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Thread: Flighty / shy phase?

  1. #1
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    Default Flighty / shy phase?

    Hi all,

    my chahoua Urmel (male Pine Isle, 1.5 years old, 48 grams) appears to be going through a very shy and flighty phase.

    When I take him out of his enclosure, he seems fine and reasonably calm (licking, no heavy breathing). But after a few minutes he will suddenly jump off of me and run to the next best hiding place.

    Today was really bad, as he jumped off my arm onto a bag of peat moss where he did not find a hold, so he fell off of that and was so spooked that he ran behind the mini fridge I use for the gecko food. He eventually crawled into the back of the fridge behind the compressor. I was worried he might overheat or get an electric shock, so I unplugged the fridge and gently tried to nudge him out of there. I managed to get him out, but he was still very nervous, sitting in the corner of the room and wagging his tail when I approached him. He had never done that before!

    I let him sit there and calm down for a bit, but eventually I had to get him back into his enclosure. After some more chasing (and another trip to the fridge...) later I could persuade him to crawl into a cardboard tube, which I used to transfer him back to his enclosure.

    I do not know why he acted like this, and I do not know how to proceed with him. I handle my geckos regularly for short periods of time (5-10 minutes every 1-2 days), because I think that even if they may not feel any emotional attachment to me, it is better for them if they do not perceive me as a threat. It is also a lot easier to have someone else look after "tame" geckos.

    I think for now I will just leave Urmel alone and wait for him to signal me if he wants to come out of his tank. He sometimes does that.
    I am happy for any advice how to deal with a 'wild child' like this one. I was really afraid of losing him when he got away and it took me about 10 minutes to find him in the back of the fridge.

    Did any of your chahouas go through a phase like this? Could it be hormonal / spring related?
    1.1.0 Crested Geckos "Jackson Pollock" and "Pumpkin Spice" 1.0.0 Chahoua "Urmel" 1.1 Red eared sliders "Freddy Krueger" (25 years) and "Mucki" (45 years) RIP Peppermint (Green Anole)

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear that about your little Urmel .It can be normal for them to have a change in behavior during their "teenage" stage. As long as you have ruled out any physical/medical problems (there has been no heat/humidity changes, he has proper nutrition and enclosure/furnishing, etc), I would not worry too much and just be aware that he may be a little unpredictable right now.
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  3. #3
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    I did add some new plants and a waterfall to his tank a few days prior. Maybe these changes irritated him. I do not think he is scared of his new waterfall, though, since I often see him sit right on top of it.

    I do not think he has a medical problem either. He is behaving normally when he is in his tank, he looks healthy, his appetite is normal and his poop looks fine as well. He had repeated fecal tests done in the past few months, and they always came back completely negative.
    He could have been going into shed, since with Urmel I find it very hard to tell if he is about to shed. I only really saw him shed twice since I got him, and of course he must have done it much more often to get to his present size.

    Temperature could have been an issue, because when I installed the waterfall I swapped some plugs to different outlets, and I accidentally plugged his infrared heater into the regular outlet instead of the thermostat. I noticed it when the thermometer at the hotspot showed 90 ˚F. The tank itself was at 76 ˚F, so Urmel could have easily avoided the heat if he had wanted to do that. Instead, he was practically glued to the hotspot and basking up there. So I am wondering if he might have felt too cold all winter. At the moment, the hot spot temperature is set to 83 ˚F and he spends a lot of time on a mushroom ledge near that, where the temperature is around 80 ˚F.
    I read in an article on Modern Dinosaur's (formerly Charming Chewies) Facebook page that Chahouas may require slightly higher temperatures than cresties, which makes sense to me given that I often see my chewie bask in bright 'sun'light, which my cresties never do.

    Urmel is acting normal at the moment. He lets me touch him inside his tank, he is taking food from feeding tongs, and he is pretty active at night. I have very briefly handled him twice since the big chase a few days ago, and he stayed calm. So for now I am just 'gecko-proofing' the room a bit more (barriers under the doors, mesh in the back of the fridge...), and I am extra careful when I handle Urmel. He is an F2, so he probably still has a lot in common with his wild gecko grandparents.
    1.1.0 Crested Geckos "Jackson Pollock" and "Pumpkin Spice" 1.0.0 Chahoua "Urmel" 1.1 Red eared sliders "Freddy Krueger" (25 years) and "Mucki" (45 years) RIP Peppermint (Green Anole)

  4. #4
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    Sounds like the changes in his tank were pretty significant, so I could see that making him a little more flighty. Even if he seemed ok next to the waterfall he may have been a little more "on edge" and seeing things in shadows, lol. As far as the heat, as long as he had a good gradient to get to lower temps, that was probably ok. I agree that most NC geckos do better than commonly discussed with some sort of temp gradient. Chewies moreso seem to really appreciate a basking spot and IMO UVB is less "optional" with them.

    Good to hear that he is acting a little more normal - I would give him a two week wait before really trying to handle him much as he adjusts to his waterfall and other tank arrangements (pics? Sounds neato).
    Dedicated to the health, quality, and genetic diversity of Crested Geckos (Correlophus ciliatus)
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