Dehydrated Crested Gecko? Preventions and Treatments

Crested geckos require fresh water, misting and bathing to retain decent hydration levels. Dehydration in crested geckos can be a very serious problem. In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about your dehydrated crested gecko. You will learn about everything from signs that your crested gecko is dehydrated to causes and cures. 

So, if you are the owner of a crested gecko then it is worthwhile reading to help keep your pet in good health.

How To Tell If Your Crested Gecko Is Dehydrated?

Just like any pet, you will need to watch your crested gecko in order to make sure that they are healthy. Typically, changes in behavior, eating and drinking habits and other changes are signals that something is wrong. 

So, what should you look for when checking if your crested gecko is dehydrated?

Skin is dry and wrinkled

Perhaps the easiest way to tell whether or not you have a dehydrated crested gecko is to touch their skin. The moisture that they receive from drinking helps them to retain firm and smooth skin. 

However, if they are dehydrated then this is shown in their skin. Their skin stops being able to bounce back.

In order to test this, you should gently pinch a small area of their skin. If the pinched area returns to normal then the chances are that they are not dehydrated.

However, if the pinched area remains risen and does not return to a flat position then this is a sign of dehydration in your crested gecko.

In addition to their skin remaining puckered when pinched, it will also be very dry to the touch. Lightly run your finger over their skin and if it appears flaky then this is another sign of dehydration. 

Protruding hips and ribs

Looking at your crested gecko’s ribs and hips for signs of dehydration should only be relied upon when they are adults. This is because young crested geckos typically have protruding hips and ribs naturally. They will fill these areas out as they grow older.

So, only use this method if you own an adult crested gecko. Even for adult geckos, certain lights will make it appear as if their bones are sticking out. This should only be a cause for concern if they begin to appear boney. 

This is because dehydration causes the skin to become tighter around the bones, much like the same way that bodybuilders become dehydrated before competitions. However, with your crested gecko, it can also be a sign of other issues, such as malnutrition or disease.

Loss of appetite

This is a very common symptom of dehydration in crested geckos. Instead of forcing your gecko to eat you should first make sure that they are getting enough water. 

Once they have rehydrated they will then begin eating as normal again. However, if they are getting enough water but are still not eating this is not a sign of dehydration but another problem.

Lack of energy

Just like people who have not had enough eater, your crested gecko will become very lethargic if they are dehydrated. 

So, in order to recognize this as a symptom, you should regularly check on your gecko so that you can spot anything out of the ordinary. It may simply be that you only check on them when they are resting or after they have eaten. 

What Causes a Crested Gecko To Become Dehydrated?

The best thing that you can do for your gecko is to stop them from getting dehydrated in the first place. So, here we will detail things to check and monitor in order to help keep your gecko hydrated.

Lack of water source

Just because you have placed a water bowl in your crested gecko’s enclosure does not mean that they will drink from it. In fact, some can be particularly fussy. 

Some geckos will only lap up droplets of water that have fallen off of plant leaves. It is best that you keep an eye on your gecko to learn their habits and preferences. So you can spray or heavily mist the inside walls of your crested geckos enclosure, to replicate morning or evening dew.

A Simple Spray Bottle will be just fine to use, and much cheaper than reptile specialist ones. Click the link to purchase yours today!

You should also note that high temperatures will cause some of the water in their bowl to evaporate and so just because the water level has gone down it does not mean that your gecko is drinking.

High temperatures

Even if your crested gecko is drinking, the high temperatures in their enclosure may counteract this. In this case, you will need to look at adjusting either the temperature in their habitat or making sure that they have access to more water. 

To decide which option is better you will need to understand your gecko’s preferences. 

Make sure you have a Zoo Med Labs Digital Thermometer to get the most accurate and reliable temperature readings. Every reptile enclosure should have one of these.

Dry food

If you notice that your crested gecko is drinking a decent amount of water and that their enclosure conditions are good to perfect then you may need to look to their food for answers.

Dry food means that your crested gecko will require more water than if you were to feed them other types of food. In this case, it may be worth changing their food source to see if this makes a difference in their hydration levels.

Infrequent misting

Your gecko should be misted frequently in order to stop them from becoming dehydrated. This will allow their skin to remain supple and hydrated.

If you have made sure that your crested gecko is not suffering from dehydration by one of these other causes then you may want to consider upping the amount that your crested gecko is misted.

How To Treat a Dehydrated Crested Gecko?

If you notice that you do indeed, unfortunately, have a dehydrated crested gecko then there are a few things that you can do. Here we will go through how to treat a dehydrated crested gecko.

If your gecko is mildly dehydrated

Luckily, mild dehydration is not too serious a problem. It can be easily treated by ensuring the following:

  • Mist your gecko regularly
  • Soak them in lukewarm water
  • Provide them with enough drinking water in their preferred form

If your gecko is moderately dehydrated

If your crested gecko is moderately dehydrated then this is the point at which you may want to enlist the help of a vet. This is because home remedies and altered water, temperature and misting conditions may not be enough. 

You should make sure that you do the following:

  • Regular long soaks in lukewarm water
  • Give them extra fluids as indicated by your vet

If your gecko is severely dehydrated

Unfortunately, if your gecko is severely dehydrated then this can be a much more serious issue. You should take them to the vets immediately. Your vet will assess the severity of your crested gecko’s dehydration before deciding on the best course of action.

Chances are that they will give your gecko added hydration through injections and may even provide you with medication to help restore their health quicker.

In this instance, the best thing that you can do is follow any and all advice given by your vet and monitor your crested gecko for a while afterwards. This will allow you to adjust their living conditions appropriately to ensure that they do not become dehydrated again.

How To Soak a Crested Gecko?

Before you start to soak your crested gecko there are a few things that you will need:

  1. A container (with lid) big enough for your crested gecko to sit in comfortably for 5-10 minutes
  2. Paper towels
  3. Lukewarm water (either in a bottle or spray bottle)

You will then need to set up your soaking environment. Firstly cover all sides of your container (on the inside) with paper towels. You should then spray or soak all of the paper towels in the lukewarm water. Once this is all absorbed you can then place your crested gecko in the container.

Place the lid on top of the container and if desired place a blanket over the top of the container. These creatures are nocturnal and so are much more comfortable in the dark, making this process a little bit easier and less stressful for them. 

You should then wait between 5-10 minutes before returning your crested gecko back to its original habitat. 

Whilst your crested gecko is soaking in the container you should keep an eye out for signs of distress. This can include:

  • Biting
  • Darkening in color
  • Pooping
  • Attempting to get out of the container repeatedly

What To Do If Your Crested Gecko Is Dehydrated?

If you notice that your crested gecko is dehydrated then the first thing to do is determine how seriously they are dehydrated. Does it require an emergency trip to the vets? Do they just need adjustments made to their housing? Answering this question will help determine your next steps. 

Follow the procedures detailed above for more information on the next steps regarding dehydration levels.

Once you have followed these steps you should then keep a close eye on your crested gecko. This will allow you to understand how and why they became dehydrated and to ensure that it does not happen again in the future.

This will involve very close observation of your gecko and you will need to record their conditions and their response. For example, if your gecko does not drink from a bowl, but rather laps the droplets from the plants in their habitat, then you will need to make sure that this is how you hydrate them in the future. It is no good simply placing the bowl in their enclosure.

Knowing how your gecko behaves is the best thing that you can do to help your crested gecko recover from dehydration.

How To Prevent Your Crested Gecko From Becoming Dehydrated?

Obviously, the best thing to do is to make sure that your crested gecko never becomes dehydrated in the first place. To do this follow these steps:

  • Wash their bowl daily with light detergent
  • Ensure they have fresh water
  • Adjust the humidity and temperature to appropriate levels
  • Mist your gecko at least every other day

Top tips to keep a crested gecko hydrated?

So, here is our roundup of the best top tips for keeping your crested gecko hydrated.

Fresh water

Learn how your gecko likes to drink. If they do not use a bowl consider other methods.

Soak their food

Dry food can cause dehydration so soak their food before they eat for added hydration.

Bathe your gecko

Soak them using the method detailed above for 5-10 minutes every now and then. This will let you bond and give your gecko added hydration.


Having a crested gecko as a pet can be a fantastic thing, but they can very easily become dehydrated. So, you should always ensure that they are getting enough water. The best things that you can do are make sure their living conditions are suitable, ensure that they are drinking enough water and soak them every now and then.

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Dehydrated Crested Gecko? Preventions and Treatments

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