Shedding is when the gecko’s old skin comes off its body. The new skin underneath then takes over and becomes dry in a few hours or days. Both young and adult crested geckos shed, and the process (also called molting or sloughing) is normal and frequent in most lizards.
Crested geckos shed their skin regularly to expose new skin and allow them to grow. Young crested geckos shed more frequently than adult lizards because they are actively growing. The process lasts about 30 minutes and the crested gecko will eat its skin for nutrition.
Do crested geckos shed?
Crested geckos shed their old skin at intervals to allow the new growth underneath to be exposed. The process of shedding gets rid of bacteria and parasites, which is beneficial for the health of the lizard.
When the lizard is about to shed its skin, you’ll notice the skin becoming pale or dull – almost gray. At this time, it is important to pay close attention to the crested gecko to make sure the molting process does not occur with complications that can threaten the health of your pet.
How often do crested geckos shed?
Adult crested geckos shed every 2-4 weeks while young ones shed once every week because they are still in the stages of active growth. For adult crested geckos, you might not see them shedding because they do so at night, which is different from juveniles and young ones, which shed their skin any time of day.
Much older crested geckos can go for more than a month without shedding, so it can be a little more difficult to keep track of their shedding patterns.
But, why do young crested geckos shed more often? Young geckos shed more frequently than older geckos because they are growing more rapidly, which means their skin needs to be replaced more often as well.
When the lizard is about to start shedding its skin you’ll notice that the scales on top of it will turn gray or dull – almost like a chameleon’s color change. This indicates that molting process has begun and it is time for intervention if there are complications in order to prevent health issues from occurring before new growth can take over.
Do crested geckos eat their shed?
Crested geckos usually eat their shed skin for nutrition. This is why they are called “skin-eaters.” There are many nutritional benefits the skin offers the crested gecko.
The lizard will need to consume its shed skin in order to maintain high levels of nutrients and vitamins that it needs as a growing animal. It can take up to 30 minutes on average before the newly molted lizard has finished eating all the scraps from its old, discarded hide and then you’ll notice new growth that appears more vibrant and shiny.
What happens when crested geckos don’t eat their shed? If cresteds do not consume enough of their old skins during shedding periods, this could lead to malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies due to lack of intake of healthy nutrients.
It is also normal during the shedding period that your crested gecko may refuse to eat its normal food. Therefore, there’s nothing to worry about as the gecko will obtain its nutrition from eating the shed.
Signs your crested gecko is about to shed
A crested gecko will shed its skin mostly during the growth phase. When a lizard sheds, the signs are fairly evident especially to a pet owner who has a bit of experience with lizards.
Here are signs your crested gecko is about to shed:
A sure sign that a crested gecko is about to shed its skin is dull scales. This means the old, yet still attached scales will lose pigmentation and take on more of an almost gray coloration before shedding. The new growth underneath should be vibrant in appearance when you do notice signs of molting.
Another indication that your pet reptile may soon shed is if the lizard’s skin looks very dull or even has patches with a pallid hue before it sheds off. It appears as though they’ve been out in the sun too long.
It is also common for a crested gecko to lose its appetite before it sheds. They might refuse to eat food for a few days before shedding. This should be expected considering the lizard will require more energy while molting from consuming and digesting new, healthy skin in order to maintain high levels of nutrients and vitamins that are required during periods of active growth.
If your crested gecko won’t eat any food during the shedding period, you should not worry about it as it is a normal occurrence for the lizard. Provide adequate water and humidity in the enclosure to make it easy for the lizard to remain healthy during its process.
Another sign your crested gecko is about to shed its skin is if the lizard starts to hide. This is an instinctual behavior for reptiles where they will want to avoid being exposed when shedding their skin because it can be a very uncomfortable process.
Molting in the presence of other animals can easily result in injury or even death in case there’s aggression or fighting of any kind. This is why it is important to give the lizards the right care and support throughout this period.
The eyes of your crested gecko may appear cloudy during the shedding period, which is not a very common sign. In most cases, cloudy eyes can also be a symptom of eye infections.
If you notice cloudy eyes that last longer than 24 hours, you should contact a veterinarian or reptile specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment before it becomes a more serious problem.
How to help crested geckos during shedding
Shedding is an uncomfortable process for all lizards. You’ll probably observe a change of behavior in your lizard as soon as its starts the molting process. During this time, it is best to help the crested gecko remain healthy and as comfortable as possible.
Here are a few tips on how to help a shedding crested gecko:
Provide a humid environment
A gecko shedding its skin requires a cool, moist environment with high humidity. You may want to mist the enclosure regularly and keep it at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during this process.
Provide a high humidity as much as possible during the shedding process. Humidity helps your lizard to shed its skin smoothly and faster. A humidity level of 50% and higher is best for crested geckos.
Provide adequate hiding spots
Crested geckos usually seek hiding spots during shedding, so provide adequate hiding spots for your lizard. It may take time to find the perfect hiding spot that will be suitable for a crested gecko’s needs.
Hiding places can include plants that are safe for crested geckos that have leaves and vines; or hide boxes made from natural materials like bamboo shoots, cork bark pieces, tree ferns and other plant material.
Ensure you mist the hiding spots as well to make it easy for the gecko to remain soft when hiding in every spot of the enclosure during the shedding process.
Avoid handling the crested gecko
Do not handle the crested gecko during the shedding process as this may be quite uncomfortable for the lizard. You should allow the gecko ample time for its new skin to harden completely (at least 24 hours) after the molting process is complete before handling it.
Any disturbance may cause stress and lead to an incomplete skin shed, or it could make the lizard slow down if in progress.
Crested geckos are prone to getting sick when they’re stressed out so avoid handling them as much as possible when they are vulnerable. You can still check on your pet by looking over its hiding spots from time to time without disturbing him/her.
Check for any signs of a successful molt (shed). If you find one, remove it gently with tweezers and discard properly into a sealed plastic bag with air holes before disposing of it outside in such a manner where children might play.
Improve air circulation
Ventilation is important during shedding as it helps dry out your gecko’s skin faster, which promotes healthy growth of new scales from beneath old ones.
The shed will be more likely to detach when drying occurs quickly because wet skin is difficult for crested geckos to stretch and pull away off their body without breaking their adhesive bonds. That said, avoid direct exposure to heat lamps on your pet at all times while they are molting as this could lead to burns and high levels of stress that might prevent the completion of the process.
Stuck crested gecko shed
A stuck crested gecko shed can be quite difficult to remove from the skin. If your pet has a stubborn, tough-to-shed shed that won’t come off after hours of trying with minimal handling – it’s best to consult your veterinarian for help.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help remove skin that is stuck on the toes, around the eyes, head area, and throat. Gently mist the gecko then help peel off the stuck shed until all of it is gone.
A stuck shed poses some serious risks to a gecko’s health. The animal could experience severe pain from the stuck shed and it also prevents air circulation which can lead to skin infections.