Average adult size: 7-9” (with tail) or 4-5” (without tail)
Average adult weight: 35-60 grams
Omnivores (fruits and bugs)
Adult size reached: 12-24 months (this is not the age for breeding)
Nocturnal (awake at night)
Crested geckos are great pet reptiles for the beginner or the hobbyist. Their calm demeanor and easy care make them suitable for first time pet owners. Please follow this guide for a happy and healthy gecko.
The care for Gargoyle Geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) is very similar to Crested Geckos. Following this information should help you set up your Gargoyle Gecko for success!
Crested geckos do not require additional heat like many other reptiles. In fact, too much heat can cause stress, decline in health, and potentially death. Crested geckos do best in room temperature between 70-82 F during the day and nighttime drops as low as 65. Their temperature requirement is what make them so easy to care for.
Hatchlings and juveniles should stay below 80, any exposure to hot temperatures in small geckos has the potential to kill them.
Temperature range 74-80F with lows in the 70s at night
No heating lights, rocks, or pads suggested
Do not place your gecko’s enclosure in direct sunlight
If lighting enclosure look for low wattage bulbs or florescent type lighting
Cresties have got to be one of the easiest reptiles to keep when it comes to feeding. The first thing to remember is that a reptile is not like a furry friend, they do not need to eat daily. Crested Geckos will eat a variety of food and there are numerous brands of premade gecko diets. These diets typically come in a powder form that you add water to. We use Pangea with all of our geckos and have had great success.
Premium gecko diets (Pangea or Repashy) are made to provide all the nutrients and calcium your gecko will need throughout its life. You would not need to feed insects. With that in mind it is a good idea to offer insects to your geckos. This promotes a healthy feeding response and offers extra protein if you have a growing gecko.
Babies to Juveniles (up to 15 grams) We offer babies gecko diet daily and insects once a week.
Juveniles to Adults We offer food every other day and insects once a week.
You should offer your gecko standing water in a small dish at all times. Some people believe crested geckos will not drink from standing water, but we have seen some of ours do just that. You do not need to provide a large pool of water but rather a small dish.
You should mist your geckos twice daily. This allows them to drink the droplets off the foliage in the enclosure and helps to maintain the humidity.
Housing A great thing about crested geckos is that they thrive in numerous different enclosure types. You can house them in plastic tubs to fully planted vivariums. We will break down some simple easy to find set ups. We do not use live plants or fully planted vivariums, so we will not be going over that. Enclosures
Crested geckos will do well in standard commercially available reptile housing options. If you are getting a baby or smaller gecko keep in mind that you will probably need to get different enclosures throughout its life. We have found that putting a hatchling (baby) gecko in an adult size enclosure has led to poor feeding response and overall stress.
Some people have had success at keeping multiple geckos together, besides for breeding. Crested Geckos are not pack or group animals and do not require another gecko for companionship, so you do not need to house multiple geckos together. If you do choose to keep in mind that males have a tendency to become aggressive with each other, causing injuries. If you have a pair they may breed, which is not as calm and peaceful as one would think. Breeding also puts stress on the female and the act of breeding can cause injuries. Please keep all this in mind when thinking of housing your animals together.
You may see on our social media and other gecko hobbyist sites photos of geckos in plastic storage type bins. These are safe alternatives to commercially available enclosures. This is done for the simplicity of cleaning and monitoring the geckos. If you are wanting to keep yours in this type of set up and have questions you can always reach out to us on what we use. For the purpose of this we will only talk about commercially available enclosures found in pet stores.
A single adult can live in a 10-gallon size aquarium with lid, but a 20-gallon (high) tank size is better suited for them. Most pet shops will carry fish aquariums (tanks) but you must make sure to get a lid or your gecko will leave it’s enclosure and be a house pet. You should stay away from a lid that is made for fish, but should get a lid that is designed for reptiles. Often the reptile lids will be made of a metal screen and slightly heavier, which helps to prevent your gecko from pushing out. You can also find tanks that are made for reptiles, that have a built-in sliding screen top. We have found that most places carry the reptile ones in 10-gallons and 20-gallon long tanks (which are not preferable). Crested Geckos are arboreal so look for tanks that have more height than ground space.
If you choose to house multiple adults together you would need to have a larger enclosure. We would recommend getting a 29-gallon size tank for this. A 29-gallon is good for up to three geckos. You can find reptile lids for this size of an encloser. This size is also fine for a single adult, do not put smaller young geckos in a large tank.
The pet industry is huge and like other pet products there are enclosures that are made specifically for reptiles. These are generally more expensive than glass fish tank, but in our opinion, they are nicer and worth the money. These are made to be taller than wider which is what a crested gecko prefers. The fronts are the point of entry, making it easier to clean and to get your gecko out for handling. The tops are normally made from a metal screen material so air flow is provided.
A common size is an enclosure that is 12” wide x 12” wide x 18” tall and has a front opening door. This is a great size for a juvenile crested gecko or a single adult crested gecko. These are easy to decorate with fake vines, plants, and branches.
The next larger size that is available is an 18” wide x 18” wide x 24” tall. This is a nice larger tank that would be suitable for a single adult gecko. You can also house a breeding trio of geckos in this size, if you wish. These enclosures also feature the front opening doors.
Hatchlings to Juveniles
Hatchlings need less room and do better in a smaller environment. It is recommended to start your baby geckos off is a smaller enclosure, not the one you plan to use as an adult.
Small plastic critter houses are sold at most pet stores and are easily available online. These are easy to clean and have a clear plastic, so you can view your little cutie. I would get commonly available sizes that are either small or medium. These sizes are generally around 9”x6”x6” for small and 12”x8”x8” for medium.
Keeping in mind that these are not their forever enclosure, you can find small terrariums like mentioned for adults. These are 8”x 8”x 12” and have the same features, like an opening front door, that are available in adult sizes.
Do not provide artificial heat to a juvenile/baby enclosure. We can not stress this enough. Too much heat will stress and can kill your gecko when it is young. Unless you are an experienced keeper or breeder we do not recommend any additional heat for young geckos.
Lighting Being nocturnal, Crested Geckos do not need any special lighting that other reptile species would need like UVB. Their sensitivity to heat should be taken into account when thinking of lighting an enclosure. We do not recommend lighting the enclosure. Natural light that comes through your room and house will be sufficient for your gecko. If using lighting, use low watt bulbs no more than 15 watts and monitor the heat of the enclosure closely, in multiple areas. If using lights or room lighting make sure to turn off light at night, geckos do best with a time of darkness.
You can use anything from paper towels to commercially available substrates, there are numerous options out there for reptile bedding. We do not keep living plants with our crested geckos so we do not use bioactive substrates.
We use paper towels in the majority of our enclosure. These may not be the most pleasant to look at but they make it easy to clean weekly. One downside to using paper towels is they do not hold humidity well.
In our enclosures that are set up with pets or on display we use commercially available substrates like Zoo Med’s Eco Earth substrate. This substrate is made from coconut fibers, holds humidity well, and is safe if ingested by the gecko.
In all of our enclosures we offer a humid area or a humid hide box (lay box). We use New Zealand Sphagnum Moss for these areas. This moss holds moisture well, reduces mold, and is easily available.
You should clean your gecko’s enclosures regularly. We recommend cleaning weekly and replacing lay box moss monthly.