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crested gecko, Correlophus ciliatus, (formerly Rhacodactylus ciliatus)

Reptile Rapture,
6308 Monona dr, Monona WI 53716

, www.reptilerapture.net


Common Name:Crested Gecko
Scientific Name:Correlophus ciliatus (formerly Rhacodactylus ciliatus)
New Caledonia
Size: 5-7" head to tail
Lifespan: 10-15 years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of breeding and caring for this species.

In the wild, crested geckos live most of the time in shrubs and small trees. So you want an enclosure that has some height to it. Young cresties up to about 4-5 months of age can be housed in a 10 gallon enclosure or a Exo Terras 12" x 12" x 18". One adult can live in a 12" x 12" x 18" enclosure for its entire life. However, if you want to have more than one, Exo Terras 18" x 18" x 24" is the minimum size for a pair or trio of crested geckos. Exo Terras screen enclosures can also be used, but you will spend more time keeping the humidity up in this enclosure. Groups of one male and two females or all females work well. If you have more than one adult males, they will usually fight. Keep them in separate cages. It's also important that crested geckos are of similar sizes. If one is significantly larger than the other, the smaller usually ends up as a snack for the bigger.


Crested geckos are hardy little lizards. Being nocturnal, they usually sleep in the foliage or other hiding spots during the day and are active at night. UVB lighting is not necessary for these guys. You'll want to turn any daylight off at night. Crested geckos are comfortable with day temperatures of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer.

The easiest way to increase the heat in your enclosure is with a Exo Terra sun glo bulb or an Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pad (placed on the side of the tank instead of underneath). You always want part of the tank to be cooler so your gecko can regulate his own body temperature by choosing what temperature area to hang out in. Usually with a tall tank the hot part is near the top and the cooler part is towards the bottom.
It's OK if the temp drops to the low 70s at night. For adult geckos in winter, the night temps can even drop into the mid 60s. Temperatures above 86 degrees are not good for your crested gecko.

Misting the enclosure twice a day will usually provide enough moisture for your
crested geckos. They like to lick water off the glass and foliage in the enclosure. Yet, also have a water bowl for them to use if they choose. Exo terras reptile fountain provides bubbling water, Flukers rock dish is a nice naturalistic non-porous water bowl, or you can use a Magnetic water/feeding ledge. If you live in the Southwestern United States where it's very dry--or in the Northern part of the United States where winter is very dry--you may have to mist more frequently.

We suggest using Repashy crested gecko diet or Pangea crested gecko diet as the main food for your gecko. They are specially formulated to be a complete diet for crested geckos. Magnetic feeding ledges are a nice way to keep the food cups up off the ground. The cresties like it since they naturally eat in the trees in the wild.

We also suggest giving your lizards bugs once or twice a week, to provide additional protein. For extra calcium and vitamins,  dust the bugs with supplements such as Repashy Calcium Plus every feeding. Or use Zoo Med Calcium without d3, every feeding for young and 2-3 x a week for adults. Use Zoo med multivitamin with D3 only 1x a week. The day you use the multivitamin do not use the calcium. You don't have to feed them bugs if you don't want but it does give them a nice source of extra protein. Especially while they are growing.

Crested geckos are naturally fairly tame. They tolerate quite a lot of handling. Start slow with a new pet and gradually increase the amount of time you hold your gecko. It will get used to being handled. Babies like to jump and they have little bursts of energy. To help calm a jumpy juvenile, use your hands like a treadmill. When your crested gecko walks or jumps onto your hand, put the other one in front and repeat. The little guy will get tired and should calm down after a few minutes. Do this a few times and your gecko should feel more comfortable being handled. Never pull on your pet's tail or you will end up getting what we like to call a "frog butt". Crested geckos naturally drop their tails if startled or if they are trying to get away from a predator. Once dropped, the tail will not grow back. This, however, will not effect the quality of life of your animal.