Crested Gecko Care: The Ultimate Step By Step Guide
Crested gecko is a popular pet lizard. If you want a Crested gecko as a pet, you must be able to provide them with good Crested gecko care such as the right diet and adequate house.
Knowing the basics of Crested gecko care will help you fulfill all their needs and they are more likely to avoid developing any health issues.
Crested Gecko – Overview
Crested geckos, also known as eyelash geckos, are nocturnal animals, native to the island of New Caledonia.
These geckos are mainly solitary and can live between 15 to 20 years. However, their lifespan can be shortened if not provided with the appropriate Crested gecko care when kept as a pet.
Their natural habitat in New Caledonia is tropical and humid with temperatures ranging between 72°F to 86°F, depending on the season.
Appearance And Size
Important factor when choosing your pet is their appearance. The Crested gecko has its own unique looks. The most interesting features include:
- The Crested gecko are known as “eyelash lizard”. This is thanks to the hair-like projections found above the eyes that look like eyelashes. However, these are actually spines that connect their eyes to their tail
- It might look like this type of gecko lacks teeth. However, they do have teeth, very small teeth
- Colors. The Crested gecko comes in colors ranging from very pale cream to very dark near-black and from buckskin and olive to reds and yellows
Crested gecko’s size measurements include:
- The Crested gecko is the largest of the gecko species
- They can grow up to 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) in length including the tail
- Their tail is normally 4 to 6 inches (10–15 cm) in length
Crested gecko’s personality as a pets can be described as:
- Easy to care for
It’s important that you introduce your gecko to being held from a young age, so they become comfortable with it. Once that’s done, they can become very tame pets.
However, it’s important to note the Crested gecko as any other reptile won’t be as affectionate as traditional pets such as a dog for instance.
If youa are curious to learn more about the Crested gecko click here Crested Gecko Information: Everything You Need To Know
Crested Gecko Care In Captivity
Not much was known about the Crested gecko until it was captured and taken in for breeding. Since then, the Crested gecko has become a popular choice for a pet in the reptile world.
Some of the reasons for their popularity include:
- They are easy to care for and breed
- Small in size
- Friendly personality and allows to be handled
- Comes in beautiful colors and patterns
In this article we will be looking at the following Crested gecko care:
Crested Gecko Care – Diet
Before looking at Crested gecko care and diet in captivity, first you must be familiar with what they eat in their natural habitat.
In the wild, the Crested gecko diet is omnivorous. They will feed on insects, fruits and nectar from flowers.
Normally, the gecko will feed during the night as they are nocturnal. That’s perfect for them, as during the night the fruit has soften on the ground.
In addition to that, they will eat insects such as crickets, moths and others.
As they are not strictly insectivore, they don’t require insects for proper nutrition.
Insects can still be offered but as an occasional treat.
There are two diet routes to choose from for your Crested gecko pet:
- Prepared, commercial diet
- Homemade diet
The prepared diet is a commercial powdered diet in the form of meal replacement powders or MRPs.
In addition to the powdered diet, it’s recommended to feed your Crested gecko live, gut loaded and dusted bugs for added nutrition, variety and stimulation of their hunting instincts.
The two most recommended brands are:
- Repashy Crested Gecko Diet
- Pangea Fruit Mix Complete Gecko Diet
Commercial diets have been prepared to meet your gecko’s needs and are well balanced to provide enough nutrition.
In this article, we recommend to chose a commercial diet to avoid any future complications.
Homemade Crested gecko diets are considered more risky and are not recommended for unexperienced reptile owners. If you don’t understand the balance of nutrients that your gecko require, it can be risky to your pet’s health.
Another option to feed your Crested gecko is homemade smoothies. If you have a blender, you can use various fruits to prepare food for your gecko.
Fruits that you can use include:
It’s important to note that these homemade smoothies are not to be used as a staple diet. You shouldn’t offer them daily, as your gecko will not receive the proper nutrients that it needs.
The smoothies are only to be used as an occasional treat.
More Crested gecko treats besides the homemade smoothie include:
- Fruits that are high in calcium such as papaya, figs and raspberries
- A drop of honey
- Dusted insects – commercial cricket dust and gut loading are recommended
It’s important to note that treats should only make up 10% of your Crested gecko’s diet.
It’s imperative that you provide your reptile with the appropriate Crested gecko care and well-balanced diet in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies that can lead to serious disorders such as Metabolic Bone Disease.
How Often Should I Feed My Crested Gecko
Part of a healthy Crested gecko care is having the correct feeding schedule.
- Young geckos and hatchings should be fed every day to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to grow up to their full potential
- On the other hand, adults don’t require to be fed daily. Feeding your Crested gecko 3 times a week is sufficient
Crested Gecko Care – Housing
One of the main reasons Crested geckos are popular pet in the reptile world is because they are so easy to keep. These low maintenance geckos don’t require much and their overall care can be quite cheap.
In terms of housing, a young gecko should be provided with a 10 gallon terrarium. On the other hand, for adults, the terrarium must be 20 gallon.
Types Of Housing
The types of Crested gecko housing include:
- Glass tank – this is available at most pet shops. There are further options such as front-opening glass enclosures with screen top and ventilation holes at the bottom. In most of these you can include natural-looking terrarium soil or moss, depending on how much you’d want to spend
- Plastic tub – these types of housings make geckos feel secure because of their semi-opaque material. Furthermore, this option is fairly cheap and doesn’t require much of an effort to set up. On the other hand, the negative is that you won’t be able to display your animals because of the tub’s material
Crested Gecko House Set Up
The following is the recommended Crested gecko house set up and what to include:
- Water Source. It’s essential for your Crested gecko care is provide them with daily misting with a spray bottle. Furthermore, misting helps keep humidity levels up which makes shedding easier.
If you decide to include a water bowl aswell, it should be cleaned frequently and needs to be shallow enough for the gecko to climb out of to avoid drownings. This is especially important for babies
- Food bowl. The second more important thing in your gecko’s cage is their food bowl. For feeding, you can use a small container. However, for babies it needs to be something as small as a bottle cap
- Somewhere to hide. Essential to your Crested gecko care and health is providing them with somewhere to hide and feel safe in their enclose. This can be either living or fake plants, item filled with moss, a small cardboard box, etc
- An enclosure with room to move around. As the Crested geckos are arboreal, it means that they prefer to be somewhere high off the ground. Therefore, the ideal enclosure for your Crested gecko is vertical with branches for them to climb on
- Lighting and temperature. Unlike some other reptiles, the Crested Geckos don’t have specific lighting requirements. As they are nocturnal animals, Crested Geckos don’t really require UVB lighting. In terms of temperature, the tank should be kept at 72°F to 75°F
In addition to the basics, you should try to recreate your Crested gecko’s natural habitat as much as possible by adding plants, branches and climbing logs.
The more decor the better when it comes to your Crested gecko enclosure.
Crested Gecko Housing – Cleaning
A good Crested gecko care include cleaning your gecko’s enclosure. The enclosure should be spot cleaned every day and one monthly deep clean.
Every day clean should include:
- Removing all uneaten food
- Spot cleaning and removal of feces
- Depending on the substrate, you will need to replace it weekly or monthly to prevent bacterial growth
Monthly deep clean should include:
- Cleaning the entire terrarium and its decorations using reptile-safe disinfectants
Crested Gecko Care – Handling
Important part of Crested gecko care is safely handling your pet. As most of these geckos are laid back and calm, it’s fairly easy taming them and getting them used to handling.
Follow these tips when handling your Crested gecko:
- It’s important that you start handling them from a young age so they become comfortable with it. The first month, you should handle your crested gecko 1 to 2 times a week for 3 to 5 minutes. This can be done while cleaning the cage
- Avoid not handling them for long periods of time as that can make them anxious the next time you attempt to pick them up
- To avoid hurting your gecko when handling, don’t hold it over hard surfaces such as concrete, tiles, wood etc. It’s recommended to handle them over a soft coach or bed
- Handle them in the evening as that’s when they start waking up
- You can put a few drops of fruit nectar on your fingers to try and invite them into your hand and keep your hand in a “cupped” position
- Don’t squeeze it’s body and be gentle
All Crested geckos have different personalities. If your gecko is more nervous, continue building that trust and don’t give up.
Crested Gecko Care – Health
The Crested geckos are overall healthy and don’t get sick too often when provided with good husbandry.
However, if your gecko trembles and feels unbalanced when holding it in your hand, it might be sick.
Factors that can affect your Crested gecko’s health:
- Stress. Minimizing stress is important to maintaining your crested gecko’s health. With a well setup enclosure, you minimize day to day stress by giving your crested gecko a secure home with plenty of places to hide
- Dehydration. Crested geckos can easily suffer from dehydration, which can lead to a quick death. Provide a water bowl and use a spray bottle to mist the enclosures on a nightly basis
- No quarantine period. Always be sure that new arrivals do not come into contact with you’re already existing pets. A 14 day minimum quarantine period is a must
Crested Gecko Diseases
Overall, Crested gecko care is low maintenance and the same goes for their health.
However, common diseases your Crested gecko can suffer from include:
- Metabolic bone disease (MBD) – this is probably the most common health problem in Crested geckos. This disease is the result of poor nutrition and lack of calcium in the body. The symptoms of MBD include weak jawbones, swollen joints, disfigured bones, especially in the spine, hips and tail
- Parasites such as Entamoeba invadens(Amoeba), Pinworm (Nematode), Cryptosporidium (Sporozoan)
- Respiratory infections – This disease is the result of inadequate ventilation in your gecko’s enclosure
- Skin infections – the Crested gecko can develop this disease if the humidity is too high. The result is skin bacterial infections
Other health concerns include:
- Heat stress – If your Crested gecko is kept at temperatures higher than 80°F for long periods of time, it can be fatal
- Egg binding in female geckos – This is the result of semi-developed eggs becoming lodged in the female’s body. The treatment of this condition is usually a surgery to remove the masses
- Shedding issues – Shedding is a normal process that your gecko goes through. However, if a gecko has a bad shed, they might need your help to remove the skin or it can result in restricted blood flow. This can result in loss of toes, tail tips or even an entire limb in some rare cases
It’s should be noted that most health problems are easily treated and can be prevented by providing good Crested gecko care.
However, if you don’t provide your gecko with good husbandry, they can die from easily preventable issues.
Crested Gecko Care – Breeding
An important part of Crested gecko care is their mating and breeding process.
The Crested gecko’s mating period is during the warmer months of the year. Normally, they don’t mate during the winter. In order to mate, the following factors must be considered:
- The temperature must be between 75°F to 78°F, for the geckos to mate
- The female must be at least 1 year old and weigh minimum of 0.08 pounds or 38g
Laying The Eggs
Normally, the female Crested gecko will lay a batch of eggs every 3 to 5 weeks. In each batch there will be up to 2 eggs.
Once the eggs are laid they should be kept warm and moist at a constant temperature of 72°F. It takes between 65 to 90 days for the eggs to hatch.
It’s important to note that if the female gecko has started laying eggs at 1 years of age and lays as much as up to 9 batches of eggs, can result in bad health for the female. Recovery time is essential for the lizard’s well-being.
Having a Crested gecko as a pet can be very exciting and rewarding. However, owning any pet is a big responsibility and it’s important that you have done enough research into what are the ins and outs of good Crested gecko care.
Although, Crested geckos are overall low-maintenance animals and don’t have any special needs, there are still important steps to take to ensure that your gecko is healthy and happy.
In this article we have covered the following points:
- Diet. Crested geckos are omnivores in the wild. However, when kept as pets there are two options – commercial powder and homemade diet. It’s important to note that homemade diet is not recommended for beginners and if not done correctly can lead to health problems.
In terms treats, they should only make 10% of your gecko’s diet and must be in the form of fruits or dusted insects
- Housing. The Crested gecko should be kept in a plastic tub or a glass tank. Ideally, it needs to be vertical and decorated with leaves, climbing branches and logs. In addition, adult Crested geckos should be kept in a 20 gallon tank and at temperature 72°F to 75°F
- Cleaning. You should do a daily spot clean and one monthly deep clean of the enclosure
- Handling. Most Crested geckos can get used to handling and become very tame animals. It’s important to introduce handling from a young age to get them comfortable with it
- Health. This gecko’s health is overall good and when provided with the appropriate Crested gecko care they will rarely fall ill. However, common diseases include Metabolic bone disease, Parasites, Respiratory infections and Skin infections
- Breeding and mating. Normally, geckos mate during the warmer seasons and the female Crested gecko will lay a batch of eggs every 3 to 5 weeks. In each batch there will be up to 2 eggs.
Should Crested Geckos Be Kept Alone Or Not
In the wild, Crested geckos are mainly solitary animals and are happy living on their own.
However, it’s a different story when kept as pets.
- If you want to keep more than one Crested gecko, you need to ensure that the group is small
- Female Crested geckos can be live together without problems
- On the other hand, you should not keep multiple male Crested geckos together as it can result in anxiety and aggression
- Lastly, single female and male gecko should not be kept together