Crested Gecko Care Sheet

The recommendations within this sheet are made through my own experience of what works best with the animals I have bred and raised from egg to adult for 8 years. There is a wealth of information available on the world wide web for these wonderful animals, and I would always encourage people to expand their research beyond this care sheet.


Congratulations on your new pet crested gecko!!

Please take some time to read through this sheet to make sure your setup is correct before bringing your crested gecko home. If you are buying a hatchling crested gecko, it is important to be aware that they are very sensitive to environmental surroundings. A smaller gecko is less able to cope with large swings in humidity and temperature than a fully grown adult gecko. If you are new to keeping reptiles I would strongly suggest that you start with a grown on gecko, no younger than 4 months of age. Remember that your gecko’s life is in your hands, everyone makes mistakes but it is your responsibility to do the best that you can to provide your pet with an environment in which they can thrive.


What do I need?

  • A tank of the appropriate size (depends on the size of your gecko)
  • Substrate (again, depends on the size of your gecko)
  • Some plants (plastic for hatchlings) and things to climb on
  • A thermometer (cresties like to be between 70º (21º) and 75ºF (24ºC)
  • A hygrometer (cresties like above 50% humidity with a couple of hours per day at 80-100%)
  • A misting bottle (to spray your geckos with water to maintain humidity levels)
  • Some containers for food and water (small enough so your gecko cannot drown)
  • Some crested gecko diet (I recommend Repashy Crested Gecko Diet)

A tank of the appropriate size:
Your gecko needs a tank of the appropriate size for its age. Why can’t you just buy them a nice 45x45x60cm exo terra, plant it up and pop a hatchling straight in?? Well, it’s strange but if you do this your gecko will most likely grow far slower than if you gradually increase the size of their enclosure as they grow. I have outlined in the paragraphs below what I have found works best in terms of sizes. It is important to ensure your tank is tall enough, crested geckos are arboreal, which means they like to be able to climb up high within their enclosure.

You can house multiple geckos together, but it is very important to ensure that they are of similar sizes or they can bully smaller cage mates to death. Once a gecko becomes old enough to sex (generally between 7-20 grams the males will start to show pores), you must not house males together or they will fight (again potentially to the death). It is also important to separate males and females once they are sexable to avoid underweight females from breeding. If a female crested gecko becomes gravid (carries eggs) before she is above a certain size, she may suffer a calcium crash due to the additional strains on her growing body, or may even become egg bound (eggs that the gecko is unable to pass).


For up to two  0-3 month old crested geckos, I recommend keeping them in the hinged lid Bra-plast tubs, these are available on ebay if your local reptile shop doesn't stock them. They only cost around £1.59 at my local shop, so not a huge expense. The size you need is 3.0 Litre, measures approximately 245x185x75mm (LxWxH) and has a hinged lid.

See the example of how I house geckos of this age below. The food pot in here is actually a (thoroughly washed) daily disposable contact lens case. nice and shallow, so easy for the geckos to find the food. Click on the pictures to enlarge.











When your gecko (or up to two geckos) is getting a little larger (4-6 months old), move him/her up to a small faunarium (recommended model made by exo-terra below), or another product with similar dimensions. These tanks cost around £10 at my local shop. I would not recommend the smaller glass exo-terras for geckos this age because if your gecko likes to sleep upside down off the side, they may develop floppy tail syndrome. They seem to do this far less in the plastic faunariums.
PT2260
300 x 195 x 205 mm
12” x 7 1/2” x 8”








For a larger gecko (or up to two geckos), 6-12 months old, I would move them up to a bigger faunarium, these cost around £13, you can move a 4-6 month old into this size tank if you wish to avoid the expense of the smaller fuanarium at 4-6 months:
PT2265
370 x 220 x 250 mm
14 1/2” x 8 1/2” x 10”










From around 12 months old, depending on their growth rate, they will do well in an exo terra which will house them for the rest of their life. The smallest size I would recommend for an adult is the 45x45x60cm exo terra, or another product of similar dimensions. You may choose at this point to go for a naturalistic setup, with a bioactive substrate and real plants. Please make sure you research this carefully.

Substrate:
For your substrate (i.e. what you put in the bottom of the tank) I would always keep hatchling-ten month old geckos on paper towel. Why? Well, crested geckos are rather clumsy eaters if you offer them live food. They will lunge at the insect and grab a big mouthful of eco earth or similar at the same time. This is potentially a big problem, as your gecko can then become impacted and may even die as a result. Paper towel eliminates this issue, and has the added bonus that it is easy to keep your gecko’s tank nice and clean, and you can monitor whether or not your gecko is eating by looking for gecko poo! Great!

When your gecko is bigger, you can consider a natural setup, which can be much more aesthetically pleasing than the simpler setups.



Some plants and things to climb on:
So you have your tank and the substrate, now you need to put things into your tank that your gecko can climb around on and hide in. Aim to leave enough space for your gecko to be able to move between objects and jump around, but ensure that there are plenty of places your gecko can hide away and feel secure. You can use artificial or real plants, for geckos up to 10 months I feel artificial is best. It is easy to keep clean, is non toxic and you are less likely to inadvertently introduce any parasites or poisonous insects. Silk plants can be more difficult to clean than plastic, so I use mostly plastic. I also use egg boxes in my hatchling tanks, they offer great places to hide and help to structure the plants more. Pieces of plastic vine and cork bark also help to add structure and places to climb. Be careful when placing these objects, make sure your gecko cannot hurt itself by knocking something heavy over. This is why I like to use egg boxes, they are nice and light and when they become soiled you can just throw them away.

A thermometer:
Crested geckos in the wild are found on the temperate island of New Caledonia. Part of what makes them such great starter reptiles is that if your house is centrally heated, they very seldom need supplementary heating (provided the temperatures in the room where you keep your gecko stay within their tolerance range). The ideal temperature range is between 70º (21º) and 75ºF (24ºC) with hot spots no higher than 80ºF (26.7ºC) and temperatures no lower than  65ºF (18ºC). Before getting your gecko home, have your setup ready and measure the temperature within the tank through the day and in the evening when the temperature drops. If you find that your temperatures are too low, there are a couple of different ways to heat your tank. Because your crested gecko is cold blooded it is unable to regulate its own temperature, you should always ensure that you set up a temperature gradient. You can do this by placing a heat source at one end of your tank so that the temperature is warmer at one end than the other so your gecko can move to where it is most comfortable. You can achieve this by placing a heat mat (heat mats should ALWAYS be used with a thermostat to keep the temperatures within the correct range) on one end of the tank, preferably attached to the side. Again you must use a thermostat or you risk a glass tank breaking or your gecko burning its feet. Heat mats are most effective if they have something (like a polystyrene tile) behind them (that is, on the opposite side to your gecko tank) to insulate against heat loss if they are placed on the side of the tank Once you move your gecko into an exo terra, it is easiest to use a spot bulb in the canopy (ensure you use the appropriate wattage) which will also help you to ensure your gecko gets at least 12 hours of light per day. Remember to check the temperature under the bulb using a thermometer.

A hygrometer:
Crested geckos require humidity in their environment. Keeping humidity between 80-100% for several hours every day will help make sure your gecko sheds normally, but levels must be allowed to dry to around 50% for the majority of the time. A hygrometer will help you to monitor the humidity in your tank. Before you get your gecko home, monitor the moisture levels and see how many times a day you need to spray the tank to keep the levels right. The more ventilation the tank has, the quicker the tank will lose moisture. Heavily misting the tank once or twice a day should be sufficient.

Some containers for food and water:
When your crested geckos are small, it is important to ensure that you use a water container that they cannot drown in. I use milk bottle tops for both food and water. Keep your containers clean, change water daily.

Some Crested Gecko Diet:
Crested geckos are omnivorous, and much work has been done by large breeders in the USA to create a complete diet for them which has been successfully tested for several generations of geckos. I have used Crested Gecko Diet (CGD) by Allen Repashy for my geckos for many years and would like to recommend it. It is freely available on ebay. I would not recommend komodo crested gecko diet.

Crested geckos do not require live food if they are being fed on complete crested gecko diet, however there is some evidence that feeding insects aids their growth and it undoubtedly enriches their environment chasing the crickets/locusts around their tanks. Always dust feeder insects with calcium powder. Always ensure insects offered are no larger than the distance between the geckos eyes. Feeding mealworms is not recommended due to potential issues with impaction. For maximum nutritional value, feed your insects something healthy and nutritious like fish flakes or dried cat food. Crickets will also eat crested gecko diet, which means your gecko is getting great nutrition when it eats them. Locusts will eat veggies like carrot. Having said this, some geckos will not eat live food if offered. Do not, under any circumstances, feed your gecko on baby food. The nutrient levels are incorrect and they often contain additives which are good for human babies but can be harmful to geckos.

If you are feeding only CGD, feed geckos 0-12 months old 4 times per week. If you are feeding insects also, offer these 2-3 times per week and CGD 3 times per week. Do not leave CGD in the tank unchanged for longer than 48hours as potentially harmful bacteria will begin to grow. When your gecko is over 12 months old, you can feed them CGD 3 times per week.

When your crested gecko is small, they eat a very small amount (figures right!?). Some people get their gecko home and panic because they think they aren’t eating because they don’t see the food levels going down. They then often over handle or stress the gecko trying to get it to eat, which makes it more likely that the gecko will actually stop eating. This is when having your gecko on kitchen roll helps, if your gecko is pooing, it is eating. Simple!

And finally...
When you get your crested gecko home, please allow at least 2 weeks for him/her/them to settle in before introducing any kind of handling. Personally, I recommend not handling your crested gecko until they are at least 4 months old. When they are small they are very delicate (which means it is easy to accidentally hurt them), very fast moving, and easy to lose. Crested geckos are nocturnal, which means that it is better to leave them completely undisturbed during the day (apart from misting in the morning). It is also worth remembering that while handling your gecko is an enjoyable way to interact with your pet, to them, they are at best indifferent. Geckos want safety and food. Similarly, they do not need the company of another gecko.

2 comments:

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  2. Hi there, I don't use facebook so how else can I contact you regarding a crestie?


    -Kiki

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