How To Take Care of a Crested Gecko

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Crested gecko on a plant inside a terrarium
Photo by: Ty Fiero on Unsplash

The crested gecko, also known scientifically as the rhacodactylus ciliatus, is a popular lizard that can be kept by pet owners new and experienced because they are considered docile lizards. Crested geckos were actually thought to be extinct before 1994 when they were “rediscovered” on an island off the coast of Australia. Since then, they have been bred back to a high number and shared with the rest of the world for care in captivity. And, contrary to what some sources may say, they are one of the easiest reptiles to take care of.

What Are Crested Geckos

Crested gecko hanging out on a leaf

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Crested geckos are a type of lizard that originates from New Caledonia, Australia. These geckos are unique in that their coloring and markings are not genetically defined, meaning breeders often produce crested geckos with multiple different patterns and colors that are inherited from their parents. Most of these lizards, though, come with brown or cream colorings with pops of red, orange or white patterns on their backs.

All crested geckos have a pronounced crest that begins above the eyes and extends down the back. These crests may vary in size, but they usually include spiked edges. When these geckos are fully grown, they usually measure about seven to nine inches in length.

What Is the Lifespan of a Crested Gecko?

Crested geckos live a pretty long time, usually between 15 to 20 years in captivity, making caring for them a bit of a commitment. However, every gecko is different, so living upwards of 25 years is not impossible as long as a crested gecko is cared for properly.

What Do Crested Geckos Eat?

A lot of crested geckos aren’t picky eaters; commercial crested gecko food that comes as a powder can serve as the basis for their diets. You can supplement this food with some treats, too, like live or dried insects and mashed fruit. Crested geckos love to snack on jarred baby food like pureed mango, pear, nectarine, banana and apricot.

How Often To Feed a Crested Gecko

Because crested geckos are nocturnal animals by nature, it is recommended that owners feed them their regular diet in the evening. While adults can be fed just three evenings a week with some snacks in between, young geckos that are not fully grown yet should be fed at least once daily.

How To Set Up a Crested Gecko Cage

Crusted gecko cage

An important piece of crested gecko care is setting up a habitat for the gecko or geckos. One adult crested gecko requires a tank of at least 20 gallons in size while two geckos in one cage should have a tank of at least 30 gallons in size. Three geckos may also be comfortable in a 30-gallon tank, but it’s recommended that owners add 10 extra gallons per gecko to their tank size after that; for example, four geckos in a 40-gallon tank.

Crested Gecko Terrariums

Crested geckos prefer air circulation, so it helps to make one side of their tank a screen wall, such as the top. These animals also prefer to do a lot of vertical climbing, so be sure to add items like real or faux bamboo, vines and some driftwood to their space.

These lizards don’t require a bathing lamp as other reptiles do, but they do like a high level of humidity in their tanks. To help them stay hydrated, be sure to provide a shallow water dish; you can spray the leaves and surfaces of the plants in their tank each evening to keep the humidity up.

A Crested Gecko’s General Behavior

These lizards are very peaceful and rarely bite their owners or each other; however, some males may become aggressive with each other, so it’s recommended that owners keep only one male crested gecko in a tank. Since they are nocturnal, crested geckos like to hide and rest during the daytime and become active by climbing around at night.

Do Crested Geckos Like to Be Held?

Crested geckos are known for jumping from their owners’ hands, and they aren’t known for being easy to handle. However, owners can still hold their crested geckos for up to five minutes at a time if they’d like. When holding your gecko, try feeding her a snack to keep her calm and build up the time you hold her from just a minute at first to five minutes later on.

About the Author

Kari

Kari is a long-time pet lover and owner. She has experience raising cats, dogs, rabbits, and aquatic life. Whenever she's not writing, she's probably baking homemade dog treats or camping with her family and their own four-legged friends!... Learn More

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