The Gekkonidae which is commonly known as Geckos are found globally and most specifically in tropical areas. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. The Gekkonidae family have evolved over years and prefer warm temperature with high precipitation areas. But the question arises how long do geckos live? The average lifespan of Geckos is considered to be between 10 and 20 years.
The Geckos which have grown popular as pets are Leopard geckos, Tokay geckos, Crested Geckos, and African fat-tailed geckos. The Geckos are pleasant but most of them are indicated as being stressed if handled by humans.
Life expectancy of Geckos
Life expectancy is calculated by analyzing the average life span of many individual geckos.
The research done on the male and female geckos shows that male geckos might live longer than female geckos. However, it is not rare for female geckos to live a longer lifespan than some other males and vice versa. The female geckos have a lifespan between 10 years and 15 years.
They are believed to have a shorter life span because of various factors that it has to go through. The most common factor is reproduction. The act of reproduction is hard on female geckos as well as it requires a lot of energy. The male geckos save a lot of energy and hence are considered to live a longer life.
The oldest gecko who was kept in captivity is believed to have lived to 28 years! Most of the Geckos that are kept as pets are considered to have a longer lifespan than the ones in the wild. The wild Geckos have a life span of 6 years – 8 years.
How to determine the age of a Gecko?
The various breeds of gecko go through a pattern of changes which makes it easy for us to determine their age.
The bands across their back and tail remain unbroken for the first 80-90 days after they are being hatched.
The Geckos are considered as sub-adults after they break the bands into spots. The bands faced over time and the adult Gecko settle into its final pattern after around 400 to 900 days of hatching.
The age is a factor which should be considered important as their lifestyle and food habits are highly depended on their age. The Geckos have a temperature-dependent sex-determining mechanism.
How to determine a healthy Gecko?
A healthy Gecko will have bright skin with clear open eyes and nostrils. The skin is undamaged with no signs of parasitic infection. The shedding of skin should occur regularly and one should be keen to eat and pass feces regularly. The Gecko will stand semi-erect and explore at night and will have a nice fat tail.
A sick Gecko will potentially have a sunken eye and will not eat well. The tail tends to become thin and will have smelly feces which indicates parasitic infection.
Common health issues of Geckos
The Geckos are considered not to be immune to various health problems such as
Respiratory problems – The wheezing and drooling signs indicate that it might have a respiratory problem. The main cause is considered as low temperature.
Stomatitis – The reddish discoloration around the mouth area indicates that the mouth of the Gecko is starting to rot. This is a very serious issue and should be treated as soon as possible.
Parasites – Geckos are frequently infected by parasites. The infection might happen internally as well as externally. The parasitic infection on the skin might look like a red rash and is identified by difficulty in shedding their skin. The internal parasites can cause a change in appetite and an unusual dropping of feces.
Dysecdysis – This refers to the problem of shedding by Geckos due to improper humidity in their surroundings.
Unintentional mistake by the pet owners
Geckos do not require exotic care to survive in their surroundings and the small mistakes done by the owners can be forgiven. However, they are not the normal lizards that tend to heal quickly from injuries and are also resistant to many diseases. The species is not completely immune to poor health and might have a life-threatening problem if not handled with care.
- The owners might not be able to provide a humid hide. The low humidity results in skin-related problems like dysecdysis.
- The temperature might be too cold for the Gecko which can cause constipation or respiratory problems.
- They should not be fed fruits and vegetables. They should be gut-loaded with high-quality larvae, crickets, and mealworms. The items like waxworms and wild insects should always be avoided.
- Most of the Geckos kept in the high-stress environment are prone to problems like hyperparathyroidism.
Stress is considered an important factor that affects the lifespan of a Gecko. The Gecko lizards should be kept in a quiet and calm environment. The raising or twisting of the tail, squeaking, hissing, and biting are the common characteristics of a stressed Gecko.
Signs indicating that the Gecko might be dying
Can you identify if a gecko is dying? Unfortunately, if the following symptoms are relatable then you might consider scheduling a vet appointment ASAP.
The Gecko might have a rapid weight loss (overnight), a runny and smelly poop, bleeding from the mouth, cottage cheese-like substance around the mouth area, decrease in the appetite. The reptiles might stop on their diet for various reasons. The adult Gecko usually eats less than the growing baby Gecko but it should be examined thoroughly if it suddenly stops eating anything at all.
How to know if the Gecko is dying of old age?
The old Gecko will not be proactive like the young ones. They start showing no interest in eating which will lead to various health problems and in few months they might die due to various health issues.
Geckos are considered a great beginner-friendly pet. They are fragile and is not a good idea to handle them without any pre-requisite knowledge. The geckos might consider it as a threat and might drop their tail as a defensive mechanism. However, being bitten by geckos is highly unlikely but there is always a possibility.