Crested Gecko Care
This is a basic care guide. We are always here for you if you have any questions or concerns about your new baby.
Crested Geckos (Correlophus ciliatus) are a vulnerable species of geckos being considered for protected status. They are native to tropical New Caledonia, Isle of Pines, surrounding islets, and Grande Terre.
Crested Geckos were first described in 1866, and later presumed extinct. They were only recently rediscovered in 1994.
In the wild, Crested Geckos are generally very plain animals of a yellow brown color. The pinning, other traits, and colors we see today, come from the hard work and vision of the breeders of these animals in captivity.
Snow Patrol hatched at Rockstar Geckos
Crested geckos do well in our homes because they prefer to be kept at temperatures we find comfortable. If your home is kept between 72-82 degrees, the crested gecko does not need any extra heating or cooling. If your home temperatures drop to 68 degrees or so at night, there is no need to worry, this is acceptable for Crested Geckos.
Crested Geckos are relatively hardy animals that can be easy to care for. However, there are a few important things you need to know in order to keep them happy and healthy.
It is important to remember that crested geckos are primarily arboreal. Therefore, they prefer height over width. Popular glass enclosures made by popular companies like Exo Terra are perfect for them. However, they can also live in aquariums turned on their side, or even large plastic bins.
Some sources site the minimum requirement for an adult crested gecko enclosure is the 12x12x18 (approximately 11 gallons), but I prefer the 18x18x24 (approximately 33 gallons). A 20 gallon aquarium turned on its side is also appropriate.
Hatchlings prefer smaller spaces to feel safe and secure. Mine are raised in 6 quart plastic shoebox bins. I cut 2 inch holes in both ends and cover those with screen for ventilation. I typically introduce them to larger enclosures in steps as they grow. So they move through at least three different sized bins before they reach adult size. I have found that moving them into a large enclosure suddenly can make them nervous, slow their eating, and their growth. This may not be a reasonable thing for the average owner to do, so if you obtain a very young gecko, use a plastic bin or critter keeper until they grow out of it. When you move them into their larger, permanent enclosure, provide several feeding areas and lots of places for them to hide.
Decor and Substrate
This is the fun part. Crested geckos do well in bioactive vivariums with live plants, but they do just as well on paper towels with fake plants. No matter how you choose to keep them, there are certain things they must have in their homes.
Sturdy things to climb on.
Lots of plants (real or fake), and hides to make them feel safe and secure.
A small water and food bowl. (either on a ledge or on the floor)
Get creative. Plastic, fabric, or real plants can be used. I recommend soaking fabric flowers or leaves in order to remove the extra dye they tend to hold. Branches for climbing can be made out of any material that is safe and sturdy enough to support their weight. Limbs found in safe areas outside, paracord bridges, pipe insulation, and pool noodles are all options. Hides can be made out of coconut, small pots, or even cups with holes cut into them.
I recommend babies and young geckos be kept on paper towels. This allows you to monitor feces. This can be a great way to make sure your new baby is eating. It can be difficult to see that a small gecko has eaten from its bowl. Many new owners panic because of this. Just remember, if they are pooping, they are eating.
Older geckos can also be kept on paper towels. They are clean and easy. When considering loose substrates, it is important to understand that there is a risk of impaction if your husbandry is not up to par. Geckos kept in naturalistic set ups tend to be kept on an ABG mix and leaf litter. Coco fiber is also an option. I do not recommend reptile bark or chips. There are people that use it successfully, but a chunk of that is not likely to pass through your gecko should they happen to swallow it.
I feed my crested gecko Pangea with Insects or Pangea breeding formula. If you purchase from Rockstar Geckos, I suggest using the brand and flavors that we use in order to obtain the best feeding response, and wait at least two weeks before slowly introducing another brand or flavor. Please do not use baby foods to feed your Crested Gecko. Pangea can be purchased online from several dealers including Amazon, and of course from pangeareptile.com. I often add bee pollen to the mix. The geckos love it and it’s good for them. Some other acceptable brands of Crested Gecko Diet (CGD) are Repashy, Black Panther Zoological, and Big Fat Gecko. Just make sure that the label states that it is a COMPLETE diet.
My feeding schedule for adults:
Monday fresh Pangea
Tuesday leave food and offer live food
Wednesday fresh Pangea
Thursday leave food
Friday fresh Pangea
Saturday leave food and offer live food
Sunday day of rest : )
Babies have food at all times. Food is left in for 2 nights and then replaced with fresh.
I offer live food twice a week. Babies tend to eat crickets well because their movement kicks in that prey drive. Juveniles and adults get dubia roaches. Black soldier fly larvae (Calciworms) are also a great option if your gecko will eat them (they tend not to move much). Wax worms can be offered as a treat, but should not be a staple.
Live food should be dusted with a high quality calcium powder with D-3. I use Rep-Cal or Miner-All Indoor.
Some geckos will refuse live food if the breeder didn’t offer it when they were young, or when they get older they may begin to refuse it. It is possible for geckos to thrive without live food. However, babies and juveniles will take a long time to grow without that protein.
It is extremely important to get this bit right. If a gecko is kept in an environment that is too moist, they will have issues with shedding, and can develop respiratory and bacterial infections. Over misting is by far the biggest problem I see among new keepers.
I mist half of my geckos enclosure in the evening and allow it to dry out during the day. Your misting schedule will be highly dependent upon where you live and the humidity levels within your home. It may not always be necessary to mist every day. For instance, the baby bins that are on the rack and closer to the floor in the gecko room tend not to dry out as fast as the ones that are up higher. Time of year can also change your misting schedule. You can add a hygrometer to your enclosure to monitor humidity if that makes you feel more comfortable. If you are monitoring humidity this way, take it up to 80-90% at night and let it fall down to 50% before misting again.
Crested Geckos need to be exposed to natural light cycles. Light coming in through windows is fine. If you do not have windows in the room you choose to keep your crested gecko, please provide artificial lighting to provide 8 to 12 hours of light during the day. Just make sure that if the light is on or very close to the enclosure, that it does not produce heat.
Some keepers do provide UVB lighting. It is okay to do so if you feel it will be beneficial. There are conflicting opinions on this.
The cohabitation of Crested Geckos is one of those topics that can be controversial among keepers. I highly recommend against keeping more than one gecko in an enclosure if you are a new keeper. Two males should never be kept together as they will surely fight. It is possible for females to live together peacefully. However, it is important to watch for signs that they are not getting along.
Housing a male and a female together will result in many fertile eggs. I do not recommend this unless you have solid plans to breed high quality animals. I will not cover breeding here.
Females can and will lay eggs even if they have never been introduced to a male. If you have a female over 20 grams that is not kept on a substrate they can dig, it is important to provide them a laybox. A laybox can be made out of plastic glad or tupperware container deep enough for them to get into and bury their eggs. I fill mine with sphagnum moss, but Coco fiber or peat moss will work as well.
Jack White x Avicii baby Produced by Rockstar Geckos
There is more than one way to do things right.
I have done my best to write care sheets that are informative and, most importantly, correct.
I have shared my experience and the experience of trusted breeders.
If you feel I have missed something important, or you still have questions, please contact me.
We are here to help.