This is kind of a difficult topic to talk about and it’s taken me awhile to feel comfortable enough to speak about it, but I just want to share it with a community that will be able to sympathize with my struggle. Back in January, my crested gecko Irwin passed away. He was a beloved member of my family and I was absolutely heartbroken for a long time after his death. The way he died is unknown, I just went to feed him one night and found him in the dirt very cold, stiff, unresponsive and not breathing. And strangely enough missing an eye. He had been showing no signs of illness up until then and I was taking very good care of him, so I have no idea what could’ve caused it. In case it was a disease that is transmissible between herps, I removed his enclosure and his tongs from the room and disinfected his former area. I decided against a necropsy and opted for a burial in my backyard instead. No particular reason why, I just didn’t feel like I wanted to have him necropsied. I didn’t share about this back when it happened because I felt like an absolute failure of a keeper because of how out of the blue his death was. I felt for some time afterwards that I wasn’t deserving of being a reptile keeper because of this tragedy, but I’ve realized that there was really nothing I could have done differently in this situation without being able to see the future. Grieving a pet that you loved and cared about is a difficult process and it’s easy to blame yourself for the death of your animals, but if you were really taking care of your animal to the best of your abilities and providing them with everything they need to thrive (like I’m sure most people on this site do), then sometimes things just happen. There’s nothing you could’ve done. This is no excuse for negligent keepers though, and I don’t want it to come off like that. If you decide to comment on this post, I’m not looking for any prognoses or guesses about what might have ended his life. I just wanted to get my thoughts out there about this. I’m sorry about the rambling, I just haven’t been able to share about this with many reptile people.
Hey….don’t feel bad about rambling; I don’t think you were.
I feel so bad for you. It is not your fault. I too have lost pets unexpectedly. It is the most horrible feeling that I have come across. We are all here for you.
Yep. Thats what family does. We listen and sympathize. And don’t cast blame.
Here is your virtual hug.
Oh my goodness, I was getting ready to go to bed and then I saw this. I am sure that there is not one person in this family who has not lost a beloved pet. You kept this to yourself way too long and I feel badly about how you have been suffering silently and alone.
So here is your support group ready willing and more than able to help you carry your burden until the time that time heals all. God gives us these beautiful creatures called animals only for a season to love and cherish before their time is up with us. Some stay longer than others for whatever reasons we can’t comprehend.
Now you have done the hard part by opening your heart to your reptile family and pouring out your grief. You will soon have comfort and support and strength start flowing to you.
God bless you dear friend. You are loved by many here I am sure so let your healing begin……
I’m sorry for your loss. It’s always tough when a little guy passes unexpectedly.
A few months ago, I had taken a cat to see a different vet because I felt his symptoms were not quite being managed well with his current and the vet I trusted had moved to the new clinic.
He was depressed and having trouble eating. His pain meds just didn’t seem to be helping and the one food stimulant that also worked as a bit of an anti anxiety med was only helpful half of the time…
The new vet took one look at him from across the room and said, “he’s in pain.” 5 minutes later had found a quite large mass while palpating his stomach. We spent a week with him with better painkillers and lavishing him with as much treats as he would take before saying goodbye. The ultrasound showed it had already spread to multiple organs.
Even if someone is super knowledgeable… Sometimes we miss things that someone less familiar with that animal may see. Sometimes, things happen that we can’t predict. Sometimes people just don’t understand what these little guys mean to us.
I don’t think you need to feel like someone here would blame you. Reptiles are extremely good at hiding things that are wrong with them. Even Kevin at NERD had no idea how badly his king cobra had been doing and this is one of the top breeders in the business.
I hope that you find a bit of peace though regardless. It can take a long time for the guilty feelings or sadness to shrink.
Feel free to pm me any time if you want.
OMG I am so sorry that you couldn’t come to us sooner! I understand why though.
Irwin was an awesome gecko! And was truly loved. When I lost my first crestie I said no more (had her for many years) I was devastated and like you, I worried it was me!
After some time and LOTS of research, I realised that it wasn’t me and now I have lots of cresties plus I gained so much more knowledge.
We’ve lost a few reptiles over the years due to things out of our control. I remember taking our bearded dragon to the vets every other day for injections for several weeks as she had tumors. OMG cost was high but we didn’t care, was hard getting time off work though. Sadly the injections stopped working and the inevitable happened
My point being, even if you had a chance to go to the vet, it’s still unlikely it would’ve made a difference esp given the suddenness of what occurred. So try not to worry about what if.
Just think about the good times and that you gave Irwin a loving home!
Were all here if you need us!
Thank you all so much. My family and my synagogue helped me a lot through the original grieving process, but it’s really nice to have the support of my MM family.
I’m so, so sorry for your loss. We all can sympathize to some degree, but if you keep animals long enough, deaths are bound to happen.
I really feel where you’re coming from. I posted just recently as well about one of my crested geckos, a female red lillywhite, who I found suddenly passed just a few weeks ago. It was also with no warning, like yours, and I won’t lie - I’m still having trouble not beating myself up about it wondering if there was something I should have caught and didn’t. But all of my other animals are thriving. I miss her a lot and I’m sorry you’ve experienced the same.
Bit late, but I’m so sorry for such a sudden loss. It’s always exceptionally hard when they’re just gone, you don’t know what caused it or if it could have been prevented. Here’s the thing, it happens to everyone in this hobby at some point, I feel. You could be the best, most diligent keeper and still have an animal that passes for no reason. It will always be hard, each animal holds a piece of your heart. I’ve lost three snakes in the last year, one from cancer, one from injury, and another that just gave up living after their sibling died. It doesn’t get any easier, but at least the rest of the community understands and is supportive. Take care in knowing you gave Irwin the best life possible while he was in your care.
Im so sorry for your loss. Pets are family and that makes losing them so hard. Especially the longer they have been with you. I haven’t experienced many losses, a few mice and 2 rats and let me tell you, I cried. I also cried the entire ride to get one of them euthanized. It takes time to heal and seems like it wont get easier but it will.
MM is a big family amd we are all here to support everyone.