Crested Gecko Care Guide

Let’s start with the basics! The scientific name of Crested Geckos is “Correlophus ciliatus” and they are a member of the Diplodactylidae family. These geckos natively live in the country of New Caledonia, fairly close to Australia. Crested Geckos are arboreal, meaning that they like to climb and prefer a vertical enclosure rather than a horizontal one.

What kind of enclosure should I get?

Juveniles

When you house a juvenile or baby Crested Gecko, you have to keep in mind that they aren’t quite as smart as we would all like to believe. They can get lost in an enclosure and won’t be able to find their food, or become stressed if it’s too open and there aren’t enough places to hide. Here at Gecko Fancy, we personally love to recommend the ZooMed Creatures Habitat Kits for Juveniles up to 15-20 grams. These kits include a vertical terrarium measuring 8.5 inches deep, 8.72 inches wide, and 11.75 inches tall alongside soil, a cork hide, and a plastic hanging plant. We’ve found that for our juveniles, the size and combination of items in the kit is perfect and allows them enough room to explore but not enough to get lost or stressed. If you opt to use the soil included in the kit, make sure to monitor that your gecko isn’t accidentally ingesting any when eating or hunting. We personally don’t have too many geckos that do this, but it can happen so it’s definitely something to watch out for.

If you want to go the DIY route, we love 6 quart tubs! Just make sure that you provide plenty of small ventilation holes to ensure air is still able to flow through. If you make them too big, your gecko might be able to escape. We recommend using a drill for evenly sized holes that are the perfect size. Looking for something a little fancier? Check out your local Container Store for tall shoe box bins, or our personal favorite are the stackable clear shoe bins from Costco! They come in sets of 4 for a little over $30 in our area, so the price point is great.

Adults

For our adult Crested Geckos, this is when it really gets fun with options! Enclosures are very personal, and honestly trial and error. What some keepers prefer is different from others, and it’s the same for the animals too. We have lots of geckos who prefer slightly smaller areas or they get stressed, and lots of geckos who prefer more room to roam. For us, we’ve found a happy medium is at least 18 inches tall. If you find yourself with a gecko that prefers to sleep upside down, we like to switch them to an enclosure around 10 inches tall in order to curb the upside down sleeping and in turn, prevent floppy tail syndrome (FTS).

There are lots of amazing fully built-out kits on the market, like the Exo Terra 12x12x18 or 18x18x24 Crested Gecko Kits or the Thrive Tropical Reptile kits available at PetSmart. For us, we like to build our own acrylic conversions from aquarium tanks. We start with a 20 gallon long fish tank and adhere the acrylic front to create a DIY vertical terrarium at a much more affordable price.

Terrarium aside, we prefer bioactive enclosures. More on that in our Enclosure posts!

What do they eat?

These geckos are relatively easy to feed with a number of complete diets available on the market! Crested Geckos are “fruitivores” and consume mostly fruit with a recommended mix of live insects like crickets or dubia roaches. On the market right now, the most popular food is the Pangea complete diets. Our geckos personally prefer the diet with insects added! We also add in a blend of additional items we like to call “Fancy Eaters” to help increase appetite and growth. We feed our geckos three times a week, but recommend that you remove uneaten food 24 hours after you initially put it in the enclosure for them to eat — this helps to prevent mold!

Recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of success with growing juveniles and hatchling geckos by adding honey to our complete diets. It’s also extended the amount of time a batch is good in our refrigerator! We always recommend using locally produced honey, just like for people!

When it comes to water, we like to provide clean spring water for our geckos during feeding!

How does humidity work?

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We’re located in Arkansas, a naturally very humid environment. This allows us to maintain ideal humidity levels just through regular misting. If you live in a drier climate, we recommend misting more to increase your ambient humidity in enclosures! From our experience, we like to let the humidity rise to around 80% right when we mist and prefer humidity to sit around 60% normally. Of course, every gecko and setup is different, so experiment a bit and find what works best for your gecko!

How often do I clean?

With our bin enclosures, we like to replace paper towels weekly or as necessary (some geckos are messier than others!) Between paper towel changes, we spot clean as necessary. We thoroughly clean out all of our bins about once every other week, and that seems to work perfectly for almost every one of our geckos! If you find yourself with a messier than normal gecko, try cleaning more often.

If you work with a bioactive enclosure, we never fully clean out the tanks. That’s truly the beauty of swapping to bioactive! We spot clean the glass when it gets the inevitable poop or smeared food, but leave the cleanup crew (isopods) to do the dirty work.

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