THE URBAN GECKO

caring for a crested gecko

18 Name/Common Name: Crested Gecko
Scientific Name: Racodactylus ciliatus

General Information

Crested geckos are a nocturnal semi-arboreal lizard. These geckos were thought to be extinct until the early 1990’s, when the species was rediscovered thriving in large numbers on the islands of New Caledonia, which is located in the South Pacific. Since then, wild-caught crested geckos have been imported into North America and Europe, where captive-bred offspring are readily available. Crested geckos have been referred to as the best pet lizard available, in part because of their ease of care, their prehistoric appearance and their openness for being handled.
Adult crested geckos will grow to around 5 to 8 inches and when cared for properly typically live around 10 years in captivity. These geckos have a few unique characteristics within the gecko family, including having long eyelashes and the ability to change colors. Crested geckos will alter their colors to absorb more or less light, depending on temperatures and also to signal their mood. Crested geckos have gorgeous colors, from red, orange and yellow to gray and brown and also exhibit variable markings and intricate patterns. Here at The Urban Gecko we are excited to offer some of the most exciting morphs available today such as the Pinstripe, Dalmatian and Harlequin.

Enclosure

Crested geckos require a humid enclosure, so we recommend using a screened cage as they provide maximum ventilation to provide a healthy environment. The enclosure should be taller than wider, to allow the gecko ample climbing opportunities. In order for your gecko to thrive we believe there are four basic fi xtures required within the enclosure, which are heat, substrate, furnishings/shelter and humidity/water/minerals.

Heat:

Crested geckos can subsist at room temperature (mid 70F) but will thrive if provided with an additional heat source. We suggest providing a basking lamp at the top of the enclosure, which should be turned on for around 10-12 hours a day and provide a temperature in the low 80s(F). Ensure that the cage is tall enough to allow the gecko the ability to thermo regulate by moving from the heat source to a cooler area of the enclosure ranging in the low 70s(F). In other words do not heat the entire enclosure. In the evenings the temperatures can drop down to between 65F-70F. Because crested geckos are nocturnal, they do not require a UVB light.

Substrate:

Selecting a substrate for your set-up is another important element. For ease of cleaning and health purposes we recommend using a paper substrate such as newspaper, butcher/packing paper or paper towel. For a more naturalistic set-up a substrate such as cyprus mulch can be used, but care must be taken to ensure that the substrate is not ingested.

Furnishings and Shelter:

Crested geckos are semi-arboreal so their enclosure should be set up with furnishings to provide ample climbing options. Examples of climbing accessories include cork bark, branches or bamboo which should be spread out at different levels throughout the enclosure. Either silk foliage or non-toxic plants will also provide the gecko with a place to hide and surfaces for drinking droplets to form. Crested geckos are nocturnal so shelters within their enclosure will provide them with a peaceful retreat to sleep or hide in.

Humidity/Water/Minerals

Crested geckos natural habitat is very humid. Providing a proper humidity cycle for your gecko is essential for creating an environment that is conducive to proper shedding and allowing the gecko to properly hydrate. Most crested geckos prefer to drink water droplets as opposed to drinking from standing water. We suggest misting the enclosure every morning with luke warm water until everything in the enclosure becomes wet, but not drenched. Properly misted enclosures should dry out in approximately 8 hours.
A vital ingredient to proper bone development and overall health in crested geckos is calcium. This must be available at all times and can be provided by utilizing a shallow dish. Although crested geckos typically drink water droplets created through misting their enclosure we also recommend keeping a fresh, shallow water dish in their enclosure.
Multiple female geckos can be housed together or can be housed with a single male.
It is very important to never house two male crested geckos together as males will defend their territory through aggressive fighting that can cause serious injury.

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