Wondering if Crested Geckos Drop Their Tails? Then, this guide is for you!
A crested gecko can lose its tails with no significant danger to itself. Your gecko just needs to make a few adjustments, and life will continue normally.
Crested geckos do lose their tails. This can happen for a number of reasons, chief among them being physiological stress. Unlike some geckos, your crested gecko’s tail does not grow back when it is separated from the body. But, this is inconsequential because your pet can have a whole and healthy life, with or without a tail.
Your crested gecko can lose its tail for various causes. For example, it could be that the gecko was so stressed it could not live with its tail.
The good news is that the process of detaching the tail does not hurt your pet as such. Crested geckos have evolved to live just fine with or without their tail.
As such, you don’t have to be overly concerned that your gecko’s tail has detached. Maybe, you just need to be concerned that your pet is not in the way of further harm.
Also, you’ll have to take care of the wound for some time until it fully heals. This is to avoid infection and other health complications.
What Does a Crested Gecko’s Tail Look Like?
The crested gecko’s tail is long and slender. An adhesive patch at the tip allows this reptile to stick to surfaces such as branches and other physical objects.
Also, your cresties tail can coil. This means it can hold on to objects to support the gecko’s weight when the animal reaches out for something.
This is referred to as prehensile ability, and is common in some animals, such as monkeys. Some keepers prefer to handle their cresties using the prehensile ability, for there are little chances of harming this animal if dealt with this way.
When a crested gecko uses its tail to hold on to objects, it achieves the right balance to maneuver its body from one branch to another.
The cresties use their prehensile ability to jump through the foliage.
However, because of some reason, crested geckos drop their tails. A wild gecko is more likely to lose its tails than a tame one.
This is because wild geckos likely go through more perils than those in our homes.
Why Do Crested Geckos Drop Their Tail?
The process of a crested gecko losing its tail is known as autonomy. Cresties don’t lose much when they drop their tail.
Most wild cresties will likely lose their tail by the time they reach adulthood. Unlike a leopard gecko’s tail which stores fat and water, a crested gecko’s tail does not have such a special function.
It is believed that tails in grown-up cresties are more of a liability than an asset. As such, the more a crestie finds itself in threatening situations, the more it is likely to lose its tail.
Your crested gecko pet can do just fine without it.
In case you find your crested gecko without a tail, there are a number of reasons this could have happened.
Let’s have a glimpse at the most common ones.
Response to Physical Attack
Left to their own devices, crested geckos have many enemies. For example, cresties in the wild are easy prey to many predators.
These reptiles have to be constantly on the lookout for threats.
When confronted with a formidable threat, animals typically react in one of three ways: fight, freeze, or flight.
Crested geckos are more likely to flee that pick than freeze or fight. To successfully flee an enemy, a crestie will drop its tail to escape the threat.
One, the tail keeps wiggling for some time once it is dropped. This will likely keep the predator occupied while the crestie flees to safety.
This can be seen as a case of the crestie sacrificing its tail to save its own life.
Crested geckos can actually drop their tail even before they see the enemy. The mere sound of an approaching predator is enough to convince the crestie to cut off its tail.
This appendage is left wiggling rapidly as the gecko dashes to safety. Finally, the rapid movement of the tail draws the predator’s attention away, leaving the reptile safe and free.
When a crested gecko drops its tail in this manner, this is a normal reaction to an external situation. It is part of what cresties have evolved to do, and it should not worry you in any way.
However, if your crested gecko drops its tail for any other reason (apart from escaping danger), you need to be concerned.
Crested geckos are naturally skittish. So don’t expect a new crested gecko to comfortably nestle in your hands.
If it were up to them, cresties would rather not be handled at all.
Your crested gecko may drop its tail if you are too eager to handle him before he fully acclimates. This is why you need to give a new crestie time to settle down before attempting to hold him.
Allow him the time to get used to his enclosure and the environment; let him feel at home.
A good number of cresties lose their tails to poor handling. For example, suppose you don’t support your gecko’s weight well. In that case, he may drop his tail to compensate for any imbalances.
Your crestie may also drop its tail if it perceives you as a threat in any way.
Response to Stress
A crested gecko may drop its tail due to stress. Think of it this way: human beings can lose their hair or skin elasticity due to stress.
As such, an animal losing an aspect of its anatomy due to stress is not uncommon. Although your crestie can live quite comfortably without its tail, you should prevent this from happening.
This is because a whole crestie, with all body parts intact, could be more aesthetically appealing than one with deformities.
The good news is that you can mitigate your gecko’s stress. By controlling this reptile’s environment, you can ensure that his life is well-adjusted and stress-free.
Elevated stress levels in your crestie do not just happen; they come from somewhere. Keep your eyes open to avert stress before it affects your pet.
Here’s a look at possible causes of stress in crested geckos.
Disease and Illnesses
Illnesses affect all living things negatively. So although crested geckos don’t always drop their tails when they’re sick, this does happen sometimes.
This is more so if the disease is so severe that it takes its toll on the reptile’s body. The crestie may be too weakened and fatigued to feel that the tail has become a burden.
When lethargy sets in, your crested gecko may drop its tail as a way of shedding off what it perceives to be excess weight.
A proper diet is fundamental to any animal’s growth and general wellbeing. Therefore, your crested gecko should be fed the right food at the correct intervals.
If this does not happen, your crestie becomes stressed and may react in a number of ways, including dropping its tail.
Poor Sleep Cycle
The crested gecko should be exposed to a proper day-night cycle as it would enjoy in the wild. If this is altered because of poor lighting, the animal may get stressed and lose its tail.
In setting up and operating the enclosures lighting system, always remember that your crestie is a nocturnal animal, and prefers to do certain activities in the dark.
Set a system that takes into account your pet’s nigh-day cycle requirements.
Improper Temperature and Humidity Levels
You need to get your crested gecko’s temperature and humidity calibrations right to save it from stress and dehydration.
Your crestie prefers a high-temperature, high-humidity environment. However, ensure these levels are not too high, so the reptile suffers dehydration.
The setup should provide for both a hot zone and a cool zone.
Tail Drop Due to Injuries
If your crested gecko gets injured, the shock could be enough to make it drop its tail. Although cresties can be trained to be handling, they often get jumpy and may get injured.
An unlucky crestie may fall off your hand and get injured. The force of falling from a height and hitting the floor is enough to make your gecko lose its tail.
In some cases, a tail loss may happen as you try to pick the pet from the floor. This is because the crestie comes to associate your hand with falling and hitting the floor.
To minimize this from happening, the crested gecko drops its tail in a bid to make himself lighter.
At the same time, crested geckos may injure each other during fights. This is another reason you may find your pet tailless.
Avoid keeping two or more antagonistic geckos (especially males) together. They may get involved in nasty fights and cut each other’s tails off.
If your crested gecko gets injured on the tail. It will just drop the tail without much ado.
Stuck Shed on the Tail
A stuck shed on the tail or the lower part of the body can be quite irritating to a crested gecko. Although your crestie is unlikely to drop its tail over this, it still does happen.
A severe stuck shed forces your crested gecko to try all means to eliminate this irritant. If the shed is on the tail or lower body, the crestie drops off the tail as the ultimate solution.
You’ll realize your pet is about to do this when you catch him scratching his body against rough and humid surfaces.
Don’t worry, though. Cresties are rarely bothered when they lose their tail in this manner.
Some gecko owners report that cresties seem more relieved that they have shed the irritating skin, and are not bothered by the tail loss.
Does It Hurt My Crestie to Drop Its Tail?
The good news is that your crested gecko does not hurt by dropping its tail. This is something inconsequential, and will not change your gecko’s routine one bit.
Maybe, the only need you need to be concerned about is taking care of the wound until it hardens.
The tails of crested geckos are designed in such a way that they have a fracture point. Your crestie drops off its tail from this point with minimal fuss.
The tail easily comes off with just a little pressure on this point. There’s no bone fracture or much bleeding involved in the process.
The tail comes off clean and neat, and the slight bleeding you may see soon stops.
Do Crested Gecko Tails Grow Back?
Unlike the tails of some geckos, crested gecko tails do not grow back once they’re dropped. Actually, it is common to see many tailless adult geckos in the wild.
Crested geckos have evolved so they can live comfortably without their tails. In place of their tail is a stub that gives the gecko’s body the shape of a frog butt.
The good news is that with or without a tail, your crested gecko’s life continues unhindered. You just need to ensure that the fresh wound does not get infected, as this may give rise to medical issues.
The wound should also not be such a big problem because it heals after a few days.
Your crested gecko quickly adjusts to a life without a tail, and you soon realize they have not lost something of much significance to them.
Do Crested Geckos Eat Their Dropped Tails?
If you look at the circumstances that make your crestie drop its tail, you’ll realize this reptile cannot eat its tail.
For example, if the crested gecko drops its tail to escape an enemy, it will not stick around to see what the enemy does with the tail.
This means the reptile will not have the chance to eat its tail, even if it wanted.
Also, if the crestie drops its tail because the reptile feels too weak and fatigued, where will the energy to feed on the tail come from?
A crested gecko eating its tail would beat the purpose of dropping the tail in the first place.
However, other cresties in the same enclosure may eat a fellow reptile’s tail.
If your crested gecko drops its tail and you don’t find it, the most likely explanation is that this tail has been eaten by other cresties.
There are no recorded reports from owners of a crestie that has eaten its own tail.
All the same, a crestie tail should not be eaten by other cresties as it could lead to impaction and other digestive complications.
How to Handle Your Crested Gecko Dropping Its Tail
#1 – Stay Calm
It would be a mistake to panic in this situation as you’re likely to make blunders. Instead, stay calm as you look for the appendage.
If you don’t see it in your crested gecko’s immediate vicinity, it’s likely to be somewhere in the enclosure.
Look for it and dispose of it responsibly. Dropped crested geckos should not be left in the enclosure as they can attract parasites.
They could also be eaten by other geckos, causing a myriad of digestive challenges.
#2 – Don’t Handle Your Gecko
Maybe your first instinct will be to hold your pet, hug him, and caress him. Well, avoid this temptation, as it’s likely to do more harm than good.
Leave your beloved pet alone for up to 2 weeks to heal and recover from the loss of the tail.
#3 – Relocate Your Crestie
To give your crested gecko time to heal, separate it from other geckos. You wouldn’t want anything untoward happening and hurting your pet further.
Keep your crestie safe and well-protected until the wound fully heals. Keep an eye out for parasites and other unwanted elements that can cause infection.
#4 – Don’t Disturb the Wound
Your crested gecko’s wound will heal if you leave it alone. Don’t disturb it. Touching it or exposing it to dirt may cause infections.
Keep an eye out for inflammation or pus formation, as these spell danger.
#5 – Talk to Your Vet
In case anything you’re not sure of happens to your crested gecko, consult your vet. Do not listen to anyone telling you to add anything to your gecko’s wound unless your vet Okays it.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is leave the wound alone and let it heal by itself.
When to Force a Tail Drop in Crested Geckos
A situation may arise when you force your crested gecko to drop its tail. Usually, you do this to improve your pet’s quality and overall health.
When it comes to this, don’t forcefully remove the tail. Instead, ask your vet to do it for you.
Here are some instances when forcing your gecko to drop its tails is the best option.
If It’s Necrotic
A necrotic tail is one that won’t heal. Making your crested gecko keep this tail is torture. Why should your pet maintain a decaying, non-functional tail that is likely to compromise his health?
Call a professional to help you get rid of this tail before it worsens the situation.
Floppy Tail Syndrome
Your crested gecko’s tail becomes weak and floppy as a sign of calcium deficiency. It means that your gecko’s structural performance has been compromised.
If your gecko keeps a floppy tail, this reptile will start sleeping at an awkward angle, and may get injured.
Also, a floppy tail may cause a female gecko to experience egg binding. In this situation, this reptile is unable to lay an egg properly.
In these cases, getting rid of the tail is the best option. Also, ensure that the cause of the problem is addressed from the root.
This problem occurs when crested geckos fight amongst themselves, and the tail is injured. Usually, this is not such a serious problem.
However, suppose it impedes your pet’s movement or curtails his other activities. In that case, you may have no option but to cut off the tail.
How Can I Prevent Tail Loss in My Crested Gecko?
If your crested gecko decides to drop its tail, there’s nothing much you can do about it.
The regularity with which crested geckos drop their tails makes some people think that cresties don’t need any reason to do this.
However, as shown earlier, crested geckos drop their tails for reasons – even if some of these reasons sound too mundane to us.
This is probably because dropping a tail is no big deal to your gecko – it is as mundane as walking.
You can also mitigate your gecko from dropping its tail due to stressors.
For starters, allow your crested gecko to adjust to the enclosure when he comes into your home for the first time.
Don’t be overly enthusiastic about handling him.
At the same time, make the living conditions in the enclosure conducive for your pet. For example, avoid making any loud noises or sudden movements around the tank.
Take care of your crestie’s temperature and humidity needs, and ensure the enclosure has adequate cool and warm zones.
Avoid keeping antagonistic cresties in the same tank. For example, don’t put two males in the same enclosure, as they constantly fight for mating rights and resources.
Handle your gecko with care. You’d not want to do anything that can cause him physical harm. Cresties are known to drop their tails because of poor handling and falling from heights.
If your crested gecko is outside the tank and starts wiggling its tail, it means this reptile feels threatened. Take him back to his familiar enclosure’s relative safety and assurance as fast as possible.
Wiggling the tail signifies that your gecko is about to drop it.
Does a Tailless Crested Gecko Become Useless?
When a crested gecko loses its tail, it is commonly referred to as a frog butt. If your pet loses its tail, it doesn’t become any less the crested gecko that has been dear to you.
This reptile may experience a few problems trying to get the right balance in movement and climbing. Still, it soon gets the hang of living without a tail.
The quality of your crested gecko’s life is not compromised by the loss of a tail. On the contrary, your crestie lives a normal life as if nothing has happened to his life.
A crested gecko without a tail will do everything a complete gecko can. For example, it will breed as well as any other crestie.
Although some keepers prefer completely intact geckos, there’s no reason you should discard your crestie just because it doesn’t have a tail.
The only challenge you may have to contend with is finding a new home for your gecko. Most first-time keepers prefer their cresties intact – with all body parts present.
How to Handle Tail Injuries in Crested Geckos
If your crested geckos are living in the same tank, they are likely to cause injuries to each other. This may happen when the more skittish juveniles are playing or in the case of aggressive adults.
It’s common for crested geckos’ tails to be injured when these animals are together. Your gecko’s tail can also be injured when the reptile falls from a height.
Its tail can also be caught in the tank lid, causing injuries.
In some cases, the injured tail becomes diseased and starts decaying. The tissue may die off, and the tail eventually falls off.
It is not absolutely necessary that you apply treatment to your crested gecko’s tail when it gets injured.
However, do not hesitate to consult your vet whenever you’re in doubt. For example, talk to your vet when the tail looks sickly; the vet will give your pet some medication to prevent an infection.
Ensure that the conditions in the enclosure are optimum. The temperature, humidity, and cleanliness should be maintained to the highest standards possible.
A crested gecko with a freshly injured tail can be susceptible to opportunistic infections if special care is not taken.
Crested Geckos Dropping Their Tails: Quick Facts
- Crested geckos cannot re-grow their tails when they drop them. This is a deviation from what happens with other geckos. Crested geckos stay tailless for the rest of their lives once their tails are gone.
- Crested gecko’s tail breaks off at a fracture point to drop. This means your crestie does not feel any pain when it drops its tail. The process is hassle-free, and the reptile goes about its activities normally.
- Dropping the tail does not compromise your crested gecko’s quality of life.
- Crested geckos can drop their tail out of sheer fright. For example, a loud noise or sudden environmental change can frighten your crestie enough to drop its tail.
- Captive crested geckos mostly drop their tails because of tail kinks. These are injuries cresties get in the enclosure due to fighting or other activities.
- Crested gecko’s willingly drop their tails as a defense mechanism, when they need to escape an enemy.
- A crested gecko’s tail wiggle’s violently after being dropped. This aids in the gecko’s escape if it quickly needs to get away from a predator.
Your crested gecko can drop its tail for any number of reasons, such as the ones highlighted in this article.
Unlike other geckos, your crested gecko’s tail does not grow back when it drops. However, this is okay because your crestie can live a healthy life without this appendage.
You don’t have absolute control over whether your gecko can or cannot drop its tail. However, you can do a few things to minimize the chances of your gecko losing its tail due to stress factors.
Chief among these is ensuring good nutrition, correct handling, and proper living conditions for your beloved pet.