1 year and older): The shedding rate decreases to approximately once a month.

The explanation for the difference in shedding frequency between juveniles and adults is clear-cut:

Juveniles shed more often due to their rapid growth. Shedding allows for expansion and development. Adults have more resilient skin, so they don’t need to shed as often.

When do Crested Geckos Start Shedding?

Crested geckos start to shed quite early in their life. They will shed for the first time within days to a week after hatching. This first shedding is absolutely essential, signaling the beginning of a life-long process that facilitates growth and allows the gecko to rid itself of old, dead skin.

The first shed can be both a fascinating and anxious time for new pet owners.

Crested Gecko Shedding Signs

1. Dull and Pale Skin Color

Crested geckos normally possess vibrant and distinctive colors. When shedding is imminent, their skin will turn noticeably duller. This change in coloration prepares the gecko’s skin for the shedding process and is a natural occurrence.

Action Required: None; this is a normal process. Monitor and let the gecko shed at its own pace.

2. Loss of Appetite

Geckos might eat less before shedding. This behavior is common and expected during shedding.

Action Required: Continue offering food, but do not be alarmed if the gecko eats less.

3. Increased Rubbing and Scratching

You will notice the gecko rubbing against objects more. This helps them loosen the old skin.

Action Required: Ensure there are safe objects in the cage for this purpose, like smooth rocks or branches.

4. Eyes Appear Cloudy

The eyes may look milky or cloudy before shedding. The eye caps are also shed, causing this appearance.

Action Required: None; this is a normal process.

What to Do When Your Crested Gecko is Shedding

Shedding is a natural process for crested geckos, and as a responsible pet owner, your role is pivotal. You must take firm action to ensure the well-being of your pet. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Prepare the Shedding Environment

  • Humidity Level: Maintain a humidity level between 70% and 80%. Anything less is unacceptable.
  • Provide a Humid Hide: Your crested gecko needs a hiding spot with high humidity. Make sure it’s there.
  • Temperature: Keep the temperature between 72°F and 80°F (22°C and 27°C). This is non-negotiable.

Here’s a table summarizing the optimal conditions:

ParameterIdeal Range
Humidity Level70% – 80%
Temperature72°F – 80°F (22°C – 27°C)

2. Monitor, Don’t Interfere

  • Watch Carefully: Monitor the shedding process, but do not intervene unless absolutely necessary.
  • No Peeling: Do not, under any circumstances, peel off the shedding skin yourself.
  • Understand the Process: Recognize that shedding may take several hours or even days. Patience is essential.

3. Provide Proper Nutrition

  • Calcium Supplements: Ensure your pet has access to calcium supplements during shedding.
  • Fresh Water: Fresh water must be readily available at all times.

4. Post-Shedding Care

  • Inspect for Incomplete Shedding: Check the toes, tail, and around the eyes. Any lingering skin must be dealt with promptly.
  • Bathing: A gentle bath might be necessary if there are any shedding issues.

How Long Does It Take a Crested Gecko to Shed?

The length of time it takes for a crested gecko to complete the shedding process varies, but there are specific facts and guidelines to bear in mind.

Most crested geckos will complete the shedding process within 24 to 48 hours.

The shedding process commences subtly, with the skin gradually loosening. Within 24 hours, the majority of the shed usually occurs, and by 48 hours, the process is typically complete.

A young, healthy gecko may shed quicker than an older or unhealthy one. Humidity can also affect how long a gecko takes to shed. If it’s too low, the shedding may take longer.

Common Crested Gecko Shedding Problems

Shedding can sometimes present challenges. Here, we have identified some common problems that you, as a responsible pet owner, must be aware of and act upon decisively.

1. Incomplete Shedding

Incomplete shedding refers to the failure of the skin to shed entirely, leaving behind patches. This problem can be caused by inadequate humidity, improper diet, or environmental stress.

Solution: Maintain a humidity level of 60-80%, provide calcium and vitamin D3 supplements, and ensure a comfortable and stress-free habitat.

Resolute action is required to prevent complications such as infections or even loss of limbs. Incomplete shedding is not a trivial issue and must be addressed promptly.

2. Shedding Too Frequently

Shedding more often than the normal rate of once a month in adults or more frequently in younger geckos. This could be due to overfeeding, inappropriate lighting, or underlying health issues.

Solution: Stick to a balanced diet, as prescribed by an expert, mimic natural lighting cycles, and consult a veterinarian if the problem persists.

Excessive shedding is an undeniable sign of a problem that commands immediate attention. Understanding the root causes and implementing the solutions above will undoubtedly rectify this issue.

3. Shedding Related Stress

Stress during the shedding period, caused by inadequate hiding spots, handling during shedding, or other environmental factors.

Solution: Provide privacy through adequate hiding spots, leave your gecko alone during shedding, and keep noise and disruptions to a minimum.

Stress during shedding is not a minor inconvenience but a serious welfare concern. It can lead to various health issues if left unchecked. Be assertive in implementing these solutions.

Crested Gecko Shedding FAQs

Why isn’t my crested gecko shedding?

Your crested gecko’s failure to shed isn’t something to take lightly; it could indicate underlying health problems. Ensure proper humidity, diet, and terrarium conditions are met, for these are imperative to the shedding process. Consult an experienced reptile veterinarian if you observe a consistent issue, as professional intervention may be necessary.

Can I pull off crested gecko’s shedded skin?

Let me be clear: do not pull off your crested gecko’s shedded skin. It may seem tempting, but it can cause harm and distress to the animal. If shedding is incomplete, increase the humidity in the enclosure or provide a moist hide. If problems persist, consult an expert—avoid taking matters into your own hands.

Do crested geckos eat their shed skin?

Yes, crested geckos do eat their shed skin, and it is an entirely natural process. They do so to reabsorb nutrients and eliminate evidence of shedding, which could attract predators in the wild. Understand that this behavior is normal and part of the gecko’s natural life cycle.

Do crested geckos eat while shedding?

Crested geckos may or may not eat while shedding. Some may continue to eat as normal, while others might reduce their intake. It’s essential to recognize that a temporary reduction in appetite during shedding is a normal behavior. Continue to offer food and monitor your gecko closely for any long-term changes in eating habits.

Do crested geckos’ eyes shed?

Indeed, crested geckos do shed their eye coverings. Unlike mammals, reptiles have a thin, transparent scale over their eyes. When crested geckos shed, this scale is also replaced. It’s a critical process for the animal, and something you, as a responsible pet owner, must understand and respect.

Do Crested Geckos Get Stressed Out When They Shed?

Absolutely, crested geckos can experience stress during shedding, but this should not be cause for undue concern. Proper humidity levels and adequate care can ease this process for your gecko. As a responsible pet owner, understanding the signs of stress and providing a suitable environment during this natural process is paramount.

Do Crested Geckos Shed Before Laying Eggs?

Yes, crested geckos may shed before laying eggs. Shedding is a natural process in the life cycle of a gecko and can happen at various stages, including before egg-laying. The alignment of shedding with egg-laying isn’t a rule but can occur, demonstrating the multifaceted biology of these fascinating creatures.

Do Crested Geckos Shed Their Eyes?

Crested geckos do shed the skin over their eyes. Unlike other reptiles, they lack eyelids, and this unique feature requires them to shed the skin covering their eyes. Observing this natural phenomenon underscores the importance of proper care and a well-maintained environment for the health and well-being of your crested gecko.

How to Get Stuck Shed Off a Crested Gecko?

Getting stuck shed off a crested gecko requires decisive and knowledgeable intervention. Provide a humid environment, utilize safe shedding aids designed for reptiles, and if needed, seek professional assistance. This is not merely a recommendation but a mandate for the welfare of your pet. Hands-on experience and proper equipment will ensure the comfort and health of your crested gecko during shedding.

Why is my crested gecko not shedding?

If your crested gecko is not shedding, there may be serious health concerns. Possible causes include inadequate humidity, nutritional deficiencies, or underlying illnesses. It’s not something to ignore; consult with a reptile veterinarian immediately.

Why is my crested gecko shedding so much?

Excessive shedding might indicate an issue with the gecko’s environment or health. Factors such as improper humidity, diet, or potential skin infections could be contributing. Seek professional guidance to rule out any underlying problems and ensure the well-being of your pet.

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