Crested Gecko Care

Crested geckos are considered a good beginner reptile because they are relatively inexpensive and easy to care for. They are comfortable at room temperatures, can be housed in attractive terrariums or simple plastic tubs, and eat a commercial diet that costs less than $20 per year to feed a single gecko. Below you will find some basic information to help you get started!

Besides being fun for beginners, crested geckos can be intriguing for experienced reptile keepers because of their wide range of morphs or physical characteristics. They are extremely handleable and each has their own individual personality. They make a great hands-on pet or display animal for their equally nocturnal keepers.

New Gecko Care Sheet

Whether you’ve bought your first crested gecko from a pet store, local breeder, or a trusted online source, there will be an adjustment period for your new addition. It’s best to do your research BEFORE you come home with a new crested gecko! Even though these geckos are easy to care for, they should not be thought of as a disposable pet. It is believed that they can live for 30 years if properly cared for, so your new friend will be a long term responsibility.

Be sure to have all of your supplies ahead of time, such as housing, decor, crested gecko food and insect dust. This will help ensure that your new crested gecko will have an easy and healthy transition period into your care.

Crested Gecko Quick Guide
Adult Size
4-5 inches SVL (without tail)
8+ inches total (including tail)
Adult Weight
32-60+ grams
Tails 2-5 grams
Temperature Range
70-82 day temps
65-75 night temps
Humidity Range
50-75 daytime
75-100 nightly after misting
Tank Size
20 gallons (US)
+10 gallons per additional gecko
Lighting Type
None needed, but…
Low UVB recommended
Food Type
Commercial Diet 3 times weekly
Live food twice monthly recommended
Activity Level
Nocturnal
Moderately active
Lifespan
15+ years
Low disease risk

Crested Gecko Care & Feeding

It seems that some geckos are slower to adjust to new foods, flavors and textures than others. Even ones that have eaten CGD (Crested Gecko Diet) forever. Keep in mind they don’t always eat every day or on your schedule. First, rule out any possibility of illness, since that can reduce a crested gecko’s appetite. It is a good idea to get a fecal done for your new crested gecko. This means sending a fresh poo sample to your vet! This can be difficult to do if your gecko isn’t eating.

A typical feeding schedule is offering a commercial (or supplemented homemade) diet every other night, and once a week you can offer dusted and gutloaded insects such as crickets or roaches. Fresh fruit treats or fatty insects such as waxworms can be fed once or twice a month, just make sure they are 10% or less of the total diet.

If they are just being stubborn, it is important to not use baby food or sweeten the mix with honey or fresh fruit because they may always hold out for the sweet stuff, which is not as good for them as CGD. In my opinion, I would rather they skip a few meals in order to get them on CGD than to give them an improperly balanced diet which can lead to MBD and other health issues.

You can try hand-feeding them if you are worried about weight, but this can lead to them only eating when you “baby” them.

If they start eating CGD on their own (no sweeteners, no hand feeding) you can introduce dusted crickets once a week as a treat. Just follow the directions on the label for how to mix CGD if you are also feeding insects.

Here is a simple guide to help ensure your crested gecko begins eating the right food from the start. Results may vary with other Meal Replacement Powders. Please browse our Nutrition section for tons of info on feeding, treats, and supplements.

Temperature & Humidity

Crested geckos respond well to room temperature. They can overheat if too much lighting is given or if you live in a warm area without air conditioning. A good range is mid 60s to upper 70s. Warmer temps cause more activity, heartier appetites and increased growth.

Although they are nocturnal and do not need special lighting, crested geckos do need a photoperiod, roughly 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness. Increasing and decreasing according to the seasons is fine; however, this may confine your breeding season to the summer months. Stricter control of lighting (and heat) can allow you to have a breeding season at any time of the year – but be sure the females get at least a 4 month break between seasons to “cool”. Check out our Heating & Lighting guide for more tips.

Crested geckos are a tropical species but do not need constant high humidity; in a captive environment this can lead to respiratory infections. Misting heavily at night (80-90%) and lightly in the morning, allowing it to dry out to 50% during the day is adequate. However, it’s a good idea to keep a water bowl in the enclosure, especially if you live in a dry climate. Misting also encourages eating, so be sure not to skip this nightly routine. If you take frequent trips or have a tendency to forget, you can set up a crested gecko tank with an automatic misting system such as MistKing to spray once nightly; or, more heavily at night and lightly during the day (mid-morning works well).

It is much easier to maintain room humidity at 50% than to try to mist each enclosure throughout the day to maintain the humidity. Proper ventilation is essential to health, so be sure that your tubs also have adequate ventilation. This should not be a problem if you have a humidifier running in the same room(s) as your crested geckos.

Quarantine

If you plan on eventually putting your gecko into a naturalistic vivarium, consider first giving them a short quarantine period in an appropriate sized Kritter Keeper on paper towels to make sure that they are eating and pooping – which is a good sign of a healthy gecko!┬áThis means they’re eating, even if you don’t think they are.

It is absolutely necessary to quarantine new arrivals before placing them in the same enclosures as other crested geckos!

14 days should be the shortest period of quarantine for a new gecko. One to three months is recommended before introduction to other geckos.

Please read through our site for more information! We have entire sections devoted to crested gecko housing, handling, health, feeding, and breeding!

115 thoughts on “Crested Gecko Care

  1. Hi,

    I am about to get a crested gecko, but I have read all different stuff about how much and when you should feed them. Can you tell me how much and when you feed them. Also, I am going to keep him/her in a 20″ long, 10″ wide, and 12″ tall aquarium flipped on its side. Is that big enough.

    • For an adult, feed about 2 tablespoons 2-3 times a week. Babies and sub-adults eat less, so use bottlecaps to measure – a small water bottle cap for hatchlings, a plastic soda bottle cap for juvies, gatorade-sized cap for sub-adults. Sounds like it’s a 10 gallon tank, which is not ideal for an adult. We recommend 20 gallons for an adult.

    • Reptisafe won’t disinfect the plants. It only conditions drinking water (generally it’s a chlorine remover for tap water). If the plants are plastic, clean them as you would the cage. If they are live plants, you’ll want to wash them thoroughly with water. You can dip them in a 10% bleach solution if they are hearty plants. If they have pesticide/herbicide, grow them in a pot outside the tank for a month for any pesticides to dissipate.

  2. Hello! We just got our first created gecko, and we were worried about her photo cycle.We have her in a recessed area in our living room. The room is dark at night, but we are in the living room with a light on in the evening, and a few days of the week we get up before it’s light out. I would estimate she gets about 8 hours of total darkness a night. Is that enough darkness? Thanks!

    Susan

  3. Hey guys, my class is planning on getting a crested gecko as a mascot/class pet after half term, I’ve been doing loads of research to make sure it’s looked after properly, but something I’ve been hearing a lot about is feeding at night, is this necessary or not because I was planning on feeding it when got to school around 8 am, which allow for plenty of time to check it was feeding OK and was healthy.

    • Hi Benjy! Cresteds are nocturnal so while you can provide the food during the day, you won’t know until the next morning if he has eaten. I recommend feeding before you leave school in the afternoon so it’s not sitting around too long. You can leave it in longer, but it has the attention of attracting fruit flies which the school might not appreciate! If you find poop, he’s eating. Good luck!

  4. Sometimes my family and I visit my grandparents in Hot Springs (2 1/2 hours away) for a couple of days or a little more. If I put my gecko in a deli cup with paper towels and holes punched through the lid for the car ride and also brought along a large critter keeper for when we got to their house would that work? The subtrate would just be paper towels (temporary) and bring along its hideout and a vine and silk plant(and obviously food). The house is plenty warm and there is a safe place on a high up table. Would that work?

    • That could work, depending on how long you stay and how frequently you travel. Crested geckos don’t enjoy travel and it can disrupt their feeding schedule as they may not eat in a new enclosure. They do well unattended for a weekend trip, but should have someone spray or check their water bowls if it’s longer than 3 days. If you’ll be gone a week and don’t have someone to watch your gecko, bringing him along a couple times a year wouldn’t be a problem. Good luck!

  5. I appreciate that you point out that you should not try to sweeten the food if they aren’t eating. I can see why some people might be tempted to do this. My son has been wanting to get a lizard or gecko of some kind for his birthday. I’ll have to keep this in mind as I continue to research about them.

  6. I used to have a male crested gecko, he lived for about 7 years. All his life I fed him unsweetened applesauce with calcium powder with the occasional overripe banana and calcium dusted cricket, and he died a few weeks ago. I am thinking about getting a new gecko, and I was wondering if this diet was okay for a new gecko. Elliott (my old one) was very laid back and tame, he would lick your finger and let you handle him all you wanted, he even let me hold him by wrapping his tail around my finger before he threw it off. I was wondering if this was a result of consistent handling or the diet, and if that diet was okay for a new gecko.

    • I strongly recommend you feed a good commercial diet like Pangea and/or Repashy. Crested geckos have a long life span and 7 years is very young to pass of natural causes. In the past, there were recipes to provide a balanced diet with dusted fruits and insects, but unless you can provide a variety, it’s not likely they are getting all of the nutrients they need. Elliott probably got used to handling, and some geckos are naturally more laid back than others. Good luck with the new gecko, and stay away from applesauce (except as a very rare treat!)

  7. Hello, thank you for all this info. I purchased a crested gecko about 4 days ago. I have a great tank from exo-terrra build just for geckos. I am worried as he is not eating I have the repashy food mixed 1 part to 2 parts water. There is no poop and the caps are not touched through out the night. He or she not too sure lol is about 3 months old. Any suggestions? Also when I mist at night sometimes he/she is out… Is it okay to mist directly onto the gecko? Thank you.

    • It can take a few weeks before they feel comfortable eating. It’s very difficult to see poop from a young gecko especially in a naturalistic enclosure. You can try mixing the food a little thinner or thicker to see if he likes it better. It’s fine to mist the gecko directly but they may not enjoy it. ;)

  8. What kind of water should I use for mixing CGD and misting? Is plain tap water OK since that’s the easiest or would it help to let it sit in the bottle for 24 hours? If that doesn’t work can I use distilled water? One more question, does the plastic from mist bottles affect and contaminate the water? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Sandy! Filtered tap water or distilled water are both fine. Distilled is actually preferred by some CGD manufacturers, as high pH levels (hard water) can disrupt mold inhibitors (not all brands use them, however). I would still mist with filtered tap water as distilled water has no minerals which can be harmful if consumed in excess – mixing it with CGD is fine as that is providing balanced nutrition. I have not heard of issues with the plastic of mister spray bottles, but to be safe keep them out of direct sun and heat. You can also buy BPA free and food grade quality bottles, but they will be more expensive. Good luck!

  9. I believs my female crested gecko has a bacterial infection on her vent and there is a bump below the vent. I believe that is build up. Is there any home treatment I can provide for her until I go to the vet tomorrow?

    • Soaking in shallow water at 75 degrees (not hot) for a half hour may help, just enough to cover her vent. But the vet will provide the most help so please get her to a good reptile vet as soon as you can. Good luck!

  10. Hi, I’ve had my crested gecko for about 4 years now. I feed him Rapashy or Pangea (mix it with bottled water) daily. He also gets crickets 1-2 times/wk on average. The first two years we had him, we handled him a fair bit. About two years ago, he dropped his tail. (He jumped out of the cage and was running across the living room; my mom tried to catch him by the tail.) After dropping his tail, he became very squeamish and was afraid of everything. Then suddenly, about a month ago, he became very aggressive and now attacks (and bites) whoever goes near his cage/opens the door. (It’s become a major cat and mouse game to feed him now.) Any idea what may be causing the sudden aggression? (Anytime I come near the cage, he jumps toward my shadow/movement and he starts sniffing very loudly (as though he is searching for live food). The other day, I decided to hold my hand out to let him sniff it (thinking he would realize I was not a cricket). He sniffed my finger and then grabbed on to it like a pit bull. I was eventually able to distract him with my other hand so that he let go and leaped toward my other hand with mouth wide open…any idea what might be causing this sudden aggression?

    • Hi Ian! Males sometimes mistake human hands for female geckos, it is likely it is not aggression but mating behavior. Especially happens in the warmer months. Most eventually calm down but you might have to wait it out for a few months. You could try reducing the temperature and lighting to get him to cool (go into winter mode). Does he have enough space and hiding spots? This can at least give visual barriers between him and you when you do routine cleaning and feeding. Good luck!

  11. Hi I’m soon getting a creasted gecko for my birthday and I was wondering I all males are aggressive?if they are is there a way to make them non aggressive?thiss is my frist pet seance my mom won’t let m have any other reptile.is it ok not to hav see other geckos.

    • A single gecko is recommended, especially for a first time owner. Not all males are aggressive, most cresteds, male or female, are generally docile. Find a breeder who can tell you which of their available geckos are calmer, or ask to handle the geckos at the pet store. However, the stress of a new environment can make them very stressed out, which makes them more likely to gape their mouths open and even bite. Most don’t continue this behavior once they are settled in so it’s best to leave them alone for a few weeks (besides feeding and cleaning) so they can settle in. Good luck!

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