Crested Gecko Behavior – Everything You Need To Know

Crested Gecko Behavior

Crested geckos make great pets! They are suitable for beginners and advanced owners. However, before getting one, you need be familiar with Crested gecko behavior – what is normal and what should be concerning.

In this article you will learn about two groups of Crested gecko behavior – first group of behaviors is just part of their lifecycle and nothing to worry about, whereas the second group of behaviors is the gecko’s way of telling you they need your help.

As an owner, it’s your responsibility to attend to any problems your gecko might have. However, you first need to know what to look for and this is exactly what we will be talking about in this article.

In addition to the mentioned above, we will also be looking at the following topics:

  • Crested gecko personality
  • Crested gecko behavior – normal vs abnormal behaviors
  • What factors can affect Crested gecko behavior

Crested Gecko Personality

Crested Gecko Behavior

Most Crested gecko owners describe the Crested gecko personality as:

  • Friendly
  • Easy to care for
  • Intelligent

Crested Geckos are known to be one of the friendlies lizard pets. They are often described as being very calm animals and not aggressive towards their owner. This makes them easy to care for and good for beginners.

Crested Gecko Behavior

Crested Gecko Behavior

Although, Crested geckos are friendly and easy to care for, all owners need to be able to differentiate between what Crested gecko behavior is normal and what should be a concern.

The following is a list of normal Crested gecko behavior that you should not worry about:

  • Sleeping during the day
  • Eating skin after shedding
  • Licking its eyeballs
  • Making noises/sounds
  • Breeding
  • Pregnancy and laying eggs
  • Changing Color
  • Leaps of faith

The following Crested gecko behaviors can be abnormal in some cases and a sign that something is wrong with your gecko:

  • Digging/burrowing in the substrate
  • Biting
  • Dropping its tail
  • Tail movements
  • Trying to escape
  • Acting aggressive

Let’s take a closer look at the behaviours listed above and what you need to do in case your Crested gecko needs your help.

Normal Crested Gecko Behavior

Crested Gecko Behavior

The following behaviors are normal and you should not be alarmed if you notice them in your Crested gecko.

Sleeping During The Day

A normal Crested gecko behavior is them sleeping during daytime and being active in the evening/night hours. This is completely normal and for crepuscular animals such as the Crested gecko.

If your Crested gecko appears tired and sluggish during the day, it’s normal as that’s their time to sleep.

What Can Go Wrong

What is not normal is your gecko is awake during the daytime hours. If you keep seeing your Crested gecko awake during the day, you need to investigate what is keeping them up. If their tank is near any loud noises such as kids, TV, radio, etc, you should think about relocating their tank.

Sleep is essential for any living creature and if your gecko doesn’t get enough quality sleep, it can get sick.

Shedding

Another normal Crested gecko behavior is shedding. Like many other reptiles, Crested Geckos shed their skin.

Crested geckos shed when they:

  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight
  • Grow. When your gecko is a baby, it will shed more often as they grow quicker in the first 12 months

When your Crested gecko is about to shed, you will notice that they eat less a few days before and after shedding. Normally, the shedding takes on average 2 days from the moment their skin becomes wrinkly and pale.

What Can Go Wrong

If a gecko has a bad shed, they might need your help to remove the skin or it can result in restricted blood flow. This can result in loss of toes, tail tips or even an entire limb in some rare cases.

To help your Crested gecko shed successfully, you can do the following:

  • Increase the humidity to 80-100% until shedding is done
  • You can place your gecko in a small plastic box/crate/bowl and put a wet, lukewarm paper tower inside. This sauna effect will help the skin come off easier

To learn more about health problems in Crested geckos click here Do You Have A Sick Crested Gecko? Full Crested Gecko Health Guide

Eating Skin After Shedding

One weird Crested gecko behavior, that’s also perfectly normal, is your gecko eating their skin after shedding. You might not even notice when this happens as it will probably be during the night when your gecko is most active.

This is a normal behavior. It’s believed that Crested geckos eat their skin for two reasons:

  • To get nutrients from the skin
  • So they don’t leave any trace for predators

Licking Its Eyeballs

You might notice your Crested gecko licking it’s eyeballs quite often. Usually, this just means they are moisturizing their eyes. Crested geckos do this because they don’t eyelids and use their tongue to moisten their eyes.

What Can Go Wrong

In some cases, excessive licking of their eyeballs, can mean that your Crested gecko is dehydrated. However, this health condition will be accompanied by other symptoms. So, it can’t be diagnosed only from them licking their eyeballs.

Making Noises/Sounds

Crested geckos can make various noises and sounds. This is a normal Crested gecko behavior. The noises they make range from chirping noises to hissing.

Normally, your Crested gecko will make sounds if they are feeling threatened, aggressive/territorial or as a mating call.

What Can Go Wrong

Normally, this is not something to worry about. However, if your Crested gecko is making a hissing noise whilst being handled, it means they are stressed and should be put down.

As long as you listen to your gecko and don’t force them doing something they don’t want, there is nothing to worry about.

Breeding

As any other animals Crested geckos breed. This usually happens between March and October. They will usually make a squeaky noise when they are about to mate, this is also known as a mating call.

After mating, the male’s hemipenis will stick out. Your gecko will continue licking it until it retracts. This completely normal and nothing to worry about.

What Can Go Wrong

During mating period, both males and females can become more territorial. This means that they might appear aggressive and even try to bite or mate with your hand when you hold them. However, this is nothing to worry about as it’s just their hormones acting out.

The best thing you can do is leave them alone during that time and to not handle them as often if they are displaying any territorial behavior.

Pregnancy And Laying Eggs

Another normal Crested gecko behavior is laying eggs. After your geckos mate, the female will lay eggs, with a new batch of eggs every 3 to 5 weeks and up to 2 eggs in each batch. You need to ensure that your female has a nesting spot in the enclosure. Otherwise, you might see her burying herself in the substrate to create a nesting spot herself.

During the pregnancy and after laying the eggs, you might observe the female Crested gecko acting territorial over her babies. This is normal Crested gecko behavior. However, you should avoid frequent handling during that period.

What Can Go Wrong
  • Too much breeding. On average, if an adult female starts breeding at 12 months of age, she can lay up to 9 clutches per year. However, this is not recommended as it can affect the female’s health. You should allow time to recover between pregnancies
  • Breeding too young. Another thing to avoid is breeding your female before she reaches 12 months of age. Her body wouldn’t have developed yet and it can cause a threat to her health
  • Egg Binding. When a female Crested gecko is pregnant, it’s also known as gravid. In some cases, the eggs are not laid on time and can get stuck in the gravid female’s womb. This condition is also known as egg binding. If you suspect egg binding, you need to take your Crested gecko to the vet as surgery might be required to extract the masses

Changing Color

A normal Crested gecko behavior is changing colors. Crested geckos can change colors depending on their moods and surroundings

When geckos are sleeping, their color gets toned down to a darker tone. This is also known as “fired down”. On the other hand, when the gecko wakes up in the evening, they will “fireup”. This mean their skin tones intensify.

When being “fired up” is the time your gecko will have the richest variation in pigmentation of color.

Leaps Of Faith

Crested geckos originate from dense forests. In their natural environment, they are used to throwing themselves from one branch to another. They usually do this to escape predators. These types of jumps are known as leaps of faith.

When handling your Crested gecko, don’t get alarmed if they try to jump off you and do a leap of faith. That’s completely normal and your gecko even finds it fun.

Abnormal Crested Gecko Behavior

The following Crested gecko behaviors can be a concern in some cases. We’ll be looking at the possible reasons for your Crested gecko displaying this behavior and the possible solutions.

Digging And Burying In The Substrate

If you notice your Crested gecko digging the substrate or trying to burry itself, it usually means that they are trying to cool down and find a cold spot.

Solution

You need to ensure that the tank is not too hot. If the temperature is anything more than 75°F, it can cause your Crested gecko unnecessary stress. Therefore, you need to ensure that their tank is setup correctly – the temperature is regulated by a thermostat and there is a cool spot for your Crested gecko.

Read more about habitat requirements and setup here Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank

Biting

A very rare Crested gecko behavior is biting. Although, their bite won’t hurt you at all, it’s something to look into. Why is your Crested gecko biting?

They can be biting for reasons such as feeling scared, stressed or threatened.

Solution

You need to ensure that there is nothing causing your gecko stress that can lead to this behavior.

Common causes for stress include:

  • Incorrect temperature/humidity levels
  • Wrong habitat setup
  • Hormonal changes. If your gecko is stressed because of hormonal changes, there isn’t much you can do besides handling it less often during that period
  • Getting bullied by other geckos in the enclosure
  • Incorrect diet and more

Read more about what can cause stress in Crested geckos here Crested Gecko Stress Signs: How To Prevent And Treat Stress

Dropping Tail

Crested geckos drop their tail when they feel stressed/threatened. Unlike other lizards, crested geckos do not regrow their tails.

Although, dropping the tail doesn’t hurt the gecko and they return to normal life straight away, the reason behind it is something you need to look into.

The Crested gecko drop their tail as a defence mechanism when they are chased by a predator in the wild. But what has stressed a pet gecko so much that they have dropped their tail?

Solution

Usually, this happens during handling. It can mean that you’re not handling the Crested gecko correctly or that the surroundings during the handling are stressful for the gecko.

To learn how to hold a Crested gecko safely and to be enjoyable for the gecko, read here How To Hold A Crested Gecko: Tips On Handling Crested Gecko

Tail Movements

Another Crested gecko behavior that can be concerning is – tail movements. You might observe your gecko’s tail slithering or moving in a “S” formation. This is the way of your Crested gecko telling you they are not comfortable and to back off.

Solution

These tail movements is your Crested gecko telling you that they are stressed or anxious. Therefore, if you are handling them you should put them down immediately. Usually, when the gecko moves their tail in “S” formation, it can also result in their tail dropping.

Trying To Escape

Crested geckos love climbing and is what they do in their natural environment. When kept as pets, you might notice your gecko trying to escape their enclosure. This Crested gecko behavior can be simply your gecko looking for a potential mate during breeding season which is not of a concern.

On the other hand, if your gecko is housed with other geckos, they could be getting bullied and therefore trying to escape.

Solution

You need to ensure your gecko is ok by checking for any stress signs such as lack of appetite, making hissing sounds or breathing rapidly. If your geckos are not getting along, you might have to separate them.

Learn more if Crested geckos can be housed together here Can Crested Geckos Live Together? Top Tips On Housing Crested Geckos

Acting Aggressive

If your Crested gecko is being aggressive, it means that they are feeling threatened, anxious or stressed. As an owner, it’s your responsibility to find what is causing this behavior. If you don’t find the root of the problem, it can progress to your gecko being very stressed and sick.

Solution

The following are possible causes for your Crested gecko being aggressive:

  • You just brought it home. Your Crested gecko needs time to settle in. Any new environment can be stressful and therefore lead to your Crested gecko acting “aggressive”
  • It’s being territorial. This behavior can be displayed in many different situations such as female guarding her eggs or whilst being pregnant; male gecko when trying to mate
  • Hormonal changes. When geckos reach sexual maturity, they might start acting territorial
  • Shedding
  • Incorrect care such as poor diet
  • Incorrect habitat setup such as no hiding spot, tank too big for the gecko and they can’t find their food/water source and more

The following are Crested gecko aggressive signs to look out for:

  • Biting
  • Making a squeaky/hissing noise
  • Gaping. This when the gecko opens their mouth wide at you
  • Trying to make themselves appear bigger by arching their back
  • Tail movements

It’s important to always monitor your gecko’s behavior and act quickly if you notice that something is wrong.

If the behavior persist and you can’t find the root of the problem, you need to take you Crested gecko to a vet for further tests.

Causes For Abnormal Crested Gecko Behavior

This is a list of the common causes for your gecko acting abnormal. If the following issues are not correct for a long period of time, it can result in your gecko becoming very sick:

  • Incorrect habitat setup. If your gecko’s home is not the right size and doesn’t have the right components, it can lead to your gecko being stressed and very sick. Read here on what is the correct habitat setup Crested Gecko Habitat Setup: How To Build A Perfect Tank
  • Incorrect temperature/humidity levels. It’s essential that your Crested gecko’s enclosure has the right humidity (60% during the day and 80% during the night) and temperature levels (72°F to 75°F). Otherwise, it can lead to many health problems for your gecko
  • Wrong diet. If you don’t have your Crested gecko on the right diet, it can result in a malnourished or overweight gecko. Read here on what is the right diet for your Crested gecko Crested Gecko Care: The Ultimate Step By Step Guide
  • Housing multiple geckos. Before housing more than one gecko, you need to know what are the safe combinations. Otherwise, it can lead to multiple problems such as stress and injury to your pets. Read here on what are safe combinations for housing multiple Crested geckos Can Crested Geckos Live Together? Top Tips On Housing Crested Geckos
  • Incorrect handling. If you don’t handle your gecko correctly it can lead to stress and your gecko hurting themselves trying to escape. Read here to learn about the right handling techniques How To Hold A Crested Gecko: Tips On Handling Crested Gecko

Final Thoughts

Understanding your Crested gecko behavior is an essential part of their care. Although, some behaviours are completely normal and not to worry about, some should be acted on quickly.

In this article, we looked at normal Crested gecko behavior such as:

  • Sleeping during the day
  • Eating skin after shedding
  • Licking its eyeballs
  • Making noises/sounds
  • Breeding
  • Pregnancy and laying eggs
  • Changing Color
  • Leaps of faith

On the other hand, the following behaviors might be your Crested gecko’s way of telling you that something is wrong:

  • Digging/burying in the substrate
  • Biting
  • Dropping tail
  • Tail movements
  • Trying to escape
  • Acting aggressive

There are various reasons that can lead to your Crested gecko behaving abnormally such as:

  • Incorrect habitat setup
  • Wrong temperature/humidity levels in tank
  • Incorrect diet
  • Stressful environment
  • Incorrect handling of the gecko

and more…

It’s essential for your Crested gecko’s health and happiness to know what is normal for them. It’s even more important to act quickly when your gecko is sending you signals that something is wrong. All you need to do is observe you Crested gecko and know your pet.

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