WHEN DO I SEE A VET?
- Annual wellness exam for physical exam, fecal, and bloodwork baseline testing
- Pre and post brumation (hibernation) wellness exams
- Not eating or pooping for over a week
- Open mouth breathing or noise while breathing
- Diarrhea, blood in feces, vomiting, or regurgitation
- Retained shed, redness, swelling, or open wounds of the skin
- Swollen eyes, swelling or bleeding of the mouth
- Tail loss or tail dropping
- Any health concerns or questions
Babies: 5-gallon tank (16” L x 8” W x 10” H) or larger enclosure
Adults: 20-gallon high tank (24” L x 12” W x 16” H) or (18” L x 18” W x 18” H) terrarium or larger enclosure
Enclosures should have a small basking light, UVB light, hide area, fog and/or misting system, and décor to provide enrichment for your crested gecko. Crested geckos are arboreal reptiles that require more vertical space then floorspace space.
Crested Geckos can be housed in pairs in a 20-gallon enclosure or larger as adults avoiding two males in one enclosure due to risk of injury and fighting.
Sterilized branches, bend-a-branch inserts, reptile vines, or cork bark are all acceptable perches and climbing materials in your crested gecko’s enclosure. Plastic plants or live nontoxic plants allow for a canopy to provide shelter and security as well and enrichment for climbing around and surfaces to collect mist for hydration. Any plastic plant that is not able to easily fit into your geckos mouth is appropriate. Avoid plastic plants that have removable leaves as these can be a risk for accidental consumption. A list of appropriate live plants is listed below. Appropriate substrates include Eco earth topsoil, coco fiber, and other bioactive appropriate substrates, if planning a bioactive enclosure. We recommend consulting your veterinarian for more information on establishing a safe bioactive enclosure.
Recommended Live Plants:
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)
Dwarf umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola)
Money tree (Pachira aquatica)
China doll (Radermachera sinica)
Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp)
Lighting and Heating
Proper temperatures and lighting are essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of your crested gecko.
Lighting: Crested geckos are a nocturnal tropical species most active during the night or at dusk and dawn. They require a low output UVB lighting for proper vitamin D3 synthesis starting with their skin. Ideal hours of daylight to nightlight are 12-14 hours of daylight to 12-10 hours of nighttime with a “blue” night lighting. This can be achieved by a timer connected to their lights. UVB lights lose strength over time even though they may still emit light and should be changed every 6 months. It is important to note that windows and glass block UVB rays, screens and mesh can decrease the UVB strength to your crested geckos. Avoid placing glass enclosures in direct sunlight as this can heat up much higher than anticipated.
Recommended UVB lights include:
T5 Strip Lights:
Arcadia T5 D3 Reptile Lamp 6% UVB 6”
Zoomed Reptisun 5.0 UVB T5-HO
Recommended night lights include:
Exo terra 25 watt Heat Night Lamp “blue light”
Zoomed 25 watt Moonlite Reptile Bulb
Heating: Crested Geckos are ectotherms or poikilothermous meaning they get their body temperature from the environment. This is key for proper metabolism and digestion of their food as well as overall health and function. During the day your crested gecko should have a small basking area that reaches 78-80°F, avoiding 85°F or higher with a cool side having an ambient air temperature of 74-78°F. During the night ideal temperatures should remain between 70-75°F, avoiding any temperatures below 65°F due to risk of causing digestive issues and other illnesses.
Humidity and Hydration
Humidity and hydration play several important roles in your crested gecko’s health. Humidity assists in proper shedding and rate of dehydration, but can cause respiratory issues if consistently too high. Ideal humidity for a crested gecko is 60-70% humidity throughout the day, and night and during misting periods reach 80-100% humidity for a short period of time. Humidity should be monitored using a hygrometer inside the enclosure. Appropriate ventilation is recommended in all glass enclosures. Early morning fogging is recommended for 1-2 hours ending an hour before lights turn on. Timed misting throughout the day at intervals of 30-90 minutes is suggested to maintain daytime humidity and provided a consistent source of water for proper hydration and drinking.
Nutrition is a very important part of allowing for proper growth and development of a crested gecko. Understanding and knowing the appropriate food choices can help your crested gecko stay healthy and avoid many medical complications. Baby crested geckos should be fed once daily either a main feeder insect or fruit option, while juvenile and adults can be fed two to three times a week, or as needed to maintain desired weight. It is necessary to supplement your crested gecko’s food with calcium and vitamin dustings to provide additional nutrients. Dusting insects with calcium during every insect feeding is needed for a crested gecko. Consult with a veterinarian to discuss the possible need of adding vitamin D3 to your calcium dusting as in some cases it may be recommended. A list of recommended supplementations can be found below. Crested geckos are omnivores and eat an insect and fruit based diet. There are several appropriate methods to feeding juveniles and adults including offering 2-3 dusted insects one or two times a week with a fruit diet one to two times a week. As well as offering 2-3 dusted crickets once a week and a fruit diet two to three times a week, or 2-3 dusted crickets two to three times a week with a fruit diet once a week. Babies and gravid females should be fed daily for appropriate growth and egg development. Maintaining a balance and routine diet is important to maintaining stable health in a crested gecko.
Main Insect Food Sources: (~90% of Insect Diet)
Crickets, dubia roaches, or grasshoppers due to low fat to high protein ratios.
Snack Insect Sources: (~10% of Insect Diet)
Mealworms, superworms, hornworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, or butterworms due to high fat or low protein rations. (Hornworms are a good source of fluids, and Phoenix worms are a good source of calcium).
It is important to know that mealworms and superworms are high in fat and should NOT be a main food source in crested geckos. It is recommended associating mealworms with handling and enrichment activities to help differentiate them from their main source of food to prevent addition or preference.
Fruit and Other Food Options:
Mango, banana, strawberry, watermelon, pear, honey, blue berries, fig, peach, grape, apricot, and baby food mixes of these food options make great food options for crested geckos. Another great handling option is putting some honey or baby food on your hand and allow them to lick while being handled.
Recommended Dusting Supplements:
Repashy Calcium Plus Reptile Supplement
Flukers Calcium without D3 and phosphorus free
ZooMed Repti Calcium without D3
ZooMed Reptivite with D3
Repashy Calcium Plus LoD Supplement
Enrichment is an important and stimulating part of a crested gecko’s day to day life.
Several Enrichment options are listed below:
Feeding Dish – Allows your geckos to stay stimulated and seek out the dish in the enclosure for their insect or fruit food source.
Supervised Time Outside Their Enclosure – Make sure to have a clean, item free area where you can supervise the activity of your crested geckos. A nontoxic tree, or large grapevine branch allows for stimulation and climbing. Feeding snacks at this time can entice movement and exercise. Crested geckos and be trained to be handled quite easily and is a great source of enrichment for them. Make sure no other pets including dogs, or cats have access to the gecko when outside its enclosure.
Is My Crested Gecko a Male or Female?
Crested geckos are not a dimorphic species, as adults colorations can be universal from male to female. However mature males have distinct hemipene bulges that can assist in sexing. In addition, another reliable way in determining sex can be done by a skilled veterinary professional through several methods at a younger age including probing for hemipene pockets, endoscopic sex determination, and ultrasound sex determination. Listed below is what to look for to help determine sex in adult crested geckos.
Hemipene Bulges – Adult male crested geckos will have enlarged bulges around the ventral (bottom) aspect of their tail base just behind the vent. Females lack hemipenes and do not develop the same bulge seen in the males. For visualization of these bulges in a male looking through a glass or handling with the tail hanging off your hand can allow for visual access of the tail. It is important to NEVER grab the tail, as they are known to drop their tails in self-defense.
Want this information in hand? Download the Crested Gecko Care Guide below!