Crested Gecko Care Sheet
Crested Geckos (Correlophus Ciliatus formerly known as Rhacodactylus Ciliatus) thought to be extinct until recently in 1994 has made a comeback in the pet world. Cresties are native to the southern region of New Caledonia (Grand Terra) and a small island of the coast called Pine Island (Isle of Pines). Crested Geckos are arboreal, they spend most their time in the lower canopies of the New Calodonian forest, in smalls shrubs, and trees. During the day they can be found napping on the leaves of plants (where drinking water also accumilates) and the leaf litter of the forest floor. These living works of art come in an amazing array of beautiful and vibrant colors and can live up to 15-20 years. Cresties make hardy and excellent pets for the beginner reptile enthusiast or the expert herper.
Since Cresties are hardy pets, it’s safe to keep them in many different types of enclosures as long as it holds the proper humidity. Many reptile Hobbyist like to set up elaborate vivariums using live plants and loose substrate so they enjoy the enclosure as well as their pet. It is important that the gecko has sufficient space to climb but not so big they can’t find their food. We have found out that our geckos eat more when we elevate the food using a feeder ledge as a perch. A few hatchlings can be kept together in a ten gallon tank or similar size enclosure, while juvie’s and adults need more height instead of length and/or width. Make sure to never house male adults together, they will harm or kill each other especially if they are being bred. Females in the other hand, can be house in pairs or even more as long as there is sufficient space, for example, 3 females can comfortably be house in a thirty gallon high tank or similar enclosure. When housing a male and female together be aware that the male will attempt to breed and tails might go missing and nibbles will become common. We recommend housing males alone unless you plan on breeding cresties, which introducing a male for a few weeks is enough time for a female to become gravid. When choosing a substrate it is recommended to use Coconut Fiber Bedding, Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss, or Paper Towels since they can retain moisture to aid humidity levels. We strongly recommend housing hatchlings and juvie’s on paper towel substrate because they can swallow loose substrate while hunting which can produce intestinal damage in the future.
Safe Plants for Crested Geckos in a Vivarium
- Bromeliads ; Queen Tears, Earth Stars, and Sword Bromeliads.
- Ferns ; Birdnest Fern, Harts tongue Fern, and Chicken Fern.
- Elephant Ears
- Pony Tail Palms
- Prayer Plant
- Purple Passion
Diet and Nutrition
Meal Replacement Powders are available in the market that have all the nutritions needed to raise a gecko. We mostly use Allen Repashys’ Crested Gecko Diet and recommend it more than the others Diets on the market. Every two days if you will use only the Meal Replacement or twice a week if you plan on feeding your cresties live insects throughout the routine. Cresties that are breeding should be fed calcium powdered crickets or other feeder insects, especially females that are producing eggs since they need calcium to lay healthy eggs. Cresties drink or lick water from the plants or habitat accessories (terrarium furnishing), but a small water dish can be kept for hydration.
Lighting, Temperatures and Humidity
Cresties are very popular in the reptile community because since they do not require expensive special lighting and heating equipment it makes it easier to care for. Regular Fluorescent Lighting Equipment (We recommend using tube fixtures instead of bulbs since its more spread out) are more commonly used because they do not emit any heat and are very cost efficient on your electricity bill. Cresties ideal temps are 70-80 degrees and this temperature should be maintained throughout the year. A couple degrees higher or lower are okay but if temps drop as low as 65 degrees or rise as high as 85 degrees it can cause stress, which can lead to illness and death. The average household temps are the ideal range but make sure to keep a thermometer handy and check temps occasionally. Creating humidity for your enclosure is relatively simple by spraying or misting the enclosure once or twice a day depending on how moist the enclosure appears. If its dry, SPRAY!