Baby Crested Gecko Care – The Ultimate Guide
Also known as hatchlings, Crested gecko babies, same as adults, have needs that every owner should know about. Part of providing good baby Crested gecko care is knowing what they need in terms of housing, diet, handling and more.
Although, baby Crested gecko care is similar to adult gecko care, there is still information that every owner needs to know in order to raise a healthy Crested gecko.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the following topics and essential components of baby Crested gecko care:
- Laying eggs
- Hatching of the eggs
- Housing baby Crested gecko
- Handling baby Crested gecko
- Baby Crested gecko health
Before the Crested gecko babies hatch, it’s essential to ensure that the mother gecko has everything she needs to lay the eggs safely. After your geckos mate, the female will lay eggs, with a new batch of eggs every 3 to 5 weeks and up to 2 eggs in each batch.
You need to ensure that your female has a nesting spot in the enclosure. Otherwise, you might see her burying herself in the substrate to create a nesting spot herself which is not what we want.
During the pregnancy and after laying the eggs, you might observe the female Crested gecko acting territorial over her babies. This is normal Crested gecko behavior. However, you should avoid frequent handling of the female during that period.
What Can Go Wrong
- Too much breeding. On average, if an adult female starts breeding at 12 months of age, she can lay up to 9 clutches per year. However, this is not recommended as it can affect the female’s health. You should allow time to recover between pregnancies
- Breeding too young. Another thing to avoid is breeding your female before she reaches 12 months of age. Her body wouldn’t have developed yet and it can cause a threat to her health
- Egg Binding. When a female Crested gecko is pregnant, it’s also known as gravid. In some cases, the eggs are not laid on time and can get stuck in the gravid female’s womb. This condition is also known as egg binding. If you suspect egg binding, you need to take your Crested gecko to the vet as surgery might be required to extract the masses
Hatching Of The Eggs
Once the eggs are laid, the babies will hatch after 2 to 3 months. The baby Crested gecko will be small – 2.5 and 3 inches in length and weigh roughly 2 grams. Their size can be affected by different factors such as genetics and temperature of the enclosure.
As part of good baby Crested gecko care, it’s recommended to write down the hatchlings measurements each week. This is done to ensure they are growing at the right rate.
You can use the table below as a guide on the average growth rate for baby Crested geckos.
Housing Baby Crested Geckos
Once the eggs are hatched, the babies need to be removed and placed in a different enclosure. Part of providing good baby Crested gecko care is ensuring that their enclosure keeps them safe and thriving.
The requirements for the hatchlings enclosure include:
- Small plastic container such as critter container. It’s recommended to use a small container. This will promote the healthy growth of the baby Crested geckos. Whereas, a large container will cause stress to the babies. This is because they will be constantly trying to find the food and water in the large enclosure
- Size. Ideally, the enclosure/plastic container should be 2.5 to 5 gallons to start with
- Holes drilled in for ventilation
- Secured lid. Critter containers are escape proof. If you’re using a different type of enclosure, you need to ensure the lid is secured because the babies are very jumpy and might try to escape. You can do this by using binder clips or other methods
It’s important to remember that once the male Crested gecko babies reach sexual maturity (around 6 months), they need to be separated, each one in a different enclosure.
The reason for that is – they will start acting territorial and might try to mate with the females. This will result in stress and injury to the other baby geckos.
Part of setting up the enclosure for your baby Crested geckos, is choosing what substrate to use. Unlike adult Crested geckos, babies run the risk of suffering from impaction. If they ingest substrates such as soil or cocofiber, they can even die as their digestion system hasn’t fully developed.
With that said, there are two safe options in terms of substrate for baby Crested gecko enclosure:
- Paper towel. This can be used for hatchlings that weigh under 15 grams. Pick paper towels that are less likely to tear. Furthermore, ensure that the babies are not trying to eat the paper by observing their behavior. If they do try to eat it, you’ll have to change to sturdier papers or completely remove it
- No substrate. If you don’t have any substrate, you remove the risk of ingestion and impaction. However, the downfall of this option is the build-up of water due to the humidity in the enclosure. In addition to that, there is a higher risk of bacteria developing
Important part of adult Crested gecko habitat setup is providing them with plenty of decorations such as leaves, branches, logs, stones, etc. But do baby Crested gecko needs the same?
Unlike adult Crested geckos, the babies only need a few fake plants or vines that create hiding spots for the babies. The hiding spots are important for Crested geckos of all ages as it makes them feel safe and less anxious.
Temperature, Humidity And Light
Essential part of providing good baby Crested gecko care is ensuring the temperature and humidity levels are correct:
- Temperature should be kept at 72°F and 78°F. Same as adults, if babies are kept at temperatures as high as 80°F, it can lead to heat stress and can be fatal
- Humidity levels. As hatchlings can dehydrated quickly, frequent misting twice a day is an essential part of baby Crested gecko care. If you are misting as recommended, the humidity should at 45% during the day and no more than 60% in the evening
- Light. Indirect sunlight or artificial UVB light should be provided to the hatchlings from 12 to 14 hours a day. On the other hand, at night no special lighting is required
Baby Crested Gecko Diet
Important part of baby Crested gecko care is providing them with the correct diet.
Crested gecko hatchlings will not eat until after their first shedding which is 2 to 3 days after hatching. Furthermore, they can live without eating for up to a week after hatching. During that time they live off the energy from their yolk sack.
Once the babies start eating, you might worry as they only take small licks and their poops are hard to notice. But as long as you place food in their enclosure 24 to 48 hours after hatching, you don’t need to stress for the first few days.
The recommended diet for baby Crested geckos is similar to that of adult geckos:
- Commercial formulas from Repashy and Pangea every other day
- Gutloaded, dusted insects to be added to their diet a month after hatching and only fed once a week. The insects shouldn’t be bigger than the width of your crested gecko’s head to help with digestion
- Additional supplements such as calcium with D3 are not needed as long as they get feed insects
- Any live insects that don’t get eaten should be removed from the enclosure as they can cause stress to the geckos
- Mashed fruits can be fed only as a treat, no more than once a month
How Often Should I Feed My Hatchlings
Part of a healthy baby Crested gecko diet is knowing how often you should feed them. Hatchlings don’t need to be fed every day. They should be eat every other day, similar to adult Crested geckos.
Baby Crested geckos need water but will usually drink droplets of water that remain after misting. However, you should ensure there is always a fresh water bowl that’s easily accessible.
The bowl must only have a shallow amount of water. This is to avoid any accidents such as the babies downing.
Handling Baby Crested Gecko
Another important part of baby Crested gecko is knowing how and when to handle the hatchlings. Handling the babies straight away is not recommended.
Usually, baby Crested geckos are very jumpy and always trying to get away, so it’s important to be very careful, gentle and ease them into handling. If not done properly, the babies can get stressed and even injure themselves.
Follow the advice below for safe handling of baby Crested geckos:
- Allow 1 to 2 weeks’ time after hatching to settle in and get used to the new environment
- Once you start handling the babies, it should only be done for up to 5 minutes a day
- When handling the babies, ensure you’re sitting down and there is soft furniture such as pillows around you in case they jump off or wriggle their way out of your hands
- If you notice the babies gaping at you, trying to nip or making noises, it means they are feeling a bit nervous. However, it’s nothing to worry about and they just need more time to get used to handling
- Be gentle. It’s essential to carefully handle the babies as they are fragile. Any rough handling can result in stress and mistrust
- Surroundings. It’s extremely important to that the surroundings are not stressful for the gecko whilst handling. Ensure there are no other people around and no loud noises that can startle the baby geckos whilst you’re holding them
Learn more about how to hold a Crested gecko safely and the different techniques here How To Hold A Crested Gecko: Tips On Handling Crested Gecko
How Often Can I Hold Them
Important part of baby Crested gecko is knowing how often is safe to handle them. It’s recommended to handle the babies once a week when it’s time to clean their enclosure. Don’t force handling as it can only result in stress and they won’t trust you.
How To Hold Baby Crested Gecko
The best way to pick up the baby Crested gecko is not by grabbing them but by putting your hand out, palm up and allow the babies to come to you. A good way to get them to come to your hand is by using treats such as a drop of mashed fruit puree. However, it’s important to not feed them this too often as it can lead to nutritional and health problems.
Learn more about what fruits are safe to feed to Crested geckos here Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos
Baby Crested Gecko Health
Part of providing good baby Crested gecko care is ensuring the health of your geckos is in check. Normally, hatchlings and adult Crested geckos are overall healthy and easy to care for.
However, there are a few things to look out for such as:
Hatchlings shed more often because of their rapid growth in the first 6 months. The possible problems in terms of shedding include:
- Dehydration. During shedding, the baby Crested gecko can become easily dehydrated. Therefore, frequent misting and maintaining the humidity levels is essential during that period
- Skin getting stuck. If the skin get stuck on the toes, tail or limbs during the shed it can result in lost limbs. To help your baby gecko, you can place them in a small plastic box/crate/bowl and put a wet, lukewarm paper tower inside. The sauna effect will help the skin come off easier
During those crucial first months your baby Crested geckos is growing and needs all the right nutrients. Therefore, having them on a diet that promotes growth is essential to their health.
If not fed the right diet, your baby geckos can suffer from nutrient deficiency, especially of Calcium. The recommended and safest approach is feeding them commercial diet such as Repashy or Pangea. These diets are specially formulated to provide your gecko with all the nutrients they need.
Another way that your baby Crested geckos can result in having a nutrient deficiency is if the mother was not fed properly or if she laid eggs too frequently. If you end up with a baby gecko that has inherited a Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), you’ll need to include additional steps in their baby Crested gecko care routine to improve their health.
Read more about these health problems here Do You Have A Sick Crested Gecko? Full Crested Gecko Health Guide
Many people decide to get a baby Crested gecko as a first pet. Whereas, others decide to breed their adult geckos and then care for the babies. Regardless what group you belong to, it’s essential to know the steps of providing good baby Crested gecko care if you want to raise happy and healthy hatchlings.
In this article, we looked at the following components of baby Crested gecko care:
- Hatching of the eggs
- Housing baby Crested gecko
- Handling baby Crested gecko
- Baby Crested gecko health
The positives of having baby Crested geckos are:
- Easier to bond with from a young age
- They will get used to you and once they get comfortable with being handled, they will become tame pets
- You’ll become an advanced owner by learning the Crested gecko care in all stages of its life
Although, owning a baby Crested gecko can be a rewarding feeling, it’s important that you get all the information on how to care for them properly as they are fragile and will depend on your care.