We all wonder what our pets are thinking, and being able to understand their emotions is one way we are able to get insight into how their brains work.
More than that, it is vital to be able to understand whether your crested gecko is happy or stressed so that you are able to adjust their environment if needs be.
Stress can also be fatal to your crested gecko if not monitored properly. Crested geckos are very peaceful and easy-going little creatures, as long as they are properly cared for.
Thankfully this guide is here to help you which behaviours to watch out for and which behaviours are completely normal.
How does a crested gecko behave when it is happy?
They are fairly docile when they are happy and comfortable. It will allow you to handle them easily and they may even climb your arms as if you’re a human branch. They will be active and alert, and they will hunt for their food in their enclosure.
They will sleep around 12 hours during the day and will happily climb and explore their enclosure. They spend majority of their time on their perch, and will cautiously move around their environment otherwise.
They will more than likely find their favourite spot within the enclosure to spend most of their time there.
It is also normal for crested gecko’s to shed their skin, and some do even eat their shedded skin. So don’t think that this is a problem or that your gecko is unhappy if you see it.
How to handle a crested gecko to avoid stress:
Remove any other pets such as dogs and cats out of the room. These could be seen as threats and it is safest to not have them there at all.
It is also recommended to take unruly children out of the room too, and to monitor children very closely to avoid any accidents.
When you open the habitat, put your hand inside immediately to avoid your little gecko feeling anxious and unsure. From here put your fingers in front of their face, they might lick them as a way to become familiar with their surroundings.
Gently rub their chin with your finger, and they should begin to climb onto your hand. They may not do this the first few times, allow them to get used to you as they may be threatened by you.
Once they are on your hand, allow your little friend to explore and get comfortable without any interference. When putting them back into their enclosure allow them to walk off your hand on their own.
How to tell if your crested gecko is stressed or sad:
There are a number of signs that you can look out for to tell if your crested gecko is stressed or unhappy. They are as follows below:
- The could jump and run away from you suddenly.
- They may hide.
- They could try to bite you when you approach them or handle them.
- They may display aggressive behaviour – such as jumping at the glass of their enclosure.
- If they make noises such as chirping, squeaking and growling.
- Monitor their breathing, if it is fast and heavy they may be stressed or ill.
- If they are lethargic or sickly looking.
- Burying themselves in substrate.
- ‘firing up’ – ie when they suddenly become brightly coloured.
- If they are sitting with their mouths agape.
- They could shown signs of dehydration and overheating if their skin is wrinkly and their eyes are sunken in.
- If their tail is dropped.
- If their tail is slithering/waving when you are handling them.
- If their mouth is suddenly agape when you approach.
- They have moved away from their favourite spot in the enclosure.
- If you notice significant weight loss.
- If they are arching their back to look bigger.
If your crested gecko is displaying any of these signs you could start by evaluating their environment. They could be stressed for a number of easy to fix reasons such as the temperature of their environment is not ideal, their enclosure could be too small or their water is not fresh enough.
Keeping your crested gecko occupied will also help to keep it happy and stress free. You can do this by making sure that plenty of furniture is added to its tank.
This will allow it to explore and satisfy its curiosity, keeping it happy and healthy. I recommend having a look at this relatively inexpensive rock cave on Amazon, it will provide somewhere to explore and also hide when your crestie needs some alone time.
Other more serious could include that they are not receiving enough nutrients, or they could be sick. It is always advised to seek the advice of a registered vet. If you would like to read our ultimate guide to crested gecko diet and feeding have a look at this article.
It also could take your crestie a week or two to settle into a new environment.
What does it mean if they are wagging their tails:
Crested gecko’s have been noted to wag their tails as a form of communication to other geckos, but they may also feel threatened.
There is a number of reasons why they may wag their tails and it is generally not a cause for alarm. It should be easy to tell the difference between a threatened wag and a friendly wag – for example if you approach them too quickly, or if there is another animal in the room.
When you learn your crested geckos typical behaviour it will become easier to tell why they are wagging their tails.
How to tell if your crested gecko is sleeping Or being lethargic.
Crested Gecko’s are one of the few reptiles who don’t have eyelids, which can make it difficult to tell when they are sleeping. They are nocturnal and therefore will most likely sleep during the day.
The first thing to look for is to see if they are motionless, obviously. Their heads won’t be in an active position but will rather be resting. They are also able to sleep in tree’s or on other foliage as they prefer to be up in a tree or climbing onto other foliage.
They will likely sleep around 12 hours during the day and will wake up just before dusk, and might go back to sleep around the early morning.
To read more about crested geckos and their sleeping have a read of this guide it will tell you every that you need to know.
Ultimately its crucial you monitor your crested geckos behaviour. There are a number of signs to look out for if they are stressed such as hiding away, suddenly ‘firing up’ or if they appear breathing heavily or fast.
If they are stressed you should evaluate their environment and adjust it as needs be. For example, they could be stressed due to the temperature not being right for their bodies or their enclosures may be too small. They could also be ill.
They wag their tails for a number of reasons, ranging from communication between other geckos to feeling threatened. They are skittish little creatures, and as a result are often quick to drop their tails. Unfortunately they are one of the few lizards who do no grow their tails back.
They sleep with their eyes open, as they do not have eyelids. In order to determine if they are sleeping monitor them to see if they are in a rested position.
It is recommended that you regularly monitor your little friend to be able to determine what their regular behaviour is, and this will help you quickly spot abnormal behaviour.
Of course it is highly advised to always seek a vets professional opinion if you are concerned about your crestie. Stress can be fatal, and it is always best to be safe.
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.