Crested Gecko Complete Care Guide, Habitat, Behavior, and Diet

Crested Gecko

The Crested Gecko is a brightly colored lizard with spines that run down its length. They have tiny spikes above their eyes that resemble eyelashes.

This macaque is distinctive for its tear-like eyes, facial expressions, and the fact that it can be found only on New Caledonia’s islands.

Crested Geckos are a popular choice for first-time lizard keepers based on how easy it is to keep them, the level of care, basic diet, and straightforward aquarium setup.

We have curated this specialized guide to help you care for your crested gecko regardless 9f your experience with lizards. 

Origin of Crested Gecko

The crested gecko (Cyrtodactylus lemniscatus), also known as the New Caledonian lance-tailed gecko, is a nocturnal reptile from New Caledonia’s rainforests. It’s a species of lizard found in Australia and its neighboring islands.

The Crested Gecko is a pale, sand-colored lizard found in the Andaman Islands of Southeast Asia. They were first observed in 1866 and then presumed to be extinct until their rediscovery in 1994. The Crested Gecko hides during the day near the ground and at night hunts and scavenges in trees’ canopies.

The scientific name for this lizard is Rhacodactylus ciliatus, but it has been previously known as correlophus ciliatus, so you may also see it referred to as that.

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a large crocodilian that lives throughout the United States and Canada. They have four toes on each hind limb but only three fingers on their forelimbs and no thumb. Their heads are covered with long crests that run from head to tail, which give them their name.

Crested Gecko LifeSpan

In captivity, they can live as long as 20 years or longer if properly cared for, fed a nutritious diet, and given adequate husbandry.

The appearance of Crested Gecko

The most noticeable feature of Crested Geckos is their eyelashes.

The lashes of a Crested Gecko are difficult to miss, but they form part of the crest that runs from each eye to their tail. They don’t have eyelids, so these spiny projections protect their delicate eyes from the brushes and canopies they hide in. To preserve their eyes health, they also lick them.

When it is bright outside, their eyes have slit-like pupils and dilated pupils when they hunt at night.

The overall appearance of this species is like a triangle with holes on either side, four legs that terminate in four fingers, and specialized toe pads with a network hair-like projection (called a seta) that allows them to climb on smooth surfaces!

They also have a prehensile tail that aids in their gripping.

Crested Gecko Size

Within their first 12 months, a full-grown gecko will develop eight to ten inches in length and 30g to 35g in weight.

Males mature at 9 months and females at 12 months, with both reaching sexual maturity at their respective maturity age.

Males and females are both similar in size, weight, and appearance. Male have hemipenes – external paired reproductive organs that may be seen by locating the bulges on either side of their tail.

A hatchling of crested gecko is generally between 6 and 1 inches long when born.

Difference between male and female Crested Gecko

Males Crested Gecko have a pronounced V shape on their head, as well as hemipenes – external paired reproductive organs that may be seen by locating the bulges on either side of their tail.

Crested Geckos are sexually dimorphic in terms of color and size. They’re known to change colors in response to temperature, stress level, and mood. Crested Geckos are solitary animals that prefer not to be housed together.

Males Crested Geckos have a pronounced V shape on their heads, while females Crested Gecko do not. This is how you can tell the difference between males and females Crested Gecko!

How To Sex A Crested  Gecko

Crested Geckos are sexually dimorphic, so you can tell them apart by looking at their heads. Crested males have a V shape on top of the head while Crested females do not. 

Colors and Morphs of Crested Gecko

A Crested Gecko’s back typically has bright, dark lateral stripes and may be yellow, orange, or brown.

  • Light tan
  • Peach
  • Reddish-brown

The following are the three color variants:

Tiger Morph: The stomach of a tiger morph has distinctive markings, while the abdomen is striped.

Patternless Morph: The bellies of patternless morphs are blank, with dark stripes on lighter skin.

White Fringed Morphs: The crests of white-fringed morphs are white or yellow in color.

Crested Geckos have the ability to adapt their hue to conceal themselves or communicate with other reptiles.

Are Crested Geckos Good For Beginners?

Yes. These uncommon reptiles are known for their ease of care and distinctive appearance. They’re quite robust reptiles that, if properly handled, are really kind.

Crested geckos feed on a wide range of fruits in the wild, with bananas and apples being their favorites. Crested gecko’s diet includes a variety of fruits several times each week, as well as small insects. They are also social creatures that get along with other reptiles they were reared with.

Advantages of keeping a Crested gecko

  • They have a distinctive appearance with their crests and “eyelashes.”
  • It only requires a few hours of sunlight and water to re-create their natural environment.
  • They are quite simple to care for, even if you’re a novice.
  • They can be housed together without any problems.
  • Males will readily reproduce if you’re looking to breed them.

Disadvantages of keeping Crested geckos

  • If you’re not attentive, they may lose their tails.
  • They can drop their tail as a defense mechanism, which is why it’s important that you have a healthy Crested Gecko habitat.
  • They can be jumpy and skittish, so they’re not the best pet for small children who may startle them.
  • They frequently seek refuge in cages (as they would in the wild to avoid predators).
  • They are a nocturnal species, therefore they are seldom seen during the day.

Crested Gecko Habitat

The Gecko of New Caledonia’s island of Pines and Grand Terre is native.

Crested gecko habitat

There are two small islands in the South Pacific, which have warm tropical rainforests with lots of vegetation.

In the evening, they recline in low canopies of trees that are only nine feet off the ground. They’re a few feet shy of the floor during the day.

Crested Geckos thrive in tanks with smooth, glass walls. Because Crested Geckos enjoy climbing smooth surfaces, tall, water-filled aquariums with a capacity of 20 gallons are ideal.

Tank Type: glass tank.

Tank Size: 20-gallon.

Lighting: none.

Substrate: soil.

Although hatchlings and youngsters can be kept in smaller 10-gallon tanks, they should be transferred to larger ones by the age of one.

Crested Geckos are nocturnal by nature, thus they naturally conceal during the day. They should have lots of hiding options, including vegetation, plants, branches, logs, leaves, and egg cartons.

They will be pleased as long as your Gecko is secure in their surroundings.

How to set up a Tank for Crested Gecko?

For Crested Geckos, smooth glass walls are best. Crested Geckos love climbing on smooth surfaces, so tall 20-gallon tanks with a lot of vegetation and branches are ideal for them to climb on.

Crested gecko does not need any light source in their housing unit

You should try your best to avoid disturbing their circadian rhythms. When it’s dark outside, turn off the lights near your gecko’s tank. Attempt to follow nature’s natural pattern as much as possible.

You can use a UV light during the day if their tank is not in close proximity to natural light, but it isn’t required.

Their tank should be kept at about 75°F.

The goal is for the humidity to be between 60 and 70 percent, which can be accomplished by spritzing the terrazzo flooring with a spray bottle every day. After spritzing, wait five to ten minutes before wiping down the glass walls.

A humidity gauge may assist you in maintaining the correct climate.

Substrate

This species is not picky about its substrate. You may use soil or paper towels, either alone or in combination.

Soil is a finished product best imitated from nature, and it also aids in the health of live plants. Mulch made out of cypress or coconut fibers can be used instead of soil.

Make sure the substrate does not create an unhealthful amount of humidity and is simple to clean. Avoid small-grained substrates such as sand, which Crested geckos may consume.

Tank Cleaning

Weekly, excess food should be removed. When necessary, the rest of the tank should be cleaned.

Ideally, their tank should be thoroughly cleaned once a month with a complete substrate change. Regular maintenance will assist to keep your crested gecko healthy!

If your lizard’s tank develops a bacterial infection, move it to a new aquarium and replace the substrate.

Crested Gecko Diet

Your Gecko’s diet must be balanced. It’s important to offer both insects and fruits in your pet’s food. This will prevent a nutritional imbalance, as well as a lack of calcium, which can cause metabolic bone disease.

The diet of this species of Gecko consists of a wide range of fruits and insects. To eat, they will emerge from their refuge a few times each week.

There are companies that produce pre-balanced diets and feed, but they aren’t required. Their diet is so uncomplicated that you may give them a well-balanced diet without the aid of a commercial pellet.

What Do Crested Geckos Eat?

The black-footed tortoise is a slow-moving herbivore that mostly consumes small insects and overripe fruits. They will come out only rarely to eat in the wild, and they prefer foods that are a day or two old.

They eat a variety of invertebrates, including small roaches and crickets. Dusted with calcium and vitamin D3 once or twice each week, one insect is enough to keep your entire household in line.

A few little shreds of banana, peach, passion fruit, or apricot are provided at each mealtime. You may also offer them with mashed fruit.

Nestlings, on the other hand, should be fed with a diet that is identical to that given to adults. Hatchlings will not eat for the first few days of their lives because they consumed stored yolk residues.

Although most lizards enjoy a fresh diet, Crested Geckos dislike fresh or ripe fruits – food should be cleared out once a week if left uneaten.

The best time to feed them is after dark. Do not be shocked if you don’t see them eating during the day.

They must have access to clean water all the time. A small bowl is ideal.

Crested Gecko Health

These species are just as healthy as the environment and food in which it lives. 

  • Overfeeding can lead to obesity.
  • Metabolic bone disease can result from a calcium deficit.
  • Some of these reptiles have endolymphatic sacs in their mouths to keep calcium. Crested Geckos lack this adaptation and can be prone to metabolic bone disease if their calcium intake is not monitored.
  • Other health concerns that may arise are dehydration, which can be caused by a number of factors including changes in the environment (too much or too little humidity), diarrhea, vomiting, and stress; and intestinal parasites.
  • Shaped eggs (post-ovulatory dystocia) can occur if a high calcium reserve is needed to manufacture eggs.
  • Their feces should be a mix of brown (from food waste) as well as solidified or liquid urine. It is healthy for the feces to be somewhat runny. However, if it is runny or bloody for many days, see your veterinarian.
  • They should not have difficulty shedding their skin and are frequently observed munching on it, provided they are hydrated and healthy.
  • Humidity should be between 60 and 70 percent to ensure that this reptile’s health is maintained. Daily use of a spray bottle to mist the tank will aid in the moist environment.
  • Wait between five and ten minutes before wiping the glass walls clean after misting.

Signs your Crested Gecko is Healthy

  • Sleeping and hiding during the day.
  • Licking their eyes on a frequent basis.
  • To come out at night to eat on a regular basis.
  • They should not be shy or stressed.
  • Their skin should be free of redness and wounds, with the exception of small cuts that are healing.
  • The Crested Gecko’s appearance is one indication of its well-being. Their bodies will become slightly swollen during the breeding season if they have a healthy appetite; however, if they are overweight, their bodies will be swollen. Crested Geckos’ skin is loose and wrinkled when they’re dehydrated; however, it is smooth when they are hydrated.

Sickness Symptoms in Crested Gecko

  • Sudden weight loss.
  • The color of their skin is darker than usual.
  • FECES: Abnormal or bloody feces for more than a day or two.
  • If your Crested Gecko is not eating, has diarrhea, is inactive, and/or has lost weight, please see a veterinarian immediately.

Crested Gecko Behavior and Temperament

Crested Geckos seek refuge in the lower vegetation at day to avoid being seen by predators and the sun.

They hunt for insects and fruit in the evening, spending their time in the trees’ canopies climbing from limb to limb looking for food. Arboreal reptiles are what they are.

When they are hunting and feel threatened, they may stand up on their hind legs and hiss. They will lose their tails if they are in severe forms of dread!

The alpha fish is the only one that communicates with tankmates by making a high-pitched chirping sound; they also make this noise if they detect a predator.

In captivity, Crested Geckos will engage in natural activities, such as:

During the day, hiding in the tank. At night, looking for food. Mating males are aggressive to one another, especially if there aren’t many females around. If a female does not want to have sex with an approaching male, she will show indications of aggression.

How to handle baby and adult Crested Gecko

Crested gecko is a quiet lizard that can easily be handled. They do not bite or attack their handlers, and they are not known to be aggressive. They do not hibernate in captivity.

When handling a baby or adult crested gecko , there are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t hold it by the tail, which can be  fragile and break off.

Don’t hold it by the neck, which can be crushed when you squeeze too hard. Crested geckos are docile lizards that love to explore and handling with care is an essential part of Crested Gecko care , but they should only be handled with gentle hands.

When handling one of these animals, it is important to be aware of their body language. If the Crested Gecko is being held correctly, it will:

– Stay calm and allow you to hold it without struggling

– Become active when placed back on the ground

– Run away if it is feeling stressed or threatened

It’s also important to keep in mind that Crested Geckos will shed their skin as they grow, and you may find the old skin on the ground of the tank. Crested gecko shedding is a normal process that should not be cause for alarm.

Baby Crested Geckos

The baby Crested Gecko is self-reliant from the moment it hatches. The mother and father do not contribute to raising hatchlings or juvenile geckos.

They will not eat for the first few days after hatching since they are fed on dried yolk remnants.

After they shed their skin for the first time, they may eat an adult diet in smaller amounts. As soon as they are able to self-regulate their food intake after birth , they can be considered juveniles.

How Much Does A Crested Gecko Cost?

They are a very popular kind, and there are many reputable breeders who charge between $50 and $150. Unique “designer” morphs range in price from $500 to $5,000.

It has been illegal to export a Crested Gecko from New Caledonia since its rediscovery in 1994.

Crested Gecko Breeding

When courting, a male will employ quick movements as he approaches a female. If it allows it, the male will climb on her back and softly bite her neck.

After mating, a female gecko may lay two eggs 30 – 40 days later. Because females retain sperm, they can be fertilized without having to mate.

The eggs hatch after 60 to 70 days of being laid. The sex of a hatchling is impacted by the tank’s temperature. Warmer temperatures increase the likelihood that more males will hatch, while colder temperatures decrease it.

Other variables will have an impact on the rate of development and maturation. Increased chicken egg incubation temperatures enhance egg formation, as well as growth and maturation.

Crested Gecko Facts

Common Names New Caledonian Crested Gecko

Scientific Name Rhacodactylus ciliatus

Adult Size 8 – 10 inches

Lifespan 15 – 20 years

Diet Ripe or overripe fruit and crickets

Tank Size 20-gallon tank

Humidity & Temperature ~75°F and humidity should be kept between 60 – 70%

Popular Alternatives Leachie Gecko, Gargoyle Gecko, Mossy Prehensile-tailed Gecko

FAQs

Are crested geckos friendly?

Crested geckos are a very sociable species. Despite their inherent fickleness, as in they will always be looking for the next thing to jump on to, they can endure considerable handling.

How much does a crested gecko cost?

Crested geckos start at around $50 and can cost upwards of $100. The price of a crested gecko is determined by the morph, age, gender, and availability in your region. Unique “designer” morphs range in price from $500 to $5,000.

Are crested geckos easy to take care of?

Crested geckos are one of the most popular species for beginning pet owners. Crested geckos have a rather calm personality, making them excellent beginner pets. While they are manageable, careful attention is required because they will try to jump off your hand/arm/etc.

Conclusion

Crested geckos are a unique species that have been domesticated for many years. Crested Geckos have established themselves as a popular pet with an interesting and varied diet, care requirements, and behavior. Crested gecko-keeping is gaining popularity because the animals are hardy, easy to feed, inexpensive, reproduce well in captivity, and have a gentle disposition. Crested Geckos make great starter pets for anyone interested in owning a gecko!

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