Tailless Crested Gecko
Crested Geckos, formerly known as Rhacodactylus ciliatus and recently re-classified as Correlophus ciliatus, are native to Southern Grand Terre, New Caledonia and at least one small surrounding island (Isle of Pines). Crested Geckos are semi-arboreal, spending most of their time in small trees and low shrubs. They will however, seek out hiding places near the ground to sleep during the day. Crested Geckos feed on both insects and fruits and in most cases can be kept at room temperature. The crested geckos ease of care, unusual appearance, and unlimited breeding potential, has contributed to their exploding popularity. There is no doubt that Crested Geckos are indeed one of the best pet lizards available today.
Because Crested Geckos are so versatile and hardy, they can be kept in a number of different types of enclosures. Cresteds can be maintained in simple conditions or in elaborate naturalistic vivariums. Hatchlings to four month old crested geckos can be housed in 10 gallon aquariums or similar plastic keepers. In some cases, young geckos housed in large cages will not eat well. To avoid that we recommend that geckos less than 12 weeks old be housed in cages no larger than a 10 gallon aquarium. Four month old to adult crested geckos should be housed in a 20 gallon tall aquarium or larger. Three adult cresteds can be comfortably housed in a 29 gallon aquarium. Screen Cages have also been used with great success as long as an effort is made to keep the humidity up.
crested gecko terrariumKeep in mind that regardless of what type of cage you use, that height is more desirable than length or width, particularly with adult geckos. There are now many glass and screen cages and terrariums that are designed specifically to house reptiles. These reptile specific terrariums have many advantages over aquariums designed for fish, and should definitely be considered even though the cost is a bit higher. The Exo Terra 12x12x18 terrarium is an ideal set up for a single adult gecko or pair.
Temperature, Heating, and Lighting
Temperatures for crested geckos should be maintained between 72 and 80 degrees for most of the year. At temperatures of 85 degrees or warmer, crested geckos will become stressed, which could lead to illness or death. Cresteds can tolerate night time temperature drops down into the mid 60's but it is not necessary to provide this type of night time drop. A two month cooling period is recommended to allow breeding crested geckos time to rest. During this period temperatures should be kept at 65 to 70 degrees.
A photo period of 12 to 14 hours of light is appropriate for most of the year, with ten hours of light being appropriate during the cooling period. Lighting is most easily achieved with the use of fluorescent lights placed directly on the cage top. This will facilitate both the requirements of the geckos and any live plants within the enclosure should you choose to have them. It is unnecessary to use UVB lighting for crested geckos. For large collections consider lighting the entire room with natural or artificial light. Crested Geckos may cease breeding and laying eggs if they are given less than 12 hours of light. In most situations room temperature is adequate for crested geckos,Gecko Heat Bulb Nocturnal as long as the temperature stays within 70 to 80 degrees. If you are attempting to breed your Crested Geckos, temps should be kept between 75 and 78 degrees. Use a good digital thermometer with a temperature probe to monitor the environment. If temps cannot be kept in this range, a nocturnal black/blue heat light can be suspended above the cage for 24 hour heat. This type of light also allows for nocturnal viewing. Crested Geckos are not disturbed by this wavelength of light so it will not interrupt their photoperiod. Ceramic infrared heaters have also been used successfully, however these do not provide any visible light, making it difficult to view the geckos when they are most active.
Crested geckos do require moderate humidity. In most cases this can be accomplished by misting the cage once or twice a day. A good hygrometer or thermometer/hygrometer combo meter is a valuable tool. Ideally the humidity level should not drop below 50%. Crested geckos should get several hours of higher humidity (80-100%) every day to ensure that they shed properly. Misting heavily once or twice a day will achieve the required higher humidity levels. It is very important to allow the cage to dry to normal humidity levels in between mistings. If the cage is wet and humid all of the time, problems with shedding and bacterial infections can arise.
Diet and Feeding
Crested geckos can be fed a number of different ways. In this section I will outline the different methods of feeding them in captivity.
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