Scientific Name: Rhacodactylus ciliatus / Correlophus ciliatus
Native Habitat: Crested geckos are native to Southern Grand Terre, New Caledonia.
Life Span: The life expectancy of a crested gecko is up to 15-20 years in captivity if cared for properly.
Ideal temperatures for crested geckos are between 70º and 78ºF.
Minimum recommended tank size is 10 gallons for 1 adult crested gecko. Since crested geckos are arboreal lizards, tank height is more important than tank width/length.
Humidity should be kept over 50% with 1-2 short periods of 80-90% throughout the day. This can be achieved by a heavy misting using a spray bottle or automatic mister.
Crested geckos do not require special UVA/UVB lighting or a heat source as long as proper temperatures are kept.
Housing more than 1 gecko together) is appropriate only under the right circumstances. Adult females that are not aggressive can usually be safely housed together, but not always. An adult male & female sometimes may be able to be housed together, as long as the keeper watches out for aggression and is ready to separate them if need be and is aware that they will almost certainly breed and the female will lay eggs.
DIET & FEEDING
Powdered crested gecko food like Repashy or Pangea has all the nutrition crested geckos need to thrive. Live prey like crickets, small dubia roaches, and occasionally wax worms can also be offered 2-3 times weekly if desired. However, not all crested geckos will hunt live prey. Crested geckos usually will not eat freeze-dried worms and prefer insects that move. It is not recommended to feed mealworms to cresties, as they have been known to cause impaction. Wax worms should only be offered occassionally as a treat, as they are very fatty and addictive. Small dubia roaches are the most nutritious food (see chart above). Make sure to "gutload" your crested gecko's live food by feeding it carrots, spinach, or special gutload mix found at pet stores before feeding to your pet. When feeding, you should dust your feeders with calcium + vitamin D3 powder. This is essential for their health and prevents MBD (see Common Health Issues below). Also, it is often helpful to use feeding tongs when offering live prey to your gecko. This reduces the chance of your gecko accidentally biting you, gives the gecko a good chance to eat the prey before it can hide in the enclosure, and also promotes better hygiene overall.
HANDLING, TAMING & BEHAVIOR
Most crested geckos are tame and will allow moderate to heavy handling. It is not recommended to handle baby crested geckos until they are at least 1-2 weeks old. When handling your gecko, make sure to minimize the distance between your hands and the floor, especially if it is a hard wood or concrete floor or if you have a jumpy gecko. Never close your hand around the gecko or grab it by the tail! This can cause internal injuries or make the gecko drops its tail. Crested geckos (usually males during mating season) are known to bite occasionally, but since they don't have teeth it is basically a painless pinch. When transporting your gecko outside the home, use a tupperware or critter keeper with holes. Do not transport the gecko inside its regular tank, as the contents can shift during transport and injure your gecko. Also, always sanitize your hands both before and after handling.
Crested geckos usually do not make noise, but can make a croaking noise if startled or during mating season.
COMMON HEALTH ISSUES
Tail loss is a defense mechanism where the gecko drops its tail when it feels threatened or it has an infection. Sometimes cleaning a gecko's tank with the gecko still inside can startle the gecko enough into dropping its tail, so removing the gecko while cleaning the tank is generally a good idea. Keeping enclosures out of reach of cats is also recommended to avoid tail loss. Dropping their tail is basically harmless to the crested gecko and only results in it being a slightly more clumsy climber.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) occurs when a gecko does not receive enough calcium in its diet. This leads to a softening of its bones, making it easier for the gecko's bones to break. Once severe, the damage will become permanent and the gecko will have trouble walking and shedding. Make sure to gutload & dust your feeders with calcium + vitamin D3 to avoid this!
Stuck shed can cause loss of circulation to toes & eventual loss of toes, can be easily avoided by heavily misting the enclosure 1-2 times daily.
Pinworms are an infestation of the Enterobius parasite. Contracted usually by contact with surface covered with eggs. Symptoms include discomfort and red, swollen vent. A visit to your local reptile vet is recommended.
Mouth rot (infectious stomatitis): Symptom of multiple diseases. Can be caused by cricket bites or poor tank hygiene. Visit to vet recommended.
Crested geckos are not known to carry Salmonella, as it is usually only found in aquatic animals.