Typically, geckos can take around 20 breaths a minute. They’re usually slow, deep, and steady breaths. However, in some cases, your gecko might breathe faster than normal.
So, you’re probably wondering, why is my gecko breathing fast? Should I take him to a vet? Or is it a normal condition? Don’t fret! We’ll answer all your questions in today’s article!
Let’s dive into the details right away.
Why Is My Gecko Breathing Fast?
There are many reasons why your gecko is breathing fast. Let’s talk about each reason in detail.
1 – Extreme Temperatures
Like other reptiles, your gecko is an ectotherm. So, your reptile friend depends on external sources to regulate its body temperature.
Ideally, the daytime temperature inside the cage should be around 75° to 85 °F. At night, the temperature can be as low as 70 °F.
If the temperature becomes higher or lower than this range, it can cause many problems. For starters, it can affect the metabolism and energy levels of your gecko.
Additionally, it can cause stress, lethargy, drowsiness, lack of appetite, and fast breathing.
On top of that, low temperatures can leave your reptiles susceptible to infections and diseases. That’s why it’s crucial to have a thermometer in your reptile enclosure.
If your little buddy is breathing fast, the first thing you need to check is the temperature inside the enclosure. In case it’s outside the normal range, it might be the reason your gecko is breathing fast.
2 – Unsuitable Humidity Levels
Ideally, the relative humidity level in a leopard gecko enclosure should be 30-40%.
Humidity levels outside this range can mess up your reptile’s hydration. When the humidity is too low, your gecko’s mucous membranes will start drying out.
In turn, it can cause abnormal breathing patterns.
On the other hand, high humidity levels can lead to respiratory issues, especially when combined with high temperatures.
It can also leave your buddy more susceptible to respiratory diseases.
On top of that, warm, humid air can be difficult for any creature to breathe. So, rapid breathing can be a way to compensate for the increased need for air.
On that account, having a hygrometer is essential for any reptile owner.
3 – Respiratory Diseases
Unfortunately, your reptile friend is prone to some respiratory diseases. Fast breathing can be a symptom of respiratory infection.
Pneumonia is one of the most widespread respiratory diseases in geckos. It causes inflammation in the lungs, which can lead to fast breathing.
Other symptoms of pneumonia include mucus bubbles on your pet’s nose, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Don’t fret! Respiratory diseases are easily treatable with early treatment. So, if you spot these symptoms on your reptile buddy, take him to the vet immediately.
Generally, high humidity and low tank temperature can increase the chances of your gecko catching a respiratory disease.
Additionally, a dirty enclosure can be full of harmful bacteria. So, keeping the enclosure clean is essential to your reptile’s health.
4 – Stress
Geckos are calm and laid-back pets. However, when facing a stressful situation, geckos might breathe rapidly.
Many things can cause stress for geckos, including health and environmental issues.
Your gecko is a delicate creature, so anything can scare it. Here are some situations that can be stressful for your reptile:
- Changes in the enclosure
- Competition with other reptiles
- Bullying from other reptiles
- Loud noises around the enclosure
- Too bright lighting
Besides rapid breathing, here are other signs you can notice in a stressed gecko:
- Eating less than usual
- Hiding for long periods
- Showing aggressive behavior
- Scratching at glass
- Digging more than usual
- Shaking its head
- Wagging its tail
What Should You Do When Your Gecko Is Breathing Fast?
When your gecko is breathing fast, you first need to check the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure. If any of them is out of the normal range, it’s probably the cause of the problem.
Adjusting the temperature or the humidity to normal levels should usually fix the problem. However, if everything is in the normal ranges and your gecko is breathing fast, you need to take it to the vet immediately.
How to Tell If Your Gecko Is Sick
First, you need to check the gecko’s eyes and nose. They should normally be free of any discharges.
Runny eyes or nose can be a sign of sickness. Additionally, mucous bubbles on your reptile’s nose can be a symptom of respiratory disease.
Second, you can offer your gecko an insect or any food they love. Then, you need to observe how quickly it hunts and eats the meal.
If your gecko is slower than usual or shows no interest, it can be a sign of lethargy and low appetite.
Finally, check your reptile’s poop. It can be a serious condition if the feces contain any blood.
If you spot any of these symptoms on your gecko, take your reptile to a vet as soon as possible.
How Fast Do Geckos Normally Breathe?
A healthy gecko usually takes up around 20 breaths per minute. However, it depends on many factors, including age, weight, and overall health condition.
The breaths are typically deep, slow, and steady. Additionally, your gecko should be breathing from its nostrils, not its mouth.
How to Keep Your Gecko From Breathing Fast
The best way to avoid this problem is by providing your gecko with the optimal conditions it needs to stay healthy.
That includes suitable temperature, humidity, and lighting. Moreover, you need to ensure that your reptile is getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D3 in its diet.
More importantly, you need to clean the enclosure thoroughly at least once a month. That includes cleaning the decoration, replacing the substrate, and wiping the glass.
On top of that, you need to remove any leftover food every day. An unhygienic enclosure can contain many harmful bacteria that can affect your gecko’s health.
So, why is my gecko breathing fast?
The most common reason for this issue is extreme temperatures. So, it should be the first thing to check. Ideally, the temperature inside the enclosure should be around 75° to 85 °F.
Unsuitable humidity levels can also cause this issue. So, you need to keep the humidity levels in the enclosure around 30-40%.
Unfortunately, your reptile friend is prone to some respiratory conditions. If both the temperature and humidity levels are in the normal range, your reptile might be sick. In this case, you need to take your gecko to the vet immediately. Luckily, respiratory diseases are easy to treat.
Finally, your gecko might simply be facing a stressful situation. This will require you to deal with the gecko’s source of stress.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.