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 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”.
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.
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! This 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.