Caresheets

How to Take Care of Your  Crested/Gargoyle Gecko

  • Length: 4.5”-5” (snout to vent); 8”-9” with tail
  • Weight: 45-60 grams
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years

New Caledonia

 

All species of Correlophus and Rhacodactylus are native to the island of New Caledonia, located east of Australia.  Crested geckos (Correlophus ciliatus) were originally thought to be extinct until a few specimens were spotted and captured after a tropical storm in 1994.  To my knowledge, the first specimens that were brought to the U.S. were by Wilhelm Henkel and Frank Fast.

Crested and gargoyle geckos have proven themselves in the reptile world as some of the most polychromatic species of lizards. The array of morphs and ease of care have catapulted these geckos into the top 5 “most popular pet lizards”.

Housing

 

The New Caledonian Crested and Gargoyle Geckos are semi-arboreal lizards that spend most of their lives in the low canopies.  With that being said these geckos enjoys a plethora of branches and plants on which to climb on.  These geckos can be kept in simple caging setups (paper towel substrate, pvc tubes, egg crates etc) or in a more elaborate vivarium (forest moss substrate, cork bark, live plants, etc). Hatchlings up to six months old can be kept in simple shoebox sized Sterilite container or even a 5 gallon tank.  Generally after a gecko reaches 10-15 grams it will do better in a 10 to 15 gallon enclosure. Average sized adults can be kept in 10-15 gallon enclosures or the 12x12x18 tall enclosures. Larger than average adult geckos (60-80 grams) should be housed in a 15-20 gallon enclosure.  Since these are arboreal creatures, the height of the enclosure is more desirable than the length. A group of 3-4 adult geckos can be housed in 18x18x24 enclosures.

Crested geckos along with the rest of the New Caledonian geckos will thrive in temperatures of 75F-82F. They do not require any additional heating or lighting but a low output UVB light can be beneficial as well as visually appealing. They do however require a moderate humidity of 60%-85%. This can be easily achieved and maintained with one or two misting sessions every day and/or a water bowl.

Generally, crested/gargoyle geckos should be housed individually. Although it is perfectly fine to house a group of adult females together, keepers should keep an eye out for dominant females or any aggressive behavior. Under no circumstances should two or more males be housed together as they will fight and possibly kill each other.

Baby/juvenile crested geckos of the same size can be housed together if there are enough hiding spots and food. It is important to satisfy the need for protein in baby/juvenile crested geckos if they are housed together so they do not start nipping at each other. Juvenile or baby gargoyle geckos however should not be housed together as they tend to be more cannibalistic.

Feeding and Watering

 

Crested geckos and the other New Caledonian geckos have a couple options when it comes to feeding.  The most recommended option would be a mixed diet of any legitimate gecko food (Pangea Fruit Mix Complete, Repashy Superfoods MRP) and insects.  Although insects are not vital for these geckos, they will grow twice as fast when fed a couple of insects each week. It is also said that insects will stimulate healthy brain behavior in hunting geckos. The best insects to feed your crested gecko would have to be either crickets or feeder roaches. Wax worms and small horned worms can also be fed to crested geckos as treats. Mealworms and superworms can also be a feeding option although I would not recommend them as staple insect feeders.  Crickets can be found in most pet stores and should be dusted with calcium with D3 before each feeding. The insects offered should not be larger than the width of the gecko’s head. We recommend feeding insects 1-2 times a week with a gecko diet fed 4-5 times a week for growing babies/juveniles. Adults can be fed insects once a week and the gecko diet 2-3 times a week.

 

Another option would be to strictly feed your crested or gargoyle gecko one of the complete crested gecko diets.  This is the most convenient method of feeding while still maintaining a healthy pet.  Allen Repashy has developed diets that contain balanced levels of proteins, minerals, vitamins and essential fats that these geckos require.  These meal replacement powders (MRPs) are mixed with water to create a fruity paste that the geckos will eat.  The most commonly found MRP is the Repashy Crested Gecko Diet and it can be found in most local reptile and exotic animal stores. Occasionally, it can be found in chain pet stores.

Apart from the Repashy Superfoods MRPs, there are a couple of other gecko food mixes that are known to have the right components in order to keep your pet gecko healthy. These include: BigFatGeckos Smoothie Mix, Pangea Fruit Mix (complete), Clarks Diet, etc.

 

We feed all of our geckos the Pangea Fruit Mix Breeders Formula (complete) or the Repashy Crested Gecko Diets along with insects once every 2 weeks. We have found that the geckos enjoy variety and this has increased growth rates and production significantly for us.

Although not necessary, these geckos can be provided with a water dish.  I have found that most of the time, baby and juvenile geckos will lick the water droplets off the walls or décor of the enclosure after a good misting, leaving a purposeless water dish. Adults will be more likely to drink out of a water bowl if provided but crested and gargoyle geckos do not require one to thrive. If you can provide a water dish for your gecko and have the time to clean it every 2-3 days, then we recommend having one in their enclosure. Water dishes however can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not cleaned weekly.

Misting of the enclosure should be done in the evenings when the geckos are starting to “wake up”. It should also be noted that the amount of time and how many times a day you mist is going to be dictated by the type of enclosure the geckos are kept in. Another variable to take into consideration is the place where you live. For example, a screen cage in Arizona will have to be misted for a longer period of time (and maybe multiple times a day), while a Sterilite container enclosure in Florida won’t be misted as much because the Sterilite container holds the humidity in better. Remember, these are not amphibians so the enclosure should be humid but not wet.

Sexing Crested Geckos 

 

 

Setting Up Your Geckos Enclosure

The most recognizable trait regarding these geckos are their crests. These spikey scales that line the triangular head give crested geckos a dragon-like appearance.

Crested geckos have semi-prehensile tails that give them the ability to use it like another limb. When a crested gecko looses its tail it will not regenerate a new one.

The flattened tail tip of the crested gecko is also lined with lamellae.

Underneath the geckos toes are rows of lamellae that allow these geckos to stick to smooth surfaces. Along with the adhesive lamellae pads, crested geckos also posses thin claws that help them cling onto rougher surfaces.

These hair-like extensions above the eye have dubbed this lizard as the “New Caledonian Eyelash Gecko.”

The reticulated eyes of a crested gecko have no eye lids. Crested Geckos have clear lenses that protect their eyes.