These beautiful geckos are great for those who have never kept reptiles. They are fairly easy to care for and tame down quickly with regular handling.
What you'll need:
1) An enclosure, 10 -Gallon tank minimum
2) Substrate for the bottom
3) Stuff for your gecko to climb on: Sticks & plants
4) Calcium supplement
5) Vitamin supplement
6) Spray bottle
8) Heat lamp with some way to regulate heat, either a dimmer switch or a thermostat
Crested geckos are native to New Caledonia, an island off of Australia. They were thought to be extinct, but were rediscovered in 1994 after a storm. Although there are crested geckos in the wild, their population is threatened by habitat loss, as well as predation by two introduced species to the island: fire ants and cats. Luckily they are very prolific in captivity and they are very well established in the pet trade.
Habitat: These arboreal geckos live in the trees and do well in vertically oriented enclosures. Cresteds tend to sleep between broad leaves, so include leafy plants, which can be live or fake. Pothos is a great choice if you decide to go with live plants. It needs little light to thrive and has good sized leaves for the geckos to rest in.
For substrate we like to use a mix of coco fiber or peat moss, orchid bark and sand. This holds humidity well, without getting soggy. Use soils without perlite and fertilizer.
Mist tank daily to maintain humidity and to give your gecko the opportunity to drink from the water droplets on the glass and leaves. A shallow water dish should also be available at all times. A rock can be placed in the water bowl for crickets to climb out of.
Temperature: Having correct temperature gradients is one of the most important things for reptiles. Crested gecko temperatures can range from the 70’s to the low 80’s, 78°-82° F is ideal. A small heat light (black or red bulb) can be used to heat their enclosure, unless the ambient temperature is staying warm enough. Make sure to keep an eye on the temperatures throughout the entire cage, especially during the first few weeks and during season changes. It’s important that the cages does not overheat (over 85°). Overheating can cause brain damage or death.
Feeding: Crested geckos are omnivores and thrive on commercially produced powdered diets. Here at Lick Your Eyeballs, we use Pangea as their main food source alternating between flavors. We supplement with occasional pureed tropical fruits that are high in calcium such as papaya, figs and berries. Insects such as crickets and dubia roaches are offered a few times a month to promote physical activity and as a protein source. Don't leave extra insects roaming the cage - they often chew on uninterested reptiles. Hatchlings should be fed daily to every other day. Adults can be fed every other day. All fruit puree and insects should be dusted with a 50/50 mix of calcium and vitamins.
Breeding: Always wait to breed any animal until they are fully grown and sexually mature. If a female mates before she is fully grown, her body will put all of her calcium into developing eggs instead continuing to grow. This can lead to stunted growth, calcium deficiency, deformity and possibly death of your gecko. If you are unsure if your geckos is big enough, weigh them. Females should weigh at least 35 grams. (1)
We use minimal substrate in our breeding tanks and a plastic tub for a laybox. Eggs are collected without being rolled and moved into incubation containers with 1.5-2" of Pangea Hatch. They are incubated from 72-80°f.
(1) Vosjoli, Philippe De, et al. Rhacodactylus: the Complete Guide to Their Selection and Care. Advanced Visions, 2003.