Why Is My Crested Gecko Getting Black Spots?

As a crested gecko owner, you’re probably pretty familiar with your pet’s appearance. But if your crested gecko suddenly seems to be developing spots or different types of coloration, you may be wondering exactly what’s going on. Is your pet just becoming more colorful, or is there something wrong?

So why is my crested gecko getting black spots? Crested geckos often develop oil spots and dalmatian spots, along with other types of coloration. But black spots can be mites in some cases, so you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on any color changes that you take notice of!

Read on to find out more about color changes in crested geckos. We’ll go over color changes that occur as your pet grows, the behaviors of firing up and firing down, and color changes during shedding. We’ll also go over mite infestations in crested geckos and how to treat them.

Color Changes in Crested Geckos

There are quite a few reasons that color changes occur in crested geckos. Oftentimes these lizards change colors as they grow and develop. They also shift in coloration during the shedding process. Firing up and firing down can also have effects on your crested gecko’s color.

Color Changes During Development

Crested geckos are usually orange or red when they’re born. It’s actually impossible to predict what color a crested gecko will end up when it is first born! Over the next year of their lives, these animals will shift and change in color.

Usually by the time a crested gecko is one year old, its color is “set.” Before that time, however, you may notice new spots and shades on your crested gecko. This is completely normal. Below, read more about some of the most common types of spots on crested geckos.

Dalmatian Spots

Put simply, a dalmatian gecko is a crested gecko with spots. These types of spots can occur on any morph. Keep in mind that your crested gecko does not have to be born with spots in order to develop spots later in life. Oftentimes, you’ll notice more and more spots appear with each successful shed. In most situations, once a crested gecko has reached a weight of 20 grams, it has finished developing dalmatian spots. 

A “speckled dalmatian” refers to a crested gecko that only has a few dalmatian spots, while a regular dalmatian has a pretty fair amount of spotting. A “super dalmatian” is a crested gecko that has significant spotting covering large chunks of the body.

Oil Spots

Rather than black dalmatian dots, oil spots are lighter and may resemble an oil stain. They typically appear to be gray or greenish. In reality, these oil spots are actually black spots that have not yet completely developed.

Much of the time, you’ll notice that your crested gecko’s oil spots become darker each time it sheds until they become completely black dalmatian spots. However, in some cases these spots never turn black and remain as oil spots.

Peppered/Freckled Crested Geckos

The terms peppered and freckled are used to describe crested geckos that have very small spots, regardless of the number of spots present. These spots can come in any color, and they may be located on any part of the body.

A peppered or freckled crested gecko may have just a couple of spots, or even dozens of spots. As long as they are tiny rather than large, the crested gecko is considered freckled or peppered.

Ink Spots

If you’ve ever seen a Rorschach inkblot test, then you’ll have a pretty good general idea of what ink spots look like on a crested gecko. These are also referred to as ink blotches and inkblots, in addition to ink spots. Ink spots can occur in any color and any quantity. The ink spots will be large and irregularly shaped.

White Spots

Although some owners describe their crested geckos as having white spots, this is a trait that doesn’t yet exist in this type of lizard. What appears to be white spots are actually body scales called portholes. Portholes are elongated scales and they don’t contain any pigment, so they appear to be white.

Color Changes and Shedding

Shedding is a natural process that is likely to slightly change your crested gecko’s coloration. A few days before your pet sheds, it will appear duller, grayer, or lighter in color. After a successful shed, your crested gecko’s colors should brighten up and return to normal again.

To promote a successful shed, make sure you have the correct level of humidity in your pet’s terrarium. Without sufficient humidity of around 60%, your crested gecko could experience a stuck shed or dehydration.

Firing up and Firing Down

Crested geckos change color in relation to their environment, somewhat similar to chameleons. There are many factors that can cause your crested gecko to fire up or fire down. Keep in mind that not all crested geckos engage in this behavior; each one is unique and has its own habits and patterns.

Firing up results in brighter colors and happens when your pet is alert, while firing down is a relaxed behavior that typically takes place when your crested gecko is relaxed or asleep.

Here are some of the most common reasons that crested geckos fire up:

– Hotter Temperatures. When temperatures heat up, crested geckos fire up! You’ll typically notice a change in color around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t regularly expose your crested gecko to high temperatures in attempts to get it to fire up. While you’re likely to be successful in causing your pet to change color, temperatures that are too hot can take a real toll on your crested gecko’s health.

 

Increased humidity. When humidity reaches about 70%, crested geckos tend to fire up and shift to brighter coloration. Again, don’t expose your pet to high levels of humidity on a regular basis just to see it fire up–this can eventually cause harm to your crested gecko.

 

– Changes in Lighting. A lack of light can cause crested geckos to fire up, and you’ll often see your pet looking more vibrant when it’s being active at nighttime. Many crested gecko owners also report that exposure to UVB rays causes their pets to fire up and appear more vibrant as well.

 

– Activity. In general, a very active and alert crested gecko will fire up, while a sleepy or resting crested gecko will fire down.

 

– Stress. Feeling stressed or threatened can also make your crested gecko fire up. Aggression and fear also fall under this category. Some reasons your crested gecko may feel this way are moving to a new environment or experiencing changes to its environment. Excessive handling, poor living conditions, and breeding can also cause stress, aggression, and fear in crested geckos.

Mites in Crested Geckos

If the spots appearing on your crested gecko are raised rather than level with the skin, you may actually be dealing with a mite infestation. Mites can be red, brown, or black, and they’re about the same size as dalmatian spots. 

Mites will first appear around your crested gecko’s eyes and the corner of its mouth. They’re very small and round in shape. Luckily, mites are very treatable, although they can be quite an annoyance for both you and your pet. The best thing to do is simply to take your crested gecko to the vet so that you can get professional advice and treatment.

It’s very important that you clean out your crested gecko’s terrarium as thoroughly as possible if your pet has mites.

This is because mites lay eggs which hatch daily! So even if you are able to kill off all the mites that are currently infesting your crested gecko, there are most likely more eggs in its terrarium that will soon hatch and cause problems for your pet all over again.

Conclusion

If you suddenly notice new spots on your crested gecko, there’s no need to panic! Black spots are most likely dalmatian spots, and there are many different kinds of coloration that are common in crested geckos. During its first year of life, your pet is likely to change color quite a bit. It may also change color during the shedding process and as a result of firing up or firing down.

While the appearance of spots is typically nothing to be concerned about, there’s a chance that you could be dealing with mites. This is especially true if the dots seem to be moving and are not level with your pet’s skin. If your crested gecko has mites, be sure to get it to the vet and completely clean out its terrarium!

Sources: