BASIC INFO / CARE
Here you can find some of my tips about caring for your new crested gecko or gargoyle gecko. This page is a work in progress and I'm sure I forgot a lot of information so feel free to ask any questions.
Crested Geckos ( or Correlophus Ciliatus) originated in New Caledonia, which is a small grouping of islands 750 miles off the East coast of Australia.
Crested geckos have an average lifespan of 12-15 years. Adults grow to about 4-4.5" snout to vent and 8" including tail. Males and females grow to the same size.
They are an easy “beginner” gecko since they are forgiving of temperatures so typically don’t need extra light or heat and are comfortable in room temperatures. More on that later.
They stay on the smaller size but not too small. Cresties will tolerate moderate handling for short periods of time and really get to know their owners.
They are nocturnal, so lots of fun to watch at night while wearing a headlamp :)
I will go over some info here about their care etc… but I am always available for any questions. There is also a fantastic Facebook Group that I help to moderate.
So now you have decided you want a gecko….now what? First after researching their care, you’ll need a home for your new baby. No heat source is needed for these geckos, unless your house regularly is under 66 degrees. They thrive best at room temperature of 72-78 degrees.
I recommend keeping your baby gecko in a small enclosure so that they feel safe, and can easily find food without venturing too far away from their comfort zone. I sell a baby kit at shows that is a 7 quart sized shoebox type of tub. These are fantastic for babies since they are easy to clean and help to hold in humidity and are stackable when you realize that it’s even MORE fun to have multiple geckos :)
The tubs will need ventilation and I’ve found that the best way is to drill a circle in the door or cut a square out using a soldering iron (this looks like crap but works great.) The BEST way is to use a 3” hole bit and a drill to make a hole in the door. After you have the hole, you can just glue the screen like before OR you can add a really nice looking screen hole vent cover.
ROUND SCREEN VENTS
If you don't buy these vents, you can use window screen from your hardware store and cut a small square and use a hot glue gun to attach it to the tub.
I house all the geckos ALONE. I feel that they would rather be alone and not sharing their space with another gecko. Sure sometimes females can get along…..but why force that??
Plan for more tanks if you want more. Don’t make them conform to you any more than they have to already...plus injuries and bullying can happen.
Substrate - I used paper towels for the babies and a mix by Zilla called Jungle mix which you can find on Amazon and at some pet store.
Once your gecko is about 12-14g….you can move them up to their adult enclosure. My preference for that is a minimum of 12x12x18”. Some geckos are large and active and would benefit from an enclosure about 18x18x24.
A great choice is a tank from either Exo Terra or Zoo Med. They have those measurements and are just perfect.
My enclosure of choice is from DW Geckos. You can order these online from their site. They are black pvc so geckos love them for privacy. They are also super lightweight.
You can also make a larger version of the baby tub for your adults but this would be more for breeders etc since you really wouldn't get to see them very much this way.
For their diet I choose Pangea. This is a complete powdered diet that you can purchase on the Pangea site or on Amazon or Chewy etc.
They recommend 2:1 ratio for mixing but I prefer 2.5:1 since it tends to thicken up pretty quick.
I pour it out using a squirt bottle ....like the kind for ketchup. I would also store in the refrigerator if you only have a few geckos.
My geckos especially love Watermelon, Insect and Breeder’s Formula.
This is VERY important for their diet but equally important are insects. This will help your gecko grow!!! I feed them Dubia Roaches and/or Banded Crickets. The insects need to be fed really well too otherwise what's the point? See more info on that below....
Here is my FEEDING SCHEDULE….
DAY 1 - PANGEA
DAY 2 - Leave the food in
DAY 3 - Take out food and NOTHING
DAY 4 - Offer Insects IF they show interest. If not, offer insects AND Pangea. I feed the dubia in bug dishes and for the crickets, I toss in about 4-5 for babies.
DAY 5 (START OVER)
INSECT DUSTING-FOOD - Before feeding insects to your geckos...you will need to make sure that they are gut loaded. This means the insects themselves have to eat something nutritious before you geckos take a bite of them....otherwise they aren’t as beneficial. I feed my insects a variety of items such as yams, sweet potatoes, greens (this doesn’t mean lettuce ...collard, turnip, endive, escarole mostly), carrots, and wholesome grains. You can purchase food online as well to keep in your insect container at all times in a dry form.
Pangea’s PIG insect chow
You can feed that dry or wet. I keep that in there and the veggies. You want to gut load 24 hours before you feed your geckos.
WATER -Mist your geckos DAILY....they get most water this way. Since they are mostly awake at night, I mist at twilight. In the small tubs you only want to give one wall of the tub a couple squirts. It's important not to get it too wet in there since geckos like these need to be in a humid but NOT ALL WET environment. They are not frogs. It's good to have a drying out period in between misting them.
Try not to get the paper towel too wet. If you ever start to see mold or mildew growing....clean well and then fresh paper towels and less misting.
I also offer water in bowls as well and they do use them. Introduce water bowls to them when they are young.
To dust my bugs....I use MINER-ALL INDOOR. This has the D3 for reptiles that live inside. I also use Herptivite once a month. There are other calciums out there but this is what I use.
LIQUID CALCIUM - I use this for my breeding females.
WATER - I use either RO water that I purchase at the local reptile shops or just jugs of “Drinking Water” this in my mister and all my water bowls and in my humidifier. If you spray them w/ tap water...it can be too harsh for them and will leave spots all over.
MISTER - Sure you can just use a spray bottle for one or a couple but it kills my hand as much as I spray. I started out getting this one....works great!!
Later I got this one.....more geckos.. bigger sprayer.
HUMIDIFIER - Depending on your room and the humidity levels....you may need a humidifier. I mostly use mine in the winter since I keep up with the misting.
Be sure to ONLY use distilled water and a cool air humidifier. This is the new one that I just got so hopefully it will work well.
RAMEKINS - These are the best bowls for water and insects. I add one of these in EVERY baby tub. I keep them full of water to help add humidity to each enclosure. When it’s bug night...I just dump out the water, dry it out with a paper towel and then add dubia. The best size for babies is 1 ounce. For the adults...the 2 ounce ones work great. 6 for 10.00
I also really love these for the adults....the small size. The large size is fantastic for bearded dragons.
To use them as bug feeders....and to teach your geckos to use them ....I start babies right away and put the bowl right in front of the foam perch. Geckos eat best when they are leaning down from a perch so this goes the same for their food bowls.
Crested geckos are usually open to being handled and with regular contact, can become very tame. Sit on the floor and let your gecko walk from hand to hand at their own pace. Your body temperature is a bit warm for them with prolonged contact….so keep your sessions short, like about 15 min at most. You will learn to read your geckos behavior and know when he/she has had enough. I recommend handling in the daylight hours when they are not as active. Be sure to wake them up first so they are not as startled.
When handling your gecko, never hold or grab them by their tail. They have a natural ability to drop their tail as a defense mechanism.
If they do drop their tails….THEY WILL NOT GROW BACK. This isn’t the end of the world though. If this happens, keep a close eye on the wound and keep the tank very clean and if not using paper towels ...move them to a temporary tub on paper towels for a few days until it’s all healed.
Cresteds are great at jumping so practice hand walking with them while sitting on the floor and don’t panic if they jump down. Just be still and slowly scoop them back up from underneath. They are typically afraid of objects coming at them from above and do lots better lifting them from under their chin/body.
Each crested has it’s own individual personality and some are easier to handle than others.
Here is a little video that I’ve added on handling your baby crested….
HANDLING YOUR BABY CRESTED GECKO