It’s been a few days; you notice your crested gecko is staying in one spot. It hasn’t moved, and you worry something is wrong!
Crested geckos may stay in a spot for hours at a time, but any longer could be serious. Usually, your pet is just sleeping. However, it could also be stressed by a new or improper enclosure setup.
Even though it usually isn’t serious, your pet could have a major problem if it doesn’t move for more than a day.
Read on if you notice your crested gecko isn’t moving much at all!
Why is your crested gecko staying in one spot? (4 reasons)
In most cases, your crested gecko is simply having a snooze. Crested geckos are nocturnal, like most other geckos, which means they are active at night.
Since crested geckos don’t have eyelids, it can be difficult to tell whether your pet is asleep. A sleeping gecko typically has its eyes slightly sunken in its head, and its crests will also be facing downwards.
#2 Adjusting to a new environment
If you recently purchased your gecko or moved it into a new enclosure, it may be in the process of acclimation. This is a stressful time for your pet, and care should be taken to ensure that it settles in properly.
Give your gecko some space and only approach the tank for feeding, changing water, and cleaning poop. Do not attempt handling for around three weeks, as this could only stress your pet out further.
#3 Not enough hides
Your crested gecko probably does not have enough hiding spots, which can cause your pet to feel exposed. Many gecko species often sit still, hoping that predators won’t spot them.
Being prey animals, crested geckos need places to retreat to feel safe, and when sitting still out in the open, your pet is trying its best to hide without any cover.
Simply adding a hollow log or fake leaves can solve this problem.
#4 Illness or death
Your gecko may also be sick. A healthy crested gecko wouldn’t stop moving for more than a day.
Various illnesses may slow down your pet, usually accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, heavy breathing, and weight loss.
Unfortunately, there’s also a possibility that your crested gecko may have passed on.
Even to the best of our abilities, geckos may die unexpectedly or from other causes, such as illness or old age. If your gecko hasn’t moved for more than a few days, it has probably died.
Signs of death are often obvious. Dull color, lack of breathing, stiffness, and deeply sunken eyes are all indicators of a dead crested gecko. Not reacting to light or touch can also mean death.
Could it be due to illness or death?
Sign 1: Lethargy
Lethargy can be caused by improper heating, but it can also mean your gecko is sick.
A healthy crested gecko will be somewhat active when not resting. If your gecko remains sluggish in behavior, it may be lethargic from illness.
If your pet is female, she could have Dystocia, also known as egg-binding.
Egg-binding is when a female gecko produces infertile eggs, which can then become impacted inside her. This can happen even if your gecko has never mated before.
To resolve this, provide an egg-laying box filled with moistened moss or untreated soil for your gecko, and if problems persist, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Sign 2: Loss of appetite
Crested geckos don’t need to eat every day, but signs of appetite loss are often prominent and are a cause for concern. Though some individual geckos can be fussy eaters, a sudden refusal to eat can be serious.
Rapid weight loss is another sign of a lack of appetite. If your gecko’s ribs and leg bones are visible, and its body has become slimmer in appearance, it is losing an unhealthy amount of weight.
Crested geckos frequently defecate when they’re eating normally. Therefore, a lack of poop in the enclosure means your gecko is likely not eating at all.
Sign 3: Heavy breathing
Heavy breathing can be a sign of a respiratory infection. Your gecko may have mucus coming out of its nostrils or mouth, and it may also be gasping for air.
This is primarily caused by either bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection, and the exact cause must be diagnosed by a vet.
Overly humid or dirty enclosures allow bacteria and other harmful organisms to populate rapidly. Be sure not to over-spray your gecko’s tank, and always discard uneaten food and poop.
Other signs of illness
Be on the lookout for other signs of illness in your gecko.
If you find your gecko is struggling to walk or even stand, it could have Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). This is accompanied by limbs that look deformed, and your gecko’s jaw may even droop out in severe cases.
Keep an eye out for strange lumps on your gecko’s skin. This can also indicate MBD, but it can be a bacterial abscess as well.
Vomiting and diarrhea are also significant signs of disease, usually caused by infection. Though it is important to note that diarrhea can also be caused by stress, it can also indicate something much more severe.
A cloacal prolapse can indicate your gecko is either impacted or dehydrated. Your pet may have ingested an object that wasn’t meant to be eaten, which can hurt it internally.
If your gecko has a prolapse, try to gently massage the area if possible; if not, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Should I stimulate my crested gecko to move?
Observe your pet
Keep a watchful eye on your crested gecko. Your gecko is likely just sleeping; if so, leave it be. Your gecko should be awake by evening and back to regular moving.
Offer a treat
Sometimes, offering a treat to your gecko could be the simplest way to entice your pet to move.
Mashed fruits, such as bananas and mangoes, are great treat choices for your crested gecko and can easily be offered in a small dish.
Offer your gecko the treat. If it’s uninterested, simply place it in its food dish, and your pet will hopefully snack on it later. Remove any uneaten food the next day.
Waxworms and mealworms are other good options. Use tweezers to avoid accidentally being bitten by your gecko, and place them right in front of your pet.
The movement should be enough to get your gecko to move. Remember to feed worms sparingly; they are high in fat and can become addicting for your pet.
If enticing your pet with a snack or leaving it alone doesn’t work, you’ll have to stimulate your gecko to move.
Approach your gecko calmly. Lightly poke or tap your pet with your finger or another object (tongs, stick, et cetera) on its side to see if your pet reacts. NEVER poke around its face, especially its eyes.
If your gecko moves afterward, then it is fine.
What to do if your crested gecko hasn’t moved for more than a day?
Tip 1: Pay attention to temperature and humidity
Simply changing your gecko’s care routine can potentially resolve your pet’s problem.
Crested geckos are prone to overheating. Normal room temperatures in most households (70-80 degrees Fahrenheit) usually suffice well, so no additional heat is needed.
If you live in a colder climate, a low-wattage heat lamp can be provided, but be sure it doesn’t get too hot. Anything over 80 degrees can harm your gecko.
Your pet also needs proper humidity levels to thrive. Crested geckos require around 60-80% humidity, and any more or less can cause health problems.
This can easily be achieved by spraying the enclosure twice daily: once in the morning, and once at night.
Ensure your gecko’s enclosure has time to dry out, as an overly moist environment can harbor harmful mold and bacteria.
Spraying the tank also allows your gecko to hydrate; in the wild, crested geckos drink their water by licking droplets on surfaces.
It is, however, best to also provide a water dish, as some geckos will drink from it (contrary to popular belief), and having one can also maintain humidity levels in the enclosure.
Tip 2: Change your gecko’s diet
Your crested gecko needs a properly balanced diet to function well.
Fortunately, many commercial crested gecko diets (often abbreviated as CGDs) exist in the market today, the most popular brands being Repashy and Pangea.
CGD is easy to prepare. Simply scoop one part powder with two or three parts water and mix into a dish. Discard any uneaten food after a day. Baby crested geckos need to be fed daily, but adults can be fed every couple of days.
There is a misconception that crested geckos should eat primarily insects, which is untrue.
In the wild, crested geckos may snack on insects but also eat other foods such as nectar, fruits, and pollen. CGDs are formulated to mimic the crested gecko’s natural diet and should be the staple food for your pet.
Insects, however, can be beneficial if offered as treats, and they should be dusted with a calcium supplement if done so. Crickets, dubia roaches, and mealworms can be fed to your pet weekly.
Another common mistake is using baby food to feed crested geckos.
Baby food is often high in added sugars and phosphorus, leading to complications such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) and other nutritional deficiencies. Avoid baby food to be safe.
Tip 3: Improve the habitat
A proper crested gecko habitat is essential for a happy and healthy gecko. Crested geckos are active animals and should be provided with many opportunities to climb, explore, and hide when necessary.
Crested geckos should have lots of space to roam around. The absolute minimum tank size for an adult is 20 gallons, but 30–50-gallon tanks are recommended.
Tall, vertical tanks are more appropriate for crested geckos since they are naturally arboreal.
There should be plenty of branches, sticks, and logs set up for your pet to climb. They should be thick and sturdy enough to allow your gecko to climb around; thinner, unstable branches should be avoided.
There should also be plenty of plant cover in your gecko’s habitat, either real or artificial. Live, non-toxic plants can even maintain humidity in your gecko’s enclosure. The cover also provides hiding places for your pet to retreat.
Hollow logs, caves, and other similar hiding places are a must for your crested gecko. Bamboo and cork logs are perfect since they not only provide climbing opportunities but also allow them to hide.
Empty paper towels or toilet paper tubes can be useful but often get filthy quickly and can be unattractive in appearance.
Final Tip: Seek veterinary help
If your gecko shows signs of illness and nothing else works, it is time to seek veterinary attention. Your veterinarian should provide you with a proper diagnosis of your gecko.
Be sure your vet is suited to treat reptiles, as not everyone specializes in treating exotic animals.
Your vet will thoroughly examine and evaluate your pet. Depending on what it has, they may also prescribe your gecko some medications. Follow your vet’s instructions properly, and do NOT self-medicate without consulting them first.