Crested Gecko Care
Just the Basics. We didn't write a book...
The term morph generally applies to the animals appearance. It's color, pattern and combinations of those two. Crested Geckos have fewer morphs than many other reptiles, as they originally came from a smaller group of imported specimens. Not as much genetic diversity. It all has to do with genetics, and combining traits through selective breeding processes. The basic care for all morphs is the same. Morph prices are constantly changing due to the basics of supply and demand.
Check out these eyelashes!
Crested geckos are also sometimes called eyelash geckos, and it is easy to see why.
Another unique trait to Crested is they do not regenerate their tail if it is dropped. It is common for lizards to drop their tail if stressed; most likely to distract a predator in the wild. For some reason, crested geckos did not evolve the trait to regrow it. It doesn't hurt them at all, and about half of the adults seen don't have one.
Leopard Geckos in the wild
Crested geckos are native to the remote island of New Caledonia. They were discovered in 1866, but then were thought to be extinct until 1994! Not too long ago.. A small assortment was brought into captivity and have proven to thrive more in captivity than in the wild. All of the pet cresties we have today came from a fairly small group imported around then.
Care in Captivity
Please keep in mind there are many, many ways to keep your pet We encourage you to research and learn more all the time. Please feel free to look at how we keep our animals in the shop and ask questions.
Crested Geckos are probably the easiest pet lizard to keep in captivity. They require little heat, no specific light sources, and small enclosures. Even full grown adults can live happy in an enclosure roughly 18"x18"x18"
Crested Geckos thrive in a dense rainforest type environment. In the wild they would be found (If you can see them) in low trees and shrubs, covered in leaves in vines. Although they will do just fine in an enclosure full of artificial plants and branches, they are a perfect candidate for a bioactive set up.
The term bioactive refers to a more natural setup. Doesn't have to include everything, but can include live plants, isopods and springtails, and the natural bacteria and biome all this creates. When tweaked just right, the enclosure can become fairly self sustaining and somewhat self cleaning. The isopods eat the waste from the geckos, the springtail eat the waste from the isopods, and plants absorb nutrients from the springtails. All you need to do is mist the cage daily, and feed the geckos.
Generally speaking once a bioactive set up is thriving, the geckos are as well. Everything necessary for happy healthy plants is the same for happy healthy geckos. You can tell at a glance if everything is good, as the gecko will often be hiding under some leaves.
For a basic setup, a couple artificial plants and branches is enough, and paper towels on the bottom. Change the paper towel daily or at least every time they are fed. It's a bit of a boring setup, but the geckos will be happy enough.
Temperature and lighting. Most cresteds do fine at about room temperature or slightly higher. Mid to upper 70s in fine. The only light really needed is for live plants if you choose to go that route. If your house is on the cool side, add a small, stick on under tank heater to one side of the enclosure. They will go sit on that area if they feel chilly. Recent studies have shown that a low output UVB Bulb has some benefit to them. For decades they have been kept without any, but it may be beneficial to consider.
Feeding. Crested Geckos eat almost exclusively a nectar diet. It is very simple to do, as several companies have done a lot of research on this type of diet and several brands are on the market. The leading two are Repashy and Pangea. We offer both in the shop. Zoo Med has also introduced some in recent years that are quite good. Some people like to offer small insects on occasion, but they are not their favorite to eat. They usually just ignore them.
To use the diet, you can use just the powder, or mix the powder in water to make it more liquid. Typically you feed them every other day or 3 times a week. Won't hurt to feed them daily, but you will waste more food that way. Then again the isopods are good at cleaning up the extra. Between the brands mentioned, there are also several flavors. We suggest mixing it up and offering two or three variations.
Fresh water should be offered daily, usually just by misting the enclosure. You may need to mist heavily a couple times a week to maintain a moist substrate for the plants and other bioactive critters.
Crested Geckos are a bit solitary, but females can be housed together. If you have a male and female together they will eventually breed if they are happy and healthy. Males will often compete for females, so should generally not be housed together.
Side Note : The Gargoyle Gecko. Gargoyles are close cousins to the Crested, and their care is almost exactly the same. They do get slightly larger, and seem to like insects more that cresteds do. Not an every day thing, but offer weekly, and see how they respond. Honestly, we keep them in the shop the same way as we keep cresteds. Just offer bugs more often.