There are quite a few beginner lizards out there, but few come close to the ease of keeping crested geckos! Thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered in 1994, the enormous and widespread success of these geckos in captivity is a testament to their ease of care and ability to prosper in a captive setup.
Perhaps the easiest aspect to owning a crested gecko is their diet. In the wild, these geckos enjoy a diet of fruit and insects. In captivity, they can thrive entirely on commercially available gecko diets, which provide all of the nutrients that these lizards require. These diets come in a powdered form that is mixed with water and offered in a small cup or container.
Many lizards advertised as beginner lizards are insectivores and must be offered a steady diet of vitamin-dusted or gut loaded bugs. Consistently ordering insects and keeping them alive can be an undesirable extra step. For those that aren’t yet sure how they feel about a non-buggy diet, crested geckos still work as an excellent introductory animal.
Because crested geckos are no stranger to eating bugs, they can be offered crickets or other feeder insects in addition to their gecko diet. You can obtain and feed insects on a schedule that works with you using our AutoDelivery system, knowing that if you miss a week or a month, or you simply aren’t keen on keeping crickets at home, then your gecko will continue to enjoy its specialized gecko meals.
Crested geckos don’t require any special lighting or heating needs—with a few exceptions, of course. If you keep your crested gecko is an area that remains between 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit, then it won’t be necessary to invest in a heating element for your gecko. In addition, because of their nocturnal nature, crested geckos don’t require the special ultraviolet lighting that, for example, a bearded dragon requires. Just be sure that your gecko still experiences a day-night cycle—that is, you don’t want to keep your geckos in the dark all day or with lights on through the entire night. Not having to invest in light fixtures, bulbs, and replacement bulbs down the road can save you on some initial and upkeep costs that you would have to keep in mind for other lizards.
Of course, if you decide to include live plants in your setup, providing lights will ensure that they flourish. Going all-out with a full bioactive, planted enclosure will raise initial setup costs—but there are several benefits! In addition to being aesthetically beautiful, a planted enclosure will help keep humidity up in your crested gecko’s enclosure—a great advantage since these geckos need a higher ambient humidity at around 60-70% (although you’ll still want to regularly mist your gecko’s enclosure). Many geckos will drink water drops from the sides of their enclosure and will enjoy regular spritzing.
Introducing springtails and isopods into your substrate means that you’ll have your own natural clean-up crew to clean up any waste that reaches the bottom of the enclosure, leaving you more time to admire your gecko!
If you want to stick with a less expensive setup, crested geckos will still do well in an enclosure with fake plants and a simpler substrate like coco fiber. Just remember to take the time to regularly clean the enclosure.
Regardless of what you decide, it’s important to provide your crested gecko with vertical space and plenty of climbing material to satisfy their arboreal nature; they will take full advantage of branches, bark, plants, bamboo, and just about anything else they can climb on. As long as you provide your gecko with the right temperatures, humidity, and plenty of climbing materials, you can go as elaborate or as simple as you want with your setup.
Not all lizards are great candidates for being taken out of their enclosure and handled, but crested geckos tolerate it fairly well. Young crested geckos are likely to be more skittish and nervous, but with regular handling, your pet crested gecko will come to realize that you are not a threat. If you decide to purchase one, be sure to give your gecko a week or two to settle in their new home before attempting any unnecessary handling. When first handling your crested gecko, it’s important to minimize stress by keeping handling sessions short, starting at a few minutes at a time and increasing the handling sessions over time. Never grab your gecko, as this can be extremely stressful and even harmful to the animal; instead, use your hands to gently scoop your gecko up.
Remember: crested geckos are arboreal, and while they may sometimes rest and remain still while they’re out, be prepared for an animal that will actively climb and jump!Want more information about the care of crested geckos? Check out our crested gecko care blog!
Think crested geckos are the right pet for you? Hop on over to Josh’s Frogs! Check out the beautiful captive-bred offspring available now!