Crested Gecko: Species Profile

Crested geckos can be low-maintenance pets that are well-suited to novice lizard owners or children who don’t have the time or patience to care for them daily.

Their popularity has increased over the years as pets. Their distinctive feature is their eyelashes. This is why they are often called eyelash geckos.

These lizards are from New Caledonia (an island nation off the coast of Australia). They were thought to have disappeared but were “rediscovered” in 1994.

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Species Overview

COMMON NAMES: Crested geckoNew Caledonian crested gecko, eyelash gecko

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Rhacodactylus ciliatus

ADULT SIZE 7 to 9. Inches, including their prehensile tails

LIFE EXPECTANCY 10-20 years

Crested Gecko Behaviors and Temperament

There are many morphs of crested geckos. The fringed crest that runs from their necks to their backs gives them their name. However, the size of this crest can vary.

Crested geckos have toe pads that enable them to glide effortlessly on vertical surfaces.

Their prehensile tails also enhance their agility. They can also jump well.

Crested geckos are generally docile, but they can be a little skittish, so it is essential to take care when handling them.

Avoid running them if you can. You might get a kick from them if they try to escape. If they are held rough or try to escape, crested geckos might drop their tails.

They will not regenerate their tails like other geckos.

They will only bite when they feel threatened. Although they can be startling, bites are not painful and do not cause any bleeding.

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Crested Gecko Housing

An adult requires a minimum 20-gallon terrarium, although a larger tank will suffice. A tall tank is better for crested geckos, which are active and arboreal.

A tall, 29-gallon terrarium can house two to three crested geckos. Keep only one male in each tank as they are territorial.

A glass terrarium can be used with ventilation on one side, but keepers may prefer to use screened enclosures.

As they seek shelter in the plants, you can add silk or sturdy live plants such as Epipremnum, Philodendron, and Dracaena.

Crested geckos require space to climb, so make sure you have a mix of bamboo, driftwood, and cork bark. Also, keep your plants in a variety of heights and orientations.

You will need to clean your terrarium every day. It would help if you cleaned the entire terrarium with reptile-safe disinfectants at least once per month.

You will need to replace the substrate weekly or monthly depending on its condition to stop bacterial growth.

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Heat

All reptiles are cold-blooded and need to regulate their temperature.

For crested geckos, a daytime temperature gradient should be maintained at 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-25 degrees Celsius), and a nighttime temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius).

To ensure that the cage doesn’t overheat, monitor temperature gauges.

Higher temperatures can cause stress in crested geckos. You can view the lizard nightly at night with a low-wattage nighttime bulb. This is a great heat source.

These climbing geckos can get too close to the heat source and burn themselves.

Why Heat & Light are So Important for Your Pet Reptile

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Light

Crested geckos can only be seen at night, so they don’t require special UVB lighting.

Some experts recommend that reptile health is improved by using low levels of ultraviolet B lighting (around 5 percent).

Any additional lighting can raise the temperature of the enclosure so make sure to monitor it. Provide a hideaway for geckos so they can escape the bright light.

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Humidity

Crested geckos require a humidity level between 50 and 70 percent. To monitor humidity levels, use a hygrometer or humidity gauge. Regular misting with warm, filtered drinking water will help maintain humidity.

You may need to mist the cage several times per day depending on how it is set up.

When geckos are at their most active, ensure that the cage is properly maintained at night.

An automatic mister or fogger can be used to humidify the cage at set times if you aren’t available during the day.

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Substrate

Many pet owners use a substrate for the bottom of their cages. Consider safety and ease of cleaning when choosing a substrate for your gecko.

Also, make sure the substrate retains humidity. Coconut fiber bedding, peat, and moss are all good substrates for crested geckos.

However, newspaper and paper towels are also options.

Crested geckos can be prone to eating substrate while hunting. If this is the case, sphagnum Moss can be used alone or in combination with coconut fiber or paper towels.

For juveniles, paper towels are recommended as they are more likely than adults to accidentally swallow other substrates.

Gravel (or pebbles), although attractive, is not the best substrate. It is hard to clean and maintain. Avoid non-organic soil substrate and reptile sand as they can be swallowed.

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Water and food

Crested geckos are night-active so they should be fed in the evening. Feed the juveniles once a week and the adults three times each week.

The commercial crested gecko diet is generally well-accepted and the best way to ensure a healthy, balanced diet.

You can supplement this food with crickets or other prey insects like waxworms, roaches, and silkworms.

Mealworms are not good for digestion and should be avoided. To give the gecko variety and allow him to hunt, feed the gecko as many prey insects as he will eat.

Feeding insects should not exceed the size of the gecko’s eye sockets.

You can increase your reptile’s vitamin intake by dusting the insects with a calcium/vitamin-D3 powdered supplement once a week.

Prey items can also be dusted with multivitamin powder once per week.

Crested geckos can eat fruit multiple times per week. You can try mashed fruit or jarred baby foods. Bananas, passion fruit, papaya, and nectarines are some of my favorites.

You can mix fruit and insect prey items if you are having trouble finding commercial gecko food.

Although this isn’t the best diet for long-term use, it can be a good option. You should choose crickets as your preferred insect choice, with occasional additions of other insects to add variety.

A small, shallow water dish should be provided with water each day. However, they may prefer to drink drops of water from the leaves in the humid habitat.

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Common Health Problems

A few health issues are common in geckos, which can be treated by an exotics veterinarian.

  • Mouth rot/stomatitis: Signs are excess mucus or redness around your mouth 1
  • Respiratory Infection: Wheezing and drooling 2
  • Skin problems: A rash that is symptomatic of a parasitic infection. Uneven or difficult shedding could be caused by insufficient enclosure humidity 1
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How to Choose Your Crested Gecko

Because they are easy to care for and are more cheerful than other lizards, crested geckos are often sold. Although crested geckos are readily available in pet shops, it is best to purchase your crested gecko directly from a breeder. A crested gecko will cost you between $40 and $150. The price goes up depending on the rarity of its color or morph.

Picking out your gecko is a good idea. Make sure it can climb well and has a straight spine. There should also be no pelvic bones or ribs visible. It should be lively and alert. It should also have bright eyes and a clean nose.

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Different Species of Geckos

You can learn more about geckos at:

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