Like most lizards, crested geckos shed their skin regularly. The shedding process is a natural part of reptile’s life cycle and is required for them to continue growing properly.
Baby crested geckos shed most often, about once per week. Once they become juveniles, they shed every 2 weeks. Adults shed the least often, every 2-4 weeks. You may not see them shed, however, because they usually shed at night and are done within 15-20 minutes.
To learn more about the shedding process of the crested gecko, read on.
Crested geckos shed by eating the old layer of skin to reveal the new one underneath. It begins the process by licking off the loose skin from its snout. It then slowly starts chewing the skin off of other parts of the body.
Younger geckos shed more often than older geckos because they are still growing. Baby geckos shed the most, as they are growing the fastest. The average baby gecko will shed at least once a week, while their juvenile counterparts usually operate on a twice-a-month schedule.
|Age||How Often They Shed|
|Juvenile||Every 2 Weeks|
|Adult||Every 2-4 Weeks|
Keep in mind that a crested gecko requires proper hydration and humidity to shed entirely.
Without these things, part of your crested gecko’s shed skin will get stuck – which can result in potential health problems.
As such, it’s necessary to keep tabs on your reptile pet to ensure it has adequately shed its skin.
In particular, you need to vigilantly monitor the areas of your gecko’s body that may restrict its blood flow due to improper and incomplete molting. If bits of skin cling to your gecko’s tail and toe areas, the resulting loss of blood flow might cause the tail tip, toes, and sometimes the entire foot to fall off.
Improper shedding most often occurs in young geckos, as juveniles and hatchlings can dry out quickly if they don’t get sufficient moisture.
Fortunately, you can help your gecko in the shedding process. If you find bits of skin stuck over the sensitive areas on your gecko’s body, you can use a pair of tweezers to remove it.
To make shedding a less painful process for your little reptile, try to soak it in a wet towel or a shallow container of water for at least half an hour. The water will soften the skin and make it easier for your gecko to remove. If you do place your gecko in water, check in on them every thirty minutes to see if the skin is soft yet.
Never try to remove the skin forcefully, as it may damage the inner layers of the gecko’s body. Always use the pair of tweezers to remove it gently.
If you’d like to go above and beyond in giving your gecko an easy molt, you can mist its enclosure every night. The constant low level of moisture will assist with the shedding process. If you do this, make sure to let your gecko dry out in the daytime.
If you find constant your gecko is experiencing incomplete skin sheds, misting your gecko twice or thrice a month is a good idea. You may also change your gecko’s substrate into a substance that is more moisture-absorbent, such as coconut husking or peat, to provide higher ambient humidity.
As mentioned earlier, shedding is an integral part of a gecko’s life cycle. Here are the main reasons they evolved to routinely slough off their skin:
- The main purpose of shedding is to allow the gecko to grow larger.
- Shedding also gets rid of parasites that may have infested the upper layers of the skin.
Disecdysis is a term that refers to incomplete shedding of the crested gecko.
In general, geckos suffer from incomplete shedding due to inadequate/low humidity.
You can overcome this problem by misting their enclosure regularly. You can also invest in an automated misting machine, such as the MistKing, to keep your crested gecko’s enclosure at the right humidity all day.
Abnormal shedding can also be indicative of certain infections in crested geckos. If your gecko is suffering from infectious diseases like septicemia, internal parasites, or ophidian paramyxovirus, it may exhibit issues with shedding poorly.
Poor diets, specifically those deficient in vitamin A, may also cause abnormal shedding.
Timing when your gecko will shed becomes easy when you know the signs of shedding. Some of the typical symptoms of shedding in the crested gecko include:
- Duller skin color
- Reduced activity level
- Squinting (if the gecko is shedding eyelid skin)
In addition to these symptoms, the skin of a gecko usually gets dry before the shedding process starts. The dried skin is generally duller in color compared to the skin of surrounding parts.
In reptiles that have highly textured skin such as cobras or bearded dragons, the dull color is not even noticeable. Crested geckos have less textured skin though, so it’s easier to tell when they are about to molt.
How to Help Your Gecko Shed
Shedding is a stressful process for all lizards, including crested geckos.
Fortunately, several techniques can help your pet get through the shedding process.
First of all, make sure that your gecko feels secure during the shedding time. You can provide a sense of security by giving it a quiet and dark place where it feels safe. There should also be a barrier or a screen in front of gecko’s enclosure if you keep it in a busy room.
Your gecko needs high humidity to remove its dry and dead skin. The higher the moisture level is, the faster the shedding process will be. If gecko does not receive sufficient moisture, its skin gets dried too quickly and adhered to the body.
Because of this, increasing the humidity in your gecko’s closure is of paramount importance. To help increase humidity, leave a moist box with a wet towel in the enclosure. Your gecko will likely seek it out and lay in it to speed up the shedding process.
If your crested gecko can’t complete his shed all the way, it’s important for you to step in and help him.
If shed skin isn’t completely removed, it can cut off the blood flow to your crested gecko’s extremities. This usually happens on toes and tails, which will turn black and then fall off.
While this usually isn’t life threatening, it’s something that is easily avoided.
Do the following to help soften the shed skin:
- Soak some paper towels in warm water, and put them in a container large enough for them and your gecko to fit in. (That has air holes.)
- Put your crested gecko in.
- Wait for 20 minutes.
- Using q-tips, brush away the shed skin that you can.
- If you’re not able to get it all, you can go back to step 2 and try again.
- Any shed that can’t be removed with q-tips should be gently removed with tweezers.
It’s important to be careful with the last step, as you could easily hurt your gecko by trying to remove stuck shed that doesn’t want to come off.
You might have noticed your gecko doesn’t eat as much when it sheds. This is normal; many geckos only eat once every three to five days when they are shedding.
If your gecko is shedding, it’s a good idea to remove food from its enclosure. Live food in the tank, such as crickets, waxworms, and mealworms, may irritate the newly revealed sensitive skin. Dead food or leftover food is also home to breeding bacteria, which can make your gecko sick during this vulnerable time.
Once your gecko completes the shedding process, you may resume its regular feeding routine.
The shedding cycle of gecko is a normal part of its life span, and the timing of it depends upon the season and how old the gecko is.
Young geckos frequently shed, as they are growing at a rapid pace rapidly. Adult geckos only shed once or twice a month, as their growth process has slowed down.
Geckos require proper humidity, temperature, and diet to shed healthily and safely. Some symptoms may appear just before the skin starts peeling off, and can help you figure out when the process is about to begin.