Crested Geckos Care Sheet

Scientific name

Rhacodactylus ciliatus

Lifespan

As this species has only been kept in captivity since 1994 no definite lifespan has been established however it is expected that Crested Geckos will live for 15 to 20 years under proper care.

Size

Crested Geckos can grow to a size of 10 inches.

Brief History

Crested geckos originate from New Caledonia, southern Grand Terre and the Isle of Pines, located between Australia and Fiji. The geckos were thought to have been extinct until 1994, when they were re-discovered. Crested Geckos are quickly becoming a popular gecko due to their hardiness, ease of care and their wonderful temperaments.

Housing

My crested gecko breeders are housed in 20 to 30 gallon setups, with screening for ventilation. I use paper towels for the cage substrate, to prevent possible impaction. Crested geckos are semi-arboreal, so I provide bend-a-branches for climbing and plastic or silk leaves for hiding. I provide a simple lay box in each enclosure, with Forest Bed substrate. This gives the female a place to lay her eggs, and I keep the lay box moist for digging pleasure. A moist lay box will also aid in shedding of the skin and you may see your male breeder in the laybox as well.

I house all of my juvenile crested geckos, from hatchlings to sub-adults, separately in Kritter Keepers. This ensures that I can give each gecko individual attention and care, and also protects the gecko from an accidental tail bite which can result in the loss of a tail.  Once my females reach sub-adult age, they are placed into colonies with other females of similar size until they are ready for breeding. Males should be housed separately as they will often fight, which may lead to injury or death.

Here is a list of best crested gecko terrariums.

Temperature

The ideal temperature for your crested geckos is between 72-76 degrees. Night temperatures can drop to high 60’s, but your gecko should be allowed to warm back up during the day. Do not expose your gecko to temperatures over 80 degrees as this will cause stress to your gecko and could possibly lead to death if temperatures reach 85 degrees or higher.

An important part of proper care is in the humidity which you provide. Humidity is important in aiding the gecko in shedding of their skin, and can be easily accomplished by misting your gecko with a spray bottle of water. I mist all of my crested geckos 2x a day, but adults can be misted 1x an evening. Hatchlings should be misted 2x a day as moisture helps them shed their skins and will prevent their toes from sticking together.

Water & General Feeding

I provide all but my newest hatchlings a shallow water dish for drinking. Hatchlings, and sometimes other crested geckos, wait to drink until you mist their enclosure, when they lick water droplets off the leaves in their cage. In the wild, crested geckos feed on insects and fruits, and so they will flourish wonderfully in captivity, when provided a balanced diet. My geckos are fed a base diet of Repashy Superfoods by T-Rex, with an alternating diet of crickets and Clark’s Frugivorous Diet, a fruit based diet.

Feeding Insects

When feeding insects, be sure to not feed an insect to large for your gecko to eat, to prevent possible choking or impaction. An easy way to measure the proper size is to check the length of the insect, which should be no larger than the width of your gecko’s head. It is important that your crested gecko get adequate calcium. When feeding insects, I place them into a small bag and add pure calcium carbonate. The insects are then shaken until they have a light calcium coating.

Feeding Repashy Superfoods T-Rex Crested Gecko Diet

This is a highly forumulated and complete diet, so additional supplementing is not required.  We still feed occasional crickets as we want our geckos to be familiar with both when they go to their new homes. Repashy Superfoods is available online in Crested, Gargoyle or Leachianus diets, and a new Multi Flavor System!

Vitamins

You can supplement your crested geckos with Rep-Cal D3, Herptivite, and Jurassi-Cal (pure calcium carbonate). Be sure not to over-supplement your geckos with the Rep-Cal D3 or Herptivite, because it is possible for them to overdose on the minerals. You can use pure calcium carbonate freely with no fears of overdosing, as any un-needed calcium is flushed from the geckos system naturally.

Breeding

Crested Geckos are prolific breeders and incubating eggs and raising hatchlings is easy and fun! A breeding group will need one male and one or more females. Males will have pre-anal pores (can be seen with a 10x jeweler’s loupe) and an obvious hemipenile bulge. Females may have a slight bulge or none at all.

Adult female are ready to breed once they reach 35 grams. Males are ready to breed once they decide such, ha-ha. When placing males and females together, I make sure the grouping is of similar sizes, and watch for any aggression issues. Females will lay a clutch of two eggs every 3 to 4 weeks. If this is your female’s first clutch, she may only lay one egg. For a laybox, I use a Sterlite container with a 2″ drilled hole, and Forest Bed or Bed-A-Beast for laying substrate. Be sure to keep your laybox moist so that eggs do not dehydrate.

Incubating

When you discover the eggs, mark the side visible with a fine tip sharpie marker, so you know which way to place the eggs in the incubator. An incubator can be made out of a regular Tupperware container with holes punched in the lid. I prefer to use Lock & Lock containers as the lids are more secure. You will need to place moistened perlite into your incubator, making sure that the perlite is not to wet. An easy way is to squeeze any excess water from the perlite before you place it in the incubator.

You will need to check your incubator about once a week to ensure proper moisture. If the perlite is dry, you can carefully mist the perlite taking care to avoid misting the eggs. It’s easier for me to remove the eggs and re-mix the perlite with water, again taking care to squeeze out any excess. Too much moisture and your eggs may mold.

When you discover eggs in your laybox, carefully remove them and bury them 2/3 of the way in moistened perlite. Fertile eggs will have white shells; unfertile eggs are normally off white or yellow. Depending upon when you discover the eggs, they may be discolored by the substrate. Don’t toss eggs until you know they are infertile, they start to mold or stink. I candle my eggs with a pen light after they’ve incubated for about a week.

Fertile eggs will show a little red “cheerio” and you should be able to see veins, sometimes it takes veins longer to develop. Hatchlings will emerge between 60-100 days, depending upon your incubation temperature. An average incubating temperature is between 72 and 74 degrees. There has been some speculation about temperature dependent sex determination (low temps for females / high temps for males) but this has not been confirmed or proven.

Cooling Period

Since females lay eggs every 3 to 4 weeks, you’ll need to give them a cooling off period or they can become calcium deficient. A great time to provide this cooling off period is in the fall, when temperatures naturally drop. You may leave the females with the male, and drop room temperatures to high 60’s. The females should stop producing eggs, which will allow their calcium levels to increase for the next breeding season. Come spring, you simply raise your temperatures back to 72 degrees and breeding will commence.

Handling

Crested Geckos are very friendly reptiles.  They enjoy being handled.  For its safety, when handling your gecko, be sure to keep other animals away from it and that doors and windows are closed to prevent escaping.  Keep in mind that the Crested Gecko is a very capable jumper.  Handle them in areas where they will not be subject to a long fall if they happen to jump from your hands.  To prevent the spread of bacteria between your geckos and yourself, always wash your hands after handling each gecko.

Online Forums and Information

There are numerous forums and information available to assist in learning more about crested geckos. In addition to researching online, I highly recommend finding a knowledgeable reptile vet in your area, prior to your first emergency. There is nothing like the helpless feeling of a sick gecko and not knowing where to go.

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