Crested geckos are usually easy to take care of and pretty hardy in nature. They don’t fall sick frequently.
But they do have a sensitive gut. Anything that is too big, too hard, or too fine, can get stuck in the digestive tract of your crested gecko.
And when that happens, it can lead to impaction.
Impaction is not a serious illness or disease and can be treated quickly my adding fiber to their diet, keeping your crestie hydrated, and avoiding loose substrates.
What Is Crested Gecko Impaction?
Crested gecko impaction is a condition that occurs when food gets stuck in the digestive tract of a crested gecko.
When that happens, your crested gecko is unable to pass the food as fecal matter.
It causes constipation, abdominal cramps, and extreme physical discomfort for the affected crested gecko.
Causes Of Crested Gecko Impaction
The causes of impaction in crested geckos can be boiled down to one root: an indigestible item being ingested either intentionally or accidentally by your crested gecko.
However, this in turn can happen due to various reasons:
1 – Accidentally ingesting substrate.
If you use loose substrate, your crested gecko will be at risk of getting impacted.
While playing around, hunting their live insect treats, or even simply eating their meals, crested geckos can accidentally also get a mouthful of loose substrate.
This loose substrate, when ingested in large amounts, can lead to impaction.
2 – Eating insects that are too big.
If the insect that you feed to your crested gecko is larger than the width between the eyes of the crested gecko, then chances are that it will get stuck in your pet’s digestive tract.
3 – Eating insects that are too hard.
Insects with a hard chitin coat are also not easily digestible. If your crested gecko eats one of those insects, it may get impacted.
It will take time for that insect to pass through the digestive tract of your crested gecko.
4 – Not eating enough fiber.
Much like it happens with humans, even crested geckos that don’t eat enough fiber are at risk of being constipated and impacted.
Fiber is essential for the smooth functioning of the digestive tract of your crested gecko. When that required level of fiber isn’t met, it can lead to impaction.
5 – Dehydration.
Dehydration is a leading cause of impaction in crested geckos. When a crested gecko becomes dehydrated, it becomes harder to pass stool from its guts.
In such a case, when dehydration is severe, even digestible foods can lead to impaction.
Crested Gecko Impaction Symptoms: How Can I Tell If My Crested Gecko Is Impacted?
Some of the most common signs of impaction in crested geckos are listed below:
- Round or “pot” belly
- Sudden and unexplainable weight gain
- Straining while pooping
- Chronic constipation
- Dehydration (it is a cause and a symptom of impaction)
- Trembling legs
- Labored breathing
- In extreme cases, paralysis
- Abdominal cramps
- Behavioral issues such as aggression or aloofness due to the pain
Crested Gecko Impaction Treatment: How Do You Treat A Constipated Gecko?
There are three main steps you need to take if your crested gecko is suffering from impaction:
1 – Relieving Symptoms
In order to immediately relieve some symptoms of impaction for your crested geckos, you should:
- Limit hard foods
- Switch to a liquid diet
- Increase the water-to-powder ratio in a way that there is more water in the crested gecko diet meal
- Give gentle belly rubs
- Ensure that the temperature, humidity, and lighting of the enclosure are ambient. This will help relieve some of the stress of your crested gecko.
2 – Home Treatment
Once you diagnose impaction in your crested gecko, you need to act fast. Some steps you can take to treat impaction in your crested gecko at home are:
- Hydrate your crested gecko by misting the tank a little more frequently than usual. Note that you should not increase the frequency too much either – or it can lead to a whole new set of problems due to bacterial growth.
- If feasible, provide a source of moving water – crested geckos are more likely to drink water from moving sources.
- Prepare a makeshift sauna for your crested gecko. You just need a small box and some paper towels drenched in lukewarm water. Put the warm and wet paper towels on the floor of the box. Mist the box with some lukewarm drinking water. Keep your crested gecko inside the box for some time.
- Provide high-fiber powder meal to your crested gecko by preparing it with a high water-to-powder ratio.
- If your crested gecko is capable of eating with relative comfort, you can also feed some high-fiber fruits and vegetables to your crested gecko either as solid or as a mushy paste.
- Soak your crested gecko in some lukewarm water a few times a day. Note that the level of water should be less than an inch in depth.
Try these home remedies for about 2 to 3 days. If you are not seeing any improvement in the health of your crested gecko, you should consult a vet.
4 Ways How To Prevent Crested Gecko Impaction
As is said, prevention is always better than cure. Given below are 4 easy ways to prevent impaction in your pet crested gecko:
1 – Ensure that your crested gecko gets the right amount of fiber in its diet.
Fiber is essential for good gut health. If your crested gecko does not get the required amount of fiber in its meals, it will be more prone to getting constipated and impacted.
Some high-fiber foods that you can give to your crested gecko are:
2 – Ensure that your crested gecko is hydrated at all times.
Dehydration is both a symptom and a cause of impaction in crested geckos.
So, ensuring proper hydration of your crested gecko will reduce the chances of it getting impacted.
In order to ensure proper hydration of your crested gecko, you must:
- Mist the tank regularly
- Ensure the appropriate temperature and humidity of the tank
- If possible, have a source of moving water, such as a waterfall inside the tank
- Increase the water-to-powder ratio if you’re using crested gecko diet powders
3 – Be mindful of the size and coat of the feeder insects.
When you choose a feeder insect for your crested gecko, ensure that its body length is less than the width between the eyes of the crested gecko.
That is a general thumb rule that will help you avoid feeding insects that are too big and can cause impaction.
Additionally, do not feed your crested gecko insects that have a very hard chitin coat.
Even those insects are not very easily digestible and can get stuck in the digestive tract of your crested gecko.
4 – Avoid using loose substrates.
You should always keep in mind that no matter how careful you are, your crested gecko will, at some point, ingest some substrate either intentionally or unintentionally.
Keeping that in mind, avoid loose substrates that can cause impaction when ingested by your crested gecko.
Do Mealworms Cause Impaction In Crested Geckos?
Mealworms can sometimes cause impaction in crested geckos. But that really depends on the kind of mealworm you choose as a feeder insect.
You should avoid the following two kinds of mealworms:
- Those that are bigger in size than the width between the eyes of your crested gecko
- Those that have a hard-tanned coat
These two kinds of mealworms can put your crested gecko at risk of impaction.
Other than these, you can feed mealworms to your crested gecko occasionally without much concern.
What Is Crested Gecko Poop Supposed To Look Like?
Poop from a healthy crested gecko should be light to dark brown with a chalky white urate particle at the end.
The excrement will be well-formed and practically liquid-free. Instead of liquid pee, crested geckos excrete urate, a solid type of urine.
The solid urate aids in the reduction of water loss in the gecko.
Crested geckos are usually healthy but have a relatively sensitive digestive tract.
Impaction is one of the most common health issues you may observe in your crested gecko.
It is preventable and treatable. The symptoms of impaction can be very painful for your crested gecko.
So, it is always better to ensure basic things like fiber in your pet’s diet and hydration levels that will substantially reduce the risk of impaction in your pet crested gecko.