Wondering About Crested Geckos Shedding? This guide is for you!
Shedding is a vital aspect of a Crested Gecko’s life. As the Gecko grows bigger, it needs new skin, and the old one is discarded. This is the process of shedding.
Crested Geckos shed at different rates depending on their age and the prevalent environmental conditions. Shedding doesn’t take long; it goes on for about 15 to 45 minutes. Actually, you won’t even notice it if your Crestie sheds and eats its skin. However, if the proper conditions are not in place, your Crestie will likely experience problems shedding.
You can take certain measures to prevent your Crestie from experiencing difficulties during shedding. Also, you can help the affected Crestie shed more easily.
If the problem doesn’t go away despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian.
How to Know Your Crested Gecko is About to Shed
The skin on your crested Gecko loses its elasticity and becomes wrinkled. It’s like seeing a young gecko in an old body.
Also, the skin takes on a pale or dull hue. Finally, the crested Gecko moves more sluggishly and may start sticking on the terrarium walls.
The crested Gecko loses appetite and becomes less receptive to your touch and overtures. In most cases, the animal prefers to spend time in the cooler, moister section of the enclosure.
This is understandable, considering that Crestie’s skin is super sensitive at this point.
You expected young cresties to shed more frequently than the older ones. This is because younger cresties are fast growing and constantly need to change lots of things about their lives.
While hatchlings shed weekly, juvenile crested geckos shed fortnightly. Therefore, you can expect adult geckos to shed fortnightly or monthly.
Every crested Gecko sheds differently. As such, study your pet and understand its shedding process. This will give you a good idea of when to step in to make the process easier for your Gecko.
How Do Crested Geckos Shed?
When the crested Gecko is about to shed, it starts licking its skin and peeling it with its snout. Gradually, small pieces of skin come off, and the Gecko may eat them.
Sometimes, an entire section of the skin will come off, and the Gecko will eat it. As gross as eating old skin sounds to humans, the Gecko must do this.
Eating the old skin enables your crested Gecko to get nutrients from the old skin back into the system. Also, the crested Gecko ensures no trail is left behind for predators to follow by eating the old skin.
A newly-shed crested gecko looks fresh, younger, and beautiful. In addition, the new skin may have an infusion of newer and fresher colors.
It may have different patterns from those featured in the old skin.
How to Help Your Crested Gecko Shed
Your crested Gecko’s skin is susceptible when shedding. Unfortunately, this means you have to be highly cautious if you want to help your pet shed.
Don’t use anything rough to rub your Gecko’s skin. Of course, it goes without saying that you should also avoid sharp objects.
The best way to go about helping your gecko shed is by using water and the right humidity level. In addition, the water used should be of the right temperature.
It will do more harm than good if it is too low or too high,
When you notice signs of shedding, raise the humidity level in the enclosure, as this will help the reptile have an easier time.
You may have to physically remove skin stuck to the tail, toes, and head. Do this in a way that does not draw blood or harm your pet.
You can help your Gecko shed quickly by dipping him in a sauna bath. Then, dip the reptile in a plastic container with lukewarm water.
The water should not be so deep to drown the Gecko. Remember, geckos are very poor swimmers who detest being in the water for long periods.
Cover the plastic container and allow the humidity levels to build up. Ensure that the container has a few breathing holes for your Gecko.
Leaving the crested Gecko in the sauna for 15-30 minutes will help loosen the skin.
Not all geckos accept the sauna, however. Like most geckos, crested geckos don’t like to be put in water.
If your Gecko wants nothing to do with the sauna, you can physically help him shed by using a soft, moist piece of cotton wool.
Gently rub the damp cotton wool in the target area a few times to help the skin loosen. Also, you can gently massage your Gecko’s skin with your fingertips and a soft-bristle toothbrush to remove the old skin.
How to Remove Stuck Skin
During shedding, skin is likely to be stuck in areas that are hard to access. These include the private areas, between toes, on the head, and at the tail.
Do not try to pull the skin off when it is dry. This will not only harm the Gecko, but will likely cause bleeding.
Gentle wet the affected area with warm water. Ensure there’s a high level of humidity during this time.
Use a Q-tip to remove unshed skin around the eyes and eyelashes. Sometimes, you can use blunt-tipped tweezers to pull out unshed skin.
Do this gently and immediately stop if the skin proves challenging to remove. In this case, apply the sauna method.
What Causes Crested Gecko’s Shedding Problems?
Most crested Geckos shed quickly, and only a few suffer from dysecdysis (shedding difficulties). However, your crested Gecko will likely experience shedding problems because of poor environmental conditions.
Also, geckos with underlying health complications may have it rough shedding.
Poor Living Conditions
Here, we refer to improper diet, temperature, and humidity. Ensure that your crested Gecko gets the proper diet every feeding time.
Remember, geckos get most of their moisture from the foods they consume. So if the diet is right, the cresties’ moisture content will be okay, and it will not have much problem shedding.
Also, ensure that the humidity level is at 70 to 80% at this time. If the humidity level is too low, the Crestie may experience painful or incomplete shedding.
If too high, your Gecko may develop briefing complications.
The right temperature level is equally important. Being cold-blooded, temperature changes significantly affect the Gecko’s life.
This is more so if the reptile is having a hard time, such as shedding.
Underlying Health Conditions
Crested geckos with health issues may also experience shedding problems. This is because shedding requires a set level of strength to be completed successfully.
If your Gecko is weak, you must firmly step in and assist him through the process.
Also, a crestie infected with diseases may shed more frequently than normal. This may affect your Gecko’s overall health and well-being.
How to Treat Crested Gecko Shedding Problems
Unshed skin may restrict blood flow in the Gecko’s body if left untreated. This could lead to a loss of a body part such as a toe or tail tip.
You need to move in with speed to help your pet handle the problem before it becomes too serious to handle.
The most immediate intervention would be to increase the humidity level during the shedding period. Also, you may have to physically help your pet remove stubborn skin by misting and massaging.
90% of shedding problems can be solved by increasing hydration and improving humidity levels.
So, if your Crestie has a repeated shedding problem, check that every piece of equipment in the enclosure is working well.
Also, use moisture-retentive substrate and mist the enclosure daily. However, don’t mist more often than necessary, as this will encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
Use a wet cotton swab to remove old skin from your crested Gecko. In some cases, you can use blunt insect tweezers.
Be very careful as you go about removing this skin. You would not want to cause any damage to your pet’s new skin.
Never use your hands or sharp objects to attempt to pull off the old skin.
Top Crested Gecko Shedding Problems and Their Solutions
#1 – Low Humidity
If the enclosure is too dry, the crested Gecko will have a hard time shedding. A dry environment is the primary cause of dysecdysis.
To correct this issue, you must practice good crested gecko husbandry. This entails ensuring that all the equipment in the enclosure is working correctly.
Have a hygrometer at hand to closely monitor the humidity in the tank. Normal humidity should be set at between 50% and 60%.
However, this should be increased to between 70% and 80% during shedding. Proper humidity helps loosen your crested Gecko’s skin, making it easier to shed.
#2 – High Humidity
An environment that is too humid can cause shedding problems. Too much moisture encourages the growth of fungi and other harmful organisms. Also, it may make the Gecko’s skin start rotting.
Adjust the humidity levels to ones that your crested Gecko can withstand. This should be between 50% and 60% during normal times, and between 70% and 80% during shedding.
#3 – Poor Diet
Nutrition is essential to your crested Gecko’s shedding process and overall health. Feed your Gecko with moisture-rich insects before shedding begins.
This ensures that your pet’s skin is supple enough for shedding to happen successfully. Also, check your Gecko’s diet to ensure it is well-balanced.
Feeding your Crestie a poor diet makes him weak and unable to successfully complete the shedding process.
# 4 – Skin Parasites
Suppose mites and other external parasites infest your crested Gecko. In that case, its skin may be too damaged to shed properly.
Also, parasitic infections force the Gecko to shed more frequently than normal as it tries to eliminate pests.
This is your cue to keep your pet and its enclosure regularly. Clean the enclosure routinely and ensure your crested Gecko takes an occasional bath.
Parasites cannot breed in a clean environment.
#5 – Hypothyroidism
Your crested Gecko’s thyroid gland may be suppressed due to the consumption of plants that contain goitrogens.
This results in retarded growth and shedding complications. The solution to this is to carefully check your crested Gecko’s diet.
Avoid feeding your pet foods that contain goitrogens. These include kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Note that your crested Gecko can eat some of these foods in moderation.
#6 – Lack of Abrasives
When your Gecko wants to shed, it rubs itself against surfaces to loosen its skin. This reptile may find the going hard if you don’t have abrasives or rough surfaces in the enclosure.
Adding abrasives is particularly important if the Gecko struggles to remove old, dead skin.
These surfaces are found in some natural things in the enclosure, such as sticks, rocks, branches, and cork bark.
How to Handle a Shedding Crested Gecko
Avoid handling a shedding gecko as much as possible. This is because shedding cresties go through lots of stress.
When your crested Gecko starts shedding, give it time to complete the process. After that, the reptile may retreat and avoid you or other geckos.
This is normal, and you should allow the reptile to take time off from the usual routine, including feeding.
All the while, ensure that the conditions are perfect for the Crestie to shed successfully. Check on your pet’s living conditions and diet.
Also, get a shedding box for the reptile. Although it is not absolutely necessary you have this item in the enclosure; a shedding box alters the humidity to favor the shedding process.
A shedding box is that particular area within the terrarium where the humidity is higher than the rest of the tank.
You can make your own shedding box or buy a prefabricated one from a reputable dealer. However, you can’t use a shedding box if the terrarium is not large enough to hold it.
Don’t allow the humidity levels in the terrarium to fall below 50%, as this would be dangerous for your crested Gecko.
The ideal humidity levels for shedding should be between 70% and 80%. With the proper humidity, the shedding will be more or less hassle-free for your Crestie.
The new skin on your crested Gecko is super-sensitive. As such, ensure that the temperature in the terrarium remains tolerable.
Also, avoid handling your pet at this time. Otherwise, you may inadvertently harm its skin and make him resent you in the days ahead.
It is recommended that you use moisture-absorbing substrates to facilitate the shedding.
These substrates keep the humidity level in the terrarium high, giving your pet a hassle-free shedding experience.
Be sure to remove any food leftovers from the terrarium. Your crested Gecko does not need much food while shedding.
Pay attention to how your Gecko feeds at this time. Should he show signs of losing appetite, don’t force him to take more than he wants.
Leftover foods are likely to attract bacteria, fungi, and other organisms that could make the shedding process a living hell for your pet.
Why Does My Crested Gecko Eat Its Shed Skin?
It’s normal for crested geckos to eat their skin after they shed. However, if your Crestie doesn’t eat its skin, that’s highly unusual.
However, you don’t need to be overly concerned about this if your lizard looks fit and healthy. Crested geckos feed on their dead skin to replenish essential nutrients.
Also, they do so to get rid of any hint of their presence to a potential predator.
If your Gecko doesn’t eat shed skin and looks unwell, take swift action to have him attended by the vet.
This is a sign that something is not right and requires rectification.
Why Does My Crested Gecko Lose Appetite During Shedding?
- Bowel impaction
- Sickness such as MBD – Metabolic Bone Disease
- Unsuitable temperatures
- Poor humidity levels
My Crested Gecko Doesn’t Shed – What Does It Mean?
A crested gecko that doesn’t shed has growth issues. In addition, it could be stunted because it does not feed properly.
Failing to shed could also be a result of poor living conditions. You should check the tank setup if your crested Gecko doesn’t shed.
Also, find out if your pet is getting enough Vitamin D. You’ll likely discover that the reptile has a calcium deficiency that can be filled with proper supplements.
Don’t forget to involve your pet in this matter. Allow this expert to help you understand why your Gecko doesn’t shed, and what you can do to remedy the situation.
Like all reptiles, crested geckos shed their skins periodically. The younger crested geckos shed more frequently because their growth rate is higher.
Although most geckos shed their skins flawlessly, some encounter challenges wrought on them by poor living conditions and pre-existing health issues.
Poor diet also contributes a great deal to worsening the shedding problems.
If you can focus on getting these factors right, 90% of your crested Gecko’s shedding problems will be solved.