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RIP Sterling 2013-2015

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  • RIP Sterling 2013-2015

    I fond my 2 year old crestie dead this morning, guys. Other than being terribly sad, here are some things that I'm wondering if they contributed to his death:

    --1 month ago, upgraded from 12 x 12 x 18 ExoTerra to 18 x 18 x 24 ExoTerra (a little later than I should have increased his tank size, I know)
    --3 weeks ago, bought a medium-sized Magnaturals Crested Gecko hideaway (he seemed to love it)
    --1 week ago, I was away for a while and his heat sat around 80 for maybe 2 hours (not too long, but I know how cresties can be with heat)
    --2 days ago, I noticed some stuck shed around his toes and he wasn't able to climb due to this.

    When I went in to check on the shed this afternoon, I found him.

    I know there will be questions about diet, substrate, and humidity. CGD: he was eating/pooping regularly. Substrate: whatever coconut-fiber fake dirt ExoTerra sells for cresties. Misting: 1-2 times a day/around 80% humidity.

    My biggest concern is impaction from the Magnaturals hideaway. I thought the heat may have been a problem, but he was doing so well the week after that I brushed it off.
    Last winter he went into a pseudo-hibernation which, apparently is not uncommon among cresties, so I thought this might be that. No such luck.

    Let me know what you think.
    RIP, my friend. RIP.

  • #2
    Upgrading an enclosure later than one should have should not contribute to the death of a gecko – unless maybe the enclosure is super small and causes a continual feeling of stress.
    On the Pangea Crested Gecko Care Sheet, it states, " The Exo Terra 12x12x18 terrarium is an ideal set up for a single adult gecko or pair."
    This is sometimes battled by the opinions of keepers, saying that their quality of life would be better in a bigger enclosure – which is a true statement but, again, according to Pangea, your previous enclosure was an adequate size for an adult to live in.

    I am not sure how a magnetic hide would have caused his death unless it fell on him or fell with him inside of it?

    80 is the highest temperature I would say is safe but multiple care sheets say it can rise to 82 without causing issue. I doubt it sitting at 80 for a couple of hours contributed to his death either. If it had risen to 85, I might then have suspected it of contributing to his demise.

    Stuck shed is a common problem and unless it was compacted enough to cause prolonged constriction on limbs, I doubt it was a cause for his death.

    May I ask how the magnetic hideaway could have caused impaction? Was there some kind of substrate within that he could have swallowed?

    Did you feed live insects inside of his enclosure? If he was hunting for insects, missed while snapping at one and ended up with a mouthful of substrate, that may have been the cause – or if he, for whatever reason, ingested it in any other situation.

    I have been told that coconut fiber can cause impaction and thus death.

    May I ask how much he weighed, what brand of diet you were using and how often you cleaned? Was his vent clean and free of swelling?


    • #3
      Like Inquisitive mentioned... coconut fiber substrate can kill geckos by impaction. I haven't used that stuff in over 15 years because it impacted too many of my animals.


      • #4
        His vents appear fine. I was feeding him Crested Gecko Diet. The only thing with the magnetic hideaway I was thinking is that the reviews of it said to wash it thoroughly before incorporating it into his enclosure. It originally had a very grainy coat on the outside, but I thought I'd gotten it all. I don't know how much he weighed, but he looked healthy. Not too skinny. No skin sagging. A good color.

        It stinks that it might have been the substrate. I thought that was a pretty popular option. What else do you guys use?
        I will get a new one and I just want to make sure I'm not harming another.


        • #5
          Yes, but what brand? There are multiple brands of Crested Gecko Diet and some of them are not complete diets. If he was being fed one that did not have all of the essential vitamins and nutrients his body needed, it could have contributed to his death.

          I recommend buying a scale before purchasing your next gecko. Weight loss is a good indication of something being wrong with your gecko and sometimes, the weight may be lost in a subtle but gradual way that is not visually noticeable until it is too late.

          It is a popular option, as is bark chips, but that does not mean it is safe. I think a lot of people go with what they find the prettiest, putting their gecko's health at risk. I use paper towels as substrate because they can be kept clean with ease, it makes monitoring the geckos easier than it would be with a naturalistic substrate and it is usually not ingested – although, I have read a small number of posts saying the poster's gecko took a bite out of it. I have yet to have this issue, personally.

          I should also add that if you plan on using his old enclosure and decor for your next gecko, you need to thoroughly disinfect it all beforehand just in case he was sick or had parasites.


          • #6
            The brand was Repashy. I used to do calcium power/baby food/crickets, but for one reason or another stopped all three of those.

            All great advice that I will absolutely take. Thanks so much.


            • #7
              Okay, Repashy is a complete diet. Baby food is a big no-no so I hope it was not used for long. Calcium should be dusted on feeder insects but it should not otherwise be added to their diet unless directed to do so by a veterinarian due depleted calcium sacs.

              If you will, I recommend using one of Pangea's complete diets with weekly gut loaded and calcium dusted crickets or b. dubia roaches for your next gecko.

              I change the paper towels out once a week (unless something requires me cleaning them sooner), making sure I wipe the entire enclosure down in the process, and I do a thorough (disinfecting) enclosure cleaning at least once a month.


              • #8
                If you want to use a more natural substrate, for example, you want to use live plants, you can use a layer of leaf litter with the larger leaves on top to prevent accidental ingestion of the substrate. they will just get a mouthful of leaves if anything and spit them out. I have a multi layer approach to my natural vivariums but I am striving to create balanced ecosystems for my geckos to live in which may be more than you want to deal with. If you want to do the simple approach makes more sense to use paper towel. You could even get the natural colored ones if you don't like the look of white, or you could get one of those reptile mats they sell for the bottom that looks like substrate. I am sorry for your loss. I saw you called him a him so I am assuming it is a male. If it's not a male perhaps bound egg? Could also be Parasites? Potential virus/bacterial infection? Internal injury from a fall. See where I am going with this? Only way to truly know would be to get an autopsy done from a good reptile vet. Otherwise it's just a guessing game. It may have been the substrate, it may not have. Just my two cents.

                I am really sorry for the loss of your gecko. I know how you feel. I have kept a variety of pets throughout my life and it's never easy.


                • #9
                  What about that humidity, isn't 80% humidity quite high for cresties? Everything I seem to read says 50% humidity except for the initial humidity rise after misting.
                  "I just can't even" - White Girls Everywhere

                  1.1.1. Crestie Fam

                  0.1.0 Texas Rat Snake (Gotta have something feisty!)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stellar Reality View Post
                    What about that humidity, isn't 80% humidity quite high for cresties? Everything I seem to read says 50% humidity except for the initial humidity rise after misting.
                    Yes, you are correct. In the daytime, it should be about 50% to 60% and at night, it should be about 80% to 100% once misted
                    If your enclosure had a constant dampness to it, it could have caused a respiratory infection.


                    • #11
                      When you say "at night", do you mean OUR night or the GECKO's night? Should the humidity be higher when the gecko is awake or while asleep?