Crested Geckos are regarded as one of the best beginner reptiles that you can keep as pets.
They are also called cresties. These are the hardy pets and will thrive well if kept in the right set-up.
You will surely find crested gecko a perfect pet for your household as it comes in different stunning colors and prices.
Another great thing about the gecko is that you don’t have to feed it live insects.
This is an added advantage if you are the type that does not like to feed your pet with live animals.
This article is about all the things you need to know before you decide to buy a crested gecko.
What To Look For When Buying a Gecko as a Pet?
Crested geckos are among the popular gecko kept as pets because they are easy to care for and have a long lifespan. Although you will find crested geckos at most of the pet stores, it is best to buy from a reputable breeder.
Before you buy a gecko, you can check if it is healthy. A healthy gecko does not have visible pelvic bones or ribs. Geckos do not like to be handled, and it is best if you avoid handling them. Geckos rarely bite but can if they are stressed.
However, a crested gecko bite is not venomous or has much consequence.
Lifespan of Crested Gecko
A pet’s lifespan plays a huge role in getting and preparing for a pet.
In the wild, the crested geckos’ lifespan is still a lot unexplored since they were just introduced as pets some decades ago.
It faces dangers in the wild such as diseases and predators.
However, some sources claim that it can live for around 4-5 years in the wild and that most geckos die in their first year.
In captivity, crested geckos can live for around 15-20 years.
It needs a long-term commitment, and it is best to decide from the start of this commitment.
Although predators cannot attack geckos in captivity, it can get sick or attacked by other pets in their enclosure.
Crested Geckos can have a long life span because of three major things, namely: genetics, care, and diet.
Crested Gecko Care
Crested Geckos are omnivores and will feed on both plants and animals.
In the wild, it generally feeds on spiders, small lizards, insects, small birds, and small rodents. It can feed on plants like fruits and flowers.
Crested Geckos loves hunting and chasing food, and you can add crickets to their food in captivity.
In captivity, you can opt for a commercial crested gecko diet that provides a well-balanced and nutritious diet for them.
You can supplement the commercial diet with crickets and other prey insects, such as roaches, silkworms, waxworms, etc., to build their hunting instincts.
It is best to feed your geckos in the evening.
You should try to feed juvenile geckos daily while adults can be fed just three times a week. If you are planning to feed your gecko with prey, ensure that the prey is smaller than the space between the gecko’s eyes.
The prey should be gut loaded before you feed the gecko, also dust it with calcium and vitamin D3 supplement 2-3 times a week.
Animals usually synthesize vitamin D from sunlight in the wild. The skin of animals then helps to convert the ultraviolet light into Vitamin D3.
Although many people believe that crested gecko is nocturnal and does not need vitamin D3, you need to supplement about 4,000 IU/KG of vitamin D3 in their diets.
You can include vitamins into their diet by feeding your geckos with a commercial crested gecko diet.
However, if you are feeding your geckos with insects, you will need to supplement vitamins into their diet. Remember that you need to feed your geckos with prey smaller than the space between its eyes.
The prey will then be gut loaded and then dusted with vitamin D3 before you feed it to your geckos. Add Vitamin D3 supplements 2-3 times a week into their food is a good idea.
Calcium Powder Supplements Needed
Crested geckos need calcium not only for its bone strength but for proper body functionality.
You will notice that most of the reptile supplements out there have calcium but little or no vitamins and minerals.
If you want a balanced meal for your pet, it is best to opt for a commercially prepared powdered diet.
With a commercially made powdered diet, you will not have to calculate the calcium to phosphorus ratio or worry about not providing a balanced diet for your pet.
Adding these powdered diets with live insect feeders when you are feeding your gecko is not a must if you can train your cresties to eat calcium powder.
Geckos Substrate: What is the Best Substrate for Gecko?
The suitable substrate for crested geckos needs to retain moisture and helps to maintain the humidity levels of its enclosure.
You also need to get a substrate that is clean as well. Some of the best substrates that you can use are moss, orchid bark, cypress mulch, coconut fiber bedding, or peat, and you can also use paper or paper towels.
If you have crested geckos that ingest substrate while hunting, you should opt for moss or paper towels substrates. It is best if you use paper towels substrate for juvenile geckos because they can accidentally swallow other substrates.
In their tank, you also need to provide resting and activity areas for your geckos.
It is best to provide an excellent landscape material that includes cork bark sections that can be used for vertical and ground level shelters and a climbing area.
Geckos Lighting: What are the Lights Need for Geckos?
Reptiles such as crested geckos are ectotherms, which means its body temperature is different from its environment.
It is best to provide your geckos with a suitable temperature range for feeding and several other activities.
You will also need a thermometer to record the accurate temperature of its tank.
The suitable day temperature for crested geckos is between 78-82°F.
However, it can drop to about 70°F during the night. The best way that you can provide heat for your crested geckos is with a low-wattage incandescent bulb or ceramic heat emitter.
You will need to keep a side of the tank unheated, so your geckos can use the cooler area to regulate their body temperature. Using of a sub-tank reptile heat pad or heat pad under a tank side that is regulated by a thermostat is a great option for it.
You can add additional light by a fluorescent bulb that runs through the length of your tank if you have live plants in your tank.
You do not need to provide UVB light for your gecko if their diet contains Vitamin D3.
Crested Gecko Morphs
Crested geckos offer pet lovers a wide range of cute color & morphs as it comes in a wide range of pattern, color, and traits.
This means there is a wide range of options to choose from. Some of the popular crested gecko morphs are stated below.
Patternless or Solid Crested Gecko
A patternless or solid morph, as its name implies, means a crested gecko does not have a pattern.
It has a solid color, but you may notice a row of cream-colored scales around the back of the hind legs. You will find patternless morphs in different colors like brown, olive, orange, dark brown-black, yellow, red, and cream.
Bicolor Crested Gecko
Bicolor Crested gecko has two colors. One is a base color while the other is lighter, and you will find it running along the back or dorsal part of the gecko.
Bicolor morphs can come in a different color, just like patternless morphs, but there is a contrasting pale hue around the dorsal area.
Tiger Crested Gecko
Tiger morphs have a light base color and a darker band that runs vertically from the dorsal part down to the sides of the gecko.
Although you will find these morphs in different colors like patternless and bicolor, it is usually in a shade of beige or brown.
Brindle Crested Gecko
This is another morph of crested gecko that looks like the tiger morphs. However, the bands of patterns do not run up and down but are broken and have a marble look.
Flame Crested Gecko
Flame crested geckos morph looks like bicolor morph, but their base color has a more defined lighter color along its back.
The main difference between flames and bicolor is that the secondary color is more contrasted and is lighter than the base color. Flames crested gecko has little or no pattern on its laterals or limb part.
Harlequin Crested Gecko
Harlequin crested geckos look similar to flames gecko but have more patterns. You will see more pattern along its sides and legs, and it comes in a wide range of colors.
Another morph is the extreme harlequin, which is even with more color, and there is a contrasting color on the upper lateral area.
Pinstripe Crested Gecko
Pinstripe crested gecko has raised scales that run down the entire length of their body, connecting to the tail.
The raised scales may be highlighted with cream color or not.
Pinstripe crested gecko has many different morphs like cream pinstripes, reverse pinstripes, partial pinstripe, quad pinstripes, and phantom pinstripes.
Furry Crested Gecko
Furry crested gecko features raised scales around the edges of the dorsal area.
Furry crested geckos have raised scales just like the pinstripe crested geckos, but it is in a more sporadic arrangement.
Dalmatian Crested Gecko
This is a popular trait on most of the crested geckos, no matter the visible traits. You will find dalmatian spots in varying sizes on the gecko’s body.
The dalmatian trait usually does not show during a young age but will show as the gecko develops with age.
Some of the other morphs of crested geckos are lavender crested gecko, drippy crested gecko, solid back crested gecko, tricolor crested gecko, creamsicle crested gecko, white wall crested gecko, and Halloween crested gecko.
Crested geckos use their prehensile tail to wrap around objects such as vines and branches and are used for maintaining their stability. They also use it to wrap around their owners’ fingers while handling them.
However, the crested gecko can drop or self-amputate their tail when they are stressed or threatened.
Unlike some geckos, crested geckos cannot regenerate their tail once it is dropped.
In the wild crested geckos drop their tails to wriggle away from predators.
This is why most of the adult geckos found in the wild do not have tails.
You will need to keep your gecko healthy, make sure their environment is stress-free, and handle them gently so that it will not drop its tail in captivity.