Yearling to Adult Crested Gecko Care
(visit the Egg To Yearling care tab for info on baby gecko care)
(Important notes will be in Bold)
When feeding crested geckos, you should always make sure its a complete diet for crested geckos, something like Pangea or Repashy are the better brands out there and come in a wide variety of flavors. I personally use and suggest Pangea because mine won’t eat repashy. When mixing the food, shoot for a ketchup like consistency, too thin and they won’t eat it, too think and the will have trouble eating it.
You can offer insects as well, just make sure they soft bodied, like crickets or dubia roaches. Always make sure to dust a couple with calcium powder and only offer as a treat, as they don’t offer enough nutrients to be a staple diet.
Always make sure to offer fresh water, only use purified water or buy a reptile safe water conditioner that will make tap water safe. Never use tap water or distilled water. Tap contains metals and chlorine, which can harm the gecko, and distilled is only vapor and contains no nutrients.
~Never catch insects from outside to feed your gecko, as they could have parasites that could kill your gecko! Also, do not buy pet store brand crested gecko foods(zoomed, all living things, ex) as they normally never have enough vitamins or nutrients to suit the gecko’s needs and many geckos won’t eat them.~
Tank sizes that I’d suggest based on my experience with the different age groups below.(width x depth x height; based on inches)
~This is just a guide, each gecko grows at its own rate and may need to be upgraded sooner than listed. You can use storage totes or glass tanks, as long as there in enough ventilation.~
1 year- 2 years(juveniles)- 12x12x18
2 years and up(adults)- 18x18x24 to an 18x18x36
~Never house more than 1 gecko per tank, as they could fight for territory, kill their tank mate, or eat all the food so the other one will starve/not get enough food to sustain itself.Geckos are solitary animals and want to live alone, they don’t need friends or cuddle mates, they don’t desire to have that kind of relationship like humans do.~
Day time- 50-60%(the dry out period)
Night time- 80-100%(geckos are most active at night)
*If you’re having trouble with humidity levels in your glass tanks, try using a damp rag or plastic wrap over half the tank’s mesh top to help hold in humidity during the winter or any dry periods.*
~Never let it stay dry or wet all the time for long periods of time, they can get fungal infections from it being too wet, and respiratory infections from it being too dry.~
68-76 Degrees F.
Heat isn’t normally needed, but if the temps drop below 65 F. then you can use a infrared space heater(the safest kind) for the room, a small heat mat or heat lamp with a 25 watt exo terra daylight bulb. You can use a heat mat or a lamp as long as you have a thermostat to control them so they don’t get above 77 degrees.
~It is important to purchase a reliable thermometer and hygrometer to be able to measure the temps and humidity of your gecko’s tank! The best one I’ve found so far and personally have 7 of is Pangea’s Digital Temp & Humidity, which can be found on their website(pangeareptile.com)
Anything above 78 degrees is too warm and anything below 65 degrees is too cold~
Don’t overfeed as the geckos can become overweight and that can lead to health issues. This is just a guide, adjust as needed if your gecko wants to eat more or not as much, just make sure to weigh monthly to make sure there aren’t any huge weight losses. Healthy weights will be mentioned a little later. You can use a small plastic coffee stir straw to easily mix your gecko’s food, as I’ve found they work best and you can buy 300 for around $4 at the grocery stores.
~Never feed your gecko something that isn’t for them, that means no fruit, no baby foods, excetera. They can be too high in sugar and salts(with hardly any nutrients). Fruit wise, there could be pesticides in/on it, its just best to stick to their gecko powder and insects.~
1 year(juveniles)- every 2 days: 1/4th a teaspoon
2 years+(adults)- every 3 days: 1/4th to 1/2 a teaspoon
Make sure to buy a scale that can weigh grams so you can make sure your gecko is a healthy weight. Weighing once a month is suggested. Keep a book for weights to keep track of growth:)
Adults: 2 yrs. or older- 40 grams to 68 grams
~Never let your gecko get any bigger than 75 grams(by that point they are already overweight), as they will become less active and just sit around. An overweight gecko isn’t cute and needs to be put on a diet, other wise its lifespan will be shortened, just like with humans. To diet your gecko, feed them a little less each feeding and monitor their weight weekly until its back down in the mid to high 60s~
Crested Geckos like plenty of ares to hide and seek cover in order to feel safe, so to begin with, supplying around 4 to 6 hanging plants, a vine, a branch or cork log, a ledge, and a feeding ledge are suggested for a comfortable starter environment. These are important to make your gecko comfortable and safe in their new home. Always use reptile safe decor items so your geckos don’t get hurt. If there is any exposed metal or sharp edges, using hot glue is a safe way to cover it to keep it from harming your gecko.
~I suggest getting the tank ready way in advance as to avoid having to run around to stores trying to find stuff you still need when you have just gotten the gecko. Don’t fill the tank so full that the gecko can’t get around easily, but don’t have it so bare that you can see the gecko immediately. A tank with little hidy ares equals a stressed and flighty gecko.
Never use items gathered outside as decor! There are plenty of places like pangeareptile.com and Etsy.com that have low prices on good, safe decor items.~
Things like Eco Earth, Paper Towels, or Reptile Safe Organic potting mix(if you are using live plants for your decor) are safe substrate choices.
If you chose to use paper towels, provide a lay box with eco earth for your gecko, as they love to dig and sometimes will even bury themselves(which can also be a sign sometimes that the humidity is too low). To make a lay box, pick a container at least the same length as your gecko, and at least 3 inches wide. Place around 2 to 3 inches of dampened eco earth in it and it’s finished. You don’t need a lid as I find they use it more without one.
~Never use only sand, aquarium rocks, or wood chips, as the gecko could ingest them and become impacted, which means they will get backed up in their intestinal tract and will eventually die.
Reptile carpet is a bad choice only because its terrible about holding bacteria and mold unless cleaned every day.
Never collect soil from outside as it could have mites or parasites in it that could harm or kill your gecko~
*When being held, geckos feel safest when their whole body is being supported with either your hand(s) or resting on an arm.
*If a reptile becomes depleted of calcium, it can get what’s called MBD(Metabolic Bone Disease) which is life threatening and will kill the gecko. It makes their bones like rubber to where they can’t eat and can’t walk; it’s a painful way to die. Buying multi-vitamins and calcium powder at a pet store(I personally use ZooMed brand with no problems) to add to the gecko’s food once a week(do not add both vitamins at the same feeding, do calcium for one feeding and multi-vitamins for the next, never at the same time) Add a very small amount when adding vitamins, remember the gecko has a small body, so don’t add too much or they could overdose.(too much calcium at once can stop the heart; this even applies to humans, not just animals) Using a plastic coffee stir straw works well for not only adding a small amount of vitamins, but also for stirring your gecko’s food.
*Crested Geckos without tails are called frog butts.
*Crested Geckos can jump up to 2 times their own length.
*Crested Geckos have Prehensile tails, which means they have flexible muscles in their tails that allow them to curl them around branches, it also helps them to balance.
*Aside from jumping around in their tanks, crested geckos are completely quiet. They do sometimes make chirping noises through their nose, but its still very hard to hear unless you’re right next to their tank. The only time they squeak is when they get startled or are being defensive.
When you first get your gecko, you need to let it settle in for at least 7 days without handling it at all, so it can adjust to its new environment. Always be gentle when holding your gecko, don’t squeeze it or grab it roughly, and make sure not to grab the tail as it will drop it if it feels threatened.
“Hand walking” is the best way to handle a new gecko. By letting it walk from one hand to the next is a good way to let the gecko get used to you. If it ever runs up your arm, just placing a open hand in front of it works well, as they’ll walk right onto it. If it stops, just gently scooping it up from the belly.
If a gecko drops it’s tail, it won’t grow back. It’s not the end of the world if the gecko drops the tail, just make sure the area heals right and doesn’t get infected.
Try keeping the gecko in a peaceful part of the house where there aren’t tons of loud noises all the time, as this will lead to the gecko being nervous and prone to biting or running away when the tank door is opened. Some may even become stressed and stop eating.
~Never take your gecko outside unless its in a travel container and if its a safe temperature out. If a gecko gets scared it will run, so its safer to not let it loosely roam outside(or in your room without being supervised)~
Breeding should only be pursued after you have researched safe breeding practices and baby care, as well as making sure you have enough room to house 10+ babies separately. This will cover basic tips to start breeding, doing more extensive research is suggested!
Females: at least 45 grams, I personally waited till mine were in the 50 gram range to breed. Make sure to provide extra calcium to the female’s diet while breeding and egg laying to avoid under-calcified eggs
Males: at least 35 grams, if you are wanting to pair a small male to a large female, its suggested to fatten him up more so she won’t bully him(say the female is 50 grams and he’s 35, then he needs to be at least 40-45 grams to be able to stand his ground if needed)
Minimum age- 2 years
Items to have on hand & provide to the female-
A Lay box deep enough for at least 3 inches of damp Eco Earth. (don’t let the Eco Earth become dry as she won’t lay in it and if she were to the eggs would dry up)
A good diet like Pangea to provide proper nutrients and vitamins(rmemeber, don’t forget to add a small amount of calcium every other feeding)
A safe, neutral place to breed the female and male, like a large storage tote( I used a 2 foot long, 1 foot high & 18 inch deep see through storage tote) by using a place neither gecko has lived in, the geckos shouldn’t be territorial towards each other.
How To Go About Breeding
When breeding, you should keep the pair together for at least 3 days, undisturbed, to mate. If you have an aggressive male or female, than you can have them out to be monitored, like on a bed or table. Once you’ve seen them mate, then put them back into their own tanks and either wait the 1 to 2 months to see if she lays fertile eggs, or pair them again one more time a couple of days after the first pairing to make sure she’ll have fertile eggs.
deep cleaning steps
Remove the reptile, placing it in a secure container with ventilation.
Remove all hides, decor, and throw away the current substrate.
Rince and clean all the decor and dishes with reptile safe soap, either using a bath tub or a hose outside. Use as hot of water as you can stand as to kill any bacteria
After cleaning and rincing the decor and dishes, allow them to dry while you clean the tank itself. Get a damp rag with the reptile soap and scrub the tank down. After that, rince the rag and go over the tank with just water to remove any soap residue.
After drying the tank and adding the new substrate, dry the decor and dishes if they need it and place them back into the tank.
cleaning & cleaners
Emptying out the tank and doing a deep clean ever 1-2 months(for adults; baby tanks should be cleaned weekly to bi-weekly depending on how dirty/messy their tank gets) is suggested for a nice clean tank for your gecko. Spot cleaning every couple of weeks will make the deep clean easier when its time to be done. Always use reptile safe soap when cleaning the tank, decor, and any feeding dishes. I’ve personally used Flukers Organic Cleaner Super Scrub for 4 years and it does great for basic cleaning. I use F10 Veterinary Disinfectant from pangea’s website for cleaning old tanks that new animals will be going into. Its a strong cleaner that will will any germs from the previous animal. With every deep clean, always add new substrate.
~If you have a Bio-active tank, then you can skip a lot of the deep cleaning steps. Your clean up crew will do a big majority of the cleaning for you.~
Reptiles in general should not be exposed to cigarette smoke, scented candles, air fresheners(spray, mist, or oils), hand lotions, cleaning products that aren’t reptile safe, and perfumes. Keeping them in a room where they aren’t exposed to any of these will keep them healthier and longer lived.
Reptiles exposed to 1st, 2nd, or 3rd hand cigarette smoke have been reported getting cancer or having respiratory , chronic eye, or shin issues down the line. Marijuana and Cigars are also known to be toxic to reptiles and will cause similar if not the same results.
Hand lotion from our hands can be absorbed through the reptile’s skin and can harm the geckos(being most hand lotions are toxic to reptiles), so its advised to clean your hands of any lotion with soap before handling.
Loud noises will also make your gecko more nervous and stressed, which can cause a tail drop or a lack of appetite due to being scared(geckos are more prone to biting when nervous or stressed and may start to lose weight due to lose of appetite)