Care, Health and Growth, Crested Geckos, Geckos

4 Reasons on Why Does My Crested Gecko Eat Substrate 2022

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by The Pet Engineers


Crested geckos have a lot of idiosyncrasies, one of which is to sometimes eat substrate. Seeing your crested gecko eat substrate may be one of the most startling and concerning experiences you have, especially if this is your first time having a crested gecko as a pet.

Sometimes, your crested gecko’s ingestion of the substrate may be accidental, and some other times, it may be intentional.

While accidental ingestion is nothing to worry about, if the ingestion of substrate is intentional, you should recheck the diet of your crested gecko.

Regardless, you should always get a substrate material that is nontoxic and won’t cause impaction even if your crested gecko ingests a mouthful of it. Here are reasons why your crested gecko eats substrates.

4 Reasons Why Is Your Crested Gecko Eating Substrate?

There are 4 reasons why your crested gecko may seem to be eating substrate:

Reason 1 – Accidental Ingestion

Your crested gecko may have accidentally eaten some substrate when trying to get a mouthful of its food. This is very common and it should not be of any concern.

More often than not, if a crested gecko accidentally eats some substrate, it will almost immediately spit it out.

Accidental ingestion of substrate may happen if your crested gecko hastily tries to eat its food or ambush a live insect.

Sphagnum Moss substrate
Sometimes substrate gets into their mouths

Reason 2 – Lack of Nutrients

If your crested gecko is intentionally eating substrate for a prolonged period, you should recheck the nutritional value of the diet that you are feeding your pet.

Sometimes, when the diet does not have a proper balance of nutrients, it can cause your crested gecko to act out in silly ways.

One such way that your crested gecko may resort to in an attempt to get its required share of nutrients is to eat substrate.

At the same time, you should also recheck and correct the humidity, temperature, and lighting of the enclosure.

Reason 3 – Curiosity

Sometimes, your crested gecko may try to “taste-test” everything it is curious about. The same can hold true for the substrate of its tank.

If you’ve got a curious little crested gecko, and the diet you are providing is properly balanced, chances are that your pet is eating substrate simply out of curiosity.

In such a case, it may help to have a nontoxic and easily digestible substrate like sphagnum moss, which will not cause impaction.

Reason 4 – Dehydration

One of the primary characteristics of a good substrate is that it retains moisture.

If your crested gecko is getting a properly balanced diet, and yet, if it continues to eat substrate intentionally, it may be severely dehydrated.

Your crested gecko may be trying to get moisture from the substrate.

In order to prevent this, you should maintain the humidity levels accurately and ensure that your crested gecko gets a continuous supply of fresh and clean drinking water.

How To Stop Your Crested Gecko From Eating Substrate?

The best way to stop your crested gecko from eating substrate is to provide a properly balanced diet and give food in a bowl instead of directly placing it on the substrate.

Moreover, maintain the humidity and moisture levels of the enclosure and ensure that your crested gecko gets a continuous supply of fresh and clean drinking water so that it does not get dehydrated.

If you simply take care of these two things, the instances of your crested gecko eating substrate either accidentally or intentionally will reduce substantially.

If, however, your crested gecko is still very curious, just ensure that you use a safe and nontoxic substrate material that is easily digestible.

Then, even if your crested gecko eats some substrate every now and then, it will not be a cause for concern.

What Happens When Your Crested Gecko Eats Too Much Substrate?

Regardless of how safe a substrate material is, if your crested gecko eats too much substrate it will suffer from impaction, which, if left untreated, can lead to your crested gecko becoming unable to eat or defecate, which may consequently turn into a fatal case of weakness, and in the worst case, death.

That is why it is important to choose the right substrate, which is not loose, nontoxic, and easily digestible.

And it is equally important to ensure that your crested gecko gets proper nutrients and a regular supply of fresh drinking water.

crested gecko
Too much and your crested gecko becomes weak

Moreover, even the humidity levels and other enclosure parameters must be accurately maintained.


A crested gecko may eat substrate either accidentally or intentionally. When it happens accidentally, you don’t need to worry.

But if it happens intentionally, i.e., if your crested gecko is intentionally eating substrate, it may either be dehydrated or deficient in nutrients.

You need to recheck and properly balance the nutrients in the diet that you feed your crested gecko. Moreover, recheck and maintain the correct humidity levels.

Always ensure that your crested gecko has a continuous supply of fresh and clean drinking water.

Always opt for a substrate that is easily digestible and nontoxic. That way, even if your crested gecko accidentally eats some substrate, it won’t be at risk of impaction.

The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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