Gecko Health and Well-Being: Every Responsible Gecko Pet Parents Should Know

  1. leopard gecko

Geckos of all species are prone to several reptile health issues. And if you want your reptile friend to live long you should know how to take good care of them.

Geckos that are turned pets can live 10 to 20 years, depending on their genus or type. For instance, leopard geckos can live in captivity for up to 20 years, while common house geckos can only live up to 10 years.  Why care for geckos? It is because some geckos make better pets than others.

So, how do you take care of geckos?

Geckos are low-maintenance pets; they do not require bathing nor frequent vet visitation. However, that does not mean they are immune to reptile health issues, including the following:

  • Reptile parasitism

Geckos are particularly susceptible to internal and external parasites.

The common internal parasites, especially on leopard geckos, are pinworms and coccidian. A gecko infected with internal parasites may show various symptoms, including regurgitation or vomiting, loss of weight or condition, loss of appetite, lethargy, and runny and smelly feces. If the parasite load increases internally, it can affect the gecko’s overall health. So, if your gecko is showing symptoms of internal parasitism, you have to bring them to an experienced reptile veterinarian.

Meanwhile, geckos can also acquire external parasites, especially wild-caught ones. For this reason, it is critical to bring a newly bought gecko to a reptile vet for a physical and internal check-up to ensure they aren’t carrying any parasites.

  • Stress

Did you know that reptiles are prone to stress too?

Geckos may feel stressed due to various reasons. These reasons include change of surroundings, overcrowding with other geckos or reptiles, breeding, and over-handling. Stress on geckos may result in a reluctance to eat, which could comprise the immune system. Also, stress can cause poor shedding.

How will you know that your gecko is stressed?

Other than not eating, stressed geckos may demonstrate the following:

  • Aggressive when being handled
  • Hiding in their hides for too long
  • Wagging of tail
  • Digging
  • Producing loud noises or vocalizations
  • Glass surfing
  • Less to no bowel movements

If you notice these indicators, your gecko is under stress. To help your gecko overcome stress, try to separate the gecko from the other geckos, give them time to adjust, or bring your pet reptile to a reptile vet to see if it is suffering from other health problems, causing him to feel stressed.

  • Shedding problem

A healthy gecko sheds regularly. Typically, it sheds once every 4 to 8 weeks for adult geckos, while the young ones will shed once every 1 to 2 weeks.

Not having the right moisture inside the gecko’s cage or terrarium can cause shedding problems; this condition is called Dysecdysis. And to tell that your gecko is suffering from Dysecdysis, you will notice sheets of shed clinging to the gecko’s feet, toes, head, and tail. Additionally, if shedding worsens, it can cause damage to the gecko’s extremities, digit loss, or amputation.

So, if you notice such a health problem, you should bring your gecko to a reptile vet to have it examined. Also, you might want to change the humidity inside your gecko’s terrarium. The ideal humidity for geckos is between 30 to 40 percent. And to ensure their environment is humid enough, you should get a hygrometer. Additionally, to ensure your gecko is getting the right skin moisture, you may spray them with water but moderately.

Final Thoughts

Caring for a gecko as a pet is not tough since they are low-maintenance pets. However, they too suffer from health problems. So, to keep them alive for the next 20 years or more, you should take care of their health and well-being.