How to Care for Your New Crested Gecko

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Crested Gecko Factoids

Origin

Island of New Caledonia

Temperature

Room temp best
Humidity High for the adults.  Even higher for young ones.
Size Six to ten inches including tail
Age  Probably 10 years

Substrate

Immaterial -- except with babies

Security

Arboreal (lives in trees or foliage)
Attitude Friendly.  Nocturnal.  Mature males will fight.
Special Lighting None needed.  They are nocturnal.

Foods

Soft fruits or baby food plus crickets or other bugs
Water Water bowl plus frequent misting

Breeding

Breedable at one year old.  Males are neck biters.

Threats

Rough handling and improper diet

 

 


LA
Crested gecko.  Very easy-going guy.

LA
Sometimes they come in very small.

LA
Crested geckos now come in snazzy new colors.

LA
Crested gecko looking good.

LA
Small crested gecko -- friendly but expensive.

LA
Not as mean as he looks.  Note the big feet -- for climbing trees.

LA
Not really mean.  He's just being pestered.  Nice eyebrows.

 

Name:  Called “crested geckos” for the crest that starts at their eyes and runs down their backs, these friendly little guys are showing up more and more these days.  They need higher humidity than some of the larger lizards, but that’s nearly all the special requirements they have.

LA
Slightly darker and larger crested gecko.  Note extra suction cup on tail.

Temperature:  Unlike many lizards that cannot digest their food at people temperatures, crested geckos do not like hot conditions.  Even our hot summer days will stress them.  Don’t try to keep a crested gecko if you do not have air conditioning.  They love room temperature.

Water Bowl:  Not every crested gecko will drink from a water bowl.  However, you need to add one anyway -- with a rock in it to keep their crickets from drowning.

Humidity:  Your crested gecko’s water bowl will add some humidity.  A bubbling airstone  increases their humidity.  A mini-water fall helps even more.  You will still need to heavily mist them each evening (they are nocturnal).  Shoot for at least 60% humidity.

LA
Really young crested gecko clinging to an electric wire.

LA
Same little guy.

Size:  Crested geckos top out at six to 10 inches with most tending toward the smaller end of that range.  This makes them an ideal size for most people.  Unlike those cute baby monitors that grow into monsters, these guys stay handleable.

LA
Handle him gently.  He will get used to you fairly fast.

Handling:  Rare indeed is the lizard that likes being handled.  At the very least, they see you as a huge potential predator.  As you can see from the photos, crested geckos don’t stress out like true chameleons.  Do not think that they want you to pick them up.  Happily, most are captive born and are not terrified of people.  They will allow you to pick them up, but they will take a flying leap into the blue upon occasion.  Handle yours gently.  These are not tokays.  Crested geckos are softer (almost like velvet) than scaly lizards.  They feel easily squishable.  Especially avoid grabbing their tails.  Dropped tails do not grow back.

Longevity:  We haven’t seen or had enough crested geckos to know with any certainty how long these these critters live.  Most lizards this size live about 10 years.

Substrate:  Since crested geckos rarely descend from the leafy top floor of their cage, they have little concern with the bottom floor.  However, an absorbent substrate that will help increase the humidity in their cage is preferred.

LA
Mesh cages give your crested gecko several more climbing surfaces.

Security:  Crested geckos live in trees.  They blend into the leaves.  You won’t need a hide box for these guys -- maybe a penthouse?  If you give them one of the mesh cages, you expand their climbing areas exponentially.

LA
He likes to jump into the camera lens.

LA
This guy did jump into the camera.  Then we distracted him with a cricket.

 

Attitude:  No worries about being bitten by a crested gecko (unless you’re a cricket).  They also prefer to work the night shift.  No special lighting needed.  Check out their specialized night-vision eyeballs.  Crested geckos also make odd gecko noises at night.

LA
Some crested geckos will eat from your fingers on day one.

LA
If you're happy and you know it ... eat a bug.

LA
Strawberry-flavored apple sauce goes down smooth.

Foods:  In the wild, crested geckos eat over-ripe or soft fruits with occasional insects.  They will just bounce off an apple.  Applesauce, pureed apples, and apple baby food work better.  Baby food comes in small sizes and several varieties.  We haven’t tried yogurt but an occasional dab of fruit-flavored yogurt might make a nice treat (and it contains calcium).  And they like crickets with an occasional calcium/vitamin dusting also. Some people have kept theirs on a total diet of baby food types (including the meaty meals).

Supplements:  Fruits and bugs score pretty low on calcium.  Your crested gecko will need one of the powdered calcium/vitamin supplements to grow his bones.  A little dab will do ya.  Too much of the powder makes everything taste nasty and too much calcium and too many vitamins can cause big problems.
 

Matt Campos, June 12, 2009
Hi Larry!!!            Just wnated to say kudos on your crested gecko info!!!! I have had my crestie for 3 months and he is doing just fine! One thing you left out on the page though was that they can also eat the T-Rex crested gecko diet! This is a meal replacement powder you mix with water and has all the vitamins and minerals and trace elements your crestie needs to thrive in captivity! Mine eats this as his staple diet and also some peach baby food and strawberry yogurt on occasion as a treat!! I never feed mine crickets and he seems to do fine. Just thought I would share this with ya mi amigo!!!         

A:  Gracias for the info, dude.  I'm adding it to my crested gecko page.  LA

Breeding:  Males will fight for females.  You should keep your males separate.  Males do the neck-biting thing with the females.  Females lay two eggs at a time.  Since females lay eggs, they especially need calcium supplements.  She will use a small container full of moist vermiculite if you provide it.  Take a quart-size deli container with damp vermiculite in the bottom.  Cut a hole in the lid so she can get in and out.  This container will help keep the vermiculite damp.  You can also tell when she disturbs the surface (so you can check for eggs).  Her eggs hatch in two to four months depending upon incubation temperature.  Caring for the babies gets complicated.  Go to pangeareptile.com if you want more info on caring for the babies.

LA
Same guy with belly pasted against the glass.

LA
Small crested geckos are easy to care for.  Babies are tougher to keep.

LA

LA
Easy to keep as an American anole.  Very similar in their needs but not their price.

LA

Last Words:  Crested Geckos will soon be the most sought after lizard in the hobby.  As more and more breeders bring them into the hobby, they will become available at a more affordable price.  Get a pair soon.  LA
 

Lauren, January 27, 2011
Hello, I want to start off with saying that you have very helpful information on your website and from what I saw, I love the pictures you have included.  There is one request I do want to make though and it is pretty minor.  See, a few friends and I have noticed that there has been a dramatic increase in people reporting Metabolic Bone Disease in their crested geckos without knowing the cause of it.  The first thing we ask these people is what are they feeding their gecko and 99% of the answers we get is "baby food."  Baby food should be fed hardly ever (never is better...), even if it is the meaty kind.  The fruits and vegetable ones typically have too much sugar and the meaty kinds don't have proper nutrition for the crested geckos.  
We have also asked these people where they get their info from and the majority of the answers state that they found it online.  So we are trying to contact anyone associated with websites that have baby food listed under the food options to try and get them to change it.  Feeding crested geckos is so much easier than it used to be. Just a bit of Crested Gecko Diet mixed with water and you are good to go. Complete nutrition.  Calcium dusted crickets can be added to the diet once or twice a week if the person is looking for the gecko to gain some weight (or have a nice treat :)
I will say that I do love your website. It is very visually appealing and does have a ton of very helpful and need to know info. Thanks,

A:  Excellent info.  I'm adding it to my crested gecko page.  LA
PS  I would have added it anyway without all the buttering up.

 

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