Crested Gecko Care Page
Prepared by ReptiFiles
Crested geckos are a crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk), tree-dwelling species of gecko native to New Caledonia, a group of islands between Fiji and Australia. These geckos are omnivorous, eating fruits, nectar, and some insects. They usually measure about 8 inches long from snout to tail and have an average lifespan of 15-20 years. Crested geckos do not have eyelids, are able to walk up smooth, vertical surfaces, and can “fire up” when excited, making their colors more intense!
This Care Guide been curated by ReptiFiles.
ReptiFiles is an online database of comprehensive, science-based reptile care guides created by reptile husbandry specialist Mariah Healey. ReptiFiles’ primary goal is to promote a higher standard of animal welfare within the reptile industry.Read Full Care Guide
Crested Geckos at a Glance
Here are some core facts about crested gecko care:
Crested geckos are naturally found in New Caledonia.
4 out of 5: Good Handleability
Crested geckos are often quite tolerant of humans and can be great to handle. However, they are usually asleep during the day when humans are active. Check out the instructions in our Taming & Handling section to learn more about how to properly interact with your crested gecko.
Expected Weekly Dedication: 2 hours minimum
Crested geckos are sometimes recommended as a “first reptile” for children and adults alike. While they are relatively easy to care for, please note that even the easiest reptiles can be expensive and high-maintenance to keep, and children’s pets should always be supervised by an adult.
Daily chores may include misting the enclosure, preparing food, and spot-cleaning. Food and water dishes should be replaced or disinfected weekly, as well as any soiled surfaces.
The amount and frequency of spot-cleaning required will depend on whether your enclosure is bioactive or not. We'll cover these respective chores in the Enclosure Enrichment section.
- Readily available
- Easy to feed
Things to be aware of:
- Not very active during the day
- High humidity
- Heat sensitive
- UVB strongly recommended
- Can drop its tail if stressed
Crested geckos need at least an 18″ x 18″ x 24″ enclosure, preferably larger.
Reptiles aren’t like dogs and cats that can simply roam around your house. They are very sensitive to their environment, and need their own enclosure set up according to their specific needs. This guide covers everything you will need to care for your pet crested gecko properly.
Enclosure Size Requirements
Adult crested geckos should be housed in an enclosure that is no smaller than 18″L x 18″W x 24″H. This is the bare minimum, calculated according to the reptile’s average length and activity patterns.
However, if you can provide an enclosure with more floor space and height, do it! Housing your gecko in a larger enclosure will encourage it to be more active and demonstrate more natural behaviors.
Although it's safe to keep a baby in an adult-sized enclosure, it can be stressful for new keepers to find and feed their small hatchling in a larger space. Young crested geckos are often housed in a series of smaller “grow-out” enclosures to better keep track of such a tiny gecko, make food more easily accessible, and monitor their health during this vulnerable phase of life. These enclosures can be standard terrariums or modified Sterilite bins/tubs with a mesh-covered hole in the lid for ventilation.
|< 5 grams||6 quart bin/tub (optional)|
|< 12 grams||8″ x 8″ x 12″|
|< 20 grams||12″ x 12″ x 18″ (optional)|
|12-20 grams||18″ x 18″ x 24″ (optional)|
|≥ 20 grams||18″ x 18″ x 24″ (required)|
Although juveniles can be transferred directly to their adult enclosure after reaching about 12g, you may wish to provide multiple feeding stations until your gecko grows and becomes fully accustomed to the environment.
If you have or are planning to keep a young crested gecko in a smaller enclosure, there are some special accommodations you will need to make in terms of UVB and heating, which we will cover in the Lighting and Heating sections. Grow-out enclosures should still have all the same required temperatures, humidity, and climbing/hiding enrichment as an adult enclosure, just on a smaller scale.
Can multiple crested geckos be housed in the same enclosure?
We do not endorse the cohabitation of crested geckos, since we believe that the risks far outweigh the alleged benefits. Crested geckos are solitary by nature and do not need “friends,” they are perfectly content living alone. Some keepers still choose to house more than one gecko per enclosure, and while we don't support this, those who choose to do so should be fully aware of the risks:
Whenever you cohab a non-social species like crested geckos, you risk dominance/territorial fighting and resource competition, which can result in high stress, malnourishment, injury, and death. Cohabited geckos are very likely to lose their tails and sustain other mild to severe injuries. If any tail nipping, crest biting, weight loss, or otherwise unusual behavior is observed, the geckos must be separated immediately! The only way to fully avoid these behaviors is by not cohabiting in the first place.
Male + male = NEVER! Males WILL fight and injure or even kill one another.
Female + female = High risk of stress/injury, multiple females must “move in” at the same time be of similar size. Compatibility is not guaranteed.
Male + female = Guaranteed stress/injury, must be kept under close and constant supervision. Never cohab a male and female unless you’re trying to breed, they WILL mate and lay eggs! The most responsible breeding practice is to only put them together for several days during breeding season, not year round. You should not breed reptiles on a whim, it takes years of experience and preparation to breed safely and ethically.
2 geckos would need a bare minimum of 36” x 18” x 36” terrarium. For each additional gecko after that, another 5-10 gallons of space must be added. The more geckos sharing a space, the higher the risk of incompatibility and competition.
Crested Gecko Enclosure Examples
Photo contributed by Alina E.
Substrate is the material that you use to cover the floor of the enclosure. This aspect of the enclosure is important because it contributes to overall humidity levels. For best results, crested geckos should have at least 2-4″ of substrate. It’s a good idea to also have a drainage layer on the bottom, like Zoo Med Hydroballs or The Bio Dude’s Hydrogrow, to prevent the substrate from getting soaked and inhibit mold/bacterial growth.
The best substrate for crested geckos is a DIY mix of roughly 60% untreated topsoil + 40% coconut fiber (like Eco Earth). Topsoil must not contain any fertilizers, manure, or perlite/vermiculite - read the ingredients! Mix well, soak until muddy, then pack it firmly on top of the drainage layer or at the bottom of the enclosure.
You can also use a pre-packaged substrate, though this can be more costly than DIY. Here are some recommended commercial substrates appropriate for crested geckos:
Another option is a bioactive enclosure. Bioactive setups are designed to mimic a reptile’s natural environment and stimulate natural behaviors. DIY substrate, BioDude Terra Fauna, and Reptisoil can support bioactivity with the addition of a “cleanup crew” of isopods and springtails that clean up uneaten food, fallen leaves, and fecal remains, making bioactive substrates self-cleaning and incredibly low maintenance.
We recommend natural, loose substrates because they hold humidity better and are much more attractive. However, if heating is not perfect, loose particles can sometimes pose an impaction risk to geckos smaller than 13g. If you have a young crestie or just wish to skip the risk altogether, you can use paper towels until you're comfortable moving on to a natural substrate. Paper towels are also the ideal substrate for quarantine and “baby bins,” but must be spot-cleaned daily and replaced weekly.
Unsafe Substrates for Crested Geckos
These substrates are particularly dangerous to crested geckos because they pose major health risks. Avoid the following substrates at all costs and stick to the list in the previous section.
- Wood shavings, chips, or bark - impaction risk
- Pine/fir/cedar - irritates eyes/lungs & can cause neurological damage
- Reptile carpet - harbors bacteria, can rip out teeth/claws & break toes
- 100% Coconut fiber (Eco Earth, Plantation Soil) - expands in the stomach
- Shelf liner - produces dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- Linoleum - produces dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
When you first bring your new crestie home, you will need to quarantine for at least 1 month. This means keeping the enclosure as sterile as possible and closely monitoring the animal's health.
Paper towels are the best substrate for quarantine, as they can be frequently replaced and make it easier to observe feces and other potential health issues. Paper towels should be fully replaced at least once a week and any soiled areas must be replaced daily. Once your gecko has shown a clean bill of health, you can introduce your long-term substrate to the enclosure. Juveniles can be kept on paper towel for the duration of their time in a “baby bin” while you prepare their eventual adult enclosure with a natural substrate.
If you already have other reptiles in your home, you should extend the quarantine period to 3 months, keep the enclosure in a separate room if possible, and make sure not to share any tools or decor between your new gecko and other pets, unless fully sanitized between each use.
Reptiles are much more intelligent than we humans tend to give them credit for, and that means they need things to entertain them. Otherwise they exist in a state of perpetual boredom, which makes them dull, inactive, and overall less interesting as pets. When reptiles have objects to interact with in their enclosure, they become less stressed and more engaged with their environment. This practice is called environmental enrichment.
It’s important to choose enrichment items (a.k.a. enclosure decor) that are appropriate to your pet’s natural behaviors. Here are some objects that serve a vital function in a crested gecko terrarium:
Crested geckos are arboreal and love to jump, so a vertical climbing scape is essential. Branches, vines, cork bark/tubes, bamboo, and tall plants are all excellent options. They should be arranged throughout the enclosure at diverse angles (horizontal, diagonal, vertical), so the gecko can climb, jump, and rest at varying heights. Create at least one perch near the top of the enclosure that is fully exposed to the heat and UVB lamps for basking. The middle and bottom levels should have plenty of shady areas to rest and hide.
If you collect any wood from outside, give it a good scrub and bake at 250°F for about an hour &/or soak in a disinfectant compatible with porous surfaces, such as Clean Break or F10SC.
You’ll need to provide plenty of places for your crestie to hide and feel secure in its environment and to self-regulate UV, light, and heat exposure. Small, cozy, suspended hides like coconuts or lofts can be nestled amid the branches or attached to the walls. Plants with bushy or large leaves are also a great way to provide cover and emulate their natural environment.
Plant leaves, moss, and a proper substrate will help keep humidity levels in check, but choosing decor items that can accumulate water on the surface is great for gecko hydration, too! Cresties love to lick droplets from leaves after mistings.
In addition to providing necessary cover and climbing, live or artificial plants make an attractive addition to any enclosure. Make sure any live plants are nontoxic and suited to a tropical environment and artificial plants are cleaned and sanitized them before adding to the enclosure. Check out our list of gecko-safe plant options here. If you have live plants, consider installing a 6500K daylight lamp to help them grow and flourish.
Flat ledges attached to the walls or sturdy branches can serve as resting spots, basking spots, and feeding stations. Special “cup-holder” ledges are great for food and water stations, more on those in the Feeding Guide section!
Aside from helping your setup look nice, a good background can provide more climbing opportunities and help your gecko feel more secure if the terrarium is made of glass. A background should ideally cover 3 sides of the enclosure.
How do I keep my enclosure clean?
To control the growth of pathogens and keep your crested gecko’s enclosure hygienic and odor-free, it’s important to clean it regularly.
Spot-cleaning should be performed daily. This is the routine removal of uneaten food, feces, urates, and contaminated substrate. Food dishes should be cleaned or replaced 2-3x a week. Soiled surfaces and water dishes should be scrubbed with reptile-safe disinfectant and rinsed at least weekly. Solid substrate must be replaced or sanitized monthly, while loose substrate should be completely removed and replaced every 2-4 months, depending on how diligent you are about spot-cleaning. This is also a good time to completely clean the enclosure with an animal-safe disinfectant like F10SC or chlorhexidine.
If you have a bioactive enclosure, “cleaning” will be more like periodic maintenance: watering the plants, adding biodegradables, and feeding the CUC as needed. Substrate does not need to be replaced. Some spot-cleaning will still be required for urates and soiled surfaces. Food and water dishes should still be replaced or disinfected weekly.
You may also need to routinely remove water spots/mineral deposits from the glass of the enclosure. One of the most efficient ways to remove these is by scraping them off with a razor blade.
Crested geckos should have 2 types of lamps in their enclosure: A heat lamp (required) and a UVB lamp (strongly recommended)
UVB is important for healthy metabolism, specifically vitamin D synthesis and calcium metabolism, improving skin health, and strengthening the immune system. Vitamin D3 can be provided through fortified crested gecko diets and supplement powders, but relying on this method alone is less effective and more difficult to regulate, so we strongly recommend using a proper UV lamp as well.
UVA is beneficial to eyesight and is sensed by their pineal gland to regulate a circadian rhythm. UVA is emitted by both UV lamps and halogen bulbs.
Infrared radiation (i.e. heat) is important for reptiles' thermoregulation. As ectotherms, they rely on the heat of the sun to warm their bodies and stimulate their metabolism, digest their food, and stay alert and active. The shorter the wavelength, the deeper it can penetrate their muscle tissue. In captivity, we can provide this with specific heat bulbs that emit the most beneficial infrared wavelengths (IR-A and IR-B).
All light and heat should be kept on a regular schedule using outlet timers or done manually. This allows for a predictable day/night cycle which the gecko can follow, allowing for natural hormonal rhythms and good mental health. We recommend the following schedule for crested geckos, based on their natural environment:
|Spring||12hrs ON / 12hrs OFF|
|Summer||14hrs ON / 10hrs OFF|
|Fall||12hrs ON / 12hrs OFF|
|Winter||10hrs ON / 14hrs OFF|
Crested geckos benefit greatly from a UVB lamp in the enclosure. In addition to vitamin D3 synthesis, having a light in the enclosure helps regulate their day/night cycle, which is good for mental health and stimulates appetite. This should be provided with a 2-7% UVB output T5 or a 5% UVB output T8 lamp, depending on your setup. We recommend Arcadia or Zoo Med brand linear fluorescent tubes, as these are the best and most reliable UV lamps on the market.
The bulb should be ½ to ¾ the width of the enclosure in order to create an appropriate vertical UV gradient. So if you have an 18″ terrarium, you'll need a 12″ linear bulb.
Best UVB bulbs for crested geckos:
T5 bulbs last 12 months, while T8 and compact bulbs last 6 months before requiring replacement, as the UVB output decays over time. Off-brand UVB bulbs are likely to have shorter lifespans and unreliable output. Avoid coil UVB bulbs, as these cannot properly distribute a UV gradient throughout the enclosure.
The strength of the UVB lamp’s output varies according to distance from the bulb - stronger when closer, and weaker when further away. If you are using a Solarmeter 6.5 to measure your UVB lamp’s output, the UVI (UV Index) reading should be between 1.0-2.0 at the highest basking branch/surface and down to 0 at the lowest perch or substrate level.
If you don't have a Solarmeter, here is a rough estimate of how far away your basking surface should be, based on which bulb you are using:
|Arboreal ShadeDweller 2.4%||4-6” (BELOW MESH ONLY)|
|Arcadia or Zoo Med T8 5-6%||4-6”|
|Arcadia ShadeDweller 7%||8-10”|
All 5-7% lamps should be mounted above the mesh.
However, the Arboreal 2.4% is designed specifically for New Caledonian geckos and should always be installed inside the enclosure below the mesh, as per Arcadia's recommendation.
To optimize your UVB bulb’s performance, you will need a high-quality reflective T8 or T5 HO fixture, depending on your bulb of choice. The Arcadia ShadeDwellers (linked above) come in a kit that already includes a fixture. Otherwise, Zoo Med makes hood fixtures for T8 bulbs.
Hatchling/Juvenile Enclosure Lighting
If you have or are planning to keep a young crested gecko in a grow-out enclosure, you will need to make special accommodations for UVB. Hatchlings and juveniles should ideally have access to the same UVI range as adults, but grow-out enclosures are too small to achieve this without exposing the gecko to dangerously high levels of UV.
For this reason, it's common practice to avoid using UV lamps entirely for small grow-out enclosures under 18” in height. Raising geckos to 12g or so without UVB is unlikely to cause long-term harm, from what we've observed among breeders. Once the gecko is moved to a 12” x 12” x 18” or larger, UVB can be provided as per the guidelines in the above section. We recommend upgrading your gecko to a juvenile or adult-sized enclosure as soon as they reach about 12g, so they can benefit from UVB during crucial growth and developmental stages.
Crested geckos need access to a variety of temperatures within a certain range in order to properly regulate their metabolism:
- Basking area surface (top of enclosure): 82-85°F
- Cool area ambient (bottom of enclosure): 70-75°F
- Nighttime ambient (whole enclosure): 65-72°F
Ambient (air) temperatures should never stay higher than 86°F or lower than than 65°F!
All heat lamps should be plugged into an outlet timer or a thermostat with a built-in timer and set to the same schedule as the UVB and daylight lamps, allowing for a natural temperature drop and a healthy circadian rhythm.
The best way to create a proper basking area and heat gradient for your crested gecko is with a low-to-medium wattage dimmable heat lamp. The 2 best bulb options for crested geckos are:
Halogen Flood Heat Bulb (25-50w)
Halogen flood bulbs are particularly excellent because they produce lots of Infrared A and B, which are the same wavelengths of heat produced by the sun. These wavelengths penetrate deep into your gecko's body, providing a more efficient form of heating and reducing the amount of time a crepuscular gecko needs to bask.
Deep Heat Projector (50w)
DHP's produce lots of Infrared-B and a small amount of Infrared-A, making them the best alternative to a halogen heat bulb. These bulbs do not emit light, so they can be safely used day or night. If your home regularly drops below 65°F or you just want a lightless heat source, a DHP is the way to go.
Choosing which bulb to use can be tricky, since wattage and distance determine how much heat it will produce. A 40-50w bulb with a thermostat is usually great for cresties, but some setups may work better with a 25w. When in doubt, get a higher wattage and use a dimmer or dimming thermostat to achieve the perfect basking temperature.
Once you have a heat bulb, you will need a lamp to put it in. Our favorite is Fluker’s 5.5″ dimmable lamp, as the dimming feature enables you to dial down the bulb’s heat output if it gets too warm. Any fixture you choose should have a ceramic socket to ensure that the bulb doesn’t get too hot for the lamp (risking electrical fire). If you have a fixture with an on/off switch, we recommend pairing it with a dimming thermostat or a plug-in dimmer.
Cresties are sensitive to temperatures and can suffer heat stroke if the enclosure gets too warm and they don't have access to cooler areas. All heat sources should be connected to a thermostat with the probe on the basking surface to ensure a safe and healthy temperature range. A proportional (dimming) thermostat, like the Herpstat, is more efficient and convenient as it does all the dimming work for you, although they can be pricy. An on/off thermostat is the cheaper option, but is best used with a dimmable lamp or plug-in dimmer so you can more precisely control the heat output and extend the lifespan of the bulb.
Hatchling/Juvenile Enclosure Heating
If you have or are planning to keep a young crested gecko in a grow-out enclosure, you will need to make special accommodations for heat. Hatchlings and juveniles should ideally have access to the same temperature gradient as adults, but grow-out enclosures are often too small to achieve this with the same equipment.
An 8″ x 8″ x 12″ hatchling enclosure does not have enough room on top for a lamp. To provide your gecko with a supplementary heat source, attach a small, 4-5″ heat mat to one outer wall of the enclosure. The mat must be connected to a thermostat and set between 82-84°F. Place the thermostat probe between the heat mat and the glass/plastic of the wall to make sure your gecko is not exposed to temperatures any higher than 85°F. Turn the heat mat off at night, using the same day/night schedule you would for a lamp. While not as ideal as overhead heat, a mat is the safest option to bring up ambient temperatures and provide a slight gradient in such a small area.
A 12″ x 12″ x 18″ juvenile enclosure can use the same overhead heat lamp as an adult enclosure. You may have more luck with a 25w bulb, but this will vary depending on individual setups. Just make sure to connect your lamp to a thermostat, as always, and set it to the proper basking temperature.
Unsafe Heat Sources
These heat sources are particularly dangerous to crested geckos because they can pose major health risks and cause stress. Avoid the following heat sources at all costs and stick to the bulbs we recommend above.
❌ Colored bulbs
Red, blue, purple, and other colored light bulbs are inappropriate for almost all reptiles. They can wash out your gecko’s vision and make it harder to function normally. In fact, blue lights are known to potentially damage reptiles’ eyes!
❌ “Nighttime” bulbs
The idea that reptiles can't see red, purple, or “black” light is a myth! They may not be able to see the color, but they can still see the light. Using any lights at night can interfere with your gecko’s day/night cycle, causing stress and poor health.
❌ Mercury vapor bulbs
Mercury vapor bulbs and other heat+UVB combination bulbs (Zoo Med PowerSun, Exo Terra Solar Glo) are overpowered and dangerous for crested geckos, who need a low-heat, low-UVB environment to thrive. These bulbs can't be used with thermostats and can easily burn your gecko, so it's much safer to provide and control your heat and UVB separately.
❌ Heat rocks
Heat rocks (also known as hot rocks/rock heaters/etc.) are notoriously unreliable and many a reptile has lost its life due to severe burns caused by these devices. They’re also not a good choice for heating your enclosure, as it only warms the rock’s surface, not the surrounding air.
To ensure proper temperatures in your crested gecko enclosure, you will need good thermometers. Temp gun-style infrared thermometers are useful for measuring surface temperatures anywhere in the enclosure. However, digital probe thermometers are useful for being able to track local air temperatures at a glance. It's best to have at least 2 thermometers to measure temps on each end of the vertical heat gradient. Here are some devices we recommend for measuring temperatures:
Crested geckos thrive within a range of 60-80% average humidity. You should mist 1-3 times daily as needed, depending on local climate/weather. Make sure to let the enclosure dry out to around 40-50% before misting again - constant moisture encourages mold and mildew growth, which can make your gecko sick.
The goal of each misting is to cover the plant leaves and sides of the terrarium with water droplets, stopping before the soil becomes overly saturated. Don't mist the enclosure again until all water droplets have evaporated and the top most layer of the substrate has started to dry. Proper ventilation must be present in the enclosure to allow this humidity regulation process.
Because cresties drink these misting droplets, do not use distilled or softened water! Tap, spring, and even filtered water (assuming that it’s safe for humans to drink) contains minerals vital to your gecko’s health. You can dechlorinate tap water with a conditioner like ReptiSafe.
Achieving proper humidity levels can be as easy and cheap as a hand mister or as complex as an automated misting system - NOT to be confused with a fogger, which doesn't create the necessary water droplets. Misting systems, like the MistKing, can be regulated precisely with a timer or even a humidity regulator. The Herpstat2 is a great option because the 2 outlets are controlled separately, meaning you can regulate both heat and humidity with a single unit.
You can measure humidity with a hygrometer like the Zoo Med Digital Combo Gauge linked in the Measuring Temperature section. These are the other products we recommend for misting your crestie enclosure:
Crested geckos are omnivores, both frugivorous (fruit eating) and insectivorous (insect eating). They do best when fed an appropriate commercial diet, supplemented by feeder insects.
It’s best to feed your crested gecko primarily with a high-quality commercial crested gecko diet, plus live insects. Crested gecko diet (CGD) is a nutritionally-complete powder that becomes a meal replacement smoothie when water is added.
Here is a basic feeding schedule for your pet crested gecko:
|Juveniles (0-12 months)||Every day||1-2x a week|
|Adults (>12 months)||Every 2-3 days||1x a week|
The key to a healthy, balanced diet is variety, so make sure to provide as many different kinds of foods in your crested gecko’s diet as possible!
- Black Panther Zoological
- Gecko Pro
- Leapin’ Leachie
- Zoo Med
- Dubia roaches
- Red runner roaches
- Black soldier fly larvae
- Darkling beetles
- Snails (preserved)
- Small hornworms
How to feed your crested gecko
Crested Gecko Diet
Mix 1 serving of powdered CGD with water to a ketchup or smoothie like consistency and offer in a small biodegradable or reusable cup. Most cresties prefer eating high above the ground, so you’ll need a wall-mounted feeding ledge.
Crested gecko diets come in many flavors, and every gecko tends to have favorites (and least favorites)! They often prefer the diets that their breeders used, but this can definitely change, so it's great to offer a variety of flavors and brands to a new gecko. Find what your crestie likes the most and stick to it!
Offer about 1-2 appropriately-sized bugs per inch of your gecko’s length. Some feeders may require more or less per meal. Take care not to offer anything too large—while worms have soft bodies that are easy to chew and digest, roaches, beetles, and crickets should be no wider than the space between the gecko’s eyes. Avoid mealworms and superworms for crested geckos. These are high in chitin, making them difficult to digest, leading to impaction in some cases.
Always offer live insects. Dead or canned insects don’t trigger your gecko’s “hunting mode,” so they most likely won’t get eaten. Make sure to gutload your insects with fresh veggies at least 12 hours before feeding.
All feeders should be captive bred. Don’t feed your gecko bugs from your backyard — these can make your pet sick! Here are some sites we recommend to buy safe, captive bred feeders:
Calcium and Vitamin Supplements
Crested gecko diet is already fortified and balanced with a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, feeder insects still need to be lightly dusted with a calcium supplement powder to balance out the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in their bugs.
If you have a UVB lamp in your crested gecko enclosure, Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and Miner-All Outdoor are both solid calcium options for cresties. For best results, use as directed by the label.
If you don't provide UVB, you'll need a calcium powder with added vitamin D3, like Repashy SuperCal HyD, but we strongly recommend using UVB for all reptiles!
Keeping Your Gecko Hydrated
Contrary to popular belief, crested geckos can drink water from a bowl. Most feeding ledges have space for two condiment cups, so provide CGD in one and fresh water in the other. Your gecko will still drink after you mist the enclosure, but if they get thirsty between mistings, they won’t have to wait!
Do not use distilled or softened water. Tap, spring, and even filtered water (assuming that it’s safe for humans to drink) contains minerals vital to your gecko’s health. You can dechlorinate tap water with a conditioner like ReptiSafe.
Taming & Handling
Crested geckos can be great to handle when properly tamed. However, it’s still important to respect their boundaries and build a trusting relationship with your pet. This requires lots of patience and consistency, but is very rewarding in the end.
- Wait at least two weeks for the gecko to settle in before handling
- Let it get used to your presence
- Scoop it up from below
- Use slow movements.
- Handle your gecko over a soft surface like a bed or couch
- "Treadmill" it from hand to hand if it's being jumpy
- Wash your hands before and after handling
- Start handling your gecko as soon as you bring it home
- Grab it from above
- Grab its tail
- Let children handle the gecko without supervision
Wait 2 weeks after bringing your gecko home before handling. Start with 5 minute sessions every few days. It seems short, but it gives your gecko time to recover and realize that you aren’t a predator. Once your gecko is consistently calm during handling, you can gradually extend the handling sessions to 15 minutes at most. Do not handle your gecko more than once a day, preferably no more than 4 times a week.
When you start handling your gecko, do it over a soft surface like a bed or couch. Cresties are known to take “leaps of faith” where they jump without a particular target for landing.
Keep in mind that all geckos have individual personalities! Some may be more tolerant of handling than others - make sure you respect their boundaries to avoid unnecessary stress.
Here are some common health problems to look out for:
The most common diseases in crested geckos are Floppy Tail Syndrome (FTS) and Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). They can also suffer from health issues such as dehydration, obesity, impaction, and tail loss. If your gecko is displaying potential symptoms of illness, it’s important to take them to an experienced reptile veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment. Do not try to treat them at home, as you could make the problem worse!
Signs of a healthy crested gecko:
- Clear eyes
- Straight spine and limbs
- Breathing with mouth closed
- Regular bowel movements
- Eats regularly
- Moves freely and easily
Signs of an unhealthy crested gecko:
- Excessive weight gain
- Rapid weight loss
- Breathing with mouth open
- Appetite loss
- Diarrhea or constipation