Crested Gecko Sunken Eyes – Causes And Treatment
Crested geckos are overall healthy animals. However, if you notice any worrying symptoms such as sunken eyes, it’s important to find what’s causing it. Crested gecko sunken eyes can be due to sleeping/eating which is normal or as a result of sickness such as dehydration, retained eye cap, MBD.
This article will help your establish the cause of Crested gecko sunken eyes and how to fix it. To do this, we are looking at the following topics:
- Crested gecko sunken eyes – Causes, treatments and prevention
Crested Gecko Sunken Eyes Causes
The possible causes for Crested gecko sunken eyes are:
- Normal behaviors such as biting, eating and sleeping
- Sickness such as dehydration, retained eye cap or metabolic bone disease
Crested Gecko Sunken Eyes As Normal Behavior
As Crested geckos don’t have eyelids, they have to sleep with their eyes open. That’s why they pull their eyes inside their sockets when:
- Biting and eating
- Sleeping. When asleep, your Crested gecko’s eyes will appear sunken. This is to protect their eyes from potential disturbances or debris. Once you mist the tank and they wake up, the eyes should come out forward
The behaviors mentioned above are perfectly normal. It’s important to observe your Crested gecko and check if their eyes stay sunken when they are awake aswell as asleep. If that’s the case, then the cause for your Crested gecko sunken eyes it’s most likely something else.
If your Crested gecko sunken eyes appear as the eyes are going back into the skull, it can be caused by dehydration.
Dehydration is when the gecko loses more fluids than it is consuming. If you have a dehydrated Crested gecko and it’s left untreated, it can result in your gecko not functioning normally and their body shutting down.
The most common cause for Crested gecko sunken eyes is dehydration. However, it’s important to look out for other signs of dehydration to be sure.
If your Crested gecko sunken eyes is the result of dehydration, at least one other symptom should be present:
- Sunken eyes
- Loss of elasticity in skin. To check this you need to pinch the gecko’s skin. If it remains wrinkled and doesn’t restore, it means that the elasticity is reducing
- Wrinkled skin. If you notice your gecko’s skin looking wrinkled on the body and neck it means they are dehydrated
- Struggling to shed, especially on tails, toes, and head
- Dry and flaky skin
- Hips and ribs sticking out
- Sticky tongue
- Lethargic, weak and sluggish behaviour
- Loss of appetite
- Sticky or dry membranes. If your gecko is excessively licking its eyes, it can be because they are dry
- Tail waving and slithering. This mainly means that your gecko is stressed and maybe dehydrated
If you notice any of the symptoms above, it means that your gecko is dehydrated and you need to act quickly.
Treatment – Basic Care Needs
If you suspect that your Crested gecko sunken eyes is the result of dehydration, the first thing to check is if their basic care is correct. By tweaking a few things in your Crested gecko’s care, it will help them hydrate quickly and prevent dehydration in the future.
Ensure the following is part of your Crested gecko’s care:
- Correct temperature levels. Check that the temperature in their enclosure is between 72°F to 75°F. If the temperature is higher than that, you should take the Crested gecko out of the enclosure and place in a shallow plastic tub/bowl with a wet, cool cloth on the bottom
- Check humidity levels. If the humidity is at 50% or lower, you need to mist their enclosure. Crested geckos get most of the moisture they need through their skin. Therefore, humidity is one of the first things you should check
- Water bowl. Check if their water bowl is full, it not – refill it with fresh water
Treatment – Quick Hydration
To quickly hydrate your Crested gecko, try the following tested tips and tricks:
- Highly diluted electrolyte solutions such as sports drinks, Pedialyte or Ricelyte can help restore fluids. This should only be used if the gecko is refusing to drink plain water. As these drinks contain sugars, your gecko might be more willing to drink
- Pureed food mixed with water. You can feed your gecko pureed fruit diluted with water. This will help restore some of the fluids in your Crested gecko. For example you can use a puree of papaya, figs and bananas
- Use syringe or eye pipette to administer water/puree into your gecko’s mouth if they are refusing to eat/drink. However, don’t force it as that can cause additional stress
- “Sauna”. One of the quickest ways to restore moisture is by soaking your gecko in a small plastic box/crate/bowl with air holes. You need to put a wet, lukewarm paper tower on the bottom. This sauna effect will help them restore moisture through their skin. Furthermore, the gecko might begin to drink the condensation off the sides of the container
- Soaks. Set up a soak with 50/50 Pedialyte and room temperature water. Soak for at least 15 minutes. This will help with the dehydration. Make some fruit puree (ketchup consistency) such as mango or papaya and mix some Retile calcium in. Use a pipette/syringe without the needle to drop the mix on their snout. They should be able to lick it off.
If none of the above home treatments are successful, you need to take your gecko to a vet immediately.
Normally, the vet will administer fluids through feeding tubes or subcutaneous injections. In addition, the vet will check your gecko’s hydration levels and if dehydration is the symptom of an underlying illness.
To learn more about Crested gecko dehydration, keep reading here Dehydrated Crested Gecko: Crested Gecko Dehydration Signs, Cause, Fixes
Retained Eye Cap
Another possible cause for Crested gecko sunken eyes is retained eye cap. Although, this condition usually affects only one eye, in some cases it can be both eyes that are affected.
Normally, retained eye cap is the result of improper shedding. When the skin gets stuck, it can result in one of the gecko’s eyes appear as sunken.
Improper or incomplete shedding happens due to dry conditions and not enough humidity in the gecko’s habitat.
Ensuring the humidity and temperature are at optimal levels is essential to the Crested gecko’s shedding process.
To treat Crested gecko sunken eyes caused by retained eye cap, you can soak the gecko in tepid water twice daily. In addition, you should increase the humidity in the tank. By doing this, the eye cap may raise up and come off by itself.
Another treatment is to dab q-tip in olive oil and gently rub it around the edges (around the lid margins) of the gecko’s eye. In some cases, leaving a dab of oil on the eye edges for 10 to 15 minutes can loosen the cap enough to see it wrinkle up and free an edge.
However, if the issue persists for more than 24 hours, you should take your gecko to the vet as this may require medical intervention to remove the cap before the eye becomes infected or constricted. Some eye caps are so stubborn that they require tiny surgical instruments to be used after the pet is sedated to lift up an edge for removal.
Another thing to look out for is – pus coming out from the eye. If there is any pus or discharge from the eye, it means that there is an infection and you need to take your gecko to the vet immediately for treatment with antibiotics.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Another possible cause for Crested gecko sunken eyes is Metabolic bone disease.
Crested gecko Metabolic bone disease is the result of Calcium or vitamin D3 deficiency. This is usually due to improper diet such as baby food or homemade diet.
Calcium is very important for your Crested gecko’s health and development. Calcium ensures not only the proper muscle and organ function but is also used during breeding and egg production.
In some cases, Crested gecko Metabolic bone disease symptoms are very subtle and owners can miss them.
In the early stages of Crested gecko Metabolic bone look out for symptoms such as:
- Crested gecko shaking head,
- Slightly crooked tail
- Crested gecko sunken eyes
- Overall muscle weakness such as inability to stick
- Shaking when you pick them up or when they are walking
Later stages of Crested gecko Metabolic bone disease presents with the following symptoms:
- Disfigured bones, spine, hips and tail such as curvy back and spine
- Swollen limbs and jaw
- Weak jaw that hangs open
- Underbite or overbite
- Kinked tail with multiple zig-zags
- Humped back
- Trembling or twitching
- Lack of appetite
- Grey or black Calcium sacks. Crested geckos have calcium sacs in their mouths to store calcium. Healthy Calcium sacks should be round and white
Crested gecko sunken eyes as a result of Metabolic bone disease can be treated as long as it’s caught on time.
Mild cases of the disease can be treated at home by making a few changes in your gecko’s diet and habitat setup such as:
- Liquid calcium such as Zoo Med’s Repti Calcium with D3 which can be administered at home
- Change in diet to ensure that your gecko is getting the calcium they need. You can switch to Pangea Breeders Formula just 1 feeding per week. This formula is high in calcium
- It’s recommended to install a low impact UVB light such as Exo Terra compact fluorescent bulbs = 14 may or Miner-ALL’s Outdoor formula
- If you feed your Crested gecko insects, make sure you dust them in Calcium and Vitamin D3 powder before feeding
If your gecko hasn’t improved after a couple of week, you should take them to the vet. Then, the vet will do an X-ray to establish the level of bone deterioration. This will help them come up with an appropriate treatment plan.
To learn more about Crested gecko metabolic disease, keep reading here Crested Gecko Metabolic Bone Disease – Cause, Symptoms And Treatment
Crested Gecko Sunken Eyes – Prevention
Most cases of Crested gecko sunken eyes are easily preventable by simply providing good husbandry.
To reduce the chance of having a sick Crested gecko due to dehydration, improper shedding or metabolic bone disease, you need to ensure the following preventative measures are in place:
- Temperature levels. Ensure temperature maintains at 72°F to 75°F. Use a thermostat to track temperature levels.
- Cool spot. Ensure your gecko has a cool spot in the enclosure where it can cool off if needed
- Humidity levels needs to be between 60% and 80%
- Misting is what maintains the humidity in your gecko’s enclosure. Mist twice per day – light one in the morning and stronger in the evening. Use a hygrometer to track the humidity levels
- Water sources. Ensure your gecko has a water bowl that is always full with water and it’s easily accessible by your gecko. In the wild, Crested geckos drink rain water directly from the plants. Therefore, including water catching decorations can help keep them hydrated
- Diet. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential to your gecko’s health. Recommended is a staple diet such as Repashy or Pangea with an occasional treat of dusted insects and healthy fruit purees. If you’re worried about dehydration, add more water in the powder
- Bathing. It’s recommended to bathe your gecko in lukewarm water. Not only do geckos enjoy bathing but this is also a great way to bond with them and add more moisture to their body
Crested geckos are some of the hardiest reptiles. However, if you notice your gecko having abnormal symptoms such as Crested gecko sunken eyes, it’s essential to establish the cause.
In some cases Crested gecko sunken eyes is nothing to worry about. For instance, your geckos eyes can appear sunken whilst they are eating, biting or sleeping. These are normal behaviors due to Crested geckos not having eye lids.
However, if your Crested gecko sunken eyes are still present when awake, it can be due to sickness such as retained eye cap, dehydration or metabolic bone disease.
The most common cause for Crested gecko sunken eyes is dehydration. This condition usually presents alongside other symptoms such as wrinkled skin, hips and ribs sticking out, lethargic, lack of appetite and other.
If your Crested gecko is dehydrated, it’s very important to hydrate them quickly by following the recommended treatment in this article.
If the your Crested gecko sunken eyes persist after you’ve tried all the solutions suggested, you need to take them to the vet for further exams and antibiotics.
Related Topics Q&A
What Does It Mean If My Crested Gecko’s Eyes Turn Foggy?
If your Crested gecko’s eyes appear foggy it might be due to them getting ready to shed.
When your gecko sheds, their eyes turn cloudy and shed just like the skin. If that’s the case, it’s essential to ensure that there is enough moisture present in their tank to complete the shedding.
Another possible cause is retained shed. Improper or incomplete shed can result in Crested gecko foggy eyes. If that’s the case you need to help your gecko shed the rest of their skin safely. This can be done by using the sauna technique and increasing the humidity in their tank.
Does My Crested Gecko Have An Eye Infection?
One of the health problems that Crested geckos might experience is eye infections. The symptoms of Crested gecko eye infection includes eyes swelling due to fluid build up. In addition to that, there also might be some discharge or pus.
You can try home remedies such as the sauna technique which is placing your gecko in a cricket box with warm damp towel in it for around 10 to 15 minutes. However, most eye infections will require antibiotic drops, so taking your gecko to the vet is essential.