As an owner, it is your responsibility to keep your pet happy and healthy. There are some problems you should look out for, one of them being weight loss in crested geckos. You should be on the lookout for your geckos being overweight or underweight.
Babies and young geckos usually have skinnier structures than adults who are rather heavier in weight. Once you notice that your gecko is losing weight then you must try to rule out some of the possible causes such as stress, illness, a new environment, and many more.
This article will help you determine what causes weight loss in your crested geckos and how to help them get back to a healthy weight.
Signs of underweight crested gecko
Underweight crested geckos can be a great concern for the owners. Following are the symptoms you must look for in your geckos;
- Visible hip and rib bones
- Loss of appetite
- No belly fat
- Lack of calcium sacks
- Very thin limbs
Average weight of a healthy crested gecko
The average crested gecko has a healthy stocky build, especially in the neck. But if you have think that your crested gecko is underweight, check the weight of your crested gecko with this weight machine and compare it with the average weight of a healthy gecko.
Use the table below to measure the average weight of crested gecko by age:
|1 to 4 months||2 to 5 grams|
|5 to 9 months||7 to 17 grams|
|10 to 15 months||21 to 33 grams|
|16 to 24 months||34 to 50 grams|
If your crested gecko is a baby and juvenile, then these geckos might appear thinner with their ribs more visible than adults. This is normal. Read more on crested gecko care.
Tracking your crested gecko’s weight
If you are worried about your crested gecko being underweight, then it is recommended to track your gecko’s weight. This can be done by recording the weight every month in a diary.
You can try the following tips:
- For sick and newly born geckos, weigh them once a week.
- Try to weigh your gecko before feeding them.
- Use a digital scale that weighs .10 grams. Try to set them as accurately as possible because hatchlings only weigh 1.5 grams.
With a digital scale, food dishes can also be weighed at night and in the morning to check if your gecko has eaten from the dish or not.
You can use this kitchen scale to accurately keep track of your crested geckos weight in grams.
What causes a crested gecko to be underweight?
The main cause of underweighted geckos is pretty obvious that they are not consuming food the way they should. But what are the reasons that they are not eating properly?
Have a look at the following points:
Stress of the new environment:
If your crested gecko is new to the environment, then you may observe the first weeks to be very stressful for your gecko. The stress of a completely new and unfamiliar environment may result in them not eating. Their body will start looking skinny and underweight in just two weeks.
If the temperature in the tank is too high or too low then that can lead to your gecko not eating and result in an underweight crested gecko. In the winter seasons, reptiles slow down due to brumation which means they move and eat less.
If the temperature in the tank is below 70 degrees or above 87 degrees in Fahrenheit then it will result in your gecko’s weight loss. You can measure the temperature using this terrarium thermometer.
The stress levels of crested geckos increase when they become dehydrated which is why their appetite reduces or even gets eliminated. This lack of hydration makes it difficult for your pet to process proteins.
Lack of humidity can also cause food to dry out, making it difficult to eat or unappetizing for your gecko. You need to invest in a good quality digital hygrometer to monitor the humidity inside the enclosure and keep them at an optimum level, between 50% – 60%.
Wrong size of tank/enclosure:
Another factor that may affect the diet of your crested gecko is the wrong tank/enclosure size. If your gecko is too small and the tank is too large, it might be difficult for your crested geckos to find food and water easily. This will result in the weight loss of your gecko.
Read more on Crested gecko enclosures.
Poor quality of diet may also result in your pet being skinny. If the diet is not enriched in calcium, minerals, and vitamins then it may result in your crested gecko being underweight.
One of the most common causes of underweight crested geckos is stress. They are very fragile animals. If your gecko is stressed, either due to entering a new environment, bad temperature levels, or other reasons, it might start eating less. This loss of appetite can result in weight loss.
If you notice that your crested gecko is becoming skinny day by day, then it might be a sign of some kind of sickness. Sometimes your crested gecko may suffer from infections like metabolic bone disorder which can also result in a loss of appetite.
Shedding also plays an important role in your crested gecko’s diet. During shedding, your crested gecko might avoid food two to three days before or after shedding.
During the breeding period, the female geckos tend to avoid taking food right before laying the eggs. This can result in weight loss among female crested geckos.
Crested geckos that are fussy eaters only like to eat their favorite kinds of food and avoid others which is why they may result in becoming underweight.
Crested geckos can suffer from parasitic infections. Pinworms are parasites that are found in crested geckos and may cause slow growth in geckos. These parasites include smelly poop in crested geckos and can lead to weight loss.
This is a problem often experienced in reptiles. This is similar to constipation in humans and it occurs in your crested gecko when he accidentally eats some substrate that is too big or difficult to digest. This situation also causes weight loss in crested geckos.
How crested gecko may gain weight
To improve your gecko’s diet, some tips may help your crested gecko to gain weight:
If your gecko is too weak, you can start feeding them by placing a small amount of food on your finger. Be careful while feeding them as your gecko can be dependent upon you for feeding and refuse to eat on their own.
You can use a small syringe to give food to your gecko. You can mix any calcium supplement with water for your pet and fill it in the syringe. This should not be done with force. Try to put the syringe near your gecko’s mouth so that they can lick it.
You may offer some fruit puree to your gecko to improve their appetite. Papaya puree can be given to crested geckos. It may help them in gaining weight.
When you put food in the tank right after misting, then it might increase the hunger of crested geckos. Geckos are more eager to eat after misting.
Place more food bowls in your gecko’s tank. The more the food bowls, the easier for your gecko to eat in large quantities.
Keep optimum temperatures:
Try to maintain an optimum level of temperature in the tank if you want your crested gecko to grow fast and eat sufficiently. The temperature should be between 70-72 degrees. It should not exceed 85 degrees as this may be fatal for your crested gecko. To monitor tank temperatures with a probe you can use this digital thermometer.
Underweight crested geckos may be very stressful for any owner. If you want your crested gecko to grow faster and eat properly, make sure you are providing all the necessary things mentioned above to your gecko in the enclosure.
You should also carefully monitor the weight, diet, and optimum humidity and temperatures of the crested gecko enclosure. A good environment inside the enclosure and a healthy diet will lead your crested gecko to live a healthy and happy life.