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Do Geckos Stink? (3 Causes of Odors)

Do Geckos Stink? (3 Causes of Odors)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Is there a nasty smell coming from your gecko’s enclosure? Well, you’re probably wondering, do geckos stink? And how can you get rid of that nasty smell?

Luckily, you don’t have to get rid of your reptile friend to stop that smell. Do you want to find out more?

In today’s article, we’ll answer all your questions. Additionally, we’ll tell you how to get rid of the unwanted smell! Let’s dive into the details.

Do Geckos Stink?

Naturally, geckos don’t have a specific odor, so they don’t stink. The source of the bad smell usually comes from fecal matter and uneaten food remains inside their enclosure.

Generally, geckos are low-maintenance pets. However, you need to clean their enclosure, as well as remove any fecal matter and uneaten food to stop any bad smells from forming.

What Are the Causes of the Bad Smell in the Enclosure?

Let’s talk about all the causes that can lead to the stinky smell.

1 – Fecal Matter

It goes without saying that leaving urine and poo in the enclosure for a long period can cause a nasty smell. The longer you leave them inside the terrarium, the worse they’ll smell.

Additionally, your pet friend might end up eating its own feces. So, you’ll need to remove them from the container on a daily basis.

However, when the feces have a foul smell, that might be an alarming sign. So, in this case, it’s best if you take your pet to the nearest reptile vet.

2 – Decaying Food

If your gecko doesn’t finish its meal, you need to remove the uneaten food from the enclosure. The food remains can decay and rot, which can result in a bad smell spreading all over the room.

Although crickets and mealworms are one of your reptile’s favorite foods, they tend to smell bad. They also tend to smell even worse when they start decaying.

These insects have high levels of protein and sulfur amino acids, which can smell even nastier when the decay process begins. As a result, you shouldn’t leave any leftovers behind.

3 – Mold

Without regular monitoring and maintenance of the terrarium, it can become too moist. As a result, mold can start growing inside the reptile cage.

Aside from the bad, moldy smell, mold is harmful to both you and your gecko. So, make sure to monitor the humidity and moisture inside the enclosure.

How to Get Rid of the Bad Smell in the Enclosure

Luckily, you can get rid of the smell by cleaning the terrarium. In some cases, the bad smell might get on your reptile friend too. So, you might need to give your gecko a small bath.

That being said, let’s check out how to clean the reptile cage.

Clean or Replace the Substrate

Ideally, you’ll need to clean the loose substrate inside the enclosure daily. In case you haven’t been doing that, and the substrate started smelling bad, you’ll need to clean or replace it.

Before you start the cleaning process, you need to wear rubber gloves. That’s because reptiles, as well as their terrarium, can carry some types of bacteria.

You’ll also need to move your reptile friend to a temporary container until you’ve finished the cleaning process.

To clean the enclosure’s carpet thoroughly, you need to scrub it with a brush. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, wet the carpet with warm water.
  2. Second, scrub it with a brush and rinse it.
  3. Then, spray some diluted bleach on the carpet.
  4. After that, leave it for around 30 minutes to let the bleach clean it up.
  5. Finally, rinse the carpet thoroughly and let it dry for about an hour.

Disinfect the Enclosure

Prepare a diluted bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Then, use the solution to disinfect the entire enclosure, as well as any decorations.

However, be careful not to spray live plants inside your enclosure, as bleach might harm them.

After that, leave the solution for around 30 minutes before rinsing it off. It might be a good idea to use a scent neutralizer to get rid of any nasty odors.

Give Your Gecko a Bath

While you don’t usually need to bathe your gecko, you might need to do so if any of the stinky smell gets onto your friend.

First, you’ll need to get a small container or a bowl and fill it with warm water. Ideally, you want a container that your gecko can’t climb out of.

As you might know, geckos can’t swim. Therefore, the water level inside the container shouldn’t be above the gecko’s belly.

The water should be around 90 to 95°F, as your gecko is cold-blooded. So, hot water can be harsh on them. It might be a good idea to use a thermometer to ensure that the water isn’t too hot as well.

More importantly, you need to monitor the gecko at all times during the process.

After giving your gecko a bath, you need to pat dry your reptile immediately. Leaving your pet reptile wet for too long isn’t healthy for them.

Finally, you need to know that bathing is a stressful process for your pet. So, try to be as quick as possible and return the reptile to its enclosure right after you’re finished.

How to Keep the Geckos’ Enclosure Odorless

Regular maintenance and cleaning are key to having an odorless enclosure. Let’s check out how you can keep your geckos’ enclosure clean and fresh.

Daily Maintenance

There are some simple tasks that you need to do on a daily basis. For starters, you need to change the water, especially if there is any uneaten food in it.

It might be a good idea to wash the water bowl too. Some keepers have two bowls so that they can simply swap the dirty one with a clean one.

In any case, you shouldn’t wash the water bowl in the same sink as you wash your dishes. That’s because the bowls might be carrying bacteria.

Instead, you can wash the bowl outdoors, or in the bathtub.

Additionally, it’s essential to get rid of any fecal matter every day. Furthermore, you need to clean up any waste or food remains.

Do a quick checkup under the decorations or habitat accessories. You might end up finding leftover food or poo hidden there.

Monthly Maintenance

You’ll need to give the enclosure a deep clean every month. Start by moving your reptile friend to a temporary enclosure, and keep it away from the cleaning area.

Then, empty the enclosure from all its components. After that, you can use a steam cleaner or a diluted bleach solution to clean the cage thoroughly.

For corners and hard-to-reach areas, you can use q-tips and the same cleaning solution. You can also spray any scent neutralizer to make sure that the enclosure doesn’t smell.

It’s crucial to rinse off the cage from all the chemicals and let it dry for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, you can give your gecko its monthly bath by following the steps we previously mentioned.

Replacing the Substrate

Ideally, you need to replace the substrate inside the terrarium every once in a while, depending on the type of substrate you have, of course.

Here’s a list of the popular substrate types and how often you should clean and replace them:

  • Loose substrate: Daily spot cleaning, and replacing the substrate every three months.
  • Paper: No cleaning is required, but you need to replace them one to two times per week.
  • Reptile carpet: Daily spot cleaning, and replacing the carpet every two weeks.
  • Ceramic tile: Daily spot cleaning, and replacing the substrate once a month.

Final Thoughts

So, do geckos stink?

Generally, geckos don’t have a bad smell. However, uneaten food, fecal matter, or mold might cause a nasty smell.

Luckily, deep cleaning and disinfection of the enclosure can get rid of the bad smell. You can also give your gecko a bath in case it caught the horrible odor.

That said, you can avoid all this by regularly cleaning the enclosure, as well as removing uneaten food and feces.

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