When you own a crested gecko, you want to ensure your pet is healthy and happy. Underweight crested geckos are a concern. Maybe you're concerned your gecko is over or underweight.
Babies and younger geckos tend to be on the thinner side, sometimes you can see their ribs more than when they are adults.
When they get older, they tend to fill out. Crested geckos are relatively stocky in build with adults showing their stockiness in the neck area.
What does an underweight crested gecko look like?
An underweight crestie will have a slim body and legs, the ribs and hip bones are often visible with no rounding of the belly.
Signs of an underweight crested gecko
- Loss of appetite
- Very thin limbs
- Ribs and hip bones are visible
What causes underweight in a crested gecko?
There are a number of reasons why your crested gecko looks or is underweight, these include:
A gecko that looks on the underweight side, could be dehydrated. When they are dehydrated, they have a sunken appearance, which makes them look skinny.
Crested geckos can be prone to parasitic infections, such as pinworms. Pinworms are identified for causing slow or stunted growth in geckos. Signs of parasites include smelly poop.
Parasites will require veterinary treatment.
When the temperatures in the enclosure drop below optimum, your gecko may stop eating as a result of a slowed system. When temperatures drop, crested geckos go into a state of hibernation, known as brumation.
When you bring your crestie home for the first time, they are going to be stressed. They are in a new environment and new enclosure. Having them in a high traffic area in the home can also result in stress.
A stressed crested gecko will have reduced appetite, which can result in your gecko becoming underweight.
Impaction is a serious problem, often experienced in reptiles.
Impaction is similar to constipation in humans and often occurs when your gecko accidentally eats some substrate when eating or eating something that is too big or too difficult to digest.
Impaction often requires veterinary treatment.
A poor-quality diet can also result in your pet being skinny, often experienced with fussy eaters.
How to help a crested gecko gain weight?
There are a number of things you can try to get your crested gecko to put on weight to reach a healthy size, these include:
Monitoring their Growth
Crested gecko owners should be regularly monitoring the weight of their crestie.
Increase Humidity Levels
Dehydration is a problem that often occurs in a crested gecko enclosure.
When your gecko becomes dehydrated, it increases stress levels, which reduces or eliminates appetite. Lack of hydration makes it difficult for your pet to process proteins. Lack of humidity can cause food to dry out, making it difficult for your gecko to eat or unappetizing.
Ensure you invest in a good quality digital hygrometer, which enables you to monitor the humidity levels at a glance, ensuring that they remain at optimum. Keep the enclosure at a humidity of between 50% and 60%.
Regular misting can help you increase enclosure temperatures with ease.
Keep Temperatures at Optimum
You will find that if you provide your crestie with optimum temperatures, they will grow at a steady rate.
Keep the temperatures within the enclosure between 72ºF and 75ºF. Do not expose them to temperatures over 80ºF, as this can be fatal.
A digital thermometer with probe makes it easy to monitor enclosure temperatures at a glance.
Allow to Settle and Reduce Handling
It's not uncommon when you first bring your crestie home that you want to handle your new pet. This is completely understandable, but it can take your new pet a couple of weeks to settle into their new environment.
During this time, your crestie is stressed and is not going to eat. Get your gecko to eating properly before you start handling it. You can start with a weekly clean to get your pet used to you.
Once your gecko overcomes the stress, its eating habits will improve.
In most cases, your gecko being underweight can be rectified with simple enclosure changes or by visiting your veterinarian. These geckos grow at different rates with some reaching adulthood within twelve months, while many can take up to two years.
Careful monitoring of weight, a healthy diet, and optimum humidity and temperatures within the enclosure will ensure your pet remains happy and healthy.