House Gecko Care Sheet

Geckos for pets


8-10 inches

CAGE TEMPS:

Day temps - 75-80℉
If temp falls below 70℉ at night, may need supplemental infrared or ceramic heat.

WILD HISTORY:

These little geckos are arboreal (tree dwelling) and nocturnal (most active at night). They are from Caledonia. They were once thought extinct until re-discovered in 1994 and have been popular in the pet trade ever since.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

“Cresties”, as they are affectionately called, do not have eyelids. They use their long tongues to lick their eyeballs to clear them of debris. They are named for the crest that runs from their “eyelashes”, down their backs to their tails. These “cresties” have the famous sticky feet that allow them to walk up and down glass without effort. The pads of their feet are actually made up of thousands of tiny, microscopic hairs.

NORMAL BEHAVIOR & INTERACTION:

Crested geckos are sweet, docile creatures. They can be tamed and handled; however, handlers must be careful they do not jump off the hand and into danger. They are excellent jumpers. Cresties will drop their tails (lose them) when trying to escape a predator, because of stress, or from constriction from un-shed skin. Crested gecko tails do not grow back. Cresties can also change their color from light to dark in order to camouflage properly.

NOTE: Crested geckos can be housed together, but never two males in the same cage. One male and two females or three females (three lizards total) can be housed comfortably in a 29-gallon enclosure. DO NOT house crested geckos with other species due to the differences in care, temperatures, and the fact that some species can be highly stressed in the presence of other species.

FEEDING:

Omnivorous; eats both live prey and fruit.

CRESTED GECKO DIET (CGD): Commercially available crested gecko diet is a powdered meal replacement that is mixed with water to form a paste. Give this to your gecko every day to every other day. It contains nutrients that the gecko needs along with a good balance of supplements. Place a dish of the diet in the enclosure at night and remove it in the morning.

PROTEIN: The crested gecko protein source is gut-loaded crickets dusted with a supplement powder. Wild caught insects should never be fed, since they can carry disease. All insects should be gut loaded (fed a nutritious diet about 24-hours before being offered to your lizard - see our cricket care sheet). Be careful to feed the proper size prey for your gecko. A good rule of thumb is that a cricket should be never be larger than the distance between the lizard's eyes, or the distance from its eyes to its nose.

Adults should be given 4-6 crickets 2-3 times a week. All uneaten insects should be removed from the enclosure as they can bite your lizard and cause injury, especially to the eyes.

Some gecko owners find it easier to feed their pet in a separate enclosure, free of bedding and furniture, this way you can be sure your lizard eats all its insects, the prey cannot hide and the lizard will not pick up any bedding when grabbing prey and mistakenly ingest it along with the prey.

FRUIT: Cresties also need fresh mashed fruit to balance the diet. Do not feed baby food, as this often contains too much sugar. Try apricots, mangoes, bananas and peaches. You can alternate fruit and crickets on opposing days.

SHEDDING:

Unlike snakes, lizards shed their skin in patches, not all in one piece. Your pet will become an overall dull color, and the skin over the eyelids may ‘pop’ at a certain point and make your lizard look like a bug-eyed bullfrog. Do not peel off the skin if it is not ready to come off. This can be dangerous and painful. Most lizard species will shed every 4-6 weeks. If the enclosure environment is ideal, the keeper often has no idea that their pet has shed, as it will happen more quickly and the lizard will often eat its own shed skin.

In the wild, reptiles have a much easier time with their sheds, as they are generally in a more naturally humid environment and have access to pools or bodies of water in which they can soak at will. Even reptiles from arid areas find humid places to go during the shedding process, such as cold, moist burrows under the sand or caves. The shedding process happens when the lizard’s body begins to grow a new layer of skin; that new layer begins to separate from the old and a very thin layer of fluid forms between the two layers. If your pet’s enclosure is too dry, this fluid layer will not form properly, making it difficult for your reptile to shed properly. If the retained shed is severe and cannot be removed easily, see your exotic veterinarian.

To create more humidity, the entire tank can be lightly spray misted twice a day during shedding time. Spray once in the morning and once later in the day. Make sure the later spray dries completely before lights go off for the night. Some lizards may also benefit from a ‘moist box’ during shedding time. This can be a Tupperware-like container (with the cover on) containing a bed of moist reptile terrarium moss. The container should be big enough for the entire lizard to be inside with an entry door cut in the side just large enough for the lizard to come and go at will. Keep the moss moist but not watery, and place the box on the heating pad in the tank.

If your lizard still has a hard time getting the shed completely off its toes, tail or head; help him by spraying the area with water and gently massaging the skin until it peels off.

SUPPLEMENTS:

The crested gecko diet that you purchase should have a good balance of vitamins and minerals, specific to the crested gecko’s needs. Be sure to buy a quality diet. It should contain calcium and vitamin D3. If you follow the directions above for feeding your crestie, s/he should get all the nutrients s/he needs.

WATER:

A large bowl of clean fresh chlorine-free water must always be available. Place it on the cool side of your reptile’s enclosure. Change it daily, or as needed, as your pet will most likely bathe in it as well. Crested geckos will most often drink from the droplets of water that have been sprayed into the cage, so do be sure to spray the inside of the cage 2 times a day. All water given to reptiles for drinking, as well as water used for misting, soaking or bathing must be 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals. (Not all home water filtration systems remove 100% of the chlorine and heavy metals from tap water). We recommend that you use unflavored bottled drinking water or bottled natural spring water; never untreated tap water. If tap water is used, you should treat it with a de-chlorinating treatment. De-chlorinator is available in the pet store fish department. If you do not want to chemically de-chlorinate the water, you can leave an open container of tap water out for at least 24 hours. Do not use distilled water, which can cause severe medical problems, since it lacks minerals that are essential to important body functions. If only tap water can be used, at least de-chlorinate the water.

A daily misting or two with chlorine-free water will also be appreciated. However, care should be taken not to allow the enclosure to become damp. Also, do not mist less than two hours before turning the heat lamps off for the day.

RECOMMENDED SUPPLIES:

A 29 gallon fish tank or reptile tank is perfect for 1-3 crested geckos. Large light dome and 75 watt bulb for heat.
Under tank heater - placed under same side of tank as basking light. Temperature / humidity gauge - do not stick to side of tank.
Dry hide house, may want to include more than one. Coconut fiber substrate.
Source: www.petsuppliesplus.com

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