Keeping Your Pet Crested Gecko
KEEPING YOUR PET CRESTED GECKO
The Crested Gecko is a small gecko with a big personality. They have the ability to climb smooth surfaces and take large leaps to travel from one point to another. When feeling stressed or threatened Crested Geckos can drop their tails though it will not grow back. This occurrence does not hinder their quality of life. Crested Geckos also lack eyelids, and instead will clean debris from their eye by licking it. These reptiles are hardy, low maintenance, and have an even temperament, making them a favourite among reptile lovers.
One, Two or More?
Crested Geckos can be kept communally, though caution should be taken when housing unsexed Crested Geckos together, as males may become very territorial if kept in the same enclosure. Sexed pairs and colonies (with only one mature male) may be kept together, provided the enclosure is large enough.
The typical life expectancy of a Crested Gecko is 15+ years.
Crested Geckos were once thought to be extinct until 1994 when they were rediscovered in the temperate rainforests of New Caledonia, an island east of Australia. Today they readily breed in captivity. Crested Geckos typically reach lengths of 7-8 inches. With this information, we can conclude that the Crested Gecko will require a moderate-sized, warm, humid enclosure. They will also need many climbing and hiding areas to be completely comfortable.
To provide a happy, healthy atmosphere for your new pet, Petland recommends the following necessary accessories. We have listed them as your new pet's four basic needs: Environmental, Behavioural, Nutritional and Maintenance. If these needs are met and a loving environment is provided by you, your Crested Gecko can live a long and healthy life.
Housing – Crested Geckos are arboreal, meaning they live in trees, and therefore prefer enclosures that are tall rather than wide to accommodate their need to climb. A glass enclosure with a secure screen lid works well to maintain appropriate humidity and temperature requirements. One adult Crested Gecko can be housed in a 20-gallon enclosure.
Decorations/Plants – A Crested Gecko's enclosure should resemble a landscape that mimics the area they originate from. This means lots of foliage, vines, and driftwood. Live plants aerate the enclosure, allow for refuge, provide shade for temperature regulation, and the leaves make perfect drinking areas. Although live plants may provide benefits for your Crested Gecko, thin-leafed varieties may not support their weight. Broad-leafed plants such as pothos, make excellent choices, and provide great coverage for resting/sleeping.
Relative Humidity – As previously mentioned, Crested Geckos originate from New Caledonia in the temperate rainforests; therefore, they are accustomed to higher humidity levels. A misting bottle, fogger, or automatic misting system all assist in providing a higher humidity. A humidity gauge is helpful in monitoring humidity which should be 50-80% at any given time. Daily misting will be required twice a day for approximately 30 seconds each interval. The enclosure must always have good ventilation.
Temperature/Heating – Crested Geckos are ectotherms, which means they depend on the temperature in their environment to regulate their body temperature. The natural habitat must be laid out wisely in order to achieve the optimum temperature ranges for their health. Temperatures should range from approximately 21°C (70°F) on the cool end of the gradient (towards the bottom of the enclosure) to 27°C (80°F) on the warm end (towards the top of the enclosure).
If the room in which the Crested Gecko will be kept is consistently within the ideal range, a heat bulb may not be necessary for every day use. However, if windows are ever opened or the temperature has the potential to go below the range suggested, then a heat bulb should be provided. The wattage of the bulb will depend on your enclosure. Situate the light fixture so that it is far enough away from the warm area that your Crested Gecko does not get burned, but close enough to maintain a proper gradient temperature. This allows the Crested Gecko to regulate his body temperature.
An under-the-tank heater is an alternative option to provide heat. Attach to the side of the enclosure so that it can disperse heat along the length of the enclosure, rather than just the bottom. If this type of heat is provided, a thermostat should accompany it for regulation (see section Thermostat/Dimmer).
Thermometer – The use of a thermometer is the only way to know if the enclosure is being maintained at the correct temperature. Stick-on thermometers are useful, although for accuracy a digital electronic thermometer is better. Place one thermometer towards the warmer top end, and one at the cooler bottom end, to monitor the temperature gradient.
Thermostat/Dimmer – A thermostat is used to regulate the temperatures of a heat mat or light fixture that does not have the ability to reduce its own heat output. This safety feature is important to prevent burns, particularly if it is possible for the Crested Gecko to come in close contact with a heat mat. Some light fixtures are equipped with a dimmer, but if not then some thermostats can help regulate heat intensity to prevent overheating the Crested Gecko. Be sure to use only dimming/pulsing thermostats with with filament or coil bulbs as the on/off variety can shorten the lifespan of the bulb.
Lighting – Crested Geckos are crepuscular, meaning they are typically active at dawn and dusk. This means that although they are only exposed to limited amounts of sunlight, a low intensity of UV is still important for the Crested Gecko's ability to synthesize vitamin D3, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. UV can also prevent behavioural problems such as aggression. Never have your Crested Gecko sit in front of the window. Glass filters out beneficial UV radiation and can act as a magnifying glass – harming your gecko. For more information ask a pet counsellor for a copy of the Ultraviolet Lighting for Birds and Reptiles tip sheet.
Food Sources – Crested Geckos are omnivorous, which means they feed on both animal and fruit substances. Offer crickets, meal worms, superworms etc. 3 times a week, and fruit pieces such as bananas, mangoes, strawberries and watermelon (chopped and smashed well enough to consume easily) daily unless feeding a prepared Crested Gecko diet which provides a balanced diet.
Yogurt – No-sugar-added fruit flavoured yogurt is important to a Crested Gecko's diet because in the wild they eat fermented fruits, and yogurt has many of the same bacteria in it. In fact, the cultured bacteria in yogurt aids in the digestion of lactose and will not cause digestion issues. Freeze container until ready to use. Don't use Greek yogurt as it is tart in flavour.
Fresh Water – Crested Geckos are dew drinkers, meaning they prefer to drink water from leaves rather than a dish. Mist the walls and decorations of the enclosure thoroughly or supply a dripper water system or a water fountain. A small dish of water should still be provided to ensure the Crested Gecko always has a source of water.
Vitamin Supplements – Not all food sources provide the same vitamins and minerals as one another. Therefore, when providing a mixed diet, it is often necessary to provide supplements in order for balance. You can maintain a routine of adding supplements to the Crested Gecko's food source by dusting their crickets, worms or fruits with vitamins. You can also choose to gut-load the food source before it is consumed. Either way, your Crested Gecko must have vitamin and mineral supplementation. Ask your pet counsellor how much and how often you should be supplementing your Crested Gecko's diet.
Substrate – To help maintain higher humidity levels, proper substrate should retain moisture. Ideal options include forest bark, jungle mix, and plantation soil. Moss can be mixed in with the substrate for additional humidity control. Spot clean the enclosure daily.
Litter Scoop – A litter scoop will make it easier to remove droppings in the enclosure. Spot clean often to keep his home clean and free from fungus, mould or parasites.
Secure Temporary Container - Although your Crested Gecko will spend the majority of their time in their tank, there will be times when that won't be possible and they must be secured in an alternative. A plastic terrarium or similar enclosure, ensures your Crested Gecko stays put while also being easy to clean and use. Such a container is also helpful in the event that the Crested Gecko needs to visit a veterinarian, or needs to be transported.
Please ask your pet counsellor what other items pertain to your pet's needs.
Cleanliness and Safety
All pets can potentially carry diseases that may be contagious to people. Young children, infants, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with pets or their environments. Regular cleaning of your pet's environment with a pet safe cleaner may help avoid the spread of contaminants.
Hygiene procedures such as washing your hands before and after handling your pet and/or after having any contact with their habitat, are necessary routines. Children should be assisted with hand washing and always have adult supervision when interacting with pets.
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