Crested Geckos are fascinating, low-maintenance pets that can provide endless entertainment and companionship for their owners. These small lizards have quickly become popular pets among reptile enthusiasts, thanks to their unique looks, gentle temperament, and easily manageable care requirements. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about Crested Gecko care, including how to create the ideal habitat, provide a nutritious diet, maintain their health and wellness, and properly handle and interact with your scaly friend.
Creating the Ideal Habitat for Your Crested Gecko
Choosing the Proper Enclosure
The first crucial step in caring for your Crested Gecko is selecting the right enclosure (check our guide on how to choose the right vivarium). Crested Geckos are arboreal lizards, which means they love to climb and be up high. Therefore, it’s essential to provide them with ample vertical space in their enclosure.
An appropriately-sized vivarium for a single Crested Gecko would be at least 18 inches by 18 inches by 24 inches; however, larger enclosures are always better, especially for adult geckos.
Selecting the Right Substrate
Crested Geckos spend most of their time climbing up tree branches or plants, so the floor of their vivarium should be covered in a safe, humidity-retaining substrate. Choices like coconut fiber and sphagnum moss work well for their enclosures. Avoid using loose substrates, like sand or bark, since they can lead to impaction if accidentally ingested.
Maintaining Optimal Temperature and Humidity
Crested Geckos thrive in a moderately warm and humid environment. The temperature in the enclosure should be maintained between 72-78°F during the day and not dropping below 65°F at night. You can achieve this with a heat mat and thermostat, or a low-wattage ceramic heat emitter. A UVB light can also benefit your gecko by helping synthesize vitamin D3, which aids in calcium absorption. Check out our vivarium lighting guide for more information.
Humidity is equally crucial for a Crested Gecko’s well-being. The humidity level should range between 60-80%, with occasional spikes during misting. Be sure to allow the enclosure to dry out slightly between mistings to prevent bacterial growth. You can find more information about Crested Gecko humidity in our detailed guide.
Incorporating Climbing and Hiding Spaces
Crested Geckos are happiest when they have plenty of opportunities to climb and hide. Including plenty of branches, secure plants (either live or artificial), and vines will allow your gecko to engage in natural behaviors. Search for safe plants in our Top 10 Crested Gecko plant list. Additionally, provide at least one hiding spot towards the top of the enclosure, where your gecko can retreat when they feel stressed.
Providing a Nutritious Diet for Your Crested Gecko
Offering a Balanced Mix of Insects and Fruit
Crested Geckos are omnivores, which means they require a varied diet to remain healthy. A good-quality commercial Crested Gecko diet, such as Pangea or Repashy, is essential, and these specially formulated gecko diets contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins they need. Offer this to your gecko every 2-3 days, and consider supplementing with appropriately-sized live insects (such as crickets or dubia roaches) and occasional fruit purees once or twice a week.
Ensuring Fresh Water is Always Available
Although Crested Geckos obtain much of their water from misting their enclosures, it’s essential to provide a small, shallow water dish in their environment as well. Maintain cleanliness by replacing the water and cleaning the dish daily. Crested Geckos may not drink much from the dish, but it allows for another source of hydration.
Supplementing with Calcium and Vitamin D3
Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements are vital for a Crested Gecko’s overall health, especially for juveniles, pregnant females, and those not receiving proper UVB lighting. Lightly dust live insects with a calcium supplement before feeding, and consider using a multivitamin supplement once a week as well. Be sure not to over-supplement, as this can lead to health issues in the long term.
Maintaining Your Crested Gecko’s Health and Wellness
Regular Enclosure Cleaning and Maintenance
Crested Gecko habitats should be spot-cleaned daily for feces and uneaten food, while a more thorough cleaning should be performed every 6-8 weeks. This process involves removing and replacing the substrate, cleaning all branches and decor, and sanitizing the enclosure with a reptile-safe disinfectant. Proper hygiene is crucial for your gecko’s well-being. Keep an eye on the health of live plants in the enclosure and replace them as needed.
Monitoring for Signs of Illness or Parasites
Crested Geckos are hardy creatures but can still become ill or host parasites. Regularly monitor your gecko for signs of illness, such as lethargy, weight loss, difficulty shedding, labored breathing, or changes in feces consistency. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult with a veterinarian specializing in reptiles.
Consulting with a Veterinarian When Needed
If your Crested Gecko shows signs of illness or you have concerns about their health, seeking advice from a qualified reptile veterinarian is essential. Avoid self-diagnosing and treating your gecko, as this can sometimes do more harm than good.
Handling and Interacting with Your Crested Gecko
Properly Approaching and Handling Your Gecko
Crested Geckos are relatively docile creatures and may tolerate gentle handling. When approaching your gecko, move slowly and deliberately to avoid startling them. Scoop them up from below rather than grabbing, and always support their entire body while holding them. Limit the handling sessions and wash your hands before and after handling to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Building Trust with Gentle Interactions
Developing a trusting relationship with your Crested Gecko will make handling and interacting with them more enjoyable for both parties. Begin by allowing your gecko to become familiar with your presence and voice. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend interacting with them, using positive reinforcement, such as offering food or verbal praise.
Understanding Your Gecko’s Body Language
As you become more acquainted with your Crested Gecko, take the time to observe and understand their body language. Signs of stress or discomfort include rapid breathing, tail waving, or changes in color. If your gecko displays any of these behaviors during handling, give them some space and allow them to settle before interacting again.
Providing Enrichment and Socialization Opportunities
Besides handling, providing enrichment and socialization opportunities is crucial for your Crested Gecko’s mental well-being. Rotate decor, plants, and hiding spots in their enclosure to stimulate natural behaviors. Interaction with other geckos can also be beneficial, but be cautious when housing multiple Crested Geckos together, as they can be territorial and may fight or breed. Make sure to research compatibility or consult with a reptile expert for guidance.
Crested Gecko care can be incredibly rewarding, as you watch your gecko grow, thrive, and develop trust with you. By providing them a safe and enriching environment, a healthy diet, regular cleaning, and gentle handling, you can enjoy a long and happy relationship with your scaly friend.
What is the average lifespan of a Crested Gecko?
Crested Geckos have a typical lifespan of 10-20 years in captivity when provided with proper care.
How large do Crested Geckos grow?
Adult Crested Geckos can reach a size of around 7-9 inches, including their tail.
What different colors and morphs do Crested Geckos come in?
Crested Geckos are available in a wide range of colors and morphs, such as Lilly White, Axanthic, and others. You can explore some of these morphs in our Crested Gecko Morphs with Pictures article.
Do Crested Geckos need a UVB light?
While not absolutely required, a UVB light can benefit a Crested Gecko’s overall health and wellbeing by helping synthesize vitamin D3, which aids in calcium absorption.
How often do Crested Geckos shed?
Crested Geckos shed regularly throughout their lives, with juveniles shedding more frequently, sometimes as often as every 1-2 weeks. Adult geckos will shed roughly every 4-6 weeks.