All About Crested Gecko Shedding: Why, How Often, and More!

Crested geckos are colorful lizards with distinct crests running from head to tail. They are small reptiles, between eight to ten inches long, fully grown. They are also adorable and low-maintenance, making them popular pets, especially among beginner lizard owners.

One of the things crested gecko pet owners need to learn about is their pet’s shedding behavior. Why do crested geckos shed, and how often do they do it?

Crested geckos shed their skin to adjust to size changes, whether growing larger or losing weight. Young cresties shed up to twice a week, but that number goes down to once a month when they become adults. The shedding process takes only thirty minutes or less, and crested geckos eat their old skin when they are done!

Read on to learn more on the topic, including signs they are about to shed and joint problems.

Why Do Crested Geckos Shed Their Skin?

crested gecko shedding

Like all reptiles, crested geckos shed their skin. This is because, unlike mammals, their skin does not grow, expand, or contract as they change size.

Mainly, crested geckos shed their skin as they age and grow larger. Since they grow most rapidly during the first year of their life, they shed much more often when younger than when they become fully mature.

However, since they shed to accommodate any change in size, crested geckos also shed their skin when they lose weight to avoid hanging flaps of skin.

Lastly, geckos shed for hygienic purposes. Shedding their skin allows them to remove any external parasites on their skin.

How Often Do Crested Geckos Shed? 

Cresties shed for the first time within 2-3 days of hatching and will continue throughout their lives. However, how often they do it varies as the years pass, depending on their age.

Baby (Up to 12 months) Once or twice a week
Juvenile (1-2 years)Once every two weeks
Adult (3 years up)Once a month

Since reptiles shed as they grow, they shed the most frequently when experiencing their growth spurt between six to twelve months of age. During this period, they can shed once or even twice weekly.

Your pet’s growth will slow down, as will its shedding schedule between one to two years of age. During this period, it will begin shedding only once every other week.

Once your crested gecko is fully grown, usually at three to four years old, its shedding will whittle down to once a month. Older geckos may shed even less than that! 

Editor’s Note
Crested geckos are nocturnal and crepuscular animals, active during dusk and dawn while the moon is out. Therefore, these are the hours when they will be doing their shedding, too!

Signs Your Crested Gecko Is Going To Shed

It’s difficult to catch your crested gecko shedding its skin because, aside from preferring to do the deed at night, it likes to hide when doing so. 

However, the following are telltale signs that shedding time is close, and it’s time to be more vigilant!

  1. Dull skin – Your crestie’s skin may appear pale or greyish, either its entire body or giant patches. This is its old skin drying out, the layer it will shed soon. 
  1. It becomes less active and loses its appetite. Shedding is hard work that takes up much of your pet’s energy. In the days leading up to its shed, it may appear more lethargic and less interested in food as it physically prepares for the task ahead.
  1. Hiding – Shedding is an uncomfortable time for reptiles, and they prefer doing it hidden and alone. This is also a survival tactic for geckos in the wild since they are more vulnerable during shedding and, therefore, easy targets for predators.
  1. Difficulty climbing – Since their skin becomes dry in preparation for shedding, your pet may have trouble “sticking” to its enclosure’s glass walls. If they work up enough energy and interest to try climbing, they may appear to struggle and slip down often.

How Long Does It Take for a Crested Gecko to Shed?

Crested geckos shed in sections, beginning with their heads and ending with their feet.

They begin by removing the skin on their snouts using their tongue, then work their way down their entire bodies until they shed their tail tips.

The actual shedding only takes 15-30 minutes. However, the entire process can take one to three days, from its first “sign” to its new skin completely drying.

Tips For Helping Your Crested Gecko Shed

You should never forcefully pull old skin off your crested gecko, but there are other things you can do to give it a better shedding experience.

Raise the humidity levels during shedding

crested gecko enclosure with fogger

Low humidity levels result in a gecko’s skin becoming more stuck, therefore becoming more challenging to shed off.

When your gecko is shedding, raise its tank’s humidity to 80-90%. You can do so by misting it more often than usual or investing in a reptile fogger.

After your crestie has finished shedding, lower the humidity levels to their regular 50-60%. This is because prolonged exposure to high humidity levels can give your pet respiratory problems or skin infections.

Ensure it has enough hiding spots

crested gecko hiding spot

Crested geckos like shedding in private. Ensure it has enough plants and other hiding areas to retreat when it’s time to shed.

Editor’s Note
Consider building your pet a “shed box” or creating a covered, secluded area lined with damp paper towels. This area gives your lizard both privacy and higher humidity!

Provide rough surfaces

crested gecko terrarium with branches and rough surfaces

Rough surfaces such as branches, cork, or bark in your pet’s enclosure. This will give your crestie places to rub against to eliminate stubborn old skin that won’t come off.

Don’t handle it while shedding

don't handle while crested gecko is shedding

Shedding is stressful for your crested gecko–don’t add to its agitation by handling it! This may cause it to have an incomplete shed, which is not healthy.

Additionally, you risk accidentally pulling off old and new skin when you touch your gecko during this time. 

Hold off handling your gecko until three days after its shed to ensure its new skin is fully dry and set.

Give it a healthy, balanced diet

A healthy, balanced diet will ensure your crestie has enough strength and nutrients to shed regularly. Aside from regular pet store food, feed it an insect like mealworms, dubia roaches, etc. at least twice a week, and give it calcium and other multivitamin supplements.

Keep your gecko hydrated

Hydration is essential not only for your pet’s tank but for its overall health, too. 

Ensure they stay adequately hydrated by leaving a little water bowl in their cage and misting their enclosure regularly so they can lick water from the leaves.

Common Shedding Problems and Their Treatments

Shedding too frequently

crested gecko shedding

One possible shedding problem is your crested gecko shedding more frequently than it should be. This may be a sign it is experiencing a parasite infestation.


Keep its tank clean to ensure your crested gecko does not develop parasites. Remove feces and any leftover food daily—additionally, deep clean its tank at least once a month with hot water and mild dish soap.

Incomplete sheds

The most common shedding problem for reptiles is an incomplete shed. 

Incomplete sheds can be problematic since they may cut off circulation in that area of your reptile’s body, whether it be a toe or tail tip. If left untreated, it may result in necrosis and eventual amputation.

Editor’s Note
No harm will come to your crested gecko if its tail falls off. However, unlike other lizards, it will not regrow again.


Never pull off any hanging skin with your fingers. You may give your crested gecko wounds, which can become infected.

Instead, try the following:

  • Mist your crested gecko with warm water to loosen its old skin
  • Apply a reptile shedding aid mineral oil with a Q-tip
  • Massage its skin lightly with a damp Q-tip
  • Give it a sauna.


Submerging your gecko in water, even if shallow, will cause it to become stressed. Instead, build it a simple sauna.

Place your crestie in a covered container lined with damp paper towels for 10-15 minutes. Water should be at room temperature or are 85 °F – anything more will give your lizard a heat stroke. 

After the sauna, use a Q-tip or soft toothbrush to brush away old skin gently.

Repeat once daily for a few days if needed.

Never leave your gecko unattended while it is in its “sauna”!

Why Do Crested Geckos Eat Their Old Skin? 

created gecko eating old skin

Crested geckos eat their shed for two reasons.

First, they reabsorb precious nutrients from their old skin. This is vital, especially in the wild when food isn’t always available.

Second, eating their shed allows them to “cover their tracks.” Discarded skin is a sign for predators that a crested gecko is nearby–which is not good! 

Editor’s Note
A crested gecko’s first meal in life is its first shed!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Give My Crestie A Bath To Help It Shed?

No. Bathing your crested gecko is highly discouraged since these reptiles do not like water. 

Instead, make your crestie a sauna described above and gently wipe off any debris with a damp cotton swab or paper towel.

Why Isn’t My Baby Crested Gecko Shedding?

If your baby crestie isn’t shedding, it’s likely because it isn’t growing and doesn’t need to change its skin. Possible reasons your hatchling isn’t growing include the following:

Incorrect diet
Enclosure problems (inadequate lighting, temperature, or humidity in the tank), or
Parasites and diseases.


Most of the time, your crested gecko can handle shedding independently without your assistance. After all, shedding is a normal part of all reptiles’ lives.

If it gets a little stuck now and then, it’s no problem–you can help it by raising its tank’s humidity or giving it a sauna.

If it gets stuck rather frequently, you should check its diet or enclosure for any possible issues.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *