Since crested geckos were “re-discovered” in 1994, we don’t have a good history of comparative data on how long they live, either in the wild or in captivity. They have only been commonly kept since around 2000, but we do have some data from other New Caledonian geckos, such as leachianus, chahoua, and auriculatus (Gargoyles) to base our estimate.
A properly cared for crested gecko should live to be at least 15 years. In fact, even longer is a possibility as adults collected in 1994 were still around in 2014. Some estimates go as high as 30 years! As for breeding, some females may breed throughout their lives but usually their peak is between 4-10 years of age.
Female reptiles in general seem to have a decreased lifespan due to breeding, which not only puts a strain on their nutrition stores (especially calcium), but also runs the risk of emergency health situations such as egg binding and prolapsed cloaca. Unfortunately, reptiles these seem much more common in captivity than in the wild – possibly due to improper care, fast growth, or unique needs we don’t yet understand. Our advice for reptile keepers looking for a pet is to buy a male juvenile or sub-adult, as reproduction issues are generally not as likely.
Here are some tips to make sure your crested gecko reaches his or her full life expectancy:
- Feed a high-quality crested gecko food
- Provide a proper enclosure with appropriate substrate
- Allow adequate hydration with a large water bowl
- Keep the enclosure clean, disinfecting as needed
- Have appropriate supplements on hand (especially calcium)
- Treat parasites and disease quickly with guidance from a good reptile vet
Weigh your gecko during regular cleaning or at least once a month and discuss drastic weight loss with a qualified vet
We have more details available on our crested gecko health pages.
Breeders can take some steps to increase the lifespan of their producing females.
- Keep their weight to around 40 grams at all times
- Feed a high-quality crested gecko diet
- Supplemented insects are a healthy treat
- Provide a laybox at all times which can serve as a humid retreat
- Give females at least 4 months of rest between breeding seasons
Despite some common husbandry issues, crested geckos are still an easy to care for pet. Even the most prolific breeder can live a long and healthy life with proper care.