These reptiles are among the many animals that have put up a brave fight against the harsh survival conditions, and to date, they have managed to thrive again. They are becoming more popular by the day, and as of now, they are very common in the United States and the rest of the world. Crested geckos originate from Caledonia, Australia, which is a semi-tropical island. The name crested gecko came from the fact that these animals have a chest-like marking on their back, neck, and over their eyes. These reptiles are timid and friendly in nature. They allow their owners to handle them with care, and they are easy to maintain. This, therefore, means that as an aspiring owner, if you are interested in a pet reptile, then you should consider having a crested gecko.
The crested gecko is a climbing reptile that has paddling under its toes, and this explains why you will often find your gecko calling the walls of the terrarium. Another interesting fact about crested geckos is the fact that they can drop their tails, but it does not grow back again. They get a small nub instead of a new tail, and this mainly happens to the adult geckos.
CRESTED GECKOES’ NATURE AND APPEARANCE
These reptiles are nocturnal in nature, and this basically means they spend the day sleeping and they are active during the night. They love climbing, and they like climbing vertically to hunt down their prey. Due to the harsh climate of their place of origin, they are hardy animals. They can live for long under proper care. Both the male and female crested gecko can have a size of 8 feet as an adult. They are all ready to reproduce at the age of 15 to 18 months, and their average weight s 35 grams.
This care guide concerns an adult crested gecko, but most of the things are applicable to the baby and juveniles too. There is only a slight difference that has to do with their small size. One of the most vital aspects about these reptiles is they should be kept alone. You can at times keep female geckos together, but if you can avoid it, it is important to never keep multiple geckos together. To be able to give the geckos the best possible care, it is crucial to learn all the aspects of their care through all answers to the asked questions.
GETTING A CRESTED GECKO TO ADJUSTED TO THEIR NEW HOME
When you bring the crested gecko to your home, it is advisable that you give it at least two days to adjust and get used to the new environment before you can start interacting with them. After bringing them home, place them in their enclosure immediately you get home and give them room to explore the cage and they should not be disturbed much. By then, you should have already y put food on the bowls and some water. Despite the fact that they tolerate being endless, they do not like being handled for a long period, especially when they are new. Instead of being picked up, the crested gecko will prefer running to your arm freely.
As an owner, you need to be very patient with these reptiles since they may take some weeks before they can fully be comfortable with you. During the first days, you should avoid handling them completely. During the first days, the crested geckos might be a bit shy whenever you make a move, but as time goes and they get used to their new surrounding, smell, sound, and sights, their confidence will grow, and that is when they will begin to bond with you.
GETTING THE CRESTED GECKO ADJUSTED TO YOU
After your gecko has gotten used to the new environment, the next step is to help them adjust to you and create a bond. You should always be speaking to your geckos and let them get used to your presence. You will have to interact with your crested gecko by regularly taking out his food bowl and giving him fresh food and water. This way, the crested gecko will easily be interested in you, and you will no longer be a threat to him, and you will notice that whenever you open the door, they will no longer run and hide. After noticing this, it is now time to take the first steps in handling and taming.
The first steps are fairly simple, and it should not take looming before taking them. You should open the door and let your hand inside and let it hand there for a few minutes. At this moment, you should not try to grab the crested gecko. You should instead let it hang freely inside, and the gecko might get interested in exploring your hand. You should not also try to get the gecko out of the enclosure at this point. You can now get your hand outside the enclosure and close the door. At this point, you are now starting to tame your crested geckos so that you can be able to handle it with ease.
HOUSING THE CRESTED GECKO
The crested gecko is a small animal, and therefore a minimum of 20-gallon tank is enough, but you can also provide a bigger one if you have enough space. These reptiles are active, arboreal and they need a lot of vertical space for climbing, and this explains why it is advisable to provide a tall tank. Despite the fact that it is not encouraged to house more than one crested gecko in one tank, you can decide to house two of them, and the tank should at least be 29 gallons. This, however, applies to the females, and you should never house males together; since they are territorial, they might resort to fights and cause injuries to each other. To allow good ventilation within the enclosure, you can use a glass terrarium with a screened side.
It is also important to make sure that the enclosure has a mix of branches, cork barks, driftwoods, bamboo, and vines at a variety of heights and orientations to give the gecko enough room to climb. You can also add a variety of sturdy and live plants as they will sometimes be hiding on the plants for cover. To ensure there is hygiene inside the enclosure, you should every day remove all the uneaten food and spot clean to remove all the droppings. You should do a deep cleaning inside the enclosure and all the decorations in it at least once a month, and this should be done using the reptile safe-disinfectants. The frequency of replacing the substrate will depend on the type you have used.
The reptiles are cold-blooded animals, and therefore, they need to regulate their body temperatures. The average temperatures during the day should be between 72 to 80 degrees F, while during the night, they should drop to between 65- and 75-degrees F. You should have the temperature gauges inside the cage to ensure it does not overheat. Whenever the crested geckos are exposed to overheating, they get stressed. The ideal source of heat should be a low-watt red nighttime bulb, and this bulb also gives you the opportunity to see the gecko at knight when it is active. You should ensure the heat source is not rested n the top of the enclosure as the gecko could climb and get burned.
The crested geckos are nocturnal, and this technically means they do not need special UVB lighting to thrive. However, some experts suggest some low lever UVB lighting world be so advantageous to the health of the creased gecko. You should be very careful of any additional light since it will raise the temperatures, and therefore you need to keep monitoring from time to time. The enclosure should also have a place to hide in case the reptile wants to hide from the light.
The crested geckos need moderate to high humidity levels to thrive. During the day, the average level should be 60 percent, while during the night, it should be 80. You should have a hygrometer in the enclosure to monitor the humidity throughout. To provide the humidity, you can do regular misting using warm water, filtered water. Depending on the setup of your cage, you may be required to mist it a few times every day to ensure the humidity remains high. As the crested geckos are active during the night, you should always ensure the humidity is always high. Some of the owners may not always be available, especially during the day, to do the misting physical, and therefore is advisable to get an automatic mister to do it at regular intervals.
Most pet owners use substrate to line the floor of the enclosures. Whenever you are selecting the type of substrate to use, you should consider the safety o your pet, the ease of cleaning, and if the substrate helps in retaining humidity. Some of the best substrates for a crested gecko include coconut fiber, peat, or moss. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel or newspaper although they are not attractive.
The crested geckos are usually at risk of ingesting the substrate as they hunt, and therefore if this is your case, you should consider using sphagnum moss or paper towels. The most recommended for the juveniles is the paper towels since they are likely to swallow the rest of the substrates. Despite the fact that the gravel or pebbles are attractive, they are not suitable substrates since they are difficult to clean regularly and thoroughly. You should avoid using reptile sand or non-organic soils since the geckos might swallow them.
FOOD AND WATER
Since the crested geckos are nocturnal, it is advisable to feed them in the evening. The juveniles should be fed daily, but the adults they should be fed three times a week. The most accepted way to ensure that your gecko has a well-balanced and nutritious diet is to feed them on a commercial diet. You should then supplement that diet with insects such as crickets, waxworms, and silkworms. It is not advisable to feed them on mealworms since they have a very hard skeleton that might be hard to digest. To enable your gecko to have exercise and learn how to hunt, you should feed them with as many insects at one time as the gecko eagerly waits.
The insects fed should be slightly smaller than the space between the eyes, and they should be gut loaded or fed some nutritious food before they are fed to the lizard. You can also dust the insects with calcium and vitamin D3 powdered supplements to boost your gecko’s vitamin and mineral intake. The dusting with supplements should be done once a week. The geckos will feed on fruits several times a week, and it is advisable to try feeding them on mashed fruits or jarred baby food. Some of the favorite fruits include bananas, papaya, peaches, mangoes, nectarines, apricots, pears, and passion fruits.
Suppose you find it a bit difficult finding the commercial food for your gecko; you can also feed it on insects and fruits. This is also another way you can feed your gecko properly and with a balanced diet. In this situation, you should always opt for the crickets, but you can also use the rest of the insects as an addition. Also, ensure that your crested geckos have enough clean snag fresh drinking water by providing it in a small shallow water dish. These reptiles love drinking water droplets from the leaves, and therefore, you can sprinkle some on the plants.
BREEDING THE CRESTED GECKO
Crested geckos are easy to breed. Female species can lay pairs of eggs after every six weeks up to eight times a year. The females need to copulate once to produce a season worthy of eggs—the eggs hatch in about ten weeks. The females must be allowed a winter cooling to replenish calcium supplies and regain body weight before laying more eggs.
Once the geckos are mature at the age of 1.5 to 2 years, they are ready to breed. After the breeding season, it is advisable to remove the males from the same cage as the females to give the females enough time to recover.
HOW TO HANDLE CRESTED GECKOS
As discussed earlier, the crested geckos are not the kind of animals that will just come close to you and want to cuddle with you. However, this does not mean they cannot be handled. The crested geckos are easy to handle, and most of them are handled. Some will not allow you t handle them, and whenever you make an attempt, they will run away and try to hide. In some rare cases, they will even bite you if you persist in handling them. As an owner, especially the beginners, if you have a crested gecko pet and he does not like being handled, do not be upset. You can take a little step into getting him used to being handled. However, if that does not work still, you will have to live with it. The crested geckos do not like cats and dogs, and their presence might stress them and affect their behavior.
It is always advisable to get your gecko used to being handled as soon as possible, but it is advisable to avoid handling the gecko until they are two weeks old. You might consider putting it on your hand so that he can get used to it. However, you should be very careful since the baby geckos are very jumpy and will get hurt if they fall on the floor. It is safe to start handling your gecko once it reaches a weight of 8 to 15 grams.
STEP BY STEP PLAN
You should always have in mind that the baby crested geckos should not be handled until they are at least two weeks old.
HOW TO HANDLE A CRESRED GECKO
- Slide your finger underneath the chin
You should never rush to grab the crested gecko, but instead, you should let it come to you by gently sliding a finger under the chin. Normally the gecko will start moving up your finger and end up in your hand.
- Lift your hand
When the crested gecko gets on your hand, you can gently lift it up, and this will encourage it to crawl up your arm like a tree branch.
- Sit down on the floor or bed.
Since we have already said that the baby geckos are jumpy and standing will increase the height, it is advisable to suit on the floor or a soft bed so that in case of a fall, the reptile will not be injured.
- Put Your crested gecko back.
Whenever you are done with handling your gecko, it is time to move it back into the enclosure. Place it near the ground of the enclosure or close to the walls, and they will crawl back into the enclosure with no difficultly.
THE Dos AND DONTS WHEN HANDLING CRESTED GECKO
Dos of Handling crested gecko
- Ensure the room is always quiet to keep your pet calm.
- Use the handling time to monitor health and weight
- Handling of crested gecko should be done during the day or in the evening when he is less active.
- Ensure the enclosure is closed properly so that the gecko does not escape.
Don’ts of handling a crested gecko
- Never force your crested gecko to be handled
- Never squeeze him, or hold him by the tail
- You should not be afraid of bites since they rarely bite, and in case, they do it does not hurt.
- Do not make sudden noise or movements.
- Never let your crested gecko fall from a great height onto the hard surface.
HOW LONG SHOULD PLAYTIME LAST
A new crested gecko should be handled for around one to two minutes a day before they get used. Whenever he starts feeling uncomfortable, it is time to get him back to the cage. The handling should be consistent but short so that it minimizes stress. Once the gecko has gotten used t the new home and has started creating a bond, you can increase the handling time to around 15 minutes. After approximately a month or so, you should have tame a crested gecko that enjoys interacting with you.
SAFETY TIPS FOR HANDLING
Handling a small pet like a crested gecko requires a high level of attention from you. This is especially in the beginning when you do not know how the gecko will react. To help you in handling your gecko, there are some safety tips that can be helpful to you;
- Never handle your crested gecko by the tail.
The tail of a gecko is very delicate, and it might, and they have a defense mechanism of dropping the tail whenever they feel threatened or stressed. Therefore, when you handle them by the tail, they might drop it in their bid to escape out of fear. The tail does not grow back.
- Hold out your hand when t jumps.
Whenever your gecko jumps, it is i9mportant to provide a soft-landing place. In the wild, the geckos land on the branches, but for those in captivity, they need something else to hang on to.
- Sit on the bed or ground.
The geckos mainly live in trees or plants. They sometimes leap into the air whenever they are scared. The height might be too high, and this may cause some injuries, and this is why you need to sit on the floor or bed so that you can reduce the landing height just in case they jump.
- Keep a paper towel in the vicinity.
As the gecko climbs on you, he might poop on you anytime. You should not just assume it and leave it the rut; instead, you should have the paper towel with you to wipe and throw it in the garbage bin.
- Understand the vocalizations
The crested geckos make different sounds to signify different things. They sometimes make a squawky and even chirping sound. When you notice that your pet is making a squeaking sound, it means that they want to be left alone, and it is high time you let them go back to the enclosure and relax.
CRESTED GECKO TAILS
In the wild, the crested geckos will normally lose their tail and end up with a tiny pointed tail nub. The tailless condition is a normal thing among adult geckos. In captivity, most pet owners want their animals with their tails intact, and that is why they need a lot of care, especially when handling to prevent loss.
THE CRESTED GECKO’S LIFESPAN AND HEALTH
IN captivity, a crested gecko can live for up to 20 years or more as long as they are well taken care of and they are fed with the proper diet. Just like any other reptile, they are healthy as their diet a and the moment they feed on the unhealthy diet, they start developing some health complications.
- Overfeeding may lead to obesity.
- Lack of enough calcium may lead to metabolic bone disease.
Calcium deficiency or careless breeding can lead to abnormally shaped legs as a large amount of calcium is required to form eggs. The feces of these animals should be part brown as well as solidified or liquid urine. There is no problem with the feces being runny, but if it is runny or bloody for a number of days, then you will need to consult a vet. As long they are hydrated and healthy, they should have no difficulty shedding their skin and are often found to be eating it. The humidity should be maintained at the recommended level, and after you have misted, you should wipe the glass wall down.
SIGHS OF A HEALTHY CRESTED GECKO
- Coming out at night to eat regularly
- Sleeping and hiding over the day
- Regularly licking their eyeballs
- Abnormal and bloody feces
- Sudden weight loss
- Darker skin than the usual
FINDING A VET
Before even getting a gecko, it is important to know a vet who has specialized in these animals so that you do not have to start looking for one when the geckos are already sick. Most vets are knowledgeable about treating common pets such as cats and dogs, and that is why you need some time to look for the specific vet who has knowledge of crested geckos. This might be a bit difficult, but you should do thorough research on the best specialist so that your pet will always land in safe hands.
CHOOSING YOUR CRESTED GECKO
The crested geckos are sold mainly because they are easy to maintain and take care of. Despite the fact that they are available in most pet stores, it is recommended you get one from a reputable breeder, and the average cost of one gecko is between 40 to 150 dollars, and this depends on the color and morphs. As you choose your gecko, ensure yours can climb well, has a straight pine, and has no visible ribs or pelvic bones. The gecko should appear lively with bright eyes and well a clean nose and fecal openings.
Generally, the crested geckos are beautiful reptiles that are easy to handle, manageable in size, long-living, attractive caging, and easy to feed. They lasso either feature at5ht attract most peplum to the reptiles, and this is why they are widely preferred. A crested gecko that is well taken care of, as highlighted in this article, will have a healthy life and will have a long-lasting bond with the owner.