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A Helpful Crested Gecko Care Guide For New Owners.

A photo of a crested gecko in its tank.

Crested gecko’s are amazing little lizards who were ‘rediscovered’ in 1994 and have since then boomed in popularity. They are easy to care for, and you can get creative with their enclosures as they like being up in tree’s. They grow to about 5 inches in length, and reach sexual maturity at about 15-18 months old. Their natural habitat is off the coast of Australia in an island called New Caledonia, and stay in the canopy’s of the tree’s on the island.

They don’t have any eyelids, and are known to be quite vocal. They have little pads on their feet called lamellae which helps them climb up glass and other surfaces. Predominantly they eat insects and in the wild crested gecko’s munch on mosquitoes and flies. In captivity you can feed them a variety of insects and commercial gecko feed. They can also eat fruits. 

They are nocturnal – therefore they are mostly active at night and spend most of their days up in the trees and hiding. Hiding during the day is absolutely imperative as they don’t have regenerative properties. They reproduce in captivity rather easily. They are little geckos with an incredible personality. The fire ant is one of their biggest threats in the wild.

Crested gecko care sheet.

In this crested gecko care sheet you are going to learn the basics of caring for your new crested gecko pet. In most of the different sections you will find links that will take you to more in depth articles on this website about the various topics. If you have any specific questions that need answering do not hesitate to drop me a comment.

Do crested geckos make good pets?

Crested gecko’s are incredible pets. They eat really easy diets, and are especially cool to have because you can customise their enclosure to have extra foliage. They are also extremely vocal, and will chit chat during the day. Since they are so easy to care for, and they are also a great for beginner pet owners. As with any other pet, or living creature, they do take some care and effort of course.

They are however more hardy. They eat about 3-4 times a week, and eat insects that are affordable and easy to find such as crickets. A mixture of commercial gecko food can be added into their diet as well. They have a nice temperament too, and rarely bite. They live between 10-20 years, and are a long-term commitment which is perfect for anyone looking for a companion.

What sized tank do you need for crested geckos?

At a minimum they need a 20 gallon tank, but it is highly recommended that you get a bigger tank for them. Their tanks should be filled with a substrate that keeps moisture to help create humidity. Paper towelling, moss, and coconut fiber are highly recommended. If your gecko is prone to eating their substrate while they hunt then it is best to use moss and paper towelling. Their tank needs to house them into adult hood so it is cheaper to just buy one tank big enough to house your little gecko.

Their tanks also can’t be too big because then they may struggle to hunt. If you are housing more than one gecko than at a minimum they need a 29 gallon tank. Although i do not recommend housing more than one crested gecko in the same tank for this reason. Crested gecko’s like to climb their cages and so they need a cage tall enough to allow them the freedom to do this. You should include a mixture of branches, vines, cork trees and bamboo to create a vibrant environment for them to explore and thrive within.  You can use a glass tank, or one with a screened enclosure for more ventilation – which many keepers prefer.

Heating and lights for crested geckos:

Although it’s not a necessity to add UV lighting into their enclosures as they are nocturnal, it is still recommended that you use a low level of UV lighting for the geckos overall health. Since they are nocturnal it is not really necessary for you to add lights into their enclosure. It is also best to consider the placement of your gecko’s tank as it shouldn’t be kept too close to a sunny window – this can cause the tank to heat up too much.

Heat is important since crested gecko’s are cold blooded and therefore cannot regulate their own body temperature. You should add a thermometer into their enclosure so you can monitor their enclosure is not too hot or too cold. A heating lamp isn’t necessary if you live in a warmer region, but if you live in a colder area than it is worth your while to invest in one – especially for winter months.

What temperature should a crested geckos tank be kept at:

Crested gecko’s are accustomed to warmer weather in the wild, and a higher level of humidity. Their tanks should be kept at 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (25-28 degrees Celsius) during the day and at night the temperature can go down to the lower 70’s Fahrenheit – or lower 20s Celsius.  They can tolerate temperature drops to 60 degrees Fahrenheit  (15 degrees Celsius) and highs of around 87 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).  

Water and humidity for crested geckos

Their enclosure does need to have between 60-80% humidity and you need to use a hygrometer to check on the levels daily. You can increase humidity by regularly misting the enclosure with warm water – sometimes even a few times a day. You should especially ensure the enclosure is misted at night while your little gecko will be most active. They thrive under conditions that are higher in humidity in their natural environment, and so you should try to mimic similar conditions within their enclosure.

They should have a fresh bowl of water in their enclosure daily. They will also drink the water droplets off of leaves and other plants within their enclosure from when you mist their tanks. It is vital that they have easy access to fresh water.

Do crested geckos bite?

Crested gecko’s are known for their docile nature and so will rarely bite unless threatened or put in an uncomfortable situation. Their bites aren’t extremely dangerous, but you should of course rather avoid provoking them altogether. They don’t like to be handled, and it is best to not handle them at all the first three weeks at least.

Baby gecko’s shouldn’t be handled at all until they are over 3 inches big. Overall they will rarely bite as they have a gentle nature, but they should never be provoked or threatened. It is also best to only keep one male and one female together, as more than one male may get territorial. If you would like to read a more in depth guide to crested gecko biting then check out this article that I wrote.

What do crested geckos eat?

Crested geckos eat a variety of insects and fruits. In the wild they are known to eat mosquitoes, larvae, flies and worms. In captivity, they can be fed a number of insects such as crickets, flies and waxworms. The insects you feed them should be smaller than the space between their eyes so they can easily eat and digest it. Insects with harder exoskeletons may also be harder to feed to your little friend. They also enjoy eating fruits and vegetables and you should incorporate mashed up veggies and fruit into their diet about twice a week. They can eat broccoli, carrots, cucumber and even dandelion leaves. Apples, grapes and strawberries are among some of the fruit they will really enjoy eating. Due to the higher levels of sugar in fruit, it is best that this is kept as a treat and not a regular meal.

There is a full list of fruits and vegetables that can eat also available on this website. Commercial gecko feed is also great to incorporate into their diet and is very accessible to find at any pet store and most vets. Some super markets even carry it. It is vital that you don’t feed your crested gecko any wild insects or foliage you have just found. These can be contaminated with pesticides and other parasites which can make your little friend quite ill.

It is easy to store insects such as crickets in bulk in sturdy, plastic containers. Adult crested gecko’s only need to eat every few days (about 3-4 times a week). Baby and juvenile crested geckos can eat baby food, and will need to be fed every day – and it is highly suggested that they are fed at night as they are nocturnal. You should also ensure you avoid over feeding them by ensuring that they only have enough insects to eat in their enclosure as they can eat within a 15-20 minute period. For a much more detailed and thorough guide to crested gecko diet and feeding have a look at this article that I wrote!

How often should you feed crested geckos?

It depends on how old your little friend is and their health. Baby, juvenile and sick crested geckos should be fed once daily while adult crested gecko’s only need to eat every few days. Most keepers suggest between 3-4 times a week only. It is best to feed them at night as they are nocturnal and most active then. You should only allow them to eat as many insects as they can within a 15-20 minute period and then remove the remainder from their enclosure. Crickets are a great staple food to feed them, and you can treat them to superworms on occasion. They will also really enjoy being treated to strawberries and grapes.

Choosing the right substrate for crested gecko:

It can be a little overwhelming choosing between different substrates for your geckos enclosure. Coconut fiber, moss, peat and paper toweling are among the many options you could choose between. These however are the most popular ones as they also assist in keeping your crested geckos enclosure at the correct humidity level. If your gecko is prone to eating their substrate when they hunt then it is best to go for paper towelling or moss as that is okay for them to ingest. You can also layer your substrates – for example putting moss over coconut fiber. This will also help if your gecko accidently eats his substrate while hunting. Never use sand in your crested geckos tank as this can be eaten and cause compaction which can be qite a serious condition.

Common crested gecko health problems:

A common issue among reptiles is mouth rot – or stomatitis – and unfortunately crested gecko’s can be prone to it too. Thankfully its easy to avoid and easy to treat if caught in time. Mouth rot often develops if food gets caught between their teeth or from small cuts within their mouth.

You should regularly – and very – gently check their mouths and remove any food you may find stuck in their teeth with a Q tip. Symptoms to look out for is if they are sitting with their mouth open for no apparent reason, and if you can see any puss in their mouths. Your vet will be able to easily treat mouth rot, and it is only fatal if it is left to fester. Another common health problem they have is respiratory infections, and you should look out for any signs that they are wheezing or any drooling. They could also develop a rash – especially when they are shedding their skins. If you are at all concerned it is best to consult your vet.

Another minor health issue is problems with shedding skin. sometimes the skin can get stuck and you may have to help to remove it. If you would like to know more about this I wrote a helpful little guide which you can read here.

Where to get a crested gecko from:

You can look at a few different places to buy a crested gecko. The best place to look would be a rescue shelter so you could give a gecko a second chance at a good life. There are a number of reputable breeders you can research as well, or you can look at a pet store. However, a lot of pets found in pet stores often come from breeders who don’t treat their animals as well as if you buy directly from a breeder. Your vet should be able to refer you to the best route to take. When purchasing a crested gecko, you should ensure that the gecko you choose is healthy and doesn’t have any signs of a rash or mouth rot.

Are crested geckos clean pets?

They are relatively clean pets as they spend the majority of their time in their enclosures and only the enclosures will need to be cleaned regularly. This is fairly easy to do by changing the substrate and washing down the tank.

Conclusion:

Crested gecko’s are incredible little pets to own. Of course they take some work – as with taking care of any living creature but they are fairly low maintenance. They don’t like to be handled, so it is best not to handle them too often. Baby geckos shouldn’t be handled at all until they are around 3 inches long.

Their enclosures need to be around 20 gallons tall as they like to climb up the glass of their enclosure. It is best to only keep one male and one female together – if you keep more of them together they may get too territorial and fight. They are mostly docile, and are now considered to be a domesticated animal as they are so popular.

You purchase a crested gecko from a few places but the two most recommended ones are looking at a reputable breeder and a rescue shelter. They eat a varied diet of insects, fruits and vegetables. Insects and commercial gecko feed should make up the majority of their diet. Adult geckos will only eat a few times a week – around 3-4 times. Baby, juvenile and sick geckos will need to eat every day.

They should only eat as many insects as they can within a 15-20 minute period, and the remaining insects should be removed. They live to be between 10 and 20 years old, depending on how well cared for they are. You can use a number of materials for the substrate within their enclosure, but the best ones to use are paper towelling and moss, or layering moss over coconut fibre.

I really hope that you have found this crested gecko care sheet to be of some use. For more helpful crested gecko care guides check out this link which will take you to all of the one on this website.

 

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