Baby Crested Gecko Care

Unlike many reptiles, baby crested geckos require similar care as adults – same diet, temperatures and handling – with variation in schedule and other details due to their small size. Baby crested geckos are called hatchlings, as are other lizards that hatch out of eggs – the oviparous reptiles. Young geckos are actively growing and use more of their food resources and energy for growth, so they rarely become overweight when fed a balanced diet. They shed more often – so you are likely to see shed issues more in hatchlings. They also can dry out faster due to their smaller size, so humidity can be a little trickier. Be sure to balance adequate ventilation with appropriate humidity.

Housing

Hatchlings and juveniles do great in small containers, such as 2.5 to 5 gallon enclosures. This includes Kritter Keepers or 6 quart plastic “shoebox” tubs with holes drilled in for ventilation. KKs are pre-made plastic pet carriers, temprary or permanent setups for small animals like reptiles, frogs and fish. If you have an ambient humidity around 50%, then these should work well and are widely available at local pet stores. We prefer the plastic bins as they keep in humidity better than Kritter Keepers.

We’ve had success keeping geckos in small (2.5 gallons) enclosures from hatching to about 6 grams. At 10-15 grams they can be placed in a 10 gallon tank. After 25 grams they should do well in a permanent 20 gallon or equivalent enclosure.

Care should be taken that they can’t escape their enclosures; binder clips can put used on the lids of 6 quart tubs. Most critter containers are escape proof as long as you align and snap the lid of the enclosure completely. Be careful about opening and closing bins or totes – babies can be crushed or have a toe or tail injured in a closing lid.

We recommend only paper towel for juveniles under 15 grams. Particulate substrates such as soil and cocofiber are great for adults, but can be difficult for smaller animals to pass if ingested. This can lead to impaction, which can be fatal.

Temperature & Humidity

Babies do will in temperatures from 70-80 degrees. It is important they do not get much warmer than 80 degrees or they can suffer from heat stress.

As with adults, the baby tank should not constantly be wet and there should be a brief drying out period (~45% humidity) during the day. A water bowl is recommended, it can be a shallow Gatorade bottle cap or a 1.5 ounce condiment cup half-filled with water.

Babies can dehydrate quickly, so regular misting is an important factor in successful rearing.

Feeding

It’s difficult to see if baby crested geckos are eating, as they take tiny licks and their poops are easily hidden within leaves and branches. Hatchlings can live off the energy of their yolk sacks for a week or more after hatching. Put food in the enclosure 24-48 hours after hatching just in case they are hungry, but don’t be worried if they don’t eat for several days.

The general guideline is to feed a good Crested Gecko Diet (CGD) every other day, with gutloaded, dusted insects being introduced around a month after hatching if desired. The CGD should not be further supplemented; additional calcium with D3 can be added through proper feeding of insects. Keep treats like mashed fruit to a minimum, once or twice a month.

We have raised geckos entirely on commercial formulas from Repashy and Pangea, but we encourage the feeding of live insects on a weekly or monthly basis to provide a varied diet.

If you hare having trouble getting your hatchlings to eat, please see our article on picky eaters.

Handling

Baby crested geckos are delicate and often skittish. They may gape, nip or squeak at you to show you they’re tough – but it’s all an act. It can be difficult to handle a tiny, jumpy gecko! Many are very fast and quick to run up your arm and jump out into nothingness.

Hatchlings can often adapt very quickly to handling compared to older juveniles. You can pick them up – gently! – a few hours after hatching. Let them rest and fully absorb the energy from their egg yolk. If they are exploring the incubator, they are ready to be moved into their new enclosures!

Just be aware that young geckos can go through personality changes as they grow due to hormones, genetics and other factors. Once a week handling as you clean their tanks is a good routine. Don’t force handling. Whenever possible, let them climb into your hand instead of grabbing them. Food treats like mashed fruit can also be helpful but don’t offer more than twice a month.

We have a guide to handling crested geckos – with tips for all ages and sizes.

Health

Hatchling and adult crested geckos are generally hardy reptiles and easy to care for. However, there are certain things to watch out for with the smaller babies and juveniles.

Shedding is often a concern with hatchlings, as they are susceptible to dehydration and stuck shed. Be careful that shed skin doesn’t build up around toes, tails or limbs, as it con constrict bloodflow which can lead to injury and even amputation! Babies are more likely to lose toes to stuck shed than adults. They shed often and it can build up more quickly.

Because they are actively growing, baby crested geckos fed an improper diet can show signs of nutritional deficiencies, especially of calcium. Finding the proper balance of nutrients can be difficult, so that is one reason we feed a commercial product like Repashy or Pangea crested gecko diets or meal replacement powders.

A gecko can hatch out with a deficiency if the mother was not fed properly or laid eggs too frequently. Her nutritional stores can’t always keep up with her laying schedule. A qualified reptile vet should be consulted if you suspect Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Follow their care guidelines and recommendations, which may include calcium supplementation and exposure to UVB lights.

Issues are rare with baby cresties, but it’s best to prepare and know the risks involved with breeding, hatching out and caring for these cute little geckos. We hope our guide to hatchling care will help you raise your new baby into a happy, healthy adult!

47 thoughts on “Baby Crested Gecko Care

  1. hi there, my name is Tayler, and I am just wondering what I should all do for when it comes to the beginning stages of taking care of brand new baby crested geckos???? These babies where just hacked today on June 3rd and we have them in a small plastic kritter keeper with a papertowel substrate. if anyone one could advice me on what is best for me to do id greatly appreciate it.

    • This guide should cover a lot of your questions. They are very similar to adults but need to be checked for stuck shed multiple times a week. Like adults, they should not be kept damp and need proper ventilation. A shallow water dish is perfect to maintain humidity between spraying. Feed Repashy and/or Pangea Crested Gecko diet. You can introduce dusted, gutloaded live food at about a month old. Make sure they don’t get over 80 degrees F. Use water bottle caps for food and paper towel or toilet paper tubes for hides. Buy some fake plants for climbing and hiding. Replace paper towels weekly, feed 3-4 times a week and change the water daily. Good luck!

  2. We have babies that hatched over the weekend. We currently have them in the same shoebox style plastic container, set up as you suggested. My question is, how long is it ok to keep them housed together? I’ve heard you can’t house males together. At what point should we move one?

    • Usually you can keep newly hatched geckos together for about 2-3 months, or until you see signs of aggression or bullying. This could be tail nips, witnessing them fighting, or one not growing as fast as the other. At that point you can set up another plastic container for the aggressor or the larger animal, since moving to a new enclosure is stressful so the weaker one should remain in the original tub. Good luck!

  3. 2 questions pls. I’m on my second breeding season and everything is great but now that last years crop are growing do I run any risks of breeding them with each other? I haven’t done a good enough job of record keeping in regards to witch juveniles are related. This year I will pay more attention. Secondly will ever be able to ship to Canada? I’d like to purchase a red gecko and also some repashy. If not I have a friend in Washington state if need be but it appears your out of stock or sold everything. When’s the best time to check out your availability again. Thanks for you time.

    • Yeah You should not try breeding cresties that are related to each other. I’d recommend buying a small lot of 3-6 babies to pair up with your growing crop. You could consider trading with another breeder (with unrelated stock) as well. You probably won’t end up with problems but the gene pool of this species is very limited due to New Caledonia not allowing exports. So IMO it’s not worth reducing it further by breeding siblings.

      I’m not sure when we’ll have more animals or product in stock, but we might have some by mid-December. However, due to restrictions on the Canada side, it’s expensive for us to ship over the border. You should try checking with Northern Gecko as they supply Repashy to many Canadian breeders. Thanks for your inquiry!

  4. I’ve just got a Juve it’s still tiny and only put it in the tank today how many days should I avoid handling and should I wait to put food in?

  5. Hello! So one of my Harley girls decided to hold on to the sperm and she just recently laid eggs, the first 2 babies are around a month old at this point and I have 2 more eggs from that clutch that still haven’t hatched, their temperature is at 70°F due to it being the middle of winter here in Canada, I’ve bred before and had a clutch of 6 hatch only about 25 days between each other, this normal?

  6. Hello I was wondering I have two baby geckos that are the same age of 3 months. One is growing at a rapid rate and one is staying the same size as when we got them. I leave both pangea crested gecko food and crickets in there. Is there something else I should be doing for the smaller one?
    Thanks

    • If you are housing them together, the bigger one could be bullying the other or the littler one could simply be intimidated by the other’s presence. I don’t recommend leaving crickets in the cage as they can bite geckos and further stress them out.

  7. Hey! We have 4 lil babies all togetherights in a larger tank to make sure they all have their own independent area with lost of hiding places. We have paper towels down in the 10/20 gallon tank but its growing small amounts of black mold and white mold from occasional (not daily)… they’re about a month and a half old when can we change bedding and to what? The mold is on the paper towels but always next to wood or fake plants. Help!

    • Always clean out dirty paper towels when you see mold. It’s probably harmless but no reason to take chances. Continue to use paper towels until they are 10 grams, which could take a few months or longer. Wood is notorious for growing mold so you can put a plastic jar lid under the wood to keep it from coming in contact with the paper towel. When you spray, only mist the top of the tank and leaves, avoid getting the bottom wet. Always have water available – an elevated platform for food and water is best. Good luck!

  8. While cleaning my large tank I spotted a small baby the size of your top joint on your index finger, i had no chance at getting it because its a live viv so he was gone into the plants, didn’t know they had been breading never mind hatching, do i have to separate as its going to be difficult to find again.

    • If you have males and females together, expect breeding! I would remove the baby as soon as possible as the adults can be cannibals.

    • Some disagree with housing non-clutchmates together, but as long as they are not aggressive towards each other, and there are plenty of hiding spots and food, it should be fine until there is a noticeable size difference. We’ve done it when only one egg from a clutch hatches then we have a baby from the next clutch hatch a month later.

    • Do you mean the old eggs or the babies??? You can safely rehome a hatchling once they’ve been eating and pooping for about 4-6 weeks.

  9. I just noticed a baby crested gecko in our cage it’s about 3 inches long he seems like he has been in there awhile but we just found it today. Do I need to take it out of the cage? And since we found it today we noticed we can’t find the mom. She’s either really good at hiding or she is Houdini is it possible the male are her?

    • I recommend removing the baby gecko. Geckos are VERY good at hiding. Check underneath/behind any decorations. Some decorations are hollow and they hide inside. It’s not likely the male ate a full grown female.

  10. Heyy,I just got a baby crestie and she look healthy but I put in some coconut fiber substrate and I don’t feed her crickets so I don’t think she would ingest it but will she?? Should do change her substrate to paper towl???? Ty for the help! P.s she eats the crested gecko diet stuff

    • We recommend paper towel for babies, geckos can often lunge at water droplets or shadows and end up with a mouthful of substrate. They can also ingest paper towel if they rip off a piece doing the same thing, but it’s much less likely. I’d wait until 16-20 grams or full adult size before using a particulate substrate.

  11. I have had my female crestie since last April. When I clean her cage I haven’t found poop. She has a belly, rarely comes out at night, does drink small amounts of water and has not grown that much. I mist her 18x18x18 vivarium, keep heat and humidity at appropriate levels. Is there a problem? I bought her at Petco and they told me she was a he but after being in her tank she laid 4 eggs that did not hatch. She is very inactive and lethargic.

    • Sounds like she might need a trip to the vet. It could be egg binding or an impaction. Try hydrating her in a delicup with a damp paper towel and mist her gently. Usually they poop during a bath if they’ve been eating. What do you feed her?

  12. Hey! I’m really interested in getting a crested gecko soon and I have a couple questions! The terrarium I was going to set up was going to be a 12x12x18 but the geckos at the pet store are said to be only a couple months old. Do you think the little guy would be okay in there? I could always take it out to feed in a kritter keeper, possibly put some plants in there so it can hide from crickets when I feed it crickets. Do you guys think that would be okay?

    • Depending on the size of the baby, it might do better in a 6 quart shoebox style plastic tub, with air holes drilled in. A Kritter Keeper would also work, but they don’t hold humidity as well. If the baby is under 10 grams I would keep him in that type of setup before putting him in a 12X12X18. Good luck!

  13. HI there! I have hatched a fair amount of baby geckos but today was the first day I found the mother biting him. How do I know if he is okay on the inside??? I’m very worried

    • Hi Jessie! Crested geckos can eat their offspring so it’s not advisable to ever keep the babies with the parents. They don’t have any parental instincts and will eat them as if they are any other live food. I recommend keeping all the babies separate, if you can’t do that at least keep the bitten one in its own container (6 quart tub with air holes and a toilet paper tube will work for now). Good luck with the babies!

  14. I’ve currently got an egg that’s from a female that’s never even seen a male since she was a baby. It’s got a live and kicking embryo and will hatch in a month or so if it survives. Thanks for the info on how to care for a hatchling. I’m still baffled how a little creature can come out of that tiny egg!

    • That’s awesome! There have been a few claims of parthenogenetic eggs in cresties but rarely any successful hatchlings. Good luck!!!

  15. How would I regulate temperature in a cage that small? My house is normally 68 degrees, so what would you suggest to keep it warm but not overheating?

    • For a small tub (6 quart) you could place them near a lamp during the day. 68 isn’t too bad and a very mild heat source from a 60 watt incandescent bulb should be fine. Just be sure to measure the temps, as too hot is worse than too cold for short periods of time. Good luck!

  16. Hello, my son is getting ready to purchase a crested Gecko (baby) would it be ok to put it in a 8 x 8 x 8 or 8 x 8 x 12 glass terrarium or a plastic container better.

    • A “nano” sized enclosure should be fine for a gecko up to 18-24 grams. Then they would need at least a 10 gallon tank or an 12X12X18 terrarium. A plastic container you make from a tub with airholes is also fine. I’m not a huge fan of Kritter Keeper style enclosures as they don’t hold humidity as well. Good luck!

  17. I have a created gecko who is only a few weeks old, I believe he was sold to me to Young he won’t eat is there anything I can do

    • Hi Ryen! Most crested geckos are self-sufficient out of the egg, but it’s best to wait until they are eating well before rehoming. It is normal for them to not eat for a while in a new environment. Just be patient. If he is healthy, he will begin to eat in the next week or two. Good luck!

  18. Hey, so I just got my baby crested gecko from a reptile shop 3 days ago, he seems perfectly fine and is quite gorgeous. However my grandfather brought home a tortoise for my little brother without researching it so I had to buy an 12x12x18 terrarium earlier than I originally wanted to so my brother wouldn’t have to give up his new pet. The temperature ranges through 69-72 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know if he’s able to find his food so I offer him food from the dull end of a bamboo skewer until he’s not interested. Will he be alright?

    • I’m not clear on why you had to buy a new tank when the tortoise arrived. Hopefully the tort is being housed in an appropriate way – tanks are not recommended and especially not one sized for a baby gecko! The temps are fine and you can offer a few bottle caps around the tank so he’ll be able to find it. If he stops eating for more than 2 weeks then you can hand feed or put him in a smaller enclosure like a large Kritter Keeper or even a plastic tub with airholes, but I think moving him again would just add more stress. Good luck!

  19. I got a crestie from Petco and he was one of the healthiest (and larger) looking ones. Is it possible to tell or estimate how old he might be? I know it won’t be as precise as knowing the hatch date. He’s 5 inches (about 3 in. without his tail) and he weighs 7 grams. Also, is that underweight for his size? If so, how might I be able to get him to gain weight? Thank you!

    • I would say he’s around 6-9 months, depending on his feeding and environment. But they all grow at different rates. He is probably not underweight. As long as he is eating and pooping, not acting ill, then he’s fine. You can feed him bugs, or different varieties of Repashy or Pangea complete crested gecko diets. Good luck!

  20. Would it be OK to keep a baby crestie in a care kit that I get from repticon? I asked the breeder and he said it would be OK but I am worried?

    • Hi Regan! It depends on what the care kit is like. If it’s more than 5 gallons, it could take a little longer for a baby to settle down but shouldn’t cause too much of an issue. As long as the kit contained appropriate items, go for it. I recommend paper towel for substrate for babies, and of course a good brand of food (Repashy or Pangea).

  21. Can my crestie eat small hornworms from Petco? She’s about 8 grams and 7 months. Should I do anything to it like dust or gut-load it or can I just feed it right out of the tub? Thanks so much!

    • Yes, crested geckos can eat them, but may not recognize it as food right away. Some don’t take to live food quickly. If she takes other live food it would be worth a try, as they are expensive compared to crickets. You should gut load and dust like you would crickets, they apparently eat most greens. Good luck!

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