Crested geckos, or Correlpohus ciliatus, are originally from New Caledonia. The gecko makes an ideal pet for beginners, as it has easy, simple requirements.
The crested gecko has become a captive bed and is a standard pet in the pet industry. Many feature new color morphs.
Size and Life Span
Male and female crested geckos can reach about four to 4.5 inches in snout-to-vent length and eight inches in total length. Their body weight can be about 35 to 40 grams. They can be sexually mature around 15 to 18 months.
Under the proper care, the gecko can live up to 15 to 20 years.
Crested Gecko Housing
Baby crested geckos are best housed in a standard 10-gallon reptile tank with a screen top. Adults should get a 15 to 20-gallon tank with a screen top. In places with high humidity, the gecko can have a screen cage.
You can keep one male and several females together, but male geckos will fight each other and should not be kept together, especially when females are around.
Lighting and Temperature
Crested geckos like a temperature range of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. At night, the temperature can drop to the low 70s. During the summer, if the temperature exceeds 86 degrees, put the gecko in a cooler room. Keep a thermometer for accurate temperature measurements.
The best way to provide heat for a crested gecko is a low-wattage heat bulb or ceramic heat emitter in a light fixture placed on the screen top over one side of the tank. This allows the temperature in the basking area to reach the desired temperature range. Keeping one side of the tank cooler allows the gecko to regulate its body temperature.
You can also use an undertank heating pad or heat tape under one side of the tank that is controlled by a thermostat, though we don’t recommend this method.
If there are live plants in the terrarium, provide additional lighting by a fluorescent bulb that runs the length of the tank. Crested geckos can rest in leaves or other types of shelter during the day. They are more active around dawn and dusk.
Crested geckos do not require UV lighting if they are fed a proper diet containing calcium and vitamin D3. Intense UV lighting can damage their eyes.
Crested Gecko Substrate
For simple maintenance, use reptile carpet, which is easily cleaned. For a more natural look, woodchip bedding or coconut fiber mixed with organic potting soil are good options. The coconut fiber mix is great for live plants as well.
Live or artificial plants, wood, bark and vines provide security for the crested gecko to feel safe and rest in the open.
Crested geckos feel most comfortable resting in leaves. They also like to climb on vines and wood. Suitable materials include cork bark sections for vertical and ground-level caves and climbing ledges. Artificial vines provide excellent climbing and hanging opportunities. Place plastic plants throughout the enclosure to make the gecko feel at home.
Do not clutter the tank. Leave plenty of open space.
Crested Gecko Food
Prepared crested gecko food is the best and easiest option for feeding. Mix the food power with water and put it in a shallow dish every other day. Leave the food for 24 to 36 hours before removing it.
Also offer fruit and insects. Crickets are one of the best options. Select a size where the length of the insect equals the width of the crest gecko’s head. Crickets should be offered two to three times a week as a primary diet or once a week as a supplement to the prepared food. Lightly coat the crickets with a vitamin/mineral supplement that contains calcium, vitamin D3 and other essential vitamins.
Water and Humidity
Water should always be provided in a shallow dish. Crested geckos require a humidity level of 50 to 70 percent. In drier climates, the tank should be lightly misted every night to increase the humidity levels. Hygrometers can also be used to check the humidity levels.
Tails and Handling
It is normal for crested geckos to lose their tails and have a tiny pointed tail nub in nature. If you prefer having a gecko with a tail, you have to keep it separated from other animals.
Newly purchased geckos should not be handled in the first couple of days. Let the crested gecko settle in for three to four days and make sure it is eating regularly and adjusting.
When you start handling the crested gecko, keep the sessions short; no more than five to 10 minutes. Baby crested geckos are flighty and may be injured if handled. Wait until the baby gecko is at least three to four inches long before trying to handle it.