One of the saddest parts of being the owner of a pet is to see them pass away. But, as sad as it may be, death is an inevitable part of life.
And everyone, including your pet crested gecko, will one day pass away. As the owner of a pet crested gecko, you should be able to tell whether your crested gecko is simply resting, if it needs medical attention, or if your pet may be dying.
Knowing the signs will help you prepare better – mentally, emotionally, and practically – to deal with the eventual and inevitable death of your pet crested gecko.
While it is a very hard conversation to have, it is also a very important one.
How Long Does A Crested Gecko Live?
A crested gecko in the wild can live for around 5 to 8 years. However, in captivity, a crested gecko is known to live a long life between 10 and 15 years.
This is because, in the wild, a crested gecko is under constant risk of becoming a victim to one or more of the following constantly looming threats:
- Shortage of food in the rainforest can cause a crested gecko to die of starvation.
- Shortage of clean water supply can lead to a crested gecko dying from dehydration.
- Ever-looming threat of predators in the wild
- Lack of medical treatment in case of problems like incomplete shedding, infections, etc.
- Malnourishment or obesity-related issues
There are a lot of threats that can cause a crested gecko in the wilderness to die. But, in captivity, almost all of the threats are eliminated.
That is why a pet crested gecko has a much higher life expectancy than a crested gecko in the wild.
6 Signs Of A Crested Gecko Dying
When a crested gecko starts nearing the end of its life, its body starts showing certain symptoms. It is better to have awareness about what those symptoms are, so that, as a pet owner.
You will be able to gauge if your pet crested gecko requires medical attention or if you need to start making emotional, mental, and practical preparations to deal with the eventual and inevitable death of your pet.
Listed below are 6 signs that your pet crested gecko may be dying:
Unexplainable Loss of Appetite
If your crested gecko has suddenly started showing a drastic reduction in appetite that is not related to any illness, change of environment, or stress, then it could be a sign that your crested gecko is dying.
A metabolism that is slowing down is an indication that the animal is nearing its end of life. So, if your crested gecko is nearing its death, its metabolism will slow down.
This will lead to your pet losing its appetite and not eating anything, or eating very less, for a prolonged period.
Unexplainable Lack of Defecation
As a continuation of the aforementioned slowing down of the metabolism, a crested gecko that is nearing death will experience an inability to pass stool or defecate.
So, an unexplainable lack of defecation that is not related to improper diet or any other illness could be a sign that your pet crested gecko may be dying.
Loss of Interest in Enrichment Activities
If your otherwise playful pet crested gecko has suddenly become very lethargic, quiet, and sedentary, then chances are that your pet is nearing its death.
Crested geckos are arboreal by nature. So, a crested gecko in perfect health will spend a lot of its time playing around in the foliage in its enclosure.
If you’ve had a pet crested gecko who is very playful by nature but has suddenly stopped showing any interest in playing around or in any other kinds of enrichment activities, then it may be nearing its death.
In this case, however, it is important that you first rule out every other possible reason behind why your crested gecko is not showing interest in enrichment activities before you jump to a conclusion and start panicking.
Fast or Rapid Breathing (Hyperventilation)
If your crested gecko seems to be breathing very rapidly, i.e., if it is breathing faster than it usually does, chances are that your crested gecko may be hyperventilating.
Rapid breathing or hyperventilation is a sign of respiratory disease or the presence of irritants in the respiratory tract.
This needs to be treated immediately by a vet or it can become fatal and deadly and lead to your pet crested gecko losing its life due to asphyxiation or suffocation due to lack of oxygen.
Weakened Limbs and Overall Body Weakness Due to Aging
If your crested gecko has crossed its 10th year, and if it has started showing signs of aging like weakness in limbs, fatigue, lethargy, lowered appetite, etc., then your crested gecko may be nearing its natural and inevitable death due to aging.
Worsening of Health Issues
If your crested gecko has been experiencing some health issues such as metabolic bone disease or other infections, infestations, etc. and no treatment seems to be working.
Then you may have to consider that the body of your pet is unable to fight off the disease and may soon lead to the passing away of your pet.
While it is understandable that you may want to try every possible means and method to save your pet, you need to consult your vet and check if any treatments will help your pet out, or if you should consider putting your pet out of its misery.
Worsening health issues despite being on medication and treatment could be a sign that your pet crested gecko is nearing its death.
What To Do When You Notice The Signs Of Your Crested Gecko Dying?
When you notice the signs of your crested gecko dying, first check if there is anything that can be done medically or otherwise to save your pet’s life.
If, for example, your pet is experiencing lethargy, dehydration, loss of appetite, etc., then you should consider talking to the vet about any possible course of action that can be taken to treat the crested gecko.
If your crested gecko is healthy but very old, you need to start providing adequate hospice care to your pet.
Give it all the comfort you can, so that when death does arrive, as it inevitably will with aging, your crested gecko passes away peacefully.
If your crested gecko is suffering some kind of health issue and no kind of treatment seems to be working, you may have to talk to your vet and consider medical euthanasia to put your pet out of its misery. It may be a hard call, but sometimes there just is no other way.
When To Take Your Crested Gecko To The Vet
You should take your crested gecko to the vet when you start to notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Prolonged loss of appetite
- Chronic lethargy
- Disinterest in enrichment activities
- Weakness in limbs
- Visible bony limbs and tail
- Black coloration on and near the tail
- Stuck shed skin between toes and near tail
- Visible injuries
- Drastic irregularities in weight
- Inability to defecate
- Chronic incomplete shedding
How To Help Prevent Sickness In Crested Geckos?
To prevent sickness in crested geckos, you should:
- Ensure that environmental parameters like temperature, humidity, lighting, and heating are accurately maintained at all times.
- Ensure that your pet crested gecko gets a properly balanced diet with a regular feeding schedule.
- Ensure that there is a constant supply of fresh drinking water for your crested gecko in its enclosure.
- Ensure that the enclosure itself is maintained and cleaned regularly.
- Ensure that there are as less stressors in the enclosure and the room where the enclosure is kept, as possible.
What Does A Dying Crested Gecko Look Like?
A dying crested gecko may start to look weak, lethargic, and with excessively thin limbs and tails. It may become very slow and lethargic in movements as well.
Is My Crested Gecko Dead Or Sleeping?
The best way to check if your crested gecko is sleeping and not dead is to observe its belly.
If the movement of the belly due to breathing is not visible, then you may apply some stimulus to gently get a response. If you get a response, your crested gecko was just resting.
Why Is My Crested Gecko Stiff?
Your crested gecko may be stiff due to multiple reasons: stress, lethargy, illness, or even death.
Do Crested Geckos Die Easily?
No, crested geckos do not die easily. Crested geckos are so hardy and live so long that they are considered the best choice for beginners and people who want long-term pets.
The hardest conversation that a pet owner needs to have is about the inevitable death of their pet.
Crested geckos live long and are very hardy and easy to take care of. But crested geckos are not immortal. They will, eventually, die – either due to illness or injury, or aging.
As a pet owner of a crested gecko, it is important to know the signs of a crested gecko dying, as it will allow you to provide your pet with proper medical or hospice care depending upon their health condition.