Why Is My Crested Gecko Pale?

Is your Crested Gecko constantly changing color? Do you find your Gecko turning pale for no apparent reason? This is a strange behavior that often leaves new-time owners puzzled. Should you worry about it, and can you fix this in any way?

Keep reading to find out! In this article, I’ll cover the common causes of Crested Geckos turning pale. I’ll also provide some tips to handle the situation if necessary. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Reasons Why Crested Geckos Turn Pale

Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, I should mention that Geckos turning pale is completely normal in most cases. The most worrisome color changes would include your Gecko turning black or developing black splotches on its limbs and toes. This is a sign of necrosis or bacterial infection.

Geckos turning pale is usually a natural response to environmental factors. Sometimes, it’s an early sign of shedding. Paleness can also be related to your Crested Gecko’s mood, age, and diet. Let’s take a closer look at these factors, one by one:

– Shedding

Shedding is a completely natural process that happens in Geckos. It’s necessary for skin health and skin cell renewal. A juvenile Gecko might shed up to twice a month. Older Geckos shed every four to eight weeks.

A couple of days before shedding begins, your Crested Gecko’s skin will change coloration. The old skin layer becomes dull and pale, maybe even grey. This is completely normal. The skin layer is no longer receiving oxygen and nutrients, so it loses its color.

Once the Gecko finished shedding, its new skin should appear bright and colorful. The entire shedding process should take somewhere between 15-30 minutes. After that, your pet will turn back to normal.

– Mood (firing up vs firing down)

Mood also has a strong impact on your Gecko’s appearance. As you might know, Cresties can “fire up” when it feels strong emotions. In their fired-up state, Cresties’ colors appear deeper and darker.

When your Gecko fires up, it’s a sign that your pet is either stressed, scared, agitated, or very excited. Cresties also fire up in the evening when they wake up to seize the day (or night, in this case).

In contrast, a calm and relaxed Crestie will be “fired down”. In this state, your Gecko’s colors are duller and lighter. Your Gecko will appear pale when compared to its usual fired-up state. Many first-time Gecko owners freak out when this sudden color change occurs.

Don’t worry! This is completely normal. It’s actually a very good sign. If your Gecko is constantly fired down, it means you’re doing a good job. Your pet is relaxed and content with its home and surroundings. Crested Geckos will also appear paler throughout the day when they chill and sleep.

– Environmental Influences

The environment also plays a huge role in your pet’s appearance and behavior. Different factors can make your Gecko fire up or down. The most important things that can influence your Crestie’s coloration include light exposure, temperature, and humidity. Let’s cover them one by one!

  • Light Exposure

Crested Geckos are naturally nocturnal. During the day, they’ll usually hide and lie dormant. They emerge in the late evening to start their activity for the night. Activity levels also go hand-in-hand with their skin coloration.

When Geckos are sleeping and relaxing, they fire down and thus look pale. An active and energetic Gecko will sport more intense colors. That’s where light exposure plays a role. Excessive or not enough light exposure will affect your pet’s day and night rhythm. This might lead to skittishness, drowsiness, or lethargy.

Under constant light exposure, your Gecko will be less active and constantly fired down. The opposite is true for not enough light exposure. Ideally, your Crestie should receive around six hours of UVB light per day.

  • Temperature

Temperature can influence your Gecko’s coloration in multiple ways. Unstable temperatures might shock your pet and cause stress. Under prolonged stress, Geckos start firing up and showing their deep colors. This is a common stress response in Cresties.

Different temperature ranges will also influence your pet’s metabolism and behavior. In the wild, Geckos enter hibernation when temperatures drop too low. A colder temperature will decrease your Crestie’s metabolism and make your pet lower its energy output. This results in paler coloration.

On the flip side, when the temperatures are high, your Gecko becomes excited and active. Crested Geckos are most likely to fire up in this state. Temperatures that are too high will make your Gecko uncomfortable and increase stress levels. This also leads to the Gecko firing up.

The ideal temperature range for Cresties is 72-78°F. Temperatures in the 60s will lead to lower activity levels and lower metabolism. Anything higher than 82°F can lead to overheating and stress.

  • Humidity

Rapid fluctuations in humidity or improper humidity levels also play a role in your Crestie’s skin color. The most common problem is usually low humidity. Ideally, Crested Geckos need a humidity level between 60-80%. The humidity should be closer to 80% during shedding.

If the humidity drops below 60% for too long, your Gecko’s skin will become dry and withered. The color might become less intense and even take an ashy tone. In this case, that’s a sign the skin is dehydrated.

Low humidity levels will also impact shedding. Under low humidity conditions, your Gecko might stop shedding halfway through the process, or get stuck in its shed. If you see portions of pale, dry skin, these are parts of the shed still clinging to your pet.

– Aging

Oftentimes, skin color changes are just a natural part of a Gecko’s life cycle. Your Gecko’s skin color will progressively fade with age. This process starts right after the hatchling leaves the egg! When born, Crested Geckos sport their deepest and most intense colors.

For example, most Crestie morphs are born deep red or bright orange. As they grow, the colors fade to a lighter, less intense shade, usually a pale or earthy orange. You’ll never know the final look of your Gecko until it reaches adulthood. The colors will keep changing until your pet is up to 12 months old.

The changes will continue as your Gecko ages, but the progression will be slower. It’s common for old Crested Geckos to appear paler than the young adults. Turns out, even lizards start greying with age! Jokes aside, this gradual loss of color is natural and healthy.

– Diet

Finally, the food your Gecko eats (or doesn’t eat) can also have an impact on the skin. An incomplete diet will lead to nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can affect everything in your Crestie’s body, including the skin. Nutritional deficiencies might also lead to stress and lethargy.

Insufficient vitamins, minerals, essential fats, and protein will lead to dry, sensitive skin. The skin might appear paler than usual and the colors will become dull and ashy. A lot of vitamin deficiencies can affect the skin.

The most common culprits for pallor and dry skin include vitamin A, vitamin C, B-vitamins, and iron. It’s crucial to feed your Crested Gecko a diverse, balanced diet to help it meet all its nutritional needs. A proper diet includes supplement formula, gut-loaded and dusted insects, and a variety of soft fruits.

Conclusion

Crested Geckos change color constantly. A Crestie turning pale is usually just a natural response to environmental cues like light, temperature, or certain stressors. If your pet doesn’t exhibit other strange behaviors, sudden pallor might be either a sign of shedding or firing down.

Crested Geckos also lose some of their color as they age. Juveniles sport more intense colors. As the Gecko reaches adulthood, it will appear lighter in color. Older Geckos are also paler than young adults.

If your Gecko exhibits other behaviors such as lethargy or skittishness, the pallor might be a sign of an underlying issue. Most commonly, it’s related to nutritional deficiencies, a disrupted day and night cycle, or improper enclosure parameters.

Crested Geckos   Updated: June 16, 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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