Dehydrated Crested Gecko: Crested Gecko Dehydration Signs, Cause, Fixes

Dehydrated Crested Gecko

Although, Crested geckos are known for being healthy and easy to care for, there are a few Crested gecko health conditions any owner should know. One of these condition is dehydration. If you have a dehydrated Crested gecko, it’s essential that you know the Crested gecko dehydration signs, how to treat and prevent it.

In this article, we are going to cover how to treat a dehydrated Crested gecko aswell as:

  • Definition of dehydration in Crested Gecko
  • Causes for dehydrated Crested gecko
  • Crested gecko dehydration signs
  • How to treat a dehydrated Crested gecko
  • How to prevent dehydration

Crested geckos are overall healthy animals. However, if we as owners don’t know how to meet their most basic needs, it can result in health problems. One of these health problems is dehydration.

The good news is that most cases of dehydration in Crested gecko can be treated at home and most importantly it can be prevented by providing good husbandry.

Crested Gecko Natural Habitat

To know your Crested gecko’s needs, you first need to know a little bit more about their natural habitat.

The Crested gecko is native to the island of New Caledonia. The climate on the island is tropical and humid with temperatures ranging between 72°F to 86°F, depending on the season.

Therefore, to ensure that your Crested gecko doesn’t become dehydrated when kept as a pet, you need to provide them not only with a water source but also with the correct humidity and temperature levels.

What Is Dehydration In Crested Geckos

Dehydrated Crested Gecko

What is dehydration in Crested geckos? Dehydration is when the gecko loses more fluids than it is consuming. If you have a dehydrated Crested gecko and the condition is left untreated, it can result in their body shutting down and your gecko dying.

Sometimes, you can end up with a dehydrated Crested gecko even if you’ve done everything right. In this case, you need to know how to rehydrate them fast. Keep reading to find out about the quickest ways to rehydrate your gecko and also to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Can Crested Gecko Die From Dehydration?

If left untreated Crested geckos can die from dehydration surprisingly quick. That’s why it’s so important to know how to prevent this condition in the first place.

In order to prevent, you first need to know what causes dehydration in Crested geckos and what you need to be constantly monitoring in their day to day care.

What Causes Dehydration In Crested Geckos

Dehydrated Crested Gecko

Normally, the main causes for dehydrated Crested gecko include high temperatures and/or low humidity and infrequent misitng of their tank.

In this article we are looking at the following causes/fixes for dehydration in Crested geckos:

  • No water source
  • High Temperature levels
  • Low Humidity Levels
  • Infrequent misting
  • Dry foods
  • Shipping/Travel

No Water Source

You must ensure that your Crested gecko has an appropriate water bowl and it’s always full with fresh water. Furthermore, the water bowl must be adequate and not too deep. This is especially important for young geckos as they can drown.

It’s also important to note that in their natural environment Crested geckos will drink the rain water that’s caught in plant leaves. Therefore, it’s a good idea to include water catching decorations in your gecko’s tank.

Such artificial water catching decorations include thick railing plants or resin ornaments.

To learn more on what to include your Crested gecko habitat setup click here Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank

High Temperature Levels

Dehydrated Crested Gecko

In their natural environment, Crested geckos are used to temperatures of 72°F to 86°F, depending on the season. They are most comfortable at temperatures between 72°F to 75°F. Therefore, it’s essential that your Crested gecko’s enclosure is always kept at those temperatures.

Don’t allow the tank temperatures to ever reach 80°F or more as that can cause heat stress and result in a dehydrated Crested gecko.

To achieve the ideal temperatures of 72°F to 75°F for your Crested gecko’s enclosure, you will need:

  • Heat mat attached to the outside of one of the side glass panels
  • Thermostat to track the temperature
  • A cool spot. You need to ensure your gecko has a cool spot with a temperature of 68°F to 70°F. And at night, the temperatures must drop to 65°F to 69°F

Low Humidity Levels

As mentioned earlier, the Crested gecko’s natural environment is tropical and humid. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your Crested gecko’s enclosure has the correct humidity levels. If the humidity is too low, it can result in dehydrated Crested gecko.

Humidity levels need to be kept at 60% during the day and at 80% during the night.

To ensure your Crested gecko’s enclosure maintains the correct humidity levels, follow this advice:

  • Use a spray bottle with purified water (never use tap water) to mist the tank
  • Mist twice per day – light mist in the morning and a stronger one at night
  • Use a digital hygrometer to measure the humidity levels

Infrequent Misting

Dehydrated Crested Gecko

Humidity and misting go hand in hand. Infrequent misting of the enclosure can result in a dehydrated Crested gecko.

To maintain the humidity levels, you need to mist your Crested gecko’s tank frequently.

But how often is frequent?

Follow these tips to maintain humidity in your gecko’s enclosure:

  1. Spray the enclosure with purified water to bring the humidity to 80% in the evening
  2. Then, throughout the day the humidity will fall to 50%; when it hits mid of 50%, then you mist again
  3. It’s important that the enclosure doesn’t maintain 80% throughout as geckos need variation in humidity levels
  4. Mist twice per day – light mist in the morning and a stronger one at night
  5. Digital hygrometer – use a digital hygrometer to know when the humidity levels have dropped

Dry Food

Another cause for dehydrated Crested gecko is not getting enough moisture from their food. One example of such foods are dry commercial food. Feeding your gecko dry food, doesn’t always result in dehydration. However, it’s a possibility and something to keep an eye out for.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, you can soak your gecko’s food in water before serving it. This way you can improve your gecko’s water intake.

Shipping/Travel

Another cause for dehydrated Crested gecko is shipping and travel. This can cause stress to your Crested gecko and result in them being dehydrated. That’s why is very important to put your gecko in a moistened environment immediately after travel or shipping.

Crested Gecko Dehydration Signs

Recognizing Crested gecko dehydration signs early is essential in helping your gecko recover quickly. If you notice any of the following signs, it means your Crested gecko is dehydrated and you must act quickly:

  • Loss of elasticity in skin. To check this you need to pinch the gecko’s skin. If it remains wrinkled and doesn’t restore, it means that the elasticity is reducing
  • Wrinkled skin. If you notice your gecko’s skin looking wrinkled on the body and neck it means they are dehydrated
  • Struggling to shed, especially on tails, toes, and head
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Hips and ribs sticking out
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sticky tongue
  • Lethargic, weak and sluggish behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sticky or dry membranes. If your gecko is excessively licking its eyes, it can be because they are dry
  • Constipation
  • Tail waving and slithering. This mainly means that your gecko is stressed and maybe dehydrated

Acting quickly whne your have a dehydrated Crested gecko is essential as dehydration can be fatal.

Most cases of dehydrated Crested gecko can be treated at home. However, if the dehydration is severe, you might be unable to reverse it and you’ll have to seek specialized vet help.

Read below on how to treat dehydration in Crested geckos.

Dehydration In Crested Geckos – Treatment

Dehydration is common in Crested geckos. Therefore, it’s important that you provide your gecko with the appropriate care to minimize the chances of developing the condition.

Health Checks

If you suspect you have a dehydrated Crested gecko on your hands, you need to help them rehydrate. Before applying any treatment, you first need to perform the following health checks and adjust when needed:

  • Correct temperature levels. Check if the temperature in their enclosure is between 72°F to 75°F. If the temperature is higher than that, first you should leave the tank hatch open for some cold air to get in. Second, you should take the Crested gecko out of the enclosure and place in a shallow plastic tub/bowl with a wet, lukewarm cloth on the bottom to cool off
  • Check humidity levels. If the humidity is at 50% or lower, you need to mist their enclosure. Crested geckos get most of the moisture through their skin. Therefore, humidity levels is one of the first things you should check
  • Water bowl. Check if their water bowl is full, it not – clean the bowl and refill it with fresh water

Treatment

If after adjusting the temperature, humidity levels and filling up the water bowl, the Crested gecko is still dehydrated, it’s time to apply the following treatments for quick rehydration:

  • Highly diluted electrolyte solutions such as sports drinks, Lucozade, Pedialyte or Ricelyte can help restore fluids. This should only be used if the gecko is refusing to drink plain water. As these drinks contain sugars, your gecko might be more willing to drink
  • Pureed food mixed with water. You can feed your gecko pureed fruit diluted with water. This will help restore some of the fluids in your Crested gecko. For example you can use a puree of papaya, figs and bananas
  • Use syringe or eye pipette to administer water/puree into your gecko’s mouth if they are refusing to eat/drink. However, don’t force it as that can cause additional stress
  • “Sauna”. One of the quickest ways to restore moisture is by soaking your gecko in a small plastic box/crate/bowl with air holes. You need to put a wet, lukewarm paper tower on the bottom. This sauna effect will help them restore moisture through their skin. Furthermore, the gecko might begin to drink the condensation off the sides of the container
  • Soaks. If you still have a dehydrated gecko after following the steps above, you should soak your gecko in a lukewarm water a few times a day

If none of the mentioned home treatments are successful, you need to take your gecko to a vet immediately.

Normally, the vet will administer fluids through feeding tubes or subcutaneous injections. In addition, the vet will check your gecko’s hydration levels and if dehydration is the symptom of an underlying illness.

Dehydration In Crested Geckos – Prevention

The most important part of keeping your gecko healthy is preventing illnesses. Dehydration is no exception.

To reduce the chance of having a dehydrated Crested gecko on your hands, you need to ensure the following preventative measures are in place:

  • Temperature levels. Ensure temperature maintains at 72°F to 75°F. Use a thermostat to track temperature levels
  • Cool spot. Ensure your gecko has a cool spot in the enclosure where it can cool off if needed
  • Humidity levels need to between 60% and 80%
  • Misting is what maintains the humidity in your gecko’s enclosure. Mist twice per day – light one in the morning and stronger in the evening. Use a hygrometer to track the humidity levels
  • Water sources. Ensure your gecko has a water bowl that is always full with water and it’s easily accessible by your gecko. In the wild, Crested geckos drink rain water directly from the plants. Therefore, including water catching decorations can help keep them hydrated
  • Diet. If your gecko is on a commercial diet, add more water in the powder to avoid a dehydration. On the other hand, if your gecko is on a homemade diet, add water to the puree you feed them
  • Bathing. It’s recommended to bathe your gecko in lukewarm water. Not only geckos enjoy bathing but this is also a great way to bond with them and add more moisture to their body

Final Thoughts

In this article, we covered everything you need to know if you have a dehydrated Crested gecko on your hands. The first thing to look out for is the Crested gecko dehydration signs:

  • Loss of elasticity in skin
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Struggling to shed, especially on tails, toes, and head
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Hips and ribs sticking out
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sticky tongue
  • Lethargic, weak and sluggish behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sticky or dry membranes
  • Constipation or infrequent pooping
  • Tail waving and slithering

In most cases, dehydration can be prevented by simply providing good husbandry. Ensure your Crested gecko’s care include:

  • Correct temperature and humidity levels
  • Frequent misting
  • Water sources
  • Adequate diet

Unfortunately, in some cases even provided with good care, you can still end up with a dehydrated Crested gecko.

If that’s the case, you need to act quickly and try the following home treatments:

  • Offering water or small amounts of highly water-diluted electrolyte solutions such as sports drinks, Pedialyte or Ricelyte can help restore fluids
  • Pureed fresh fruits mixed with water
  • Use syringe or eye pipette to administer water/puree into your gecko’s mouth
  • Sauna
  • Soaks

If none of the mentioned treatments is successful, you need to take your Crested gecko to a specialized vet for further treatment and assessment.

Related Topics

What Does A Healthy Crested Gecko Look Like

In addition to knowing what are the Crested gecko stress signs to look out for, it’s equally important to know what a healthy Crested gecko looks like.

Everytime you clean your gecko’s enclosure, you should use it as an opportunity to check on your gecko’s health.

A healthy Crested gecko should present with the following:

  • Alert – Although, Crested geckos are nocturnal, they should be alert when picked up even during daytime hours. Geckos have different personalities and some might be calmer than others. However, they should always react with at least direct eye contact when handled. If you have a sick Crested gecko, it will be shaking and struggling to maintain balance

  • Clean – Another thing to look out for when inspecting your Crested gecko’s health is cleanliness. A healthy gecko will have clean skin, free from infection, no discharge from nose, eyes or ears. However, skin infection shouldn’t be confused with shedding skin stuck on the gecko as that’s normal. The same goes if your gecko’s skin appears darker in color, that doesn’t mean infection as Crested geckos are known for changing their color depending on multiple factors such as environment and mood

  • Body Weight. A healthy Crested gecko has a sturdy body build. If they appear thin it can mean that you have a sick Crested gecko on your hands. When inspecting your gecko, the hip bones should not be sticking out.
    However, it’s important to note that ribs might be on show in younger geckos which is normal. 

How To Ensure Your Crested Gecko Stays Healthy

In the wild, a sick Crested gecko, automatically becomes an easier prey for the predators. For that reason, the Crested gecko has learned how to hide any sickness. This means that it’s harder for owners to tell if they have a sick Crested gecko.

To ensure that you don’t miss any health problems that your Crested gecko might have, you should take extra care and perform the following checks:

  • Check their weight weekly. Any unexpected weight loss can mean sick Crested gecko
  • Keep a diary where you record every weight check, behaviour and moods, etc
  • Any responsible Crested gecko owner should have a reptile first-aid kit in case of injury or sickness

Crested Gecko First Aid Kit

The perfect Crested gecko first aid kid should contain the following:

  • Eye dropper
  • Syringe (the smallest you can find)
  • KY Jelly (lubricant)
  • Cotton swabs (q-tips)
  • Reptile-safe topical disinfectant (.05% chlorhexidine, Betadine, etc)
  • Tweezers
  • Magnifying glass
  • Pedialyte
  • Gram Scale
  • Disposable gloves
  • Vet phone number including out of hours
  • Gauze pads 
  • Sterile saline flush
  • Adhesive tape (cloth and waterproof)
  • Antiseptic wipes or spray
  • Scissors

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