Crested geckos, like all other species of geckos, are capable of losing their tail by their will.
This is one of the capabilities that the geckos may have developed as a defense mechanism against predators in the wild – and this behavior or tendency to lose their tails has continued well into their domesticated lifestyles as well.
However, while it is easy to know and understand that losing its tail is completely normal for a crested gecko in times of distress, it can still come as a shocking experience when you see your own pet crested gecko suddenly drop its tail.
In such times, it may help to recall that it is not unusual for a crested gecko – and it may help to know what should you be doing now that your pet crested gecko has dropped its tail.
Here’s everything you need to know about why did my crested gecko drop its tail.
Why Do Crested Geckos Drop Their Tails?
While there are a few different reasons why your crested gecko may drop its tail, at the very core of it, the only reason behind a crested gecko losing its tail is stress.
Now, what may differ from one crested gecko to another, is the cause behind that stress. Here are a few events that may stress your crested gecko out so much that it loses or drops its tail:
Reason 1 – Forced Cohabitation And Bullying
Firstly, crested geckos are solitary creatures who prefer to live alone and enjoy their personal space in their enclosures.
So, cohabitation may be a stressful event for your pet crested gecko. Sometimes, if the cohabitation is forced upon it, your crested gecko may get so stressed by the presence of another crested gecko in its tank that it drops its tail.
Some other times, while the presence of another crested gecko in itself may not be as much of a stressor, it could possibly be that one of your crested geckos may be bullying the other one.
Yes, it does happen – a crested gecko is capable of bullying another. It may do so by eating up the other’s food, not letting the other one exist in peace, and sometimes even by scratching or biting.
All these reasons could lead to one of your pet crested geckos being so stressed out that it loses its tail.
Reason 2 – Forced Mating
If you have cohabitated a male and a female crested gecko together in the same enclosure, then you need to be on regular vigil to ensure that the male crested gecko does not bother the female crested gecko too much.
Sometimes, a male may try to forcefully approach the female for mating – and if the female is not ready for it, she may get stressed out and drop her tail.
Reason 3 – Rushing The Bonding With A New Pet Crested Gecko
If you have just brought your crested gecko home, you need to let it take its own time to adapt to the new surroundings and get used to your presence.
If you force or rush the process of bonding by constantly trying to pick your crested gecko up in your arms or fidget with it before it is ready to be around you, you may end up stressing your new pet out so much that it loses its tail.
The key here is to be patient and let the crested gecko get used to your presence at its own pace. Never rush the process of bonding with a new crested gecko – it will always backfire.
Reason 4 – Incorrect Environmental Parameters
Did you know that having incorrect humidity and temperature of the enclosure can also stress your pet crested gecko out so much that it loses its tail? It is true.
Therefore, you must be mindful of the humidity and temperature of the enclosure and ensure that these parameters are always in the ambient range.
The ambient range for humidity in the enclosure of a crested gecko is between 60% and 80%. Similarly, the ambient range for temperature is between 70- and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should provide a temperature gradient in the enclosure with a cool spot to allow your crested gecko to cool off when it needs to.
You should also ensure that the humidity levels do not cause bacterial or fungal growth. This is why misting is also very necessary.
Every owner of a pet crested gecko needs to keep these pointers in check to ensure that the crested gecko does not experience stress. Eliminating stress will automatically prevent the loss of its tail.
Reason 5 – Escaping A Predator
This reason is only valid for the crested geckos who live in the wild. Quite often, when they are caught by their predators, they drop their tails to escape the clutches of their predators and save their lives.
What To Do After Your Crested Gecko Drops Its Tail?
There is nothing much you can do about the tail once your crested gecko drops it. You will have to dispose of the tail.
However, the one thing that you must do after witnessing your crested gecko loses its tail is to figure out what was the reason that caused it so much stress that it lost its tail.
It is important to eliminate the cause of stress because too much stress will start taking a toll on the health of your crested gecko.
It may lose its appetite, its immunity may get weakened, and it may start experiencing a lot of health problems.
That is why it is very crucial to keep the environment of your pet crested gecko free of any stressors.
Is It In Pain After Dropping The Tail?
No, your pet crested gecko will not be in much physical pain after dropping or losing its tail.
It may be stressed and it will be advisable that you check up on your crested gecko’s wellbeing a little extra for the next couple of days.
But the sole act of losing its tail will not cause pain to your pet crested gecko.
Your pet crested gecko may, however, need some time to get used to moving around without a tail – so your pet will be experiencing some imbalance while moving.
So, it is best to not handle your pet until it gets used to moving around – otherwise, the added skittish behavior due to not wanting to be handled will make your pet more prone to some accidental injury.
Why Does The Tail Move On Its Own?
When a crested gecko drops its tail, you will notice that the tail still keeps moving on its own for a little while – this is much like how when you behead a turkey, its body flops around for some time.
The basic reasoning behind this is that the nerves in the tail are still firing and will continue to do so for some time – usually a few minutes, but in some cases, well up to half an hour.
Gecko tails move on their own to distract a predator.
Do Crested Gecko Tails Grow Back?
No, unfortunately, unlike any other gecko species, a crested gecko cannot grow its tail back when it is lost or dropped.
That is why it is always advised to pet owners – both new and experienced – to keep their pet crested geckos in a completely stress-free environment.
It is best to avoid putting your crested gecko in a situation where it may drop its tail – as once it drops its tail, your pet crested gecko will be tailless for the rest of its life.
How To Prevent Tail Drop?
The best way to prevent your pet crested gecko from dropping its tail is to ensure that the root causes or stressors are eliminated at the source.
Some precautionary steps that you must take as a responsible owner of a pet crested gecko are listed below.
- Do not force your crested geckos to cohabitate if they are not adjusting well to having company in their homes. Have separate enclosures for them.
- Keep a male and a female crested gecko separate if it is not the breeding season.
- Ensure that the basics like humidity, temperature, lighting, etc. are all in the accurate ambient ranges.
- Do not force your crested gecko to bond with you if it has shown that it is not ready.
- Let your crested gecko have all the personal space that it needs.
Seeing your pet crested gecko lose its tail is certainly not a pleasant experience – but as a pet owner of a crested gecko.
You should be aware of the fact that it is not something uncommon among all kinds of gecko species to lose their tails in certain circumstances.
There are certain precautions that you can take to prevent your crested gecko from losing its tail.
And it is advisable that you mindfully take those precautions because if your crested gecko loses its tail, it will not be able to grow it back, unlike the other gecko species.