Crested Geckos, also known as Correlophus Ciliatus, are native to New Caledonia, an archipelago east of Australia. Crested Geckos are nocturnal and considered to be semi-arboreal, which means that they will spend a good amount of their time up in small trees, but will also explore closer to the ground when hunting for food or for shelter as they sleep during the day. Crested Geckos are very easy to take care of, even if you are a first time reptile owner, and for that reason they have quickly become one of the most popular lizards in the reptile industry.
HOUSING: The size of the Crested Gecko enclosure will vary according to their size. For instance, we recommend that hatchlings up to 6 months old are best housed in a small container similar to a plastic shoebox, but not larger than a 10 gallon tank. That’s because it will be easier for him/her to find food.
For a juvenile (over 6 months old) or an adult Crested Gecko a 20-gallon tank is recommended. For two adults a 12X12X18 tank would be ideal. It is important to remember that height is more desirable than the width or length, since these are semi-arboreal lizards and love to climb.
We also recommend Crested Geckos should be housed individually when babies. It is common in the wild to find Crested Geckos missing their tails. However, unlike many other species of lizards the tail will not grow back. If multiple hatchlings are house together they will most likely bite each other’s tails (mistaking them for food), which might cause the gecko to lose or drop off their tails. Adult females can be housed together but only one male should be part of a group as long as you are planning on breeding these animals. It is recommended that geckos housed together should be of similar size and weight. Breeding females should be over 40 grams. Two or more adult males should not be housed together because they will fight and cause serious injuries to one another.
Another important aspect to housing is the cage setup. Most of the reptile breeders use a paper towel on the bottom of the enclosure. It is a very safe option to go with and very easy to maintain, but if you are looking for a more natural enclosure you can use coconut fiber substrate. This option will also help to keep the humidity level up. Now just add a few fake plants, some climbing branches and your Crested Gecko will be very happy.
Side note: it is also possible for Crested Geckos to drop their tails if the tail is accidently pinched or if the gecko is being handled incorrectly. Avoid holding them by the tail or putting pressure on the tail.
TEMPERATURE, LIGHTING, & HUMIDITY: The ideal temperature for Crested Geckos should be between 70-78 degrees, basically room temperature. A temperature of 83 or more will lead the gecko to stress, which could lead to illness or death of the gecko. Crested Geckos should receive between 12 to 14 hours of light most of the year. This could be achieved with a simple fluorescent or LED light placed above their enclosure. You do not need to provide additional UVB lighting. Crested Geckos do not require this due to their nocturnal nature.
The humidity of the enclosure is really important; it helps the geckos with shedding. You should mist your Crested Gecko tank twice a day or at minimum a heavy mist at night (this will depend on how well the gecko’s enclosure retains the humidity). The humidity level should be around 60%-85%. It is just as important to allow the tank to dry out, otherwise a prolonged over saturated environment could spawn mold which can lead to bacterial infections.
To ensure both your enclosures temperature and humidity are accurate, we recommend adding a thermometer and hygrometer to the inside their tank.
FEEDING & WATER: The most common popular method of feeding Crested Geckos is a brand named Crested Gecko diet (CGD). CGD is essentially a meal replacement powder that contains all of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for your gecko’s health. The two most popular brands of CGD are Repashy and Pangea. We at Guardians of the Geckos actually cycle through both of these products weekly with our Crested Geckos. Simply mix in water to the meal replacement powder and once you obtain the desired consistency feed it to your gecko every other day, always removing the leftovers the next morning.
You also have the option to feed insects to your Crested Gecko as an extra treat. This is a great way to supplement your Geckos already existing CGD with extra protein and calcium. Make sure to gutload the insects at least one or two days before feeding to your geckos. Also it is just as important to dust your insects with a calcium supplement before feeding. If you include crickets, roaches, mealworms or waxworms in their diet, at least 3 times a week, you will exponentially speed up your gecko’s growth.
For water you have two options. You can place a small water dish for your gecko and just make sure to change it out every day or due to the fact that you are already misting the enclosure, geckos will lick and drink the water drops from the leaves and the walls.