Crested Geckos

Crested Geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus or more recently Correlophus ciliatus) are a reptile species native to New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific. There are several other related species, commonly referred to as New Caledonian “giant” geckos, despite having several small species included. C. ciliatus is named due to the eyelash-like crests above the eyes. These crests are also present down the back. As far as reptiles or even other geckos are concerned, crested geckos are a very easy pet to keep. In captivity, they require a small amount of space, a simple diet, and little to no additional heat or light. They thrive at a comfortable indoor temperature in the 70s, with a drop into the mid 60s at night being acceptable. Easily cared for with a daily misting and feeding with a commercial powdered diet requiring no insects, crested geckos are a good starter reptile and are even a pet for non-reptile lovers. And should you take on the challenge of breeding, crested geckos are a great starter species for breeders just entering the marketplace. Be sure to do your research up front!

With a possible lifespan of 30 years or more, a crested gecko makes an affordable and long-lived pet reptile. Because they breed easily and readily in captivity, you can purchase one for around $50 for a standard olive colored male, with females typically running more. Buying an unsexed juvenile gives you the opportunity to watch them grow from a scant 3 grams to a whopping adult that can top 60 grams. Most crested gecko breeders develop an eye for potential stunners, so do your research and ask lots of questions if this is a hobby you are interested in.

Natural History

The taxonomic classification of crested geckos are within the Diplodactylidae family of geckos native to Oceania: Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. These geckos share a close and special taxonomy which is still being studied today. Dubbed Correlophus ciliatus in 1866 by zoologist Alphone Guichenot, there is little scientific literature from that time. There’s no verified meaning of the genus name. Most scientific (binomial) names are a mashup of Greek or Latin root words. At the root, “cor-” means with, together, mutual, body; correpo means “creep, slink”; correlativius means like, related to. Lophos is easy: a comb or crest. The species designation “ciliatus” comes from Cilium (plural cilia) for eyelash. The suffix -atus is a commonly added to a noun to form an an adjective. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it does convey a animal having a creeping body with crests like eyelashes.

The species was later grouped within the genus Rhacodactylus, comprising the other “giant” geckos of New Caledonia. Long thought extinct, crested geckos were “rediscovered” in 1994. In 2012, genetic studies indicated otherwise and Correlophus ressurected. As New Caledonia is actually part of the ancient Zealandian continent, most of which is submerged in the Pacific Ocean, it makes sense that all of the local species are highly related.

Crested geckos are also known as “eyelash geckos” in pet stores because of the beautiful spikes over their eyes.As they do not have eyelids, these crests aren’t really eyelashes at all. These protrusions run along their heads as well, with some specimens displaying raised spikes along their backs.  These “pinstripe” geckos are one of the more popular traits that are selectively bred for in this species.

Crested geckos come in a variety of color patterns and traits, collectively called “morphs”. Highly sought after are vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges as well as dark black or chocolate. Some have patches of different colors called “harlequins” which can come in combinations such as black and cream, red and cream, red and orange, yellow and cream and more. A more basic but lovely morph are tigers: a base color with black or red/orange stripes. There are many crested gecko breeders that specialize in improving color, markings and patterns of crested geckos. We are Arizona crested gecko breeders (based in Phoenix) who have taken on such a task! Take a look around our site and view our links for more information on these gorgeous geckos!

Did you know? Crested gecko is El Geco Crestado in Spanish? In French, they are called Le Gecko à Crête. Both names are in reference to their crests. Other languages make a reference to their spikes on their heads as crowns. Neukaledonische Kronengecko is German for “New Caledonian crown gecko”. The Japanese go one step further for this fancy gecko: オウカンミカドヤモリ translates loosely to “crown” (oukan) “emperor” (mikado is literally “honorable gate”) and “gecko” (yamori). Often they are just referred to as “Cres”, a diminutive of the English name. Are you a fan of lovely lashes? Ögonfransgecko is Swedish for “eyelash” gecko. Read more fun Crested Gecko facts!

Care

Frugivorous Gecko Nutrition

Crestie Health

Enclosures & Setup

Crestie Colors & Morphs

Crested Gecko Breeding

23 thoughts on “Crested Geckos

  1. i need help with my gecko which is a crested and we bred our pair and she has laid her first 2 eggs but they dont look their good.i need information on what went wrong.please if you dont mind may i talk to you.my phone number is 270-676-8815 thank you.

    • Hi Peggy! Sometimes eggs just aren’t fertile and there is nothing you can really do to save them. Sometimes the hatching medium and environment are too wet, too dry, or too hot. Or there is a lot of fluctuation of these values. Try to maintain the exact same moisture levels within your incubator – usually just an air-tight tupperware filled with your choice of hatching media (we prefer Repashy SuperHatch). Best temps to incubate are 70-76; it’s ok if there is a slight drop in temps at night but try to minimize the fluctuations. Good luck!

  2. This website is great! I am a new owner of a baby crested gecko. I love my little guy! They are amazing pets. I was wondering how often I should give him crickets. I bought the powder for them too. I have been feeding him the Repashy supplement every night and was told to also give him 2-3 crickets a night..

    • Feeding 4-5 crickets once a week is fine. Be sure to use a good calcium dust on the crickets and to gutload them with fresh fruit, veggies or commercial product 24 hours before giving them to your gecko. You could feed crickets twice a week as long as you know they are eating the Repashy Crested Gecko Diet. Some geckos really like the bugs!

  3. We recently bought a male crested and are new to taking care of him. We started off with the diet of crickets properly dusted and I have been feed him the Allen cgd. But he kinda looks like he is loosing weight. If I could send you guys some pictures or help me with what I may be doing wrong it would help. He also has accidentally been swallowing the coconut fiber foliage. Let me know if that does damage or not. Tahnk you.

  4. Hi Peggy. This is Shawn. I bought a Crested Gecko and I noticed he has two white things sticking out by his tail. Just wondering what that is and if there supposed to be sticking out.

    • Those white things are called cloacal spurs, and all cresties have them. They are a normal part of their anatomy. They tend to be more prominent on males but even females can have large spurs.

  5. I have a beautiful female and even prettier male and put them in a tall glass with top screen cover w/light.I took good care of them. While I was concentrating on care not breeding they did. They had 4 healthy baby boys all by their selves. Since I didn’t see them soon enough they all have no tails. They are still healthy beautiful geckos. Parents were moved rapidly. All have unique personalities too. I learned to watch carefully even if you aren’t trying to breed.

    • Hi Therese! Yes, cresties will breed whenever you have a male and female together in a tank. I’m glad the babies hatched out successfully! Good luck with everyone!

  6. Hi, I have 2 juvenile cresties housed together…I have had them since Aug. and they were tiny when I got them. The seller thought they were both females….I still dont know??? One of them stays buried in moss that I have put in there terrerium almost all the time. I dont see “her” for days at a time and will dig to find her. She looks fine!!! She had her first shed about a month or more ago so its not that. Do some cresties just stay hidden ALL the time? I have never seen them fighting……what should I do and how do I sext them?

    • Hi Jenny! It’s very difficult to tell the gender of tiny geckos. It’s more conclusive after they are about 16 grams in weight. For comparison, hatchlings come out at about 1.5 grams. So I wouldn’t be too confident on them both being female. If they are getting along – that’s great! But be prepared to separate them if one or both develops a bulge at the base of the tail, which indicates hemipenes on a male. You can look for a row of pores as well, but it can be hard to see with the naked eye. You’ll want to have a second enclosure handy for when/if this happens.

      They are less active during the winter, and many love to hide. Staying buried is fine, some do it to stay hydrated so make sure you are misting the tank regularly and providing a water bowl. They shed very quickly and you rarely see it, so I’d bet she’s shed at least a few times since you got her. As long as they are healthy, you can keep them together but keep an eye out for bullying. If one is smaller than the other, it could mean the other one is dominating the food source or causing stress keeping the other from growing. Therefore separating would be the best thing to do if you suspect bullying. Good luck with your cresties!

  7. Hi I was wondering if you would be able to ship Tuesday or Wednesday? I was looking to purchase RC#1 or RC#3 I noticed the pictures are a little old if you could email me a recent picture of of both I would be able to decide. Thank you so much for your time. Looking forward to doing business!

    • Hi Daniel, it’s getting a little hot for shipping here, but if the weather’s good on your side I think we’ll still be able to ship Wednesday. I’ll send you an email directly so we can figure it out. :)

  8. Hi, I’m a proud owner of a male Halloween Harlequin Crestie for a year now and have recently been interested in breeding. I am in Ontario. I was wondering if you ship here or not and if you have any females that you would pair with a Halloween Harlequin. I have been a fan of Dalmatians and flame reds but I’m not sure how that would turn out.
    If you could leave me some advice that’d be great. Thanks.

    • Hi Mechaela!

      Unfortunately we don’t ship to Canada. :( There are import restrictions and it adds extra costs and paperwork. There are several crested gecko breeders up in the Great White North… check out Rhacs Canada Forum. They have a breeder and for sale section. For a Halloween harley, I’d pick another harlequin, preferably with dark base and orange pattern. You could try red flame for some interesting results! :)

  9. Recently I have been having some problems with my male year and a half old crested geko. I recently got home form a month of camp and my family did not handle him very often. Since I got home (two weeks ago)I have not been able to handle him at all he just bolts across the terrarium whenever I put my hand near him. He even got out once. I wake him up when I get back home (4:15ish) but he immediately runs away. He has even threatened to drop his tail. Please helpi can’t get him out even though he is normally a very docile lizard.

    • Just give him some time, any change to their routine could stress them out. Summer and warm temperatures often make them a little more excitable. Try offering some dusted, gutloaded live food to see if that will help calm him down. Sometimes it’s best to take out a branch or other cage decoration while they are sitting on it, rather than try to grab them directly. You can nudge them onto your arm or hand without acting like a predator and triggering a fear response. He should calm down if he was more laid back before. Good luck!

  10. I have had my crested gecko for 2 years now and he has been great. I switched from crickets to Repashy about a year ago and he really seemed to like it. Just recently, however, he was not eating and one of his eyes turned dark brown and sunk in a little. I took him to the vet twice now and he has a mass behind the dark eye and now has an infection behind his good eye. So he is pretty much blind and can’t see his prey since I’ve tried crickets and live worms now, hoping he would eat something. I am having a hard time tube feeding him and he won’t even eat a worm if I hold it against his mouth…. do you have any suggestions? Also, would I be able to easily tell if any parasites were the problem? And I see tiny flakes of what seems like dead skin here and there on him but am not sure he has ever really shed. Sorry for so much craziness at once… I am just so upset and out of ideas to help my little guy

  11. I purchased a crested gecko (C.T.) from you about a year ago, and he seems very healthy. He’s almost 2 yrs old and is only 24 grams. Do you think he’s underweight? He’s housed in an 18x18x24 tank and eats Pangea CGD regularly. The house has been pretty cold so I got a ceramic heat emitter to help keep things warmer. He gets dubia roaches about once a week. I’ve been told it’s genetics that affect how big he’ll get so what weight should I expect him to reach based on his parents? Thank you for the help! :)

    • He should get to be 40-45 grams when he hits his adult weight. The heat and bugs can help but some are just slow growers! Good luck with him!

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