Cresties are some of the easiest pets to take care of, but that is until you see some dreaded diarrhea in their tank and wonder what went wrong.
The main reasons why crested geckos have diarrhea is due to internal parasites, stress, and having too much liquid in their diet. Diarrhea can be usually resolved at home by making changes in the diet and the enclosure, but conditions like infections require veterinary intervention.
This article goes into detail about the many reasons why crested geckos can have diarrhea and how you can handle the situation, alongside additional tips and advice. Read on!
Table of Contents
Reasons Why Crested Geckos Can Have Diarrhea
Figuring out why your crestie has diarrhea can be hard, but here are some reasons why it might have happened:
Persistent diarrhea usually pinpoints internal parasites, which is the most common cause of diarrhea in crested geckos. These parasites usually enter the system after a reptile ingests fecal matter or insects that are carriers.
Parasites that affect the intestine can disrupt the digestive processes, resulting in diarrhea, lethargy, and even vomiting.
Coccidia is one of the most common of these, as well as nematodes like roundworms and hookworms that are typically seen in the feces.
Apart from diarrhea, untreated parasites can quickly make lizards lose weight and appetite, which can be fatal.
Another dangerous infection that occurs due to parasites is cryptosporidiosis, but it’s not talked about often enough. The Cryptosporidium Saurophilum is a protozoan parasite that particularly infects lizards in the intestine, causing terrible diarrhea and weight loss.
It’s contracted when a lizard gets in contact with fecal matter or anything contaminated with the pathogens, after which they can fall severely ill.
The worst part is that cryptosporidiosis is very difficult to diagnose and is often missed out in fecal exams too. It’s a hard to treat condition, and timely diagnosis is essential to help geckos make a full recovery.
It’s important to quarantine a new reptile for 1-2 months before adding it to an already populated tank. This prevents the spread of any contagious diseases.
Most geckos, including cresties, often have diarrhea due to stress. Since they’re sensitive to their surroundings, any change in the environment, such as improper temperature or relocating to a new enclosure can trigger stress.
Stress can also be induced during handling. Many crested geckos don’t like getting held, so if you notice diarrhea during or right after handling, it’s probably caused due to stress.
Lastly – and this may be a no-brainer – but housing two male crested geckos or any other reptile species within the tank can induce immense stress, which may also result in diarrhea.
It’s ideal to offer live prey to your crestie and to remove any dead insects from the tank ASAP.
Insects that are dead can harbor bacteria, especially if you’ve bought them from an unreliable source, causing diarrhea and other symptoms of digestive distress.
It’s best to avoid feeding wild-caught insects to your pets – you never know what parasites and bacteria they may be carrying.
Spot cleaning, rinsing out bowls, and thoroughly cleansing the tank every now and then is necessary to maintain hygiene in the tank.
When a lizard’s enclosure is not cleaned often enough, especially tanks that need high humidity like that of a crested gecko, it can accumulate bacteria that eventually affect your pet’s health.
As a result, bacterial and fungal infections are easily caught, resulting in diarrhea, weakness, and worse symptoms.
Fruits and Veggies
Research suggests that wild cresties don’t just eat insects but also fruits and veggies, which is why it’s essential to include them in their diet. However, too much of it can easily lead to diarrhea due to the high fiber and moisture content.
This is especially the case if you’ve been keeping your crested gecko well-hydrated. Plenty of water on top of too much fruit/veggies is bound to cause loose stools.
Did you know that crested geckos should not be fed fruits high in oxalic acid such as oranges or grapefruit, nor fruits high in phosphorus? It’s better to stick to safe options like papayas, prickly pear, apples, and blueberries.
How to Treat Diarrhea in Crested Geckos
If you see diarrhea in your crested gecko’s tank- don’t panic. Most cases aren’t too serious and can be resolved without much fuss. After cleaning up the poop, here’s what you can do to help your lizard:
Firstly, hold off on any feedings for at least a day. This will give your crested gecko’s digestive system a rest and help it settle down, especially if the cause was unhygienic food.
After a day, you can try introducing clean and easy-to-digest food like small crickets or a bit of store-bought food. If diarrhea starts once again after the meal, the likely cause isn’t the diet and is perhaps something more serious.
You can stop feeding your gecko but don’t forget to hydrate it after it has diarrhea. The body can lose a lot of water with diarrhea, especially if it has happened on more than one occasion, and dehydration is a crested gecko’s worst enemy.
Keeping the enclosure well-misted usually works, but if diarrhea has been prolonged, you may have to forcefully hydrate your crestie. Use a pipette or a syringe to slowly drip a few drops into its mouth, or let it lick it off from a nearby leaf if it can.
You can use Pedialyte instead of water for quicker hydration and to provide essential electrolytes. This can also be mixed with store-bought meals like this one from Zoomed or Repashy.
Fix the Enclosure
If changing the diet didn’t help, you may have to check the parameters of its enclosure to rule out the stress factor. Ensure that the tank is well-ventilated while being humid enough and is placed in a low-traffic area where the gecko can be unbothered.
Also, make sure it’s clean and has enough hiding spots for it to relax in.
See a Vet
If making changes to its diet and enclosure hasn’t helped and the diarrhea is persistent or continues for more than a day, take your gecko to a vet immediately.
It’s probably suffering from parasites like nematodes or coccidia, which must be treated with medications ASAP before it gets worse and becomes fatal.
The vet might treat it with piperazine or trimethoprim at the appropriate dosage, depending on the infection and its severity.
Diarrhea in a crested gecko often happens due to stress or improper diet, which isn’t too worrisome and is easily resolvable.
However, we recommend seeing a vet even if you don’t think it’s anything serious, especially if diarrhea is frequent or persistent.
- How Often Can You Handle A Leopard Gecko? - May 16, 2023
- Why Your Bearded Dragon Is Not Eating & How To Change That - May 16, 2023
- Can Female Chameleons Have Babies Without A Male? - May 16, 2023