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Crested Geckos, Geckos, Habitat and Enclosures

6 Best Woods For Crested Geckos in 2023

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by The Pet Engineers

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Crested geckos are arboreal. This means they dwell in the trees and love spending most of their lives in the branches and leaves.

They spend very little time on the ground.

Owing to this, when you get a pet crested gecko, you need to ensure that the tank is vertically spacious and has a lot of branches and sturdy wood that allows your crested gecko to play around.

Enrichment that comes from foliage, wood, and plant decorations is very important for crested geckos in captivity.

It keeps the crested gecko physically active and healthy; it also promotes natural behavior.

You should never put random pieces of wood that you find outside in the enclosure of your crested gecko.

Not all wood is safe for crested geckos.

Some woods contain tannins and oils that can cause skin infections, respiratory problems, or other health problems if the crested gecko accidentally ingests some wood.

Some woods are more prone to rotting quickly. So, you should only use woods that are non-toxic and less prone to rotting under high humidity conditions.

  • Top Pick
    Juniperus Californica (California Driftwood)

    Juniperus Californica (California Driftwood)

    Known especially for the aesthetic appeal

  • Premium Pick
    Cylindropuntia Spp. (Cholla Wood)

    Cylindropuntia Spp. (Cholla Wood)

    It is sturdy, lightweight, and perfect for reptile enclosures

  • Best Value
    Diospyros Ebonasea (Malaysian Driftwood)

    Diospyros Ebonasea (Malaysian Driftwood)

    It adds an amazing exotic appeal to the enclosure

6 Woods Safe For Crested Geckos

The following are some of the most common safe woods that can be used for decorations in a crested gecko tank.


Top Pick
Juniperus Californica (California Driftwood)

Juniperus Californica (California Driftwood)

  • Naturally shaped over time
  • Offered in 4 sizes to create unique centerpieces
  • Ghost wood branches vary due to mother nature – each branch is unique

Commonly known as California driftwood, this piece of wood is driftwood that has a lot of species to choose from.

Known especially for the aesthetic appeal that this wood has because of its color and texture, it is also chemically inert.

California driftwood is often even called Ghostwood because of its pale appearance and shape.

Who Should Get A Californian Driftwood Decoration?

If you like decorations with a gothic aesthetic appeal, this driftwood could be for you!

It looks really good and blends in with almost every terrarium decoration. Its texture and color make it look unique but not mismatched.

Who Shouldn’t Probably Get A Californian Driftwood Decoration?

If you want a higher shelf-life and are not as concerned about the aesthetic appeal as you are about the duration of use, then this driftwood may not be the right match for you.

There are other options available that last longer and are completely resistant to rot.

Pros

  • It is chemically inert and non-toxic. Even if your crested gecko accidentally gets some of this wood in its mouth, it won’t be harmed.
  • Being chemically inert, this wood will not cause any harm to the skin of your crested gecko.
  • It is sandblasted and does not have any volatile toxins remaining in it. So, your crested gecko will be safe from any respiratory problems as well.

Cons

  • It is not completely resistant to rot. While it will stay intact for a long time, it will eventually start rotting in the high humidity of the crested gecko tank.
  • It cannot stand firmly on its own. You will need to provide a strong foundation or base for this driftwood to stand.

Cylindropuntia Spp. (Cholla Wood)

Cylindropuntia Spp. (Cholla Wood)
  • Ideal for all kinds of pets, Shrimp, Hermit Crabs, Fish, Reptiles etc. Great hiding spot for those little ones.
  • Natural Beauty each piece is unique and individual

If you think a cactus cannot add décor and atmosphere to your tropical crested gecko tank, you may have missed out on cholla wood.

Cholla wood, scientifically called the Cylindropuntia spp., is the dried husk of the Cholla cactus.

It is sturdy, lightweight, and perfect for reptile enclosures, aquariums, and even home decorations.

Who Should Get Cholla Wood?

Anyone with a gecko should definitely get cholla wood. It is a perfect match for those enclosures.

However, even if you simply want it for your crested gecko tank, you can get cholla wood sticks.

They aren’t expensive. So, as long as you remember to change them before they rot, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Who Shouldn’t Probably Get Cholla Wood?

If you have a high-humidity reptile like a crested gecko, and if you’re unwilling or unable to frequently keep a check for rot in the wood, you shouldn’t get cholla wood.

Opt for something more suited to the tropical atmosphere of a crested gecko tank.

Pros

  • It is sturdy and lightweight.
  • It is very cheap and light on budget.

Cons

  • It can become a breeding ground for harmful pathogens if not maintained regularly.
  • It has an even shorter lifespan than California driftwood. It breaks down pretty easily, especially in the high-humidity crested gecko tank.

Diospyros Ebonasea (Malaysian Driftwood)

Diospyros Ebonasea (Malaysian Driftwood)
  • Reptiles benefit from the way this water-resistant real wood can slowly deposit healthy tannins into terrarium water.

Better known as Malaysian Driftwood, it is one of the most commercially used softwood. It is hard and easily available at lower rates.

Who Should Get Malaysian Driftwood?

If you are a hobbyist who loves decorating the crested gecko enclosure with exotic décor, then you should not miss the Malaysian driftwood!

It adds an amazing exotic appeal to the enclosure and blends in well with most terrarium decors.

Who Probably Should Not Get Malaysian Driftwood?

If you are looking for something more than décor and aesthetics, Malaysian driftwood may not be the right match for you.

This driftwood needs to be pre-treated before you can use it in the tank. The pre-treatment takes close to a week.

So, unless you are a fan of the way it looks, you may not enjoy the process of treating the wood for your crested gecko tank.

Pros

  • It is lightweight and sturdy.
  • It has a longer lifespan than most driftwood.

Cons

  • It is not completely rot-resistant.
  • You need to pre-treat the driftwood to prevent tannins from leaching from its skin.
  • It may discolor the substrate if you mist it too often.

Arctostaphylos spp. (Manzanita Driftwood)

Arctostaphylos spp. (Manzanita Driftwood)
  • 100% completely safe for all aquarium fish, shrimp, snails, geckos in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

This softwood is commonly called Manzanita Driftwood. It looks like a collection of thin branches but it is actually pretty dense and durable.

Who Should Get Manzanita Wood?

Really anyone with a crested gecko or an aquarium can get the Manzanita wood and benefit from its extremely long lifespan, slow decay, and chemically neutral nature.

It is safe for use in high-humidity tanks and it is dense and sturdy.

Who Shouldn’t Probably Get Manzanita Wood?

If you don’t like what the driftwood looks like, or if it doesn’t match the aesthetic you’re going for, you may consider looking for an alternative.

Pros

  • It is dense and sturdy.
  • It comes with a sturdy base and becomes easy to place inside the tank.
  • It is chemically neutral and will not alter the pH of the atmosphere.
  • It decays very slowly despite heavy misting every day.

Cons

  • You may need to get creative when dealing with a few really long branches.

Colophospermum Mopani (Gnarly wood)

Colophospermum Mopane (Gnarly wood)
  • All-natural driftwood providing a decorative accent to your aquarium
  • Adds natural beauty to aquariums and terrariums

Commonly known as Mopani wood or Gnarly wood, this driftwood is another commonly used décor for terrariums.

However, this wood is mainly used for desert reptiles and tanks that don’t require a lot of moisture.

Who Should Get Mopani Wood?

Anyone who prefers the looks of the Mopani wood can benefit greatly from its sturdiness and aesthetic appeal of it.

Who Shouldn’t Probably Get Mopani Wood?

If you aren’t particularly fond of the aesthetics of Mopani wood.

You may not find it worthwhile to spend so much time in the pre-treatment of the wood and the regular monitoring required to remove it before it rots.

Pros

  • It is a long-lasting wood.
  • It is very sturdy and allows your crested gecko to run and jump around safely without the risk of falling.

Cons

  • It needs a lot of pre-treatment.
  • It can hold saps and leach tannins if it is not pre-treated properly.
  • It is not rot-resistant so you will need to monitor it to ensure that it doesn’t rot and cause infections to your crested gecko.

Rhododendron Spp. (Spider wood)

Rhododendron Spp. (Spider wood)
  •  Made from natural wood, and each branch is a unique terrarium landscape material and do no harm to aquatic animals or plants.

Commonly known as spider wood, this driftwood does not have a general set of patterns.

It has random branches growing in all directions, so it is difficult to generalize its appearance.

Who Should Get Spider Wood?

Anyone with a crested gecko can get spider wood for use on the lower heights of the tank.

More than a climbing branch, this wood provides ample hiding space.

Who Shouldn’t Probably Get Spider Wood?

If you aren’t that keen on regularly monitoring the driftwood, you should avoid getting spider wood.

This is because spider wood rots relatively quickly and you will need to have a vigil to remove the rotten wood in time to avoid any health problems for your crested gecko.

Pros

Cons

  • It needs a sturdy base.
  • It isn’t rot-resistant so it must be monitored.

Woods Not Safe For Crested Geckos

Any woods that show one or more of the following qualities are not safe for crested geckos:

  • Woods that have oils
  • Woods that have or are capable of producing resins and sap
  • Woods with thorns
  • Woods that leach chemicals when misted

Lists of some woods have been given below. You will be better off avoiding these woods.

Woods with oils:

  • Cedar
  • Pine
  • Eucalyptus
  • Japanese cedar
  • Western red cedar
  • White cedar

Woods with resins:

  • Cedar
  • Juniper
  • Larch
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Yew

Summary

Crested geckos are arboreal. So, it is important to include wood in the terrarium or tank of your crested gecko.

But you should be aware of which woods are safe and which should be avoided. Never put randomly collected wood in the tank of your crested gecko.

About
The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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