How to Tell if Your Crested Gecko is Underweight or Skinny

An underweight crested gecko can have a slim body and legs, visible ribs and hip bones, no rounding of the belly, and loss of appetite.

There are many possible causes for this condition, such as dehydration, parasites, incorrect temperatures, stress, impaction, or poor diet.

In this post, we will discuss how to tell if your crested gecko is underweight, what are the common causes and solutions, and how to help your crested gecko gain weight and stay healthy.

What’s the Healthy Weight Range?

Just like us humans, there’s a weight range that’s considered healthy for crested geckos. Generally speaking, adult crested geckos should weigh between 35 to 50 grams (1.20-1.76 ounces).

1 to 4 months2 to 5 grams (0.07-0.18 ounces)
5 to 9 months7 to 17 grams (0.25-0.60 ounces)
10 to 15 months21 to 33 grams (0.74-1.16 ounces)
16 to 24 months34 to 50 grams (1.20-1.76 ounces)

Remember, these are guidelines, not strict rules. Some healthy geckos might weigh a bit less or more, and that’s perfectly okay.

Factors Affecting a Gecko’s Weight

There are several factors that can affect your crested gecko’s weight. Here are a few key ones:

  1. Age: Younger geckos are naturally lighter as they are still growing. Their weight will increase as they age and reach their full size.
  2. Size: Larger geckos will naturally weigh more than their smaller counterparts. So, don’t be too alarmed if your big buddy is on the heavier side of the scale.
  3. Gender: Typically, male crested geckos are a bit heavier than females, but this isn’t always the case.

Signs Your Crested Gecko Might Be Underweight

An underweight crested gecko will exhibit a slender physique, with thin body and legs. In such cases, the ribs and hip bones tend to become more prominent, lacking the usual rounding of the belly.

Physical Signs of an Underweight Crested Gecko

1: Visible Spine: One of the most telltale signs that your crested gecko might be underweight is a visible spine or hip bones. Under healthy conditions, your gecko’s spine and hips should be covered with a healthy layer of fat. However, if these bones become visible or protrude, it might be an indication that your pet is not getting enough nutrition.

2: Lack of Fat Pads: Another sign to look for is the lack of fat pads. In healthy geckos, you’ll notice plump fat pads around their necks and tails. These fat reserves should give your gecko a robust and well-rounded appearance. However, if these areas start to look thin or sunken, your gecko may be underweight.

The following image illustrates the difference between a healthy crested gecko and an underweight one:


Behavioral Signs of an Underweight Crested Gecko

1: Lack of Appetite: Physical signs are not the only indicators of an underweight gecko; certain behaviors can also point towards potential health issues. One such sign is a lack of appetite. If your typically food-loving gecko is leaving its meal untouched or is eating less than usual, it could indicate a problem.

2: Lethargy: Another behavioral sign to look out for is lethargy. Crested geckos are normally quite active, especially during the night. However, if your gecko is spending most of its time hiding or sleeping and showing less interest in exploring its environment, it could be a sign that your pet is underweight or unwell.

Remember, every crested gecko is unique and may not exhibit all these signs. However, if you notice any of these changes, it’s important to take action right away to ensure your pet’s health.

It’s always a good idea to engage with fellow gecko owners or consult a vet if you’re unsure about your pet’s weight. Remember, we’re all in this together, learning and sharing our love for these fascinating creatures!

Reasons Why Your Crested Gecko is Underweight

I understand how concerning it can be to see your crested gecko underweight or skinny. But with a keen eye and a bit of knowledge, we can identify the possible reasons for their weight loss and take appropriate steps to ensure they remain healthy and happy.

Here are some common reasons why your crested gecko might be underweight.

1. Illness

Just like us, our little gecko friends can fall sick, which can lead to weight loss. Parasites, infections, or other medical conditions can suppress their appetite, and, therefore, they might not be eating enough.

If you suspect your gecko is ill, it’s crucial to consult with a vet who specializes in reptiles. I remember when my own gecko, Ziggy, seemed less lively and started losing weight. A quick visit to the vet revealed he had a minor infection which was promptly treated.

2. Stress

Stress can be a sneaky factor contributing to your crested gecko’s weight loss. Changes in their environment, such as a new enclosure, a recent move, or even the presence of other pets, can make your gecko feel stressed.

3. Improper Diet

Crested geckos need a balanced diet to maintain their weight. If they’re not getting the right nutrients, they might lose weight over time. Geckos need a mix of fruits, insects, and commercial crested gecko food.

Remember that time when I thought Ziggy would appreciate a change and I switched his diet a bit too drastically? Well, he didn’t take it well, and I quickly learned that any diet changes should be made gradually.

4. Wrong Temperature 

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.

5. Low Humidity

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%.

6. 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.

7. Shedding

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.

8. Breeding

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.

9. Fussy Eaters

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.

10. Parasites

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.

11. Impaction

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.

12. Other Causes

Sometimes, the cause of weight loss might not be immediately apparent. Factors like age, breeding season, or even genetics can play a part. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your gecko’s weight and consult a vet if you’re unsure about any changes.

How to Help Your Crested Gecko Gain Weight

With a little bit of knowledge and some practical steps, you can help your crested gecko gain weight and return to its happy, healthy self. So, let’s get to it!

1. Understanding Your Gecko’s Diet:

Crested geckos are omnivorous creatures, enjoying both insects and fruit in their diet. If your gecko is underweight, it might be time to reassess their food intake. Ensure you’re providing them with a balanced diet of commercial crested gecko food, supplemented with nutritious treats like calcium-dusted crickets and fruit purees.Personal Tip: I’ve noticed my own geckos relish the occasional treat of mashed bananas and peaches, which are not only delicious for them but also packed with beneficial nutrients.

2. Increasing Feeding Frequency

If your gecko is underweight, consider increasing the frequency of feeding. While adult geckos typically eat every other day, an underweight gecko may benefit from daily feedings. Just remember, overfeeding can lead to other health issues, so balance is key.

3. Food Presentation

Sometimes, it’s not what you’re offering but how you’re offering it. Crested geckos often prefer their food at a certain height. Try placing the food dish in different locations within the enclosure to find your gecko’s preferred dining spot.

Hand Feeding

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.

Syringe Feeding

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.

One of my geckos, Spike, would only start eating properly when I placed his food dish higher up in his terrarium – turns out he liked a dining spot with a view!

4. Regular Health Checks

Regular weigh-ins can help you monitor your gecko’s progress. Using a digital gram scale, you can keep track of any weight gain or loss. If your gecko continues to lose weight despite your efforts, it’s time to consult a vet.

5. Provide a Stress-Free Environment

Stress can affect your gecko’s appetite. Ensure their enclosure has plenty of hiding spots and foliage for cover. Maintain a consistent light and temperature schedule, mimicking their natural habitat’s day-night cycle.

6. Fruit puree

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.

7. Misting: 

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.

8. 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.

Common Concerns & FAQs

  • Q: How much should my crested gecko eat? A: This varies based on their age and size, but generally, they should eat enough to maintain a healthy weight without becoming overweight.
  • Q: My crested gecko isn’t interested in the food I’m offering. What should I do? A: Try offering a variety of foods. If they continue to refuse food, consult with a vet. It could be a sign of illness.

When to Seek Professional Help

First off, it’s vital to keep a keen eye on your gecko’s behavior and physical condition. If your crested gecko continues to lose weight despite your best efforts to provide a nutritious diet and proper care, it’s a telltale sign you should consult a vet or a professional herpetologist.

Also, look out for signs of lethargy, lack of appetite, or changes in droppings. These symptoms often accompany weight loss and can indicate an underlying health problem that needs attention.

Remember, these creatures are excellent at hiding their discomfort due to their natural instinct to appear healthy in the wild, despite being unwell. So, any noticeable change should not be taken lightly!

Now, let’s talk about what to expect during a vet visit. The veterinarian may conduct a thorough physical examination of your gecko and ask you about its diet, living conditions, and behaviors. They might take fecal samples for testing, check for parasites, or even conduct imaging tests like X-rays to rule out any internal issues.

Rest assured, these examinations are performed with utmost care and professionalism to ensure your crested gecko’s comfort.

Based on these tests and observations, the vet may recommend specific treatments, which could range from dietary changes, parasite treatments, or, in rare cases, surgery. It might seem overwhelming, but remember, these recommendations are for the well-being of your pet.


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.

Filled under: Lizards

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