Do Crested Gecko Tails Grow Back?

Known for its independence, the Crested Gecko is the perfect pet for a first-time owner that doesn’t have the time to constantly care for their pet 24 hours a day. 

Previously thought to be extinct, they grew in population around 1994 originating from New Caledonia, Australia. 

Perhaps, since their newfound popularity, you’ve decided to own one as a pet, or maybe you already own one. You’ve heard that some gecko tails regrow and that some don’t – or maybe you’re concerned that your pet is in some serious danger.

Let’s go through some helpful tips and facts that will help put your mind at ease. 

Why do they fall off? 

As you can see the crested gecko isn’t the largest of lizards. In the wild, they would make great prey to hunting predators. However, because of this and through evolution, these geckos have developed a strong flight response, dropping their tails to distract the predator before fleeing. 

Whilst in captivity the same is apparent. Whilst there may not be any predators within their enclosure if your crested gecko feels stressed, aren’t correctly handled, have poor temperature conditions, are ill or have a stuck shed – they may drop their tails in response. 

How do their tails drop?

Crested Gecko’s drop their tails and flee at the sight of the predator, regardless of whether the predator has attacked them or not. 

However, you might not seem convinced that a tail on the ground is going to stop a predator in its tracks. Instead, once the tail is dropped it begins to wiggle and flap around. 

It is this wiggling that will distract the predator, thinking that it is something else. In the meantime, the gecko is long gone and hopefully safe. 

So, there is nothing to worry about if your crusted gecko has dropped their tail. They use this technique as a defence mechanism so don’t worry about rushing them to the vet. However, some other factors could mean your gecko isn’t healthy that will also cause them to drop their tails. 

Is it a health problem? 

Typically, a dropped and wiggling tail is a sign that your gecko has been spooked. Perhaps they have seen something, or more likely, heard something that reminds them of a predator. 

Don’t worry, it is not a painful process for your gecko either. However, there could be some other reasons for dropping, mainly being stress or illness. 

Ensure that your crested gecko is getting enough sleep and a proper diet. If not, then you can expect a dropped tail. What you don’t want to do is try handling your gecko when they are sleeping or during their night cycle. Taking them out of their rhythms is hugely stressful for the creatures and therefore should be handled with care and at the right times. 

Similarly, if your gecko is ill it will feel tired and weak. When climbing or moving around their enclosure they may not feel strong enough to do so. As a result, they will drop their tails to shed off the extra weight and make movement easier. 

Alternatively, you may find your gecko start pacing around the enclosure and feeling lethargic. Usually, these are symptoms of dehydration or improper temperatures. Whilst it can be hard to get the temperature right, crested geckos can get heat stress and if there is not enough water in the enclosure – dehydrated – leading to a dropped tail.

One final reason you may open your gecko’s enclosure to find a dropped tail is stress at shedding. Usually, your gecko will try to scratch at the parts of its shed that aren’t coming off properly in an attempt to smooth out the process. However, they can become distressed rather quickly and as a result, will drop their tails. This will help cause a break in the shedding, making it far easier for your gecko to rub off its shedding. 

Do they grow back? 

The question that you have all been waiting for. 

The answer is: no.

Crested Geckos will not grow their tail back once it has been dropped. They will develop a stub instead and as long as it heals as it should do then your gecko will continue to live out its life as happy as ever. 

Many crested geckos drop their tail at some point in their lifetime. It is as usual to them as breathing is to us. There is no pain, and they will continue to live life happily – just without their tail. 

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