Overweight Crested Gecko: Causes of Obesity

It is always important to monitor your crested gecko’s appearance so you will be able to recognize any signs of poor health.

Many reptile diseases will manifest physical symptoms, such as dark spots indicating a fungal infection or a crooked spine, which may signal metabolic bone disease. 

But how do you know if your crestie is overweight?

As a general rule, an overweight crested gecko will have chubby legs and fat rolls around the neck, head, and stomach. Obesity in crested geckos is usually caused by overfeeding, feeding too many fatty insects, and having an enclosure too small for the gecko to get adequate exercise.

While you might think your chubby crestie is cute, being overweight has serious health consequences for the animal.

To avoid these health problems, it is important to know what is causing your crestie to be overweight.

Read on for more information on the causes of crested gecko obesity and the ideal weights for each life stage.

overweight crested gecko

Overfeeding Crested Geckos

The most common cause of obesity in crested geckos is feeding too many insects at mealtime.

This is true for common leopard geckos, but cresties are smaller and more prone to obesity and overfeeding.

A general rule of thumb is to feed your crestie as many insects as it will eat in one sitting. 

However, if you notice your crestie is gaining too much weight, you should put your reptile on a diet.

Do not drastically lower the number of insects you feed your crestie all at once. 

You will need to gradually change your crestie’s diet by offering one less insect for three consecutive feedings. 

You will then reduce the number of insects by two for three feedings.

When you notice your crested gecko is losing weight, you should stop reducing the number of insects you are feeding it. 

You do not want to starve your crestie, so the diet needs to be gradual.

A baby and juvenile gecko need to be fed every day. 

Once a crestie has reached the adult stage, which is around 18 months, they should be fed only three times per week.

Most crested gecko owners feed their pets a commercial crested gecko food supplemented with insects and occasional fruits. 

This allows them to provide fewer insects at feeding time, so there is less risk for their crestie to become overweight.

Too Many Fatty Insects In The Crested Gecko Diet

Many crested geckos find waxworms and superworms very tasty, and they will happily eat up as many as they can handle.

This is a dangerous practice, however. 

Waxworms and superworms have very high-fat contents, and they should only be fed sparingly as a treat. 

Since crested geckos find these worms to be so flavorful, they may also become picky eaters and refuse to eat anything else.

If your crested gecko is overweight, it is best not to offer any waxworms or superworms, even as a treat, until the gecko reaches a healthy weight. 

Instead, you should offer your crestie lower-fat insect options, such as crickets, hornworms, locusts, and dubia roaches.

Warning! As always, make sure you use appropriately sized crickets and other insects.

The Crested Gecko Enclosure Size Is Too Small

If a crested gecko’s enclosure is too small, it will not have enough room to move around and get exercise.

Cresties are avid climbers, and the special pads on their feet allow them to climb vertical surfaces easily. 

Crested geckos also have prehensile tails, which means they are able to use their tails to hang onto branches and aid in climbing.

Since cresties like to climb, it is best to have a taller tank than the one you would use for other reptiles. 

Baby and juvenile cresties will do well in a 10-gallon enclosure, while adults will thrive in a 20-gallon or larger tank. 

Babies and juveniles need the smaller tank because they will have a more challenging time finding food in a larger enclosure.

While the enclosure should be taller than it is wide, it should still be wide enough to provide a proper temperature gradient. 

The ideal dimensions for an adult crested gecko tank are 18x18x24″ inches.

A lot of the space in the enclosure should feature plenty of branches, vines, plants, and hides, so your crestie will have plenty of room to explore and get exercise. 

Giving a crestie lots of room to play will help to keep the reptile from becoming overweight.

Crested Gecko Average Weight

If you suspect your crested gecko is overweight, you will need to monitor its weight on a regular basis, especially if you have put your lizard on a diet. 

An inexpensive kitchen scale will work as long as it is accurate.

It may be challenging to get your crestie to sit still long enough to be weighed.

To overcome this challenge, place a small bowl on the scale and weigh it. 

Once you know the bowl’s weight, gently place your crestie in the bowl and weigh it again. 

The difference between the weight of the bowl with the gecko and the bowl by itself will tell you how much your gecko weighs. 

Most kitchen scales also have the tare function, which will take into account the bowl’s weight and do the math for you.

If you are unsure about how much your crested gecko should weigh, refer to the following table, which shows the ideal weight for crested geckos at each life stage. 

The table also includes the average lengths for cresties.

Age WeightLength
Hatchling1.5-2 grams2.5-3” inches
2 Months3 grams3-4” inches
3 Months4 grams3-5” inches
4 Months5 grams4-6” inches
5 Months7 grams4-6” inches
6 Months9 grams5-7” inches
9 Months16-35 grams6-9” inches
12 Months35-50 grams9-16” inches
18-24+ Months35-55 grams9-16”+ inches

As you see, cresties generally gain 1-2 grams per month until they reach adulthood. 

Genetics will also play a role in how large a crestie will grow, so do not worry if your crestie does not match up to the weights and lengths shown on this table.

It is difficult to determine the exact weight which a crestie is considered overweight because the length of the reptile needs to be taken into account. 

However, these general guidelines, along with a visual inspection, should help you determine whether or not your crestie is overweight.

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