Help with Unknown Crested Gecko Deaths

I’ll start with some information. I had 14 baby crested geckos. 1 was from a while ago and was my first baby. The other 13 are significantly younger. I’ve been feeding dubia roaches to them occasionally. I’ve been very hesitant about feeding them crickets due to them possibly hurting the gecko and they are hard to deal with.

With the price of shipping and local sellers for dubias I decided to get a couple hundred crickets in two sizes to feed to all of my geckos. After feeding the baby cresties crickets they seemed to do fine and I made sure there was CGD in there at all times so the crickets wouldn’t eat the geckos. The crickets were also gut-loaded with CGD prior to feeding them. A lot of the crickets escaped (from the front hold under the door in the songmics shoe boxes) but I saw a couple geckos catch some.

This was a couple days ago. When I went to mist their enclosures last night I found one baby laying on it’s back dead. It looked dehydrated but that must have been from the death, there was plenty of water and humidity in the enclosure. This morning I went through all of the enclosures and found 2 more of them dead. Out of 13 babies (1 being the oldest), they were 8, 9, & 13. They were all from different clutches and 1 was from a different parent. None of them looked like they were injured, eaten into, etc. and only the first one looked dehydrated. The others looked perfectly fine except unresponsive.

These are the only deaths I’ve had for reptiles and it feels horrible, especially given that 3 died and they were all babies that I hatched. Does anybody have any possible explanation for why this happened? The temperature is about 73-75 and the humidity ranges from 60-90% depending how long ago I misted. The crickets looked an appropriate size for the geckos and they all looked and behaved healthy with no indication of an injury. All of the other (leopard and crested) geckos I’ve fed the crickets to have been fine but I’m not buying or feeding any more crickets for them.


I am so sorry for your loss


I’m really sorry for your loss. :worried:

I don’t really have any answers for you. It’s possible their deaths had nothing to do with the crickets, although I agree the timing does suggest a potential connection. My former roommate fed her crestie crickets pretty frequently (those were the only insects he’d eat, he never showed any interest in any other bugs we tried to give him) and we never had any problems, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t get a bad batch of crickets or something. I have heard occasional accounts of bad batches of feeder insects (though I honestly don’t know if it’s more common with crickets than other insects). I think the only way to (potentially) know the cause of death would be to have a necropsy performed on your geckos.

I’m really, really sorry this happened. It wasn’t your fault. Loads of people feed their geckos crickets every day with no ill effects, so you’re certainly not to blame for choosing to feed them crickets.


So sorry Riley, bloody hell… :sob:

I have never heard of crickets killing geckos, even from eating them. And a bad batch would be crickets dying. And again they can still eat them too with no issues at all.

Unfortunately these things happen, no reason at all, I’ve had before myself and there was NO reason to it. A healthy baby, then the next day gone. Could be startled by a noise, anything. Some things are unfortunately out of our control…

I will say, any false widows about? Spiders can kill animals…

Not a story I’ve shared yet but I’ve recently had a baby killed by a false widow, and we also had 2 adults randomly pass (females, same viv), again false widow spotted, I swear I’ve been checking the vivs daily on edge atm… There’s a lot here atm, and I’m constantly getting them out. And finding them in vivs is a no no… took out another 2 and 2 massive eggs sacks a couple days ago from another female viv…
They’re nasty spiders! And can take out anything I swear… Even stories of cats/dogs ending up in the vets nearly dying by being bitten…


Thank you everybody for the support. :slightly_smiling_face:
I’m convinced that it had something to do with the crickets. They have all been fine for months and in 2 days 3 are gone. It could have been something else but I don’t know what, nothing’s changed. I’ve never seen any venomous spiders in my area like widows, but the crickets would explain them appearing (to eat crickets).

One of my thoughts is that a house centipede (I’ve seen quite a few of them) could have come out to eat crickets (which has happened before), got into multiple gecko containers, and possibly killed them. I don’t know if they are venomous enough to kill a gecko but it’s my best thought. I only used 3-5 crickets in each enclosure to be positive that the geckos couldn’t get hurt.

Another possibility is that some of the crickets had a strain of bacteria (since crickets can get that easily) that killed the weaker geckos (which were the smallest ones and they could have also been weaker from something else out of my control). I’ve heard of crickets killing mantises from bacteria but never reptiles or other inverts.

I thought about getting a necropsy but the bodies are super small and there aren’t any great vets in my area. And at the minimum the geckos would have been dead at least overnight (~9 hrs) when I saw the bodies and checked them out in the morning (hoping that they were still alive).


I’m so sorry this happened.

I am honestly shocked. We’ve had a massive heat last few days, is it possible the sun made them over heat? I know you said temperatures, but just a thought.

I would honestly get rid of the crickets just to be safe.
It’s possible they are carrying something. Was it possible that they were too big for the Cresties?

I’d take apart the enclosures decor to see if anything seems out of the ordinary.

I hate false widows, sorry but they are a HUGE pain. I’m constantly removing them from everywhere, they are our most common spider now and their bites HURT, so it’s not surprising they can kill geckos.


It’s always the worse when something unknown happens. The timing is uncanny. I know crickets can carry pinworms, but that should take a far longer time to do anything this sudden. Maybe pick up some panacur for the others just in case if you can? I lost my leopard gecko colony over a decade ago from a weird possibly bacterial thing causing growths and lumps that I had never figured out.

Also…are there ants in the area? Centipedes, spiders and ants are the things I’d worry about most. I actually had ants swarm the mealies in a hatchling gecko’s tub once while I was out. Southern California ants are so frustrating. Multiple bites and stressed the poor little thing to death. Though you would probably see more of them wandering about searching for more food…


I’m in the US and lately there hasn’t been any unique weather. They aren’t in direct sunlight and my thermometer didn’t show any unique temps. I’m not feeding any more of the crickets but I haven’t figured out the best way to euthanize them, the tubs are too large to freeze, I’m not going to release them outside, and I don’t have any vinegar for CO2 (and I think they would jump out). The crickets were very small (smaller than the distance between their two eyes), it’s possible they could have choked on them, but I made sure that they weren’t too big. I took apart the enclosure already to sterilize everything and I haven’t noticed anything. I haven’t seen any false widows in the area, the only insects I’ve seen inside the house (at this time of the year) are centipedes. I was thinking that maybe a firefly somehow got in the enclosure, but that’s extremely unlikely and pretty much impossible to happen twice.

@armiyana That’s the worst part. I don’t know if it was just a double freak accident or if it’s a disease that’s going to spread, I just don’t know. The baby geckos are super tiny (probobally 2-5g based on age) and since they would only take a couple licks of CGD, I don’t even know how I would give them pancur. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to test my leopard gecko’s fecals, just in case. The crested geckos fecals are too small and dry out too quickly and I never fed the adults/larger baby. But, they were different sizes and I don’t know how pinworms would cause a death in 2 days at the most. I’ve never seen an ant in the vicinity of the room that they are in. I have seen centipedes but nothing else. There are also fruit flies/fungus gnats but except to a ripe banana, those aren’t dangerous. I haven’t seen any venomous or dangerous ants in my area, and only a few ants total in the house over the years.

Thank you everybody for the help. It means a lot to me and hopefully I can find an explanation.


Oh Riley. I’m so sorry. This is awful.

I have no idea how to help with this. Depending on where you got the crickets, it could very well be them. It probably is still them either way, but it doesn’t fix how crappy this is. Sending love. :purple_heart:


Send you thought of everything.

Such a sad thing to happen.

I hope what ever it is that it doesn’t spread


Thank you! The crickets came from a large chain, local pet store. I’ve gotten feeders from there and aside from their high prices and many mealworms being dead the feeders looked healthy and have worked fine for me as a backup when my main supply ran out. I know that it’s an unreliable source, but I don’t know how that could have caused those problems. I’ve gotten and used them before (for leos) without trouble and it was a new shipment, I got them less than 24 hours after they were delivered to the store.
There were a lot of great suggestions in this thread that gave me ideas of other things it could be. But the best solutions are still very unlikely (centipede bite, choking, bacteria/disease).

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I’m so sorry! I don’t have time to read through the whole topic, so this may have been mentioned already. Based on what you’ve said in this first post, it is most likely what the crickets were fed (not gutloaded- I mean their maintenance diet). Deaths due to prey insects having a contaminated food source are extremely common in pet reptiles, just as with dogs and cats when their kibble is contaminated. I would contact the company- they may have an aflatoxin problem or something like that.


That would make a lot of sense, I’m pretty sure that the the crickets came from Fluker’s Farms, so I can reach out to them for confirmation that they are the supplier and letting them know about the issue if the problem likely is from there food. If it’s from the pet store I can let them know about it. Do you think the problem would be with the original source (Fluker’s) or from the pet store? They were only at the pet store for a day between when they got the shipment and when I bought them. I didn’t see any food in the containers when I got them, so maybe there’s only food in there at night or I just didn’t see it.


Do you not gut load them? This takes a few days


I gave them CGD to gut load them and left them for two days. Maybe it’s possible that I didn’t gut-load them long enough and there was still too much of their old food in their digestive tracts.

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Gut lodging can take 24-72 hours. To take effect. So it’s possible that they were fed something your Cresties can’t have, or their food was previously contaminated.

I keep insects for at least 4 days before I feed them off, in hope that they will have pooped out anything previously fed.


Oh Riley, I’m so, sorry for your loss. It’s just awful when an animal dies and we don’t know why. I’ve unfortunately been there, too. I don’t have any gecko knowledge but I wanted to give you my sympathy.


Thank you! It means a lot to have all the support.

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Feeder insects, including crickets, are known to carry a wide range of pathogens transmissible to vertebrates. See Gałęcki R, Sokół R (2019) A parasitological evaluation of edible insects and their role in the transmission of parasitic diseases to humans and animals. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0219303. A parasitological evaluation of edible insects and their role in the transmission of parasitic diseases to humans and animals

BTW, and not likely relevant to the deaths, but feeding crickets CGD is not equivalent to ‘gutloading’. Gutloading diets require at least 6% calcium by dry weight. See, for example, Allen and Oftedal, 1989, “Dietary Manipulation of the Calcium Content of Feed Crickets” Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 20 (1). Repashy MRP is 1.2% calcium.

Additionally, there are other requirements on a gutload diet for it to be effective in that role that are very rarely met in practice. See Mark D. Finke, Shari U. Dunham, Christabel A. Kwabi; Evaluation of Four Dry Commercial Gut Loading Products for Improving the Calcium Content of Crickets, Acheta domesticus . Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery 1 January 2005; 15 (1): 7–12. doi:

This is not to say, of course, that feeding CGD to crickets is bad in any way; it simply isn’t gutloading.


I think that’s the most likely answer, is that the crickets transferred something like a bacteria, disease, or bad food in the digestive tract. That’s an interesting article, thanks for sharing. It’s not directly about reptiles so it doesn’t show the most important bacteria/diseases that would affect reptiles, but it still shows just how many pathogens they can carry.
I wasn’t really trying to get a 1:1 Ca:P ratio, I was just trying to give the geckos some more nutrients. When I feed dubias (the main insect staple I feed) I do try to get that ratio but I dust them instead.