Crested Geckos are popular pets for children or first-time reptile owners as they have relatively simple care requirements. They originate from the forests of New Caledonia, a group of islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean to the east of Australia. They are a medium-sized gecko and can grow up to 20 centimetres long. As nocturnal creatures, they will be more active during the night when their lights are turned off. They come in a variety of colour forms and crest developments with common morphs including pinstripe, flame and dalmatian. They do not need company and can happily be kept on their own. Together, adult male Crested Geckos are likely to fight but females can be kept in the same tank provided it is large enough.
Crested Geckos are arboreal, meaning that trees are their natural habitat, so ideally they require a tall vivarium with a minimum height of 50cm and a floor area of 30cm squares. The enclosure should be suitably decorated branches and plants with foliage onto which they can climb, jump, hide and sleep. Artificial plants and ornaments are preferred by many as they are easy to clean and help keep the tank hygienic.
Younger Crested Geckos should not be kept in a large tank as this can cause stress and lead to health problems.
As nocturnal creatures Crested Geckos have no special UV light requirements but a regular day and night schedule should be maintained. Light should be provided for around 10-12 hours per day and this can be regulated with a timer. In order to see the Crested Gecko in its active period through the night a red or blue light can be used. These should be LEDs as they do not add any additional heat to the vivarium.
Crested Geckos are happiest at temperatures between 20°C and 27°C and most homes should be naturally within this range. If the area where the gecko is housed is colder than this then a thermostat and a spot lamp may be required. The lamp should be kept outside the tank to avoid direct contact between the reptile and the heat source. If the temperature goes above 30°C then the Crested Gecko will become stressed and this can cause ill health.
There are a number of substrate options available for Crested Geckos including cage carpet, orchid bark, cork bark or cocoa fibre. Ideally, a substrate which holds humidity well should be used. Branches, rocks and stones can also be used to create an interesting habitat but enough space should be left for the gecko to move around.
Loose substrate should be avoided for baby Crested Geckos to avoid the risk of consumption and impaction as they often miss their live prey items.
The vivarium should be spot cleaned daily and any dead prey items and animal faeces should be removed when noticed. The substrate should be cleaned once a month and the vivarium should be cleaned using reptile disinfectant.
Crested Geckos like a humid environment and the tank should be misted daily using a water sprayer. This will provide additional drinking water and aid with shedding.
Crested Geckos are omnivorous and can eat both live prey and fruit. They should be served fresh soft fruits such as bananas, apricots and peaches supplemented with live foods such as crickets, locusts and wax worms which can be given two or three times a week. The insects should be well-fed to ensure that they are nutritious and dusted with essential vitamins and calcium. Prey items offered to the Crested Gecko should be no bigger than the size of their mouths. Any unconsumed prey items should be removed from the tank the following day.
As an alternative, commercially produced dry foods which need to be mixed with water or fruit puree can provide all of the vitamins that the gecko requires without the need for live prey. The geckos should be fed once a day when the lights or off inside the habitat. Any supplement should be thoroughly researched before being used as part of a diet.
Water should be provided in a bowl as Crested Gecko’s drink daily, either from standing water or the due formed from the humidity in the tank.