Crested Geckos are previously known as Rhacodactylus ciliatus. However, they have recently been re-classified as Correlophus ciliatus. These gentle tiny creatures are native to Southern Grand Terre, New Caledonia as well as to at least one small surrounding island known as the Isle of Pines.
Crested Geckos are considered semi-arboreal as they spend most of their time in small trees and low lying shrubs. They also seek hiding places near the ground to sleep during the day. They feed on both insects and fruits. In most cases, these tiny reptiles can be kept at room temperature. Many have favored the crested gecko as a pet for the ease of care that it requires. Most gecko keepers are also drawn to the reptile’s unusual appearance as well to its unlimited breeding potential. These make the crested geckos one of the best pet lizards available for captivity today.
Even then, they still have specific requirements that you will need to provide to ensure that they will live happy and contented in their new habitat.
Crested Gecko Care Sheet
As crested geckos are quite versatile and hardy, owners can keep them in different types of enclosures. They can be maintained in either a simple housing or in an elaborate naturalistic vivarium. Hatchlings can be housed in 10-gallon aquariums or similar keepers.
There are cases, however, when young geckos kept in large cages that will not eat well. To ensure that your pet will eat as expected, geckos younger than 12 weeks old should be housed in enclosures no larger than a 10-gallon aquarium. Four months old to adult crested geckos needs to be kept in a 20-gallon tall aquarium, even larger. You won’t have any problems if you decide to keep three adult cresteds together. You can be comfortably housed them in a 29-gallon aquarium.
Remember, however, that regardless of the type of cage that you use, you need to consider a taller cage rather than wider or longer ones, especially when you are looking for the best Crested Gecko cage
When deciding on the best substrate for crested gecko, you need to always consider the safety of your pet. Generally, you will want to avoid substrates that can pose danger to your pet when it is ingested as it may cause impaction. Substrates that you should not consider for your gecko are as follows: sand, wood chips, walnut husk, corn cobs, and so on.
One of the safest alternatives would be paper towels. You can just line the bottom of an enclosure with these paper towels. Newspaper and shredded pieces of paper are also your best options. There is no risk of your pet ingesting any of these substrates. They can also be easily changed if they need to be replaced. This can make cleaning and hygiene the least of your concerns.
You can also use Zoo Med Eco Earth for a more natural substrate. This substrate is made of coconut fiber and can help maintain the humidity levels while preventing mold, mildew, and odors from forming on the substrate. You can have this substrate spot cleaned whenever necessary. It will last for several weeks before you will need to replace it with a fresh Eco Earth substrate.
Temperature, Heating, and Lighting
Temperatures for your crested gecko need to be set between 70 and 78 degrees throughout the year. When the temperature gets to about 82 degrees or warmer, this can cause a lot of stress to your crested gecko. Stressed geckos are more prone to illnesses and even death.
Cresteds can tolerate nigh time temperature drops, however. A drop down into the mid 60’s is still fine for them but you don’t need to provide this temperature for them at night. However, you will need to provide two months cooling period to allow breeding crested geckos time to rest. Temperatures should be kept at 65 to 70 degrees during this period.
Crested geckos also have a night and day cycle. It is best to provide them with light exposure for about 12 to 14 hours for most of the year. Allow ten hours of photoperiod during the cooling season.
Fluorescent lights placed on top of the cage will provide enough light that the gecko will need as well as any live plant that you may have inside your pet’s enclosure.
Your pet gecko will also need UVB lighting. If they are not provided enough UVB lighting, your geckos may stop breeding and be laying eggs. In most situations, however, room temperature is enough for them as long as the temperature stays between 70 to 80 degrees.
You will need to install a good digital thermometer designed with a temperature probe to monitor the temperature within the enclosure. If you think that temperature cannot be maintained, you can suspend a nocturnal black/blue heat light above the cage for 24-hour heat. They are better than ceramic infrared heaters as ceramic heaters do not provide any visible light which will prevent you from seeing your geckos while they are active in their dark enclosure.
These reptiles need moderate humidity. To provide this type of humidity, you can just mist the cage once or twice a day. Make sure that the humidity level will not drop below 50%. Use a good hygrometer or thermometer/hygrometer combo meter to monitor the humidity level inside the enclosure.
Note that crested geckos need to have several hours of higher humidity (about 80-100%) each day for proper shedding. To do this, you need to heavily mist your gecko and its enclosure once or twice a day. Take note, however, that you need to make sure that the cage should remain dry or have a normal humidity level in between mistings. If it remains wet and humid more than what is needed, your gecko may still have problems, problems with shedding. Bacterial infections may also be a concern with such conditions.
Diet and Feeding
There are several ways that you can offer food for your pet crested gecko
Crested Gecko Diet
If convenience is your concern, then this will solve your worries. Feeding Crested Geckos with powdered Crested Gecko Diet will ensure that they are provided with all the essential nutrients and vitamins that they need. Your pet can be maintained on this diet alone. But to ensure optimum health condition, you may feed your gecko with dusted and gut loaded insects once or twice every week.
Crested Gecko Diet and Insects
As mentioned earlier, you can also feed your geckos with powdered Crested Gecko foods together with crickets or other insects.
The best insects to feed your geckos are either crickets or feeder roaches. However, your crested gecko will love to munch waxworms or mealworms. Just make sure that the insects that you offer your pet should be no bigger than the distance from its nose to its eye. Dust the insect with a good calcium and vitamin d3 powder. You may need to “gut load” the insects that you will offer with high-quality food for at least 24 hours before offering them to your geckos.
Fruit mixes and custom blends
This diet method is used only by advanced hobbyists who are as this method requires frequent checking of the calcium sacs of the geckos, checking for weight loss, as well as any other signs of deteriorating health. Improper feeding with this diet can be deadly, specifically when feeding with the fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, and Vitamin D3. This requires a lot of research and time and can also be really expensive, hence is not recommended for beginners.
Crested geckos normally sip water droplets from the sides of their enclosure as well as from any plants or accessories in its enclosure. That is why it is important that you mist your geckos each day. A small dish of clean water should also be placed in the enclosure to make water available at all times for your gecko.
Even with an easy to manage crested gecko, you need some time to observe its behavior and be familiar with any changes or effects of whatever changes in the enclosure as well as in the husbandry will create in your pet. Be sure to follow the guidelines set here and consult other related references for a better understanding and provide the best care for your crested gecko.