Crested Gecko Not Growing – How To Treat It And Possible Causes

Crested Gecko Not Growing

Although, small, if a Crested gecko is not growing, it can mean that something is wrong such as incorrect diet, underlying illness and more.

If you have a Crested gecko not growing, it can be very worrying. That’s why knowing the possible causes and treatment for this condition is so important.

To help you treat a Crested gecko not growing, we are covering the following topics in this article:

  • What is the growth of a healthy Crested gecko (Crested gecko growth chart)
  • What is Crested gecko adult size
  • Reasons and Treatments for Crested gecko not growing

What Is The Growth Of A Healthy Crested Gecko

Crested Gecko Not Growing

If you have a Crested gecko not growing, the first thing you need to know is the growth rate of a healthy Crested gecko.

Crested geckos will not have identical growth rates. Even when and all their needs are met, some Crested gecko will grow slower than others and that’s perfectly normal.

Normally, a Crested gecko that’s on right track, will be gaining roughly 1 gram per month. However, it’s also normal for your Crested gecko to have a period of no growth, followed by a growth spurt.

If your Crested gecko is older than 1 year old and weighs less than 10 grams, you need to be concerned and investigate possible causes.

To help you track your Crested gecko’s growth by age, we have put together the table below:

AgeWeight
Hatchling2 grams
3 months oldMinimum of 3 grams
6 months oldMinimum of 5 grams
1 year old10 to 30 grams
1.5 to 3 years old40 to 55 grams

 What Is Crested Gecko Adult Size

Crested Gecko Not Growing

The average size for an adult Crested gecko that is 12 to 18 months of age is:

  • 40 to 50 grams
  • 6-7″ including tail

If you provide your gecko with the appropriate care in terms of diet, habitat setup, cleanliness etc, you shouldn’t have issues with your Crested gecko not growing and they should reach their expected size rather quickly.

Crested geckos are fragile animals that can react to small changes in their day to day care. Factors such as change in environment or diet can result in your Crested gecko not growing.

Therefore, it’s not always necessarily the owner not caring for their gecko but more like overlooking an area of the care routine and focusing on the “wrong” one.

The material in this article is designed to help you:

  • Recognize the possible reasons for Crested gecko not growing
  • Correct any issues that might be affecting their growth

Reasons For Crested Gecko Not Growing

Many things can stunt your Crested gecko’s growth. Some of the possible reasons for Crested gecko not growing are:

  • Inadequate Diet
  • Incorrect temperatures and humidity levels
  • Incorrect habitat setup
  • Cage mates bullying your gecko
  • Illnesses such as calcium and Vitamin D deficiency, parasites and more

Diet

In terms of diet, there are a few things that can affect your Crested gecko’s growth such as:

  • Not eating enough
  • Not enough nutrition in their diet
  • Feeding your gecko baby food

Not Eating Enough

If your Crested gecko is not eating enough, it can result in stunted growth.

But how much is your Crested gecko expected to eat per meal? Well, young geckos can be full just from a few licks. Whereas, an adult that weight 30 to 40 grams can eat a quarter of a teaspoon.

The following are reasons that can be causing lack of appetite:

  • Low temperatures and incorrect humidity levels can result in poor appetite. You need to ensure the temperature in the enclosure is between 72°F to 75°F. This can be tracked with a thermostat. On the other hand, humidity levels should be kept at 60% to 80%. This is achieved by daily misting and tracked by a digital hygrometer
  • Not enjoying their food. There are many different flavours of commercial Crested gecko food such as Pangea and Repashy. Each brand has different taste and texture, so if your gecko is being a picky eater, you can change it up and see if their appetite changes
  • Sudden change in diet. If you make a change in their diet, your Crested gecko can lose interest in eating simply because they don’t like the taste or texture of the food

Not Enough Nutrition In Their Diet

Food is fuel for people and animals. Food is especially important when your Crested gecko is growing. Therefore, choosing the right diet is essential to their development and health.

When keeping Crested geckos as pets there are two options for their diet:

  • Commercial diet. Commercial diets have been designed to meet your gecko’s needs and provide the nutrition they need in order to grow to their full potential
  • Homemade diet. Homemade Crested gecko diets are considered more risky and are not recommended for unexperienced reptile owners. If you don’t understand the balance of nutrients that your gecko requires, it can be risky for your pet’s health.

Although, not always the case, feeding your Crested gecko a homemade diet such as fruit purees, can result in lack of nutrients. This type of diet requires constant tracking and good understating of the Ca:P (Calcium: Phosphorus) ratio in foods, oxalic acid, vitamins and minerals content.

Crested gecko’s need foods with 2:1 or better Ca:P ratio and low oxalic acid content for a staple diet. If your gecko doesn’t get the amount of Calcium they need, it can result in Metabolic Bone disease and it can be the reason for your Crested gecko not growing.

Learn more about what fruits are safe to feed to your Crested gecko here Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos

Feeding Baby Food

Many owners feed their Crested gecko baby food. Although, baby food is fine for humans, gecko’s have different nutritional needs for development and growth.

Baby food doesn’t provide the nutrients your little reptile needs and can be the reason for Crested gecko not growing. Furthermore, feeding them baby food can lead to other health problems and illnesses.

Conclusion And Advice

If you have a Crested gecko not growing, it can be the result of an incorrect diet and not getting the nutrients they need to grow.

It’s recommended that you feed your Crested gecko a commercial diet that’s mixed with:

  • Insects dusted with calcium will provide additional protein and should result in your Crested gecko’s growth improving drastically. As a guide, you can give your gecko about 15 small crickets dusted with Repashy calcium each month. Other suitable bugs are Calci worms and Dubia roaches
  • An occasional treat of healthy fruits puree with a good Ca:P ratio such as papaya, figs

Incorrect Temperature And Humidity Levels

Crested Gecko Not Growing

Another reasons for your Crested gecko not growing might be the incorrect levels of humidity and temperature in their enclosure.

The Crested gecko is native to the island of New Caledonia – a highly humid place with temperatures ranging between 72°F to 86°F, depending on the season.

Temperature Levels

One of the main reasons for Crested gecko not growing is low temperatures. To have a healthy gecko, you should ensure that their enclosure is kept at temperatures of 72°F to 75°F.

If the temperature in your Crested gecko’s enclosure is too low, it will stunt their growth.

The reason for that is – Crested geckos don’t hibernate in their natural environment. However, when the temperatures are low, they will decrease their activity such as eating which will result in slowed growth.

In addition to their lack of appetite, low temperatures in your gecko’s enclosure will also have a negative effect on their digestion, energy levels and overall immunity.

It’s essential that your Crested gecko’s enclosure is always kept at temperature of  72°F to 75°F and nothing lower. You should never allow the temperatures to get lower than 70°F.

To achieve the ideal temperature 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

Humidity Levels

Humidity is extremely important for your Crested gecko’s well-being and their appetite.

Low humidity can result in lack of appetite. And on the other hand, very high humidity levels can result in bacterial and fungal growth which will lead to stunted growth.

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.

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 and encourages their appetite, 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
  • Mist your crested gecko before it eats, as this will improve its appetite

Incorrect Enclosure Setup

Keeping your gecko in a cage/enclosure that’s not right for them can result in your Crested gecko not growing.

It might be surprising for many but your gecko will grow faster in a smaller enclosure. The reason for that is – they will find food and water much easier. Not being able to find their food/water bowl in the enclosure can cause the gecko stress.

If you already have your gecko in a bigger enclosure, you should include 2 feeding locations to make it easier for them to find food.

The following is what we recommend in terms of your gecko’s enclosure to avoid growth problems:

  • You should keep your Crested gecko in a small enclosure until they start growing
  • A gecko that is 6 to 10 months should be kept in a tank/cage/enclosure that is 6 gallons on average
  • Once your gecko reaches 15 to 20 grams, you can move them into a 15 to 20 gallon tank
  • Once your gecko reaches 25 grams, you can move them into a 30 gallon tank. However, this is not mandatory as they will be fine living in a 20 gallon tank

If you want to learn more about Crested gecko habitat setup click here Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank

Cage Mates Bullying Your Gecko

Another reason for your Crested gecko not growing might be the relationship they have with other geckos in the tank.

If your Crested gecko has cage mates, they can be bullying your gecko, especially if it’s smaller. This can lead to stress, loss of appetite and subsequently stunt their growth.

If you’re thinking of getting another gecko, follow this advice to avoid unnecessary stress and health problems:

  • Never put two males in the same enclosure
  • Don’t house babies/juveniles together
  • House each baby/juvenile in a separate tank until they reach 15 to 20 grams
  • You can safely house one adult male Crested gecko with 2 to 3 adult females in the same tank

If you have more than one Crested gecko housed together and notice problems, you should separate them immediately.

Illnesses

If you’re providing your Crested gecko with good care, a possible cause for them staying small and not growing can be underlying illnesses.

Parasites

If your Crested gecko has parasites, it can lead to stunted growth. The reason for that is – parasites will lead to your gecko not being able to absorb nutrients from food.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Runny poop
  • Vomiting
  • Foul smelling poop

The only way to be sure what parasite your gecko has is by having a sample of their stool tested by a vet.

Metabolic Bone Disease/ Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency

Another health problem that can result in your Crested gecko not growing is Metabolic Bone disease which is caused by Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency.

This condition is usually caused by incorrect diet.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Wavy tail
  • Soft jaw
  • Curved limbs
  • Tiredness
  • Not eating

Severe cases of the disease should be treated by a specialised vet. However, if you catch it soon enough, you can treat your Crested gecko by increasing the dose of Calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements and adding a UVB light to the enclosure if they don’t have one already.

Unlike other lizard breeds, the Crested gecko don’t need a UVB light. Therefore, it’s optional.

If you decide to include UVB light, it should be:

  • Between 3-5%
  • Recommended bulbs/lamps are Arcadia 5% or the Reptisun 5.0 lamp

Final Thoughts

As any other pet, owning a Crested gecko is a big responsibility. As an owner, you need to ensure you keep track of their development and overall health.

Although, Crested geckos are small animals, not growing can be a health concern.

If you suspect your Crested gecko not growing or being too small for its age, you need to immediately investigate the possible causes.

One of the things we covered in this article is the average size of your gecko depending on their age. You should use the table below as a guide on how big a healthy Crested gecko needs to be at different stages in their life:

AgeWeight
Hatchling2 grams
3 months oldMinimum of 3 grams
6 months oldMinimum of 5 grams
1 year old10 to 30 grams
1.5 to 3 years old40 to 55 grams

The most common reasons for your Crested gecko not growing include:

  • Inadequate Diet
  • Incorrect temperatures and humidity levels
  • Incorrect habitat setup
  • Cage mates bullying your gecko
  • Illnesses such as calcium and Vitamin D deficiency, dehydration, parasites and more

It’s important to remember that providing your Crested gecko with good husbandry is essential to their health, development and prevention for most illnesses and health conditions such as stunted growth.

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