Crested geckos are an interesting species. Their popularity as a pet is increasing rapidly.
They are hardy, easy to take care of and live a long and comfortable life in captivity.
Even beginner reptile owners, with no prior experience in petkeeping of any geckos, can get a pet crested gecko and care for it with ease.
Crested Gecko Species Overview
Crested geckos are a mostly arboreal species originating in the rainforests of the islands of New Caledonia, Australia.
They spend very less time on the ground. And they are used to high humidity, warm temperatures, and lots and lots of foliage and branches.
They love to play around in the branches – but they are a solitary species.
So, if you get a crested gecko, the best way to keep it happy is to not force cohabitation. Let it have its own tank.
Crested Gecko Behaviour and Temperament
Crested geckos are solitary animals. They don’t like mingling with other geckos – even of their own species.
They are not very aggressive with their owners, however.
So, you will be able to interact with your crested gecko by handling it and holding it for a few minutes every day.
But they are not cuddly or overly affectionate. So you will have to limit the interaction and show of affection to just a few minutes of handling.
Crested Gecko Lifespan
In the wild, a crested gecko lives for 5 to 8 years.
But, in captivity, when the threat of predators and starvation is removed, it can lead to a comfortable life of up to 20 years.
Crested Gecko Care Sheet
It is very easy to care for a crested gecko – even if you have never handled a reptile before.
Given below is the care sheet that will give you important pointers to take care of when bringing a pet crested gecko home.
Crested Gecko Diet
We start off with what a crested gecko can eat.
The diet of a crested gecko is largely insects and fruits – that is to say – a crested gecko is largely insectivorous and frugivorous.
Diet in the Wild
In the wild, a crested gecko will usually hunt insects like crickets and roaches. It even devours worms and smaller animals when times get desperate.
A crested gecko in the wild also likes to eat the nuts, seeds, and fruits that it can forage. It prefers overripe fruits that are very sweet and soft.
Diet in Captivity
In captivity, the diet of a crested gecko does not need insects and fruits for nutritional purposes.
There are prepared crested gecko diet powders available that have all the nutrients in the required amounts.
However, food is not just for nourishment but also for enrichment.
So, while nutritionally you may not need to give insects and fruits to your crested gecko, feeding live insects and fruits to your pet every now and then will promote natural behavior.
Crested geckos can eat fruits like bananas, apples, strawberries, raspberries, etc. They love overripe fruits.
You can either chop them up really small or you can mash the fruits and give them as pulp to your crested gecko.
Remember to have small pieces to avoid the risk of impaction.
While vegetables are not a part of the natural diet of a wild crested gecko – because no crested gecko finds cultivated vegetables in the depths of a rainforest – they are not necessarily a bad foreign addition.
Some vegetables, like celery and spinach, are good for the health of your crested gecko.
Crested geckos like eating crickets, roaches, and worms. You can give them dubia roaches, mealworms, silkworms, etc.
However, since bugs are not nutritionally dense, you need to gut-load or dust the insects with calcium supplements before feeding them to your crested gecko.
Also, give insects as treats only. Too many insects will risk your crested gecko becoming obese.
The feeding schedule of a crested gecko changes with its age.
A baby crested gecko needs to be fed every day after its first molting. Before the first shedding, the baby crested gecko might not eat anything.
Don’t worry, that is normal. Afterward, however, you will have to feed the baby crested gecko 6 to 7 days per week.
As your crested gecko grows and comes close to 6 months of age, you need to start reducing the frequency of feeding.
Juvenile crested geckos between the age of 6 and 12 months should be fed 4 to 5 times per week.
Adult crested geckos over the age of one year need to be fed 3 to 4 times a week only.
Crested Gecko Tank
Since a crested gecko is arboreal, you need to ensure that the tank you choose has ample space in the vertical direction.
There are different types of tanks available for crested geckos. There are simple glass enclosures that you can fill with artificial plant and wood decorations.
There are also huge terrariums that you can use to make bioactive enclosures for your crested gecko. It depends on your preference.
A good size for a single adult crested gecko is a tank of dimensions 12” X 12” X 18” – or a 10-gallon tank.
You can opt for a bigger 20-gallon tank if you want to have more than one crested gecko living in the same enclosure.
Housing the Crested Gecko
When it comes to housing the crested gecko comfortably, you need to ensure that the heat, humidity, and all other parameters of the tank are ideal.
Crested geckos are sensitive to environmental changes – so any change in the environment will cause your crested gecko to stress out and fall sick.
The ideal temperature for a crested gecko is room temperature. During the daytime, the tank should be between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the nighttime, the temperature should be between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ensure having a heat gradient inside the tank with a warm and cool spot for your crested gecko to regulate its body temperature as per its need.
Crested geckos are nocturnal. So, they need darkness at nighttime to be active. They rest during the day.
Ideally, you won’t need any lighting if the enclosure gets ample sunlight.
But if you do need external lighting, ensure that the circadian cycle of your crested gecko isn’t ruined. Follow the natural day/night cycle for your crested gecko tank’s lighting.
The humidity of a crested gecko tank should be between 60 and 80 percent for most parts of the day.
At regular intervals, however, bring the humidity down to 50 percent to ensure that there is no fungal or bacterial growth due to excess moisture.
Then mist the tank and bring the humidity levels back within the 60 to 80 range.
The substrate is the layer that goes on the floor of the tank.
For baby crested geckos, it is advised that you use a substrate such as a paper towel or newspaper to prevent the risk of impaction.
For adult crested geckos, you can use mosses or coconut fiber.
There are many other options available too, but you must ensure that whatever substrate you use is non-toxic and not too loose.
Common Health Problems
- Behavioral issues in the presence of stressors
- Loss of appetite
- Skin infections – fungal, bacterial
- Mite infestation
- Parasitic infections due to ingestion of fecal matter
- Weakness and metabolic bone disease due to calcium deficiency
Crested geckos are usually easy to care for – but they also get stressed very easily.
Any change in environment can cause stress and that can quickly lead to a chain of sicknesses starting from loss of appetite or behavioral issues.
So, the most important thing to keep in mind when you bring home a crested gecko is to not let it feel stressed.
Healthy Vs Unhealthy Crested Gecko
Healthy crested geckos are active. They have cheerful body language.
You will notice your healthy crested gecko be lively and jump around in its tank during the nighttime.
Healthy crested geckos eat regularly, remain hydrated, and excrete regularly. Their shedding cycles also happen on a regular basis.
Signs that your crested gecko is unhealthy include:
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced frequency of defecation
- Irregular and incomplete shedding
- Visible weakness
- Visible injuries or signs of infection
Are Crested Geckos Hard To Care For?
Crested geckos are not at all hard to take care of.
You just need to be observant and follow all the basic guidelines of humidity, temperature, stressors, and food.
Ensure regular feeding, cleaning of the tank, and interactions with the crested gecko – and you shouldn’t have anything much to worry about.
Are Crested Geckos Easy To Take Care Of?
Yes, crested geckos are indeed very easy to take care of. They are suitable for beginners who don’t have enough experience with reptiles.
Not only are the crested geckos hardy and low in maintenance, but there is also a lot of information available on the online forums.
All this makes it easier for beginner crested gecko owners to get guidance wherever they feel stuck or lost.
Crested geckos are amazing pets. They are available in many beautiful colors. They are solitary but playful – and they are easy to take care of.
You just need to be a little observant and patient, and you will be able to keep your pet crested gecko happy and healthy for its long lifespan of 15 to 20 years.