Caresheets

With over 50 years collective experience in the reptile trade we have a wealth of knowledge on offer to help with any reptile related problems you may have.
These care sheets are written by the staff at Reptiles Plus and are how we would suggest caring for and keeping each of the following animals.

Crested Gecko Care Sheet

Crested GeckoMINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR ADULT CRESTED GECKOS:

  1. 60CM x 38CM x 38CM WOODEN VIVARIUM or 60x45x45 EXO TERRA TANK
  2. SPOT LIGHT (pref with thermostat) and HEAT MAT (1/3 length of vivarium)
  3. OR HABISTAT HIGH POWER HEAT MAT and MAT STAT
  4. BROAD RANGE VITAMIN SUPPLEMENT (NUTROBAL IS RECOMMENDED)

Vivarium Set-Up

Leopard Gecko Set UpsIn a wooden vivarium, a spot bulb and heat mat should be positioned inside and at same end of the vivarium, creating a hot basking end. The opposite end should have no heating, creating a cool end. Glass tanks can be Exo Terra Tankused if kept in a room that is consistently warm. But be aware, a thermostat is highly recommended as maintaining a steady temperature in a glass tank is difficult. A wooden vivarium will also offer far better privacy. If using a glass tank, there are various ways to tackle heating. Your aim is to maintain 78oF/26°C. We suggest using a dome fitting and night-glow bulb on a thermostat as it is hassle free and relatively foolproof. Alternatively, a Habistat High Power heat mat and Mat Stat works very well.

Place your thermometer and/or thermostat sensor on the substrate in the middle of your vivarium, making sure your thermostat sensor does not sit directly above or beside your heat mat. At this point in your vivarium the thermometer should read 78°F/26°C give or take a couple of degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to achieve an accurate temperature is with a thermostat. Most geckos do not require a night time drop in temperature; doing so may cause failure to digest large meals, causing illness.

UV lighting is not essential for crested geckos, but it has been shown to help prevent many problems, including floppy tail syndrome (FTS). Arcadia 12% or 6% tubes work well but you must ensure there is plenty of shaded areas such as foliage or hides. If you choose to use UV lighting, it is suggested for 12-14 hours a day. The UV tube should start against the wall at the hot end and span 2/3 the length of the ceiling thus creating a UV gradient much like your heating. Or place a compact UVB bulb in the back corner of the hot end.

Always remember to replace your UV tube every 6 months unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise. The tubes UV producing capability will degrade in this time leaving the tube looking no different to normal. As far as we can tell only the Arcadia D3+ and T5 range last 12 month and give a virtually guaranteed 12%/6% UV for the duration of that time. If you choose not to provide UV keep a close eye on symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disorder.

Never place your vivarium near radiators, direct sunlight, drafts, busy areas or appliances that create a lot of noise.

Substrate, Cleaning And Furniture

Orchid BarkSubstrate choice is a difficult one, a good quality orchid bark is recommended, and it is certainly the safest. If using a glass tank, peat topped with moss can be used to maintain a slightly raised humidity.

Spot clean your tank regularly. If done properly a full vivarium clean should only be necessary once a month. Only use disinfectants specifically designed for reptiles. Soaps, detergents and other disinfectants can be toxic.

Always provide your crested gecko with clean fresh drinking water; tap water is fine, although there are water treatments available if you doubt your water quality. Some crested geckos prefer drinking from water droplets on foliage in the tank so it is a good idea to routinely spray the foliage in the tank every other day or so. A water bowl should still be always be available.

 

Feeding And Vitamins

FruitCrested geckos eat both insects and fruit. The insect portion of their diet can consist of crickets, locust, mealworms and other small insects. The best way to judge what quantity of crickets and locust constitutes as a meal is to drop a limited amount (half a dozen) into the vivarium. If your animal is hungry it should eat immediately, if it does, continue to put a couple of insects in every time it finishes and continue until your gecko appears full. Remember never leave a large excess of crickets or mealworms loose in the vivarium, they can cause injury to your animal!

There are various ways of providing the fruit for your gecko. One of the easiest and best is to get a combination of non-citrus fruits (mangos, apples, bananas, pears etc.), blend them together and decant the pulp into an ice cube tray and freeze it, making lots of individual portions to defrost as and when you need them. Baby food is generally high in sugar so shouldn’t be used as a staple, but a good quality baby food containing only fruit ingredients may be used – crested geckos love it.

There are various “complete” crested gecko diets available and their success is varied. If your crested gecko likes the complete diets, then they’re a great food source but some geckos will refuse to eat them. Despite the name, complete diets must be supplemented with fresh fruit and insects every now and then to maintain a varied diet. Fruit Jelly

NutrobalNew flavoured jelly pots are also now available. Banana and multivitamin jellies are particularly popular with crested geckos and contain protein and vitamins.

A good quality vitamin and mineral supplement is very important to the well-being of your animal, always read the packaging carefully. We suggest 2 out of 3 meals or every meal if you are not providing a source of UV. Failure to maintain a good supply of vitamins and minerals will result in irreversible illness, such as Metabolic Bone Disorder.

Handling, Health And Additional Notes

Do not handle your Crested gecko immediately after a move; leave at least four weeks to allow your animal to settle - Or until your animal is feeding well and has been for 3-4 weeks. If you don’t, one of two things will happen.

1. Your animal may become defensive and aggressive
2. Your animal may become reclusive and fail to feed properly

After the initial four weeks handling may begin slowly. Crested geckos are naturally friendly. You do not need to restrain or excessively handle them to make them good pets. Always handle your animal close to the ground or above a surface – Crested geckos are an arboreal gecko and may try and jump from your hand to nearby surfaces! Crested geckos can drop their tails if they feel they need to and it WILL NOT regrow, so make sure that you never grab your animal’s tail.

Most geckos are very shy animals, so it is very important you follow these simple instructions as failure to do so will almost certainly lead to high levels of stress in your animal. A high stress level in geckos generally lowers the immune system and leaves your gecko open to viruses and infections. Always use common sense when handling animals.

When it comes to your animal’s health, if you are ever in doubt ask a respected dealer for they’re advice, and if still in doubt go to a specialist veterinarian. There are a few simple things to look out for.Reptile Health

  • Unusual lethargy
  • Prolonged lack or loss of appetite
  • Eyes sinking back into the head (dehydration)
  • Eyes unclear and or sticky
  • Runny nose
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Tail losing weight
  • Trouble shedding skin on extremities
  • Twitching or shaking
  • Abnormally forming bone structure – especially in the tail or back.

Avoid putting your gecko in with any other animals. They will generally live with each other if the correct sex ratios are followed. If purchasing a second Crested gecko, make sure they are of compatible size and get equal amounts of food to ensure the same rate of growth. Ask a respected dealer for information.

On a final note and to summarize, Crested geckos are semi nocturnal, so you may not see a great deal of them. But they are naturally friendly, clean and easy to maintain, and in nearly all cases Crested geckos make great family pets.

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