Crested Gecko Poop – All You Need to Know
If you’ve never owned a pet gecko before, you have a lot of catch-ups to do. You need to get acquainted with many things, including diet, environmental conditions, cleaning and maintenance requirements, etc.
Today, though, we will discuss a completely different subject than you might expect, and that’s gecko poop.
You can tell a lot about your gecko’s health state by assessing its feces and pooping behavior. So, let’s get into this delightful topic, shall we?
What Does Crested Gecko Poop Look Like?
You should first learn what normal gecko poop looks like before you can detect the abnormal one. Otherwise, you won’t have a term of comparison.
Your gecko’s normal poop consists of 2 parts. One part is the actual poop which is typically brown and compact. It shouldn’t be rock hard, but shouldn’t be too runny, either.
The ideal consistency is soft but compact, forming a bean-like structure.
The second part is generally white, and this isn’t poop but urate concentrate. In layman’s terms, that’s mineralized pee.
Just like birds, geckos poop and pee through the same opening called a cloaca. They also perform the 2 actions in one, with the pee also taking on a solid form.
You can sometimes notice a bit of liquid pee accompanying the pooping process, but in most cases, there isn’t any.
How Often do Crested Geckos Poop?
A normal, adult, healthy gecko should poop each time it eats. This is approximately 3 times per week. A juvenile gecko may poop as often as daily because it eats daily.
This being said, there are some instances where these timeframes may vary dramatically. For instance, some geckos may poop once or twice per week, which isn’t necessarily a problem. Maybe they have a slower digestive system.
But if your gecko has reached the 5-day mark without pooping, you might want to look into it.
Your gecko may be constipated, compacted (something clogged its intestine due to dehydration or swallowing something hard), or even stressed.
The latter point is especially important, as geckos are notoriously sensitive and shy when changing environments.
So, your gecko might not poop for 1-2 weeks after bringing it home. It also might not eat much during this time either. This isn’t necessarily a problem so long as your gecko looks healthy and the environmental conditions are ideal.
But you should keep an eye on the lizard to make sure it doesn’t develop any health problems along the way.
Most geckos will adapt to their new home fast, especially if they have some good hiding areas to retreat to and collect their thoughts during the day.
Do Crested Geckos Eat Their Poop?
You probably didn’t see this coming, but yes, crested geckos can eat their poop at times.
This can happen due to several reasons, such as:
- Not enough food – If your gecko is starving, poop may find its place on the menu. This is the first thing to look into if your gecko eats its own poop because you want to rectify the problem fast. Poop doesn’t hold any nutritional value for an adult gecko and may hurt the reptile with time.
- Not enough nutrients – Even if your gecko eats enough, maybe the food isn’t as nutritious as it should be. The gecko has no way of telling that, but its body does. So, the gecko will experience the need to eat poop in an attempt to balance its nutrient intake. Of course, this won’t work, but it provides a clear indicator that the reptile’s meal plan needs improvement.
- Baby/juvenile geckos eating poop – This isn’t a common behavior, but it can happen under certain circumstances. Juvenile geckos don’t have fully functional digestive systems yet as, just like all animals, require gut bacteria to function properly. Geckos usually get their gut bacteria from their ecosystem, along with their food, but the process is sometimes slow. If that’s the case, the juvenile gecko may consume some of its mother’s poop to acquire the extra bacteria it needs.
As a closing statement, it’s not normal for geckos to eat their own poop, not even juveniles.
If you notice your geckos exhibiting this behavior, look into it before health problems begin to appear.
Does Crested Gecko Poop Stink?
Yes, your gecko’s poop should have an odor, but this depends on several factors. On the one hand, only fresh and moist poop smells.
The feces will lose their odor once they dry out. On the other hand, the smell and its intensity depend on the reptile’s diet. Insects, in particular, make the poop smell more intense.
You should expect an ammonia-infused odor, similar to that of cat feces, but not as intense.
Why is Crested Gecko Not Pooping?
While there may be many reasons why crested geckos aren’t pooping, we’ll focus on the most common and less obvious ones.
There are several major reasons to mention here:
- Lack of eating – If your gecko doesn’t eat, it has nothing to poop which goes without saying. The problem here is figuring out why your gecko is not eating properly. Maybe it’s shedding, getting ready to lay eggs, or maybe it’s sick or stressed for whatever reason. Your gecko should resume its normal eating and pooping behavior once you figure out and address the problem.
- Constipation and compaction – These issues have multiple causes, including low environmental humidity and insufficient drinking leading to dehydration, parasites, and even swallowing large objects leading to mechanical compaction. Swallowing large insects, food particles, or even rocks by accident can cause compaction.
- Low temperature – Low temperatures affect the gecko’s digestive system, which is already slow by nature. The lower the temperature gets, the less the gecko will eat and poop. However, this is the most insignificant of your problems, as keeping geckos at unnaturally low temperatures can quickly cause more severe health issues.
- Stress – Numerous things can stress your crested gecko, including, but not limited to, changing homes, changing the terrarium’s layout, improper temperature, improper humidity, improper diet, aggressive tankmates (in case there are any), improper or frequent handling, etc. As you can see, pretty much anything can stress a gecko, especially at first when it’s still new to its habitat. This can lead the gecko to refrain from eating and, consequently, pooping. Check my previous article tackling gecko stress to figure out the causes and solutions to employ.
- Illness or parasites – A sick gecko will showcase a low appetite and may even stop pooping altogether. You can usually tell if your gecko is sick if it loses weight, hides too much, doesn’t eat, and showcases fungal growth around the mouth or anus. The entire spectrum of symptoms that the gecko can display vary based on the condition and pathogen involved.
- Shedding – Crested geckos stop eating when shedding. They also stop pooping, which is the normal outcome since pooping is closely related to eating (outstanding information, I know.) Don’t worry, your gecko should resume its normal biological functioning once the shedding process is complete.
- You simply missed it – This can happen, as geckos can sometimes produce small feces that get lost in the scenery. So, you may only think that your gecko isn’t pooping when it actually is. Do your due diligence and search the reptile’s habitat properly before drawing any conclusions.
Everything else being equal, I would say that stress is the most common cause of low pooping frequency.
As I’ve already mentioned, geckos can get stressed for numerous reasons. They can even experience stress if their habitat is too large since it decreases their security and comfort.
Different Types of Crested Gecko Poops and Their Meaning
Today, I will serve as a translator allowing you to understand the language of gecko poop and what it says about your pet lizard.
Geckos can produce a variety of feces, different in consistency and coloring, depending on their physiological state.
So, let’s see what you should expect:
– Normal Poop
As we’ve already discussed, normal gecko poop is generally brown, well-formed, and presents white urate chalk on one side. You may also observe a small pee stain accompanying the feces, but not necessarily.
The poop is normal when soft but compact with a normal brown coloring and a stingy odor when moist.
The smell should go away when the poop is dry. The poop’s size may differ depending on the gecko’s age and size.
Juveniles produce feces the size of a grain of rice, while larger adults can eliminate a coin-sized poop.
– Green Poop
Now we’re getting into the color gradient because geckos can produce feces of different colors, depending on their health issue.
Geckos don’t usually produce green poop, so when they do, you know you have a serious matter on your hands. The presence of green feces signifies a parasitic or bacterial infection.
The culprit is cryptosporidium, in most cases, a parasite responsible for causing cryptosporidiosis, which is a form of aggressive diarrhea.
This pathogen is very difficult to treat due to its adaptability and outer shell with anti-chemical properties. This makes it highly resilient to common disinfectants like chlorine.
It is also highly contagious and ranks as a waterborne parasite, which makes things even more dangerous due to your gecko’s humid environment. Generalized cleaning is necessary to eliminate the parasite and sterilize the enclosure completely.
You cannot treat cryptosporidiosis on your own, so you need to speak to a vet for adequate treatment. Paromomycin is the drug of choice in these cases, which doesn’t cure the condition, but rather kills some of the pathogens, allowing the gecko’s immune system to take over.
Even then, recovery isn’t guaranteed, especially if you only detect the condition in advanced stages.
– Red Poop
Red poop may sound alarming, but this isn’t always the case. If your gecko looks fine and healthy but produces reddish poop, consider its diet as the main culprit.
The red poop often results from consuming red fruits like berries, strawberries, or raspberries. Some gecko owners also gut-load their feeder insects with fish flakes which produce the same effect.
But don’t take your gecko’s red poop for granted because the underlying issue may be more serious than expected.
You can’t tell without some in-depth investigation, so always contact your vet before drawing any conclusion.
Some of the more serious health issues responsible for the poop’s red coloring include internal bleeding, severe compaction, intestinal injuries due to swallowing dangerous objects, injuries around the cloaca, etc.
Your gecko may also have blood in its stool, in which case infections are most likely.
– White and Black Poop
The normal poop coloring for geckos is brown and white. But what about black and white? Fortunately, you have no reason to be alarmed.
The white part is still the urate concentrate, nothing to see here. The black part, though, is nothing more than poop containing the remains of insects like crickets and roaches.
Your gecko’s poop can turn black if you feed it roaches and crickets in larger quantities than other insects.
The poop’s coloring should clear out once you diversify the reptile’s diet and remove some of those insects from its menu.
– Yellow Poop
Some geckos can also produce yellow poop, a color that is often related to the gecko’s diet. Mangos and bananas can produce this coloring when eaten in excess.
But, just as with the red coloring, this color can also suggest an internal infection for which many parasites can be responsible.
Your gecko is most likely dehydrated if the urate chalk is yellow instead of white. So, you need to increase environmental humidity to make sure your gecko is drinking enough water.
You can usually tell if your gecko is dealing with a health problem by assessing its behavior. Contact your vet if your gecko isn’t eating, is hiding too often, and appears aggressive or stressed.
– Runny Poop
Runny poop is probably the most widespread poop problem that geckos will face during their lifetime and among the most difficult to diagnose properly.
Geckos may produce runny poop for a variety of causes, some being more worrisome than others.
Parasites, shedding, too much liquid food, extreme environmental humidity, impaction, and even generalized stress can cause the gecko to produce runny poop.
The problem is that, even when the cause is mild, the runny poop itself is still dangerous due to the high risk of dehydration. In essence, the gecko will eliminate a lot more fluids via its feces than it should.
So, you should always assess the situation and tweak all of the factors that could be responsible for the symptom.
- Adjusting environmental humidity – Geckos are at risk of producing runny poop when environmental humidity is above 70%. Keep humidity levels between 50 and 60% during the daytime and only up them to 80% during nighttime.
- Lower stress – Figure out what’s stressing your gecko and eliminate the cause. A happy gecko is a healthy gecko.
- Tweak the diet – Eliminate some of the fibers from the gecko’s diet since excess fibers can cause diarrhea and runny poop. The same goes for sugar. So, you might want to limit the amounts of sugary fruits your gecko is having. Also, feed geckos with commercial gecko foods primarily and stay away from improvisations like baby food. This type of food contains too much sugar and not enough nutrients for your reptile.
- Impaction – This is a serious and more common digestive problem than you might suspect. In layman’s terms, impaction is a clogging of the large intestine due to swallowing large substrate particles or even large, chitinous insects with hard-to-digest exoskeletons. The gecko will produce runny poop because the fecal matter has difficulties getting past the blockage. As you may suspect, impaction requires the intervention of a professional for proper treatment.
- Shedding – Shedding is a stressful process for geckos and may last for hours. The gecko will stop eating during this time and even produce runny poop for a couple of days following successful shedding. This isn’t a concern, as the gecko will return to normal fairly soon.
Your gecko may also produce runny poop due to internal parasites or bacterial infections. With so many potential causes, I advise speaking to a professional to figure out the cause and correct treatment.
Postponing the adequate treatment can cause your gecko’s issue to aggravate unnecessarily.
Why Crested Gecko Poops on Me?
If your gecko poops on you frequently, consider the following 3 potential explanations:
- Stress – Your gecko may simply be stressed up for some reason. It’s important to note that crested geckos aren’t always fond of being handled, so that’s what may trigger their pooping behavior. Fortunately, you can tell if your gecko is stressed or uneasy because it will let you know. Stressed geckos will try to flee, escape your hold, and even bite back to force you to let go. Others will resort to chemical attacks and poop on your hand.
- Relaxation – If your gecko has grown accustomed to your presence and petting, it may relax in your warm hand and poop out of comfort. It’s a weird way of describing it, but geckos tend to poop when they feel relaxed and cozy.
- Manipulation – If you place your gecko in its enclosure whenever it poops on you, the reptile may have picked up on this routine. So, the gecko pooping on you may be its way of forcing you to put it back in its cage. Yes, geckos are smart like that.
As you can see, geckos can use their defecation behavior to communicate their intentions and current state.
It may not be the most hygienic conversation you’ll have with your gecko, but if it works, it works.
Do You Have to Clean Up Gecko Poop?
Yes, you do. Your gecko’s poop will become a focal point for bacteria, fungi, and mold, effectively becoming an environmental hazard with time.
Your gecko’s habitat is small, so the poop will affect the ecosystem sooner than in a larger environment. You should ideally remove your gecko’s feces daily if possible or whenever your gecko produces them.
Most healthy geckos will poop each time they eat, which is pretty much once every 2 days or so.
How to Clean Crested Gecko Poop?
There’s nothing overly complicated about it. You simply check the substrate to identify the poop and remove it from the environment.
You may also need to use water and a bit of soap to scrape poop residues from the tank walls if that’s the case.
As you can see, your gecko’s poop and pooping habits can speak volumes about your pet’s health and state of mind.
Always assess your reptile’s feces to get a taste of its wellbeing. You know what I mean.