High baby Crested Gecko mortality rate

This is my first year breeding crested geckos and I’ve heard they’re pretty easy or are supposed to be. I know some babies die and thats normal but while all but 2 of my eggs have hatched of them I’d say 75% of the hatchlings dont last a month. Those that do are fine. But the first 1-3 weeks is killer.

I have a proper incubator for the eggs that sits around 72 degrees. They take between 60-75 days to hatch. I feed the parents various flavors of pangea and the babies get the same. I supplement with calcium and give the adults crickets occasionally and sometimes theyll take them. Only the bigger babies seem interested in crickets so far. I keep the babies on paper towel so they dont eat substrate. They have constant access to food and water and I keep it fresh. I keep their enclosure at proper humidity. I try to teach them to eat by putting some food on their face and them licking it off as I have been advised. I watch their weight carefully to make sure their not too skinny. I know some of them are eating on their own but its hard to tell sometimes, and I cant watch them all the time.

Other than them starving themselves to death or maybe the temps being a degree or 2 too high I cant think of anything that would be causing so many of them to die! Is there anything I can do to help decrease their mortality rate? Any tips are appreciated!


Welcome to the community.

So sorry to hear about this.

Do you have any pics of the parents, the dead babies as well as the ones that are left and the enclosures?

Have they been kept in different enclosures?


What is the humidity of the enclosure? Do you have a way to measure it? Can you get pictures of the enclosures of the parents and babies?

As said,
Any pics of parents?
How do you keep the babies? What in?

This shouldn’t be happening…

Don’t put food on their face, that’s a last resort if defo NOT eating and usually only need to do with older cresties when sometimes moving them can be a pain!
And When feeding put a small amount on a dish so you can see lick marks.
How often you feeding?


I give them fresh food everyday and I’m not seeing any lick marks. I put food on their face because I believe they’re not eating on their own, or at least half of them I would say and I leave the chunky ones alone. But I stopped doing that for 2 days to see what happen and another died and a few look skinny plus are acting weird.

I almost forgot I made this post but another passed today after things were good for a week so I came to check if there were replies. So heres pics of what the babies enclosure and adult ones look like. Theyre all kept in tubs. And the dad plus what my girl breeders look like. Theyre all at weight and healthy so there shouldn’t have been any problems there. And lastly the most recent baby that passed unfortunately. The babies get fresh food everyday and I mist them once or twice depending on how dry it is. Theyre all at room temp that stays between 74 and 78 degrees.

Those are not ok set ups.

Shouldn’t be keeping males and females together for one, and that’s was too small for them to be in. No branches or coverage…

They need to each have their own viv. Made up of loads of branches and plants ideally. And ideally bio as always better for them.

Babies also. Shouldn’t be keeping together like that.


Also we had a male here that all babies from him but 1 died or had things wrong.
He’s now with a friend as can’t be bred so he’s a lovely pet only.

This may be the case with one of yours, you won’t know who unless you spit to a different male or female.

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I agree, these setups are not okay.

Males should only be put with females when breeding, not kept together year round also more coverage and climbing options, esp for the babies.

There is definitely something wrong with the dead babies feet! I’d suggest to separate and check to see if any others have this also.

The parents look healthy enough, but I agree the only way to find out who carries the defect is by switching the breeding about. But all babies will need to be sold as pet only as they could all be carrying the defect gene.


Okay I’ll try and get them bigger and better enclosures. And I guess I wont use the male for breeding anymore.

There is no try about this. They need better and bigger enclosures. If you can’t provide what they need, then you may want to consider rehoming them. Not trying to sound mean, but the needs of the animals are more important than you simply wanting to keep them. If the babies aren’t eating it could very well be stress related given their enclosure.


And the fact they’re all kept together…


I know the words may seem a little harsh, but we mean to show you that the needs of the geckos are not being kept, which is likely to be reasoning factors as to why you are having these issues.

Another question, do any of your Cresties have UV? What are the Calci sacks like? This is especially important with the females that you are breeding


Yeah, when I said enclosure I was also referring to them being kept together. Others also touched on it already. Being kept together along with no coverage or climbing areas can’t be good for them. There also doesn’t see to be a way to measure humidity. :confused:


I once had an experience with a series of unusually small and sickly hatchlings with a high mortality rate, and, by process of elimination, it may have been due to the eggs not being cared for properly.

Explanation: aIl of the eggs that I care for in my egg boxes hatch after about 85-90 days and are healthy, with very rare exceptions. However, one time one of my females, who had reliably laid eggs in her lay box for two years, decided to start burying her eggs in her substrate. I thought that she just was getting older and not laying anymore, and I did dig around in the substrate to check, but her terrarium is very big, bioactive, and heavily planted so somehow she was able to hide them from me–I still don’t really know how! I never even found the hatched shells.

Therefore, several weeks earlier than any of my other eggs hatched, I started getting surprise babies popping up in her terrarium. They were all noticeably smaller than my typical hatchlings, and most died within a week. Only one of the eight survived, with a lot of extra TLC. The most likely issues I can think of were fluctuating moisture levels in the substrate (because I was watering the plants and had no idea the eggs were there) and higher temperature. The terrarium stays at 76-77ish degrees, and I keep my egg boxes at about 70 degrees. If the eggs are too warm, they will hatch more quickly and therefore the babies may be less developed/less vigorous when they hatch (the same is true with my dart frog tadpoles–cooler water leads to more time in the tadpole stage and makes bigger, stronger froglets).

I suppose it could have been the female getting older, but I’m skeptical of that as she had produced strong babies the previous year and the father had produced strong babies that same year. I did stop breeding her after that season. There could also have been some sort of interference by the isopods and springtails, as it was a bioactive system.

How do you maintain moisture for the eggs in your incubator?

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I know others have made comments offering help, and i just want to give a little chime in on what my biggest concerns are as far as the babies go.

The bin size itself is okay. You could maybe add a single bush-like plant to help for coverage in the bin. Papertowel as a substrate is good, too. What i think needs to change most and might be the most crucial is circulation. Put a ton of holes in that puppy and you may have better luck with your hatchlings. Looking at the poor little kiddo that passed it honestly looks like you may be keeping them too humid. Please ensure that the bins are drying out between sprays, and add that circulation so the bins dont hold constant humidity. :slight_smile:

Also, feeding every day is a little extra. Ive been feeding hatchlings out of the egg into adulthood every 3-4 day with no issue. A hungry gecko will eat.

I really hope your babies start turning around, and that you have better luck enjoying this hobby.

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Sorry to jump in unrelated to the original query, but would you mind elaborating on this? This is my first season breeding cresties and before I started I had multiple people (breeders and long-time keeper friends) recommend that I put a little drop of food on their nose to entice them with the smell. Would you mind explaining why one shouldn’t do that? Reading your recommendation is the first time I’ve heard that that’s not a good idea.


By ‘forcing’ food on them. They can stop touching it all together, and it’s just going to stress them out too as some do get stressed over it so it’s a last resort really.

I only put food on their nose, or more so hold them and put the food in front of them if they’re actually not eating at all.

Example: a female atm is being very fussy so I’ve been holding her and holding the food to entice here to eat.
I only put a drop on her nose if shes not touching it at all, and whilst she licks it off then put the food in front of her and it’s been working a treat. X


Drop of food on their nose used to be my go too until I noticed some wouldn’t even go near for ages if I did I it after…
Not worth the stress for them, it’s like they become ‘scared’ of food :joy::woman_facepalming:t2:


I agree with this. If a Crestie is loosing weight & definitely not eating, then it’s handy. But can have long term affects resulting them only eating when you put it on their mouth meaning they might eat too much or too little