Crested Geckos come from the island of New Caledonia. They were thought to be from the genus Rhacodactylus but after phylogenetic analysis, they found that they were actually from another genus, Correlophus. They range in color and patterns, from plain brown to bright oranges, reds and yellows. They are one of the most popular reptiles in the industry because of their docile temperament. They are a solitary gecko and should not be housed together and make a great first reptile because they can tolerate tank conditions that aren't perfect.
SIZE & LIFESPAN
Crested Geckos have been know to live in captivity for 15-20 years. If you properly care for them, and give them the correct diet, this is a gecko that you'll have as a pet for more than a decade. Crested Geckos are a mid-size gecko weighing approximately 40-50 grams when full grown and measuring approximately 4 inches snout to vent.
HEAT & LIGHTING
Because Crested Geckos are nocturnal, UVB lighting is not needed. That being said, Crested Geckos can benefit from UVB lighting. It can stimulate their appetite and also help mimic their natural environment in the wild. If you decide to provide your gecko with UVB lighting, be sure to use a T5 or T8 bulb with 5% UVB. Unless your house gets extremely cold, room temperature should be fine for these geckos. We keep our cage between 75-80 degrees during the day with a night-time drop down to 72 degrees. Crested geckos are not tolerant towards high heat, so make sure that the tank never exceeds the low 80's. And, if your house is too cold, the use of a 50 watt ceramic heat emitter will help raise your tank's temperature. Be sure to always have a digital thermometer in your enclosure so that you can closely monitor the temperature in the tank.
Crested Geckos thrive on a fruit mix referred to as CGD or Crested Gecko Diet. We've tried all the CGD mixes on the market and Pangea Fruit Mix and Black Panther Diet is by far our gecko's favorite brands. CGD should be changed out every other day so that no molding occurs. CGD is a complete diet, so you do not need to add calcium or vitamins to it. When mixing the powder with water, you want to make it the consistency of ketchup. In conjunction with CGD, we feed insects, including crickets, roaches, and horned worms, once a week. Be sure to dust all your insects with a high-quality Calcium D3 supplement such as Minerall. You should only give the gecko as many bugs as they can devour in 15 minutes. The appropriate sized insects should be no larger than the space between the geckos eyes.
A hatchling (between 1-10 grams) should be kept in a smaller container. We use tall shoebox size containers with holes in the sides to house our hatchlings. At around 10 grams, you should upgrade them to a 10 gallon vertically oriented tank or an equivalent sized tub. Then, once they reach 20 grams, you should move them to their adult enclosure which should be 20-30 gallons in size. We house all our adults in large All-access Rubbermaid tubs because it helps keep in humidity. Different enclosures work for different climates. If you live in a dry climate, a tub will lock in humidity. If you live in a humid climate, a tank will provided needed ventilation to insure mold does not start to grow. Being an arboreal species, they will thrive better in tall tanks with vertical climbing spaces.
We use paper towels will newly acquired geckos, as well as any gecko under 20 grams. Since it's sometimes hard to tell if your gecko is eating at such a small size, the paper towels make it easy to see the poop in the tank. Once the gecko exceeds 20 grams, we switch the substrate to eco earth or organic potting soil mix in order to help maintain humidity. The substrate should be moist, but there should be no standing water.
Crested Geckos live in the lower part of the trees in New Caledonia and will appreciate elevated hides and space to climb inside their enclosure. We recommend using either a hanging coconut, mossy hide and/or pipe insulation as hides. The hanging hides are more natural looking 'and look great in display tanks, whereas the pipe insulation is not as aesthetically pleasing, but it does the same exact job! We like to get fake leafy vines and hang them throughout the cage with the assistance of suction cups. Be sure to rinse off all plastic plants before you put them in the tank. You can also place live plants such as Ficus, Dracaene, and Pothos plants. Be sure to rinse off the plant's leaves and re-pot any plants so that there is no way for your gecko to come in contact with pesticides or fertilizer.
Because Crested Geckos are a tropical species, they require higher levels of humidity. We recommend keeping their humidity between 60-80%. Having a digital hygrometer in the cage will help measure the humidity levels in your tank. We recommend misting 1-2 times daily allowing for a drying out period during the day. so that your gecko can drink water from leaves or decor in your tank. If humidity requirements are not met, the gecko will have issues shedding as well as the risk of becoming dehydrated. If you cannot mist daily, we recommend purchasing a MistKing so that the tank will automatically be misted daily.
Crested Geckos are one of the most docile reptiles we have ever encountered. It is very rare that a crested gecko will bite or act aggressive towards a human. We recommend taking your gecko out 1-2 times a week for 15 minutes in order to get your gecko used to you. The "hand-to-hand" method is the easiest way to handle a Crested Gecko. This is done by placing your hands next to each other & slowly moving your hands to let your gecko crawl over them. Either way, Crested Geckos are incredibly easy to tame and make good pets for young children.
All geckos should be provided with a small, shallow water dish. Although these geckos do not usually drink from bowls it is always good to offer water in case the gecko gets thirsty. When using water, be sure to either use spring water or tap water with de-chlorinator added to it.
We recommend spot cleaning the cage at least once a week and doing a full bedding change and tank cleaning once a month. Every week look for poo, dead insects, shed, and food smears on the ground or glass and remove it from the enclosure. When cleaning the entire cage out, first remove all bedding and wipe down all surfaces with hot soapy water. Put the bowls, fake foliage and décor into a bucket with warm water and a capful of bleach. Let it soak for 15 minutes and then rinse off the items and place them in bucket of hot water. Once the decorations have soaked for 15 minutes, rinse them off again and then they are ready to go back into the tank once cleaning is complete. Then you want to be sure to disinfect the tank with either bleach, vinegar or a commercial reptile cleaning product. Once you have disinfected the tank, thoroughly rinse your tank out with hot water until it is completely free of any cleaning products.
☐ Shoebox size container (for hatchlings)
☐ 10 gallon tank or tub (for juveniles)
☐ 20-30 gallon tank or tub (for adults)
☐ Bag of Crested Gecko Diet
☐ Elevated Ledge for feeding
☐ Plastic or silicone cups for fruit mix
☐ Mister Bottle or Spray Bottle
☐ Vines for climbing
☐ Plastic plants or Live plants
☐ Moist Hanging Hide
☐ Eco Earth Bedding
☐ UVB tube light (optional)