Why Is My Crested Gecko Not Moving?

Is your Crested Gecko not moving as much anymore? Lack of activity can be an early sign of something going wrong.

But don’t panic just yet! Sometimes, the leading cause of inactivity is something benign and easily treated, like low-grade stress or dehydration.

However, in other cases, the underlying issue might be more serious. That’s why it’s important to learn to distinguish between the different causes of lethargy.

I’ll teach you exactly this in today’s article. I’ll cover everything you need to know, including the leading causes and signs of sickness, and ways to prevent them.

6 Causes of Crested Gecko’s Inactivity

Crested Geckos are naturally energetic and curious. When they become inactive and lethargic, that’s a sign something might be wrong.  Now, there are multiple possible causes for this sudden inactivity.

An inactive Gecko might be dealing with one or more of the following:

  • Environmental stressors
  • New home shock
  • Improper handling
  • Shedding
  • Dehydration
  • Illness

Let’s take them one by one for a more detailed look:

– Environmental Stressors

Prolonged exposure to environmental stressors will cause lethargy, which then leads to inactivity. Your pet might be mentally exhausted, so it tries to preserve its energy.

Environmental stressors include anything related to your Gecko’s enclosure and feeding routine. Anything from improper terrarium sizing, suboptimal parameters, poor diet, and even lack of enrichment can lead to stress.

The enclosure might be too large or too small for your Gecko. If the Gecko’s terrarium is too large, your pet might just feel intimidated.

The extra space makes it harder for the Crested Gecko to locate its food or map out its surroundings.

The Gecko can’t tell whether there are predators to look out for. It’s not difficult to imagine how being wary of your surroundings all the time can cause unnecessary stress.

An enclosure that’s too small is most likely also improperly decorated. This issue goes hand-in-hand with lack of enrichment. If the space is smaller than 20 gallons, there’s not enough room for your gecko, the decorations, and the food and water bowls.

Your pet has no room to move around freely, so why move at all?

Lack of enrichment can also cause stress and boredom in Geckos. If their environment doesn’t provide any opportunities for climbing, hiding, hunting, and exploring, your pet will feel more like a captive prisoner, instead of feeling at home.

Improper parameters such as too high temperature, too high or too low humidity, and excessive light exposure can also negatively impact your Crestie.

Any Amphibian and Reptile care guide comes with optimal parameter levels. That’s for a good reason.

When the temperature, humidity, or light exposure falls out of the ideal range, this can cause a lot of harm for your pet.

Improper parameters can lead to stress, lack of appetite, lethargy, disrupted sleep cycles, and increased risk of infections.

Poor diet leads to nutritional deficiencies, lack of appetite, unintended weight loss, or weight gain. These issues will impact your Gecko’s energy levels for the worse.

If left untreated for too long, nutritional deficiencies might even lead to bone loss, shaky movement, paralysis, and even death.

– New Home Shock

New home shock is also another source of stress for Geckos. This happens if you’ve just brought your Crestie home, or recently moved it to a different enclosure.

Your Gecko might just need some time to observe and adapt to its new environment.

In the meantime, it will be skittish and spend most of its time hiding or lying around. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for your pet to feel comfortable moving around and exploring.

– Improper Handling

Yet another stressor for your Gecko is improper handling. Handling your Gecko too often or too roughly will make it scared and reserved.

Your Gecko might refuse to move, or it will spend more time hiding.

– Shedding

Shedding is another possible cause of lethargic behavior. However, unlike other factors on the list, shedding is both normal and healthy for your Gecko.

Shedding is necessary for the renewal of healthy skin cells. However, the signs of shedding are pretty worrisome if you’ve never seen a Gecko shed before.

Shedding can happen up to twice a month, and it’s characterized by dull skin, low appetite, and sluggishness.

The Crestie’s behavior changes a few days before shedding starts. The process itself might take just a few minutes.

– Dehydration

Dehydration might also cause exhaustion and lack of activity. This condition affects everything from the brain, kidneys, heart, and even the skin.

Outward signs of dehydration in Geckos include dry, wrinkled skin, sunken eyes, and protruding ribs. If your pet’s tiredness coincides with these symptoms, a lack of moisture is the most probable culprit.

– Illness

Finally, lack of movement might sometimes be a sign of something more serious. Many possible illnesses can sap your Crested Gecko’s energy. Tiredness and lethargy are very common symptoms in a lot of afflictions.

The most common health issues you might encounter in Geckos include infections, MBD (metabolic bone disease), dysecdysis (abnormal shedding), and nutritional deficiencies.

Consult a vet immediately if your Crestie’s lethargy coincides with any of the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss and lack of appetite
  • Shed skin stuck on limbs and extremities
  • Abnormal stools or lack of stools
  • Abnormal swelling (abdomen, eyes, limbs)
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Skeletal abnormalities (wavy tail, bowed legs, arched spine, bumps on legs)

How to Tell If My Crested Gecko Is in Pain or Suffering?

Geckos and reptiles can feel pain just like mammals do. They have the anatomy and the neurotransmitters needed to feel pain signals.

However, unlike other animals, a Gecko’s pain response is harder to decipher.

Geckos can’t cry and weep. Still, some signs will help you tell if your Crestie’s in pain:

  • Lethargy and lack of movement
  • Refusal of food
  • Increased thirst
  • Unusual gait and/or poor posture
  • Agitation, getting easily startled
  • Keeping eyelids closed for prolonged periods
  • Body wasting (cachexia)
  • Hiding and seeking isolation
  • Aggression (biting, jumping at glass)
  • Heavy or quick breathing
  • Aggressive posture (mouth wide open) when approached
  • Clicking sounds
  • Barking

If your Gecko exhibits one or more of these signs, it means your pet is uncomfortable or suffering.

Keep an eye on your Crestie and make sure their enclosure, parameters, and diet are all in check. It’s also a good idea to check with a vet.

How to Tell If My Crested Gecko Is Dying?

If your Gecko’s health problems go untreated for too long, this might cause irreversible damage and even death.

Again, Geckos can’t cry or communicate feelings of pain. The easiest way to tell if your Gecko is sick or dying is by looking at its bodily cues and behavioral changes.

Here are some of the most common signs that your Crested Gecko is dying:

  • Lethargy and lack of movement
  • Extreme weight loss and wasting
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of droppings
  • Signs of MBD (trembling, deformed limbs and tail, limping, softening of the jaw)
  • Gecko sitting exclusively in the cold or warm side of the terrarium

To be clear, these symptoms aren’t the direct cause of death. These are just signs of serious underlying issues that cause the disease and death of Geckos.

Lethargy, weight loss, lack of droppings, and sunken eyes, for example, can be signs of poor diet, infections, parasites, and other underlying illnesses.

Lethargy, sunken eyes, and poor appetite might also be due to dehydration. MBD is strongly connected to poor diet and nutritional deficiencies, especially calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D3.

Severe MBD is hard to treat and usually leads to a slow and painful death.

If your Crestie only sits in the cold or the warm part of the enclosure, this is a sign of worrisome metabolic changes.

Remember, cold-blooded creatures like Geckos use their environment to regulate their body temperature.

Baskin too much, or not at all, means your Gecko has lost its internal temperature-regulation cues. This usually happens due to serious infections or the metabolism slowly shutting down.

What Should I Do If My Crested Gecko Appears to Be Ill or Injured?

I always say it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your Gecko is suddenly acting weird or exhibits any of the symptoms I’ve covered, take it to a vet immediately!

You want an expert’s opinion before you do anything else. You don’t want to treat a non-existing issue and let other hidden problems progress.

Your vet might give you a specialized treatment, depending on your Gecko’s health issues. Antibiotics and nutritional supplements are the most common forms of medication.

These are used to treat infections, malnutrition, deficiencies, and even mild cases of MBD.

Getting on top of your Crestie’s care is also necessary both before and after the vet visit. Ensure that the terrarium is properly and regularly cleaned. Keep the temperature, humidity, and light exposure within optimal levels.

Feed your Gecko a balanced, nutritious diet consisting of insects, soft fruits, and supplement powder.

How to Keep Your Crested Gecko Healthy?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than treatment. Ideally, you’ll want to do everything within your power to keep your Crestie from getting sick. The following tips will help with that.

These tips can also improve your Gecko’s condition once your pet gets sick, so it’s never too late to apply this info.

Here are the best ways to keep your Crestie healthy and happy:

  1. Keep the enclosure parameters within the ideal range (72-80°F, 60-80% humidity, and 6h of 5% UVB exposure a day).
  2. Only feed gut-loaded and dusted insects to ensure proper nutrient intake.
  3. Don’t forget to give your pet plenty of water to drink.
  4. Provide a varied diet by alternating between different insects and fruits.
  5. Maintain a regular feeding schedule (feed your gecko once every other day).
  6. Keep the enclosure tidy— remove all droppings and uneaten food daily.
  7. Thoroughly clean the enclosure at least once a month (clean or replace the substrate; scrub the walls and decorations with hot water and soap).
  8. Provide enrichment (hiding spots, climbing logs, leaves, vines, soft and natural-looking substrate for burrowing).
  9. Provide a calm, relaxing environment (reduced noise levels, not too much light exposure).
  10. Treat and handle your Gecko gently. Back off when your pet becomes agitated.
  11. Take your Gecko to regular vet check-ups.

Conclusion

Lack of movement is a common symptom with many possible underlying causes. If your Gecko appears lazy and lethargic, it might be due to a myriad of causes.

The most common reasons include stress, dehydration, shedding, or illness.

Preventing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach, including proper nutrition, proper environment (enrichment, hygiene, suitable enclosure parameters), and stress-reduction strategies.

If lethargy coincides with other worrying symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.

Some symptoms to watch out for include lack of appetite, weight loss, sunken eyes, agitation, seeking isolation, unusual gait, trembling, limb deformities, aggression, and abnormal or lack of droppings.

Crested Geckos   Reptiles   Updated: June 20, 2022
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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