Do Crested Geckos Tails Grow Back?

Lizards are fascinating creatures. They have many strange behaviors that will surprise you. Tail dropping is one of them. Like all lizards, Crested Geckos can also lose their tails. It’s freaky when it happens. Crested Geckos are also unique because unlike other lizards, they don’t grow back their missing tails.

To nobody’s surprise, the internet is full of questions about this very topic. Perhaps you have some of these same questions, hence you’re here. Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about Crested Geckos and tail dropping. Let’s get right into it!

Why do Crested Gecko Tails Not Grow Back?

Unlike other lizards, Geckos can’t regenerate their dropped tails. This is completely normal for Cresties, so don’t worry! This happens because Crested Geckos have slightly different tail anatomy compared to other Gecko species.

Other lizards, like the Gargoyle or Leopard Geckos, have multiple fracture planes between the tail bones. Once dropped, the tail can grow back bit by bit. Crested Geckos, on the other hand, have only one fracture plane located at the base of the tail. So, once dropped, it’s bye-bye! The tail doesn’t grow back.

It might grow a little bit, but the growth will eventually stop. The “regrown” tail would look like a short stub. For Crested Geckos, the regeneration process is too costly. Luckily, Crested Geckos have naturally adapted to live without tails. Since they don’t need the tail, there’s no reason to spend extra energy on growing it back.

Why Crested Gecko Lost Its Tail?

There are multiple reasons why Crested Geckos might lose their tails. Usually, trail-dropping is an evasive behavior. Lizards use this technique to defend themselves when fleeing from predators. This behavior is instinctual, so it kicks in whenever the Gecko feels scared or threatened.

Now, when kept in captivity, your Crestie has no predators to worry about. But other things might set your pet off. Usually, it’s one of the following:

  • High stress levels
  • Improper care
  • Tail getting stuck
  • Breeding
  • Improper handling

Stress levels can rise for multiple reasons, including a loud environment, poor nutrition, frequent handling, and so on. A little bit of short-term stress won’t affect your Gecko much, but prolonged exposure will make your pet more skittish and agitated.

As with humans, when under frequent stress, your lizard can enter fight or flight mode. Any small thing can tip the Crestie over the edge to protect itself from an imaginary threat. Sometimes, this means dropping its tail.

Improper care covers anything to do with your pet’s living conditions. Diet, hydration, enclosure temperature, and humidity all play a role in your Crestie’s health. If your pet is malnourished, it will drop its tail to preserve its resources for breeding. If the enclosure conditions make shedding more difficult, this can cascade in a myriad of ways.

This brings me to the next point— the tail getting stuck. Whether your Gecko got its tail stuck somewhere in the terrarium or its old skin, it might drop the entire tail to set itself free.

The stuck shed agitates the Gecko. Kind of like when you have an itch that you can’t help but scratch compulsively. Low humidity and temperature will make the process more difficult, increasing the likelihood of incomplete shedding and a stuck tail.

Improper handling will also stress out and scare your pet. Being too rough, moving too fast, or grasping your pet by the tail are absolute no-no’s! If your Crested Gecko is uncomfortable, it might try to flee. In the most extreme case, it will drop its tail on your hand. That’s why gentle handling is very important!

What to do When Crested Gecko Dropped Tail?

If this is the first time you see a Gecko dropping its tail, don’t panic! This is a natural behavior. Your Crestie is perfectly healthy and the lost tail poses no direct health threat. But you can make things easier for your Gecko during the healing process:

  • Avoid stressing out your pet.
  • Remove the tail from the enclosure.
  • Transfer your Crestie to a clean, safe environment.
  • Don’t touch the Gecko’s wound unless necessary.
  • Separate your Gecko from other lizards.
  • Let your pet alone to heal.

If your Gecko dropped its tail, it’s probably been under stress for a while. Don’t make things worse by panicking and handling your Gecko. The wound will heal by itself. You don’t need to treat it like you would an open wound.

You should only apply topical treatments and antibiotics if the wound appears red and inflamed or if it bleeds. Otherwise, maintaining a clean environment will prevent any infection and aid the natural healing process.

Your pet should be fully healed in two weeks. Sometimes, healing takes even less. Be patient in the meantime. Keep an eye on your Gecko, but avoid handling it. Maintain a calm environment. Feed your Crestie nutritious foods and maintain stable enclosure parameters.

Can Crested Gecko Live Without Its Tail?

Crested Geckos can live without their tails. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why this species doesn’t grow its tail back. There’s no need to! Crested Geckos have evolved to live without their tails to conserve energy for other bodily functions like breeding. In fact, breeding is sometimes one of the reasons why Cresties drop their tails in the first place.

It takes a little bit for the Gecko to heal and get used to its new tailless body. But once that’s done, the little guy can thrive and live a long, healthy life. In the beginning, your Crestie might appear clumsy. The tail aids a lot in maintaining balance. The missing tail might also affect jumping. Expect your Crested Gecko to have a harder time climbing and hopping around.

Does it Hurt a Crested Gecko to Lose Its Tail?

When you see it happen, tail loss looks gruesome. But rest assured your Gecko is perfectly fine and not experiencing any pain. Tail dropping is a perfectly normal occurrence.

Thanks to the tail’s anatomy, Geckos don’t feel any discomfort when this happens. The tail simply detaches at the fracture plane. The blood vessels near the fracture plane automatically constrict. This numbs the area and prevents blood loss.

It might be a bit stressful for your already scared Crestie, but the little guy doesn’t need any painkillers or anything. Jokes aside, the best thing you can do to comfort your pet is to let it be. As long as the wound doesn’t get infected, your Gecko is physically fine.

Do Crested Geckos Eat Their Tail?

Geckos won’t eat their dropped tails. If anything, a Gecko is most likely to flee and hide after dropping its tail. Remember, this happens when the lizard is under stress or it feels threatened. The tail serves as a diversion to keep predators away.

It’s simply not in the Gecko’s instinct to return to its dropped tail. The place where the tail is represents danger. Naturally, your lizard friend will want to stay away from there.

This is one of the main reasons why you should remove the tail from the enclosure asap. This helps calm down your pet. It’s also a good idea not to let a detached body part lying around to necrotize, aka rot. That’s a health hazard in and of itself.

Conclusion

Crested Geckos, like all lizards, will drop their tail when stressed, scared, or threatened. This is a natural and painless self-defense response. Don’t get me wrong, freaking out the first time you see it is understandable. But there’s nothing to worry about!

Once it happens, your Crestie won’t be able to grow its tail back. That’s due to anatomical adaptations in this species. Unlike other lizards, Crested Geckos have only one fracture plane at the base of their tail. Once gone, the full tail can’t grow back. Luckily, your pet can live a long, healthy life even without its tail!

Crested Geckos   Updated: July 7, 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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