Crested geckos are unique, colorful reptiles that can make great companions. But, because they are different from your typical household pets, proper crested gecko care is essential for keeping them happy and safe. If you want to know how to care for a crested gecko, read on to learn about the best crested gecko diet, housing requirements and more.
Once believed to be extinct, crested geckos were discovered again in 1994. Since then, their praise as great household pets has gradually increased. Native to a semi-tropical island chain near Australia called New Caledonia, crested geckos get their name from the spikey crest that runs from their back, up around their neck and over their eyes. Perfect for beginner reptile owners, these creatures are typically low-maintenance, making crested gecko care generally easy.
Crested geckos come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Their color shades include brown, orange, cream and red. Some crested geckos have no pattern at all, while some have different sized bands and spots — these are sometimes referred to as eyelash geckos because of the ridges on the skin above their eyeballs. Crested geckos enjoy climbing around on plants, vines and even the walls of their terrarium. You will certainly have fun decorating their habitat and creating fun areas for them to climb on and jump around.
Crested geckos are mostly tame but can be timid when touched, so be sure to handle them with care. Keep in mind that when they are stressed, crested geckos may drop their tails and – unlike other reptiles – they are not able to grow them back.
Crested Gecko Fun Facts
While crested geckos share some similarities with other reptiles, they have many unique characteristics that you should know before owning one.
Crested geckos are interesting creatures with unique traits that distinguish them from other types of reptiles and animals. If you wish to know how to care for a crested gecko properly, you should be aware of the following facts:
- Crested geckos have unique toe pads that allow them to travel around their terrarium and scale other vertical surfaces easily.
- They are skilled jumpers thanks to their long tails that help with coordination and speed.
- Crested geckos like to sleep during the day and be active at night.
- It's common for adult crested geckos to drop their tails and wind up with tiny nubs.
Average Size and Life Expectancy of Crested Geckos
Before you purchase a crested gecko, you should have an idea of how long they live and how large they can get.
Generally, both male and female crested geckos can attain lengths of up to eight inches, from their snout to the tip of their tail. They approach sexual maturity at 15 to 18 months of age when they weigh about 35 grams. With diligent crested gecko care, your companion can live relatively long for a reptile – between 15 and 20 years on average!
The Best Housing for Crested Gecko Care
Don't let your crested gecko roam freely around your home — give it the terrarium it deserves!
A 10-gallon terrarium is perfect for young crested geckos. However, it's best that you purchase a 20-gallon terrarium for adult crested geckos, particularly if you plan on housing more than one gecko collectively. Once crested geckos are fully mature, they enjoy having a healthy amount of vertical space to hunt, jump and climb, so be sure to go with a tall terrarium rather than a short one. Additionally, you need to check that your terrarium has a screen top for fresh air.
Male crested geckos are competitive with each other and can be quite territorial and aggressive. They should not be housed with other males – instead, it's best to put a male-female pair together.
You'll want to assemble a mixture of various elements for the crested geckos to climb on and hide inside. Branches, bamboo, vines and vertical cork flats are all great materials to use. Also, presenting your crested geckos with a variety of live and artificial plants to simulate their natural habitat will supply them with plentiful hiding places and keep them more satisfied and healthier.
Substrate For Your Crested Gecko
Learn how to furnish your crested gecko's terrarium with the best substrate options.
Substrate is what covers the bottom surface of the terrarium. The crested gecko spends most of its time above ground climbing on vines and branches, so a variety of different substrates can be used. For the most natural look, you can go with peat moss or coconut fiber pulp. Both are also great if you plan on growing live plants in the terrarium. For the most straightforward cleaning, however, reptile carpet is an excellent choice.
If you have young geckos, be careful because the hatchlings and babies may unintentionally (or purposefully) eat sand or little particles. These can be dangerous for their health and could cause intestinal impaction. You must also avoid any commercial plant soils or sands that may have pesticides or fertilizers; they can be very harmful if swallowed by your crested geckos.
Temperature for Optimal Crested Gecko Care
Just like any reptile, the crested gecko needs to maintain its body at certain temperatures to live happily.
Like other reptiles, crested geckos are ectotherms, so their body temperature is reliant on outside sources to stay regulated. Additionally, reptiles rely on warm temperatures to be productive and catch prey to eat. Crested gecko care relies on temperatures that won't harm the reptile, so it is important for you to have one thermometer on both sides of your terrarium to keep the temps just right. Crested geckos prefer temperatures that are between 78- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit, but low 70s are sufficient at night.
As long as the daytime temperatures are in the high 70s, you do not need an additional heat source. However, if the temperature rises above 87 degrees Fahrenheit, you will want to place the geckos in a cool room. Crested geckos are accustomed to temperature drops in the winter and can tolerate levels in the 60s. If you still need to add heat, you can use an under-tank heating pad, heating tape or a heat bulb placed on top of the screen. You can find these supplies at pretty much any pet store or online. Also, always have a cool side of the terrarium that is about 10 degrees colder than the warm side so the geckos can regulate their temperatures.
Lighting for Crested Gecko Care
Don't leave your gecko in the dark — discover what you need to give your pet proper lighting.
Crested geckos are nocturnal reptiles and spend most of their day sleeping in plants, so there is no need to give them a special UVB light to bask in — a crested gecko diet that is high in vitamin D3 will be enough. However, some light throughout the day can be advantageous to their health and keep the gecko's circadian rhythm on course. It will also help them know when to sleep and when to eat. A low-wattage lamp located above the screen of the terrarium will provide excellent lighting for this. Just make sure that you give your geckos a hidden corner to escape the light if they want to. Additionally, if you want to watch your crested geckos play at night, you can use a red night light bulb to observe their behavior. Unlike a fluorescent light, this type of bulb won’t disturb them.
Crested Gecko Humidity
Crested geckos rely on humidity to stay healthy and shed their skins. Learn ways to optimize the humidity of your terrarium.
Crested geckos prefer about 50 to 70 percent of humidity on average, mostly towards the higher end of the range. Sustaining proper levels of humidity is crucial for crested gecko care and will ensure that they're healthy and able to shed their skins easily. You can get a reasonably inexpensive hydrometer to measure the humidity inside the terrarium.
The best method for humidifying your terrarium is to mist dry areas of the enclosure with fresh, clean water every night, and then let the terrarium dry to approximately 50 percent humidity before misting lightly again during the day. Having an assortment of living plants will also help support an adequate level of moisture in the terrarium.
Crested Geckos and Water
Learn why it's important to give your gecko the proper amount of water for hydration and play.
Crested geckos will hydrate themselves by licking droplets of water off the walls and plants in the terrarium. However, you should also give them a shallow dish supplied with fresh water at all times. The water dish should be sturdy and incapable of being knocked over, as you do not want the substrate in the terrarium to get moist. You will also want to make sure that the geckos can get in and out of the water bowl easily, as they occasionally like to take a soak in it.
What Do Crested Geckos Eat?
The crested gecko diet consists of both powdered foods and dubia roaches. Read on to discover how often to feed crested gecko pets.
Because the powdered crested gecko diet has been perfected, these reptiles are able to thrive without having to eat insects. For example, Pangea Diet and Repashy crested gecko food are both excellent choices. Powdered diets from brands like these allow you to take the powder and mix it with two parts of water. If you want to know how often to feed a crested gecko, this mixture is typically given three times a week. Is your crested gecko not eating enough food? If so, you will have to experiment a little bit to find out how much your particular gecko likes to eat. However, regardless of your crested gecko feeding schedule, if the meal has not been consumed within 24 hours, you should remove it and replace it with fresh food.
Additionally, dubia roaches are largely regarded as sitting at the top of the crested gecko food list. These roaches can be used as primary crested gecko food or offered as treats a few times a week. Just make sure that you choose dubia roaches that are as long as the gecko's head. You can also feed your crested gecko insects such as crickets and waxworms once or twice a week. However, before you start crested gecko feeding, gut load (dust the insects with a calcium powder supplement that contains vitamin D3) to ensure the geckos have a diet full of essential minerals and vitamins. To dust the insects, place them in a bag or can with the powder, and shake lightly to coat them.
Get the Most Out of Your Crested Gecko Diet With Dubia Roaches!
Now that you understand what it takes to care for your crested gecko, give them the treat they deserve — dubia roaches!
Crested geckos are very interesting to look at, easy to take care of and perfect for novices. You will enjoy watching them leap from branch to branch and hunt bugs to eat. If you keep the temperatures and humidity levels sufficient and feed them with a nutritious crested gecko diet, everything will be smooth sailing. And, if you'd like to use dubia roaches as crested gecko food, we offer bulk roaches in sizes ranging from 3/16" - 1/4" to 1/4" - 3/8". Check out our selection or contact us today if you have any questions. We hope you appreciated learning how to take care of a crested gecko and can't wait to hear about your experience as an owner!
Make Your Crested Geckos Happy With Dubia Roaches!
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