Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, shipping may be limited or stop at any moment.
The Crested Gecko has a few other common names such as the Eyelash Gecko & New Caledonian Eyelash Gecko. Their scientific name is Rhacodactylus ciliatus.
They are an arboreal gecko species, meaning in nature, they live in trees. So when it comes to housing, they are happier in a taller than wider enclosure. Crested Geckos were thought to be extinct for a long time until 1994, when they were rediscovered after a large tropical storm. The species, in the wild, are labeled as “vulnerable” meaning that their numbers are decreasing. The genus Rhacodactylus are only native & found on the islands of New Caledonia.
Now that you have some background knowledge of Cresties, let’s get into the important stuff…Gecko Care! Housing: Cresties, in general, are very easy & inexpensive to keep. The biggest expense is the gecko and the initial setup. For babies & juveniles we recommend a medium to extra large kritter keeper or an Exo Terra Nano Tall terrarium (8 in. W X 8 in. L X 12 in. H) or ZooMed Nano Breeze (10 in. W X10 in. L X12 in H). The smaller the gecko, the smaller the enclosure should be. By putting a small gecko into too large of an enclosure, you are risking that gecko not eating/drinking. They feel scared and don’t want to descend from their plant or corner if the enclosure is too large. As they grow purchase larger enclosures. We upgrade our Cresties only once. We personally use Exo Terra Nano Tall terrariums for all babies/juveniles then upgrade the gecko to an Exo Terra Mini Tall terrarium as the gecko grows into a sub-adult. As mentioned, for sub-adults/Adult Cresties, we recommend Exo Terra Mini Tall terrariums (12 inches W X 12 inches L X 18 inches H). You can house up to 2 Crested Geckos in a terrarium that size. ALWAYS watch for any aggression when housing two cresties together and NEVER house two males together! Babies can be housed together but we don’t recommend it as tail loss, tail nip, and nips on body are more likely to occur. Crested Geckos are a solitary species and prefer to be alone. Housing them together actually stresses them out more. If you do choose to house babies/juveniles together, close attention will have to be paid as they begin to reach sexual maturity. If you begin to see that you have 2 males, you must separate them as males can not ever be housed together. If you think you may have a male & a female, separate as they will breed as soon as possible, which also puts your female at extreme health risks or even possible death from laying eggs too young. If you think you might have 2 females, they should be fine together and continuing to house them together should be fine. Just always keep an eye on them for any aggressive behavior or nipping towards one another.
Substrate: For babies/juveniles we recommend paper towels. It makes cleaning very easy and there are no concerns of the gecko eating the substrate and getting impacted. If you choose to use a dirt substrate for your young Cresties, such as coconut fiber, you run the risk of them eating it on accident and becoming impacted which normally results in death. If you choose to keep your baby gecko on substrate, we recommend a mix of roughly 25% coco coir & 75% coco husk, as it isn't as wasy for your gecko to ingest the substrate. Sub-adults & adults can be kept on paper towels or dirt substrate, such as coconut fiber/coco husk mix. We personally keep all our geckos on paper towels as cleaning is much easier. Using a dirt substrate does help keep moisture up but is also more work to clean. As long as you mist your geckos at least once to twice a day, they will be happy!
Enclosure Furnishings: Plants, plants, & more plants! The more plants you give your Crestie, the happier he/she will be. We recommend artificial, plastic plants that use a suction cup to hang on the side of the enclosure. Not only do they give your Crestie something to climb up on but they will also enjoy hiding in the plants. Plastic artificial plants are also much easier to clean than fabric plants. If you choose to go the natural way and want live plats, that is more than ok too! Just make sure the live plants you choose are safe for Crested Geckos. www.Joshsfrogs.com is a great place to reach out to if you need help with a vivarium and live plants. We use bamboo in our enclosures. It gives the geckos something else to climb on and get high up in the tank on a more natural product. Fit as many pieces as you can, your Crestie won’t mind! You can also use artificial vines. They are typically coated with a foam or rubber as the inside has a thin wire to give you the ability to bend and twist the vine. Water dishes ARE needed. If you ever read/hear that Crested Geckos won’t drink from a dish and they will only drink droplets of water off of plants or the side of their tank…it’s FALSE! Make sure to always have a small water dish with water available at all times. When it comes to food dishes there are many options. We use small 1 time use, plastic portion cups… We do sell these. You can use them in raised feeding ledges or in feeding “stations” that sit on the floor of the enclosure. We also use small silicone dishes which also make cleaning super easy! We also sell these and include them with all our gecko kits! For babies/juveniles we recommend using a water bottle cap, literally! This lessens the chances of accidently wasting the Pangea Gecko Food. A plastic water bottle cap full of mixed Gecko Food is more than enough for 1 feeding until your gecko is a sub-adult.
Nutrition: Make sure to offer your Crested Gecko a COMPLETE diet. Insects are not a “complete” diet for these guys. Do they love crickets? Oh yeah! But remember that crickets are like chips, use them as treats for your cresties! Offering your Crestie crickets or dubia roaches once a week is more than enough. As a matter of fact, we only give our Crested Geckos crickets about twice a month. When you do feed crickets, make sure the cricket is no larger than the width of your gecko’s head. We don’t recommend feeding hard bodied worms like meal worms, as the exoskeleton of the meal worm doesn’t break down when the gecko eats the them, it can cause a blockage. You can also offer wax worms as treats. They are very fatty, soft bodied worms, so make sure they are only given as treats. Dubia roaches are much more nutritious than crickets and size of the dubia used for feeding is the same as crickets. 3-4 crickets = 1 dubia roach, so make sure to only give 1-2 dubias per feeding. Always dust any insects with calcium or calcium/vitamin mixture such as “Miner-All Calcium & Mineral Supplement.” We highly recommend and stand behind Pangea Gecko Food! Pangea gecko food is packed with protein, minerals, calcium, and full nutrients that your Crestie needs! The makers of Pangea have been doing this for a very long time & are experts in the Crested Gecko industry. Pangea Gecko Food’s (Complete Formulas) are a complete & balanced diet formulated specifically for Crested Geckos. Not only is it a full balanced diet for your gecko but geckos actually love it too! Our Crested Geckos are fed Pangea and we love the results! Just don’t…if you ever read or hear someone say that Crested Geckos can eat baby food…do not do it! Baby food is not a food that is healthy for Crested Geckos. It is high in sugar and has very little nutrients. There are many reports of MBD (metabolic bone disease) in Crested Geckos that are fed lots of baby food. If you want to give your Crestie a treat, give it some insects! Or even better, throw some Pangea Gecko Food and some fresh fruit into a blender! Try adding… 1 blueberry, 1 slice of banana, small piece of mango, small piece of watermelon, small piece of fig, 1 slice of strawberry, or 1 raspberry to your blender with some Pangea Gecko paste! Like you’re making a mini gecko smoothie!
Heating & Lighting: Crested Geckos thrive when kept between 68°F to 80°F. We suggest no lower than 67°F for nighttime temperature and no higher than 80°F for daytime temperature. Crested Geckos handle cold temperatures much better than they do warm temperatures. If you are concerned about your Crestie’s enclosure being too cold during the winter months, we suggest using a low wattage (5-8 watt) heating pad under one end of the enclosure. Or you can also use a low wattage (25 watt) red/nocturnal heat light at the top of one corner of the enclosure. Make sure to only have the heating element at one end/corner of the enclosure. There should be multiple heat variants within the enclosure, meaning multiple temperatures within the enclosure for your Crestie to cool down or warm up as needed. (We sell both forms of heating elements, listed below.) UVB lighting is not needed for Crested Geckos. This species is nocturnal, thus they will most likely hide if there is a bright light source. Bright lights have been said to cause them more stress as well. Crested Geckos can benefit from a UV light, but again, they will most likely be pushed into hiding from the bright light, thus not receiving any of the benefits provided from the UVB. We don’t use UV lights with our Crested Geckos as we have seen it stress out our geckos. But ultimately, the choice is yours.
Humidity: A humidity level of roughly 50% is adequate for Crested Geckos. If using paper towels as a substrate, misting your Crestie once to twice a day is more than sufficient. Make sure you allow the enclosure to almost fully dry out between each misting. Otherwise this will inhibit mold/fungus growth. If you use a dirt substrate, such as coconut fiber, the humidity in the enclosure will be constantly higher without having to mist the enclosure as often. A simple spray/mist bottle from the Dollar Store or Walmart will suffice.
Handling: When it comes to handling & as far as species of geckos go, Crested Geckos are one of the best around! Don’t forget, they are an arboreal species so they will jump. Use a method called “hand walking”. Simply have one hand in front of the other at all times when holding your Crestie. This will allow your gecko to jump from one hand to the next if he/she decides to randomly jump. If you accidently drop your crested gecko on the floor, don’t fret! They are made for falling out of trees in the wild, he/she will be alright. Make sure to not repeatedly drop your Crestie though, repeated falls can injure your gecko. Crested Geckos are extremely docile and rarely bite. If they do bite, it feels like a light pinch. While handling your Crested Gecko, make sure to never grab or accidently pinch his/her tail. Doing such can cause your Crestie to drop its tail. In the wild this happens when a predator is after the Crested Gecko and the gecko drops its tail to get away from the predator. So grabbing/pinching your Crestie’s tail makes your gecko go into a flight response. He/she gets scared and wants to get away, thus dropping its tail. If this happens, no big deal at all! You now have a “frog butt” crested gecko! Meaning he/she is tailless. If your Crested Gecko does drop its tail, the tail will never grow back. Just make sure to keep the bum of your gecko clean until the skin, where the tail detached, is fully healed.
Our Exo Terra Nano Tall Crested Gecko Kits offers a perfect set-up for your new crested gecko