(Rhacodactylus ciliatus)


Introduction:

Crested geckos, or New Caledonian crested gecko, have been kept in captivity only since the mid 1990's. They have been thought to be extinct until their rediscovery at that time. Crested geckos are found on the island of New Caledonia, located between Australia and Fiji.

Their unique appearance, minimum requirements and unlimited color variations are making cresteds increasingly popular with reptile enthusiasts.

Housing:

When selecting an enclosure for housing cresteds, keep in mind that they are arboreal; meaning they do climb. Height of the enclosure will be the most important factor when determining size. Hatchlings may be housed in a 10-gallon aquarium or in a small plastic "Kritter Keeper". A 20-gallon high aquarium can easily accommodate up to three adults.

The bottom of the enclosure can be covered with one of many substrates available at most pet stores. Those made of coconut fiber work very well. Branches should be provided for climbing. Live, potted plants can also be added to provide hiding places for your gecko. Artificial plants may also be used, but cosmetically do not replace live ones. There are several "low light" species of plants that will do very well in a crested gecko vivarium. Pothos do great, and will naturally climb throughout the enclosure.

Daytime temperature should stay between 72F- 80F, and nighttime temperature can fall to 69F. Temperatures over 85F will lead to stress, and can eventually result in illness or death. A black or red nighttime bulb can be used in a "shop light" type fixture and placed on top of a screened lid.

Humidity should be around 80%. Misting the enclosure daily will help maintain a desired humidity level. It will also provide a drinking source for your cresteds.

Feeding:

Crested geckos will eat crickets, wax worms, mashed fruit, or baby food. Also, there are crested gecko food products available commercially. Hatchlings should be offered 1/8" crickets every other day. Juveniles and adults can be offered food 2 or three times weekly. A good rule of thumb to determine prey size is it should not exceed the distance between the crested geckos eyes. Adults will take prey slightly larger.

Crickets should be dusted with a calcium and D3 vitamin supplement. Fruit baby food sprinkled with a calcium and D3 supplement should also be offered several times a week.

As with other reptiles, it is recommended that wild-caught insects should not be offered as food. There is a chance that insects from outside were exposed to pesticides, and often contain parasites.

Like many other lizards, they may refuse to drink from a dish. Misting will create water droplets on leaves and rock crevices that they will lap up.

Conclusion:

Crested geckos are very interesting creatures and make a great "observing" pet. Only your imagination is the limit when designing a terrarium, which will be sure to accent any part of a room.

This information is provided based on our research and experience. Please keep in mind that it may vary slightly among individuals. As with any pet, be sure you thoroughly research its requirements before purchasing. Make certain you will be able to provide it with all its needs. Avoid “impulse buying”.

Reptiles readily carry salmonella. Although it does not affect them, it can be harmful to humans. Always be sure to wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap after handling. Common sense is the best defense. Children should always be supervised when around reptiles.


Summary:

Adult size: Up to 10".
Food: Crickets of appropriate size. Mashed fruit and fruit baby foods.
Longevity: Since crested geckos have only been kept in captivity since the mid 1990's, this has not been accurately determined yet. Possibly over 20 years.
Housing: Hatchlings; 10-gallon aquarium or small plastic "critter keeper". 20-gallon high aquarium will house 3 adults. Do not house two or more males together.
Temperature: 72-80F; humidity around 80%. Temperatures above 85F should be avoided.
Handling: Their unpredictable movements do not make them the best choice if you would like a pet to handle frequently. Tails are fragile and do not grow back.
Care: Easy to keep and are extremely clean animals. Very convenient to feed when live food is not available.
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