Crested Geckos: The Cute and Easy-to-Care-For Pet Lizard
Crested geckos are a popular choice for reptile enthusiasts and make wonderful pets for both novice and experienced keepers. They are a small and easy-to-care-for species of lizard that are full of personality and have a unique appearance. These geckos are native to the rainforests of New Caledonia, and were thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered in the mid-1990s. In this article, we will explore the history, personality, characteristics, care, common health problems, appearance, diet and nutrition, lifespan, and cost of crested geckos.
Crested geckos, also known as eyelash geckos or New Caledonian crested geckos, are native to the southern part of New Caledonia, a small island in the Pacific Ocean. They are primarily found in rainforest regions, where they can climb trees and plants to find food and shelter. Crested geckos have a unique adaptation to their habitat; they have sticky toe pads that allow them to cling to surfaces, even when they are upside down. In the wild, they feed on insects, fruit, and nectar.
Crested geckos were first discovered in the late 19th century, but they were thought to be extinct in the 1970s. However, in 1994, a population of crested geckos was discovered by a herpetologist named Robert Seipp. He found a small population in the rainforest on the Isle of Pines, which is a small island off the coast of New Caledonia. Since then, the popularity of crested geckos as pets has skyrocketed, and they are now bred in captivity all over the world.
Crested geckos are known for their friendly and curious personalities. They are active during the night and can become quite active and playful when they are handled regularly. They are also known for their vocalizations, which include chirps, barks, and growls. These sounds are used to communicate with other geckos and can be quite entertaining to observe.
Crested geckos are small lizards, typically growing to between 8 and 10 inches in length. They have a unique appearance, with a crest of skin that runs from their head to their tail. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, including red, orange, yellow, brown, and grey. They also have large, lidless eyes that give them a cute and expressive look.
Crested geckos are relatively easy to care for, which makes them a great choice for first-time reptile owners. Here are some tips for taking care of your crested gecko:
Crested geckos are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees. Therefore, they need a tall enclosure that provides plenty of vertical space. A minimum of 20 gallons is recommended for one gecko, and 30 gallons for a pair. Make sure the enclosure has plenty of branches and foliage for your gecko to climb on and hide in.
Crested geckos are comfortable in temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of around 50-60%. It's important to keep the enclosure out of direct sunlight, which can cause the temperature to rise too high.
Crested geckos are nocturnal and don't require UVB lighting like some other reptiles. However, it's still important to provide a light cycle that mimics their natural environment, with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
Crested geckos are omnivores and can be fed a diet of fruit and insect-based meal replacement powder (MRP). It's important to offer a variety of fruits to ensure a well-rounded diet, and to dust the insects with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.
Crested geckos get most of their water from the food they eat, but it's still important to provide a shallow dish of water in the enclosure for them to drink from. Make sure to change the water daily.
Common Health Problems
Crested geckos are generally healthy animals, but there are some health issues to watch out for. Here are a few common health problems that can affect crested geckos:
1.Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic bone disease is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in the diet, and can lead to weak bones and other health problems. This can be prevented by ensuring your gecko is getting enough calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet.
Stuck shed is a common problem in crested geckos, where a piece of shed skin doesn't come off completely and can cause problems. This can be prevented by providing a humid hiding place for your gecko during shedding.
Respiratory infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor ventilation, and low humidity levels. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and lethargy. If you suspect your gecko has a respiratory infection, it's important to take them to the vet.
Crested geckos are known for their unique appearance, with their fringed crests and large eyes. Here are some key features of the crested gecko's appearance:
The crested gecko is named for the fringed crest of skin that runs from their head to their tail. This crest is made of soft tissue and is used for communication and display.
Crested geckos have large, round eyes with vertical pupils. They are nocturnal and have excellent night vision.
Crested geckos come in a variety of colors and patterns, including green, yellow, red, and brown. They can also have spots, stripes, or a combination of both.
Diet and Nutrition
Crested geckos are omnivores, which means they eat both insects and fruits. In the wild, they feed on a variety of insects such as crickets, roaches, and fruit flies, as well as fruits such as figs, bananas, and papayas.
In captivity, it is essential to provide a balanced diet that includes both insects and fruits. A high-quality crested gecko diet should be the main source of nutrition and can be found in most pet stores. Additionally, live insects such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms can be offered as a supplement to their diet.
It is important to dust live insects with a calcium and vitamin supplement before feeding them to your crested gecko. This will help to prevent calcium deficiencies, which can lead to metabolic bone disease.
How long do they live?
Crested geckos have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years in captivity when provided with proper care. This means that owning a crested gecko is a long-term commitment. With their relatively long lifespan, it is essential to ensure that you can provide adequate care for the duration of their life.
To ensure the longevity of your crested gecko, it is crucial to provide a suitable environment that meets their needs. This includes providing proper lighting, temperature, and humidity levels, as well as a suitable enclosure.
How much do they cost?
The cost of a crested gecko can vary depending on the breeder and morph (variation in appearance) of the gecko. The average cost of a crested gecko ranges from $30 to $100, with rare morphs costing upwards of $500.
In addition to the initial cost of the gecko, there are ongoing costs associated with owning a crested gecko. This includes the cost of food, supplements, and equipment such as an enclosure, lighting, and heating.
In conclusion, crested geckos make excellent pets for both novice and experienced reptile owners due to their friendly personalities, easy-to-care-for nature, and unique appearance. They are native to the southern part of New Caledonia and have a history of being thought extinct until they were rediscovered in the mid-1990s. Crested geckos have a variety of colors and patterns, including a unique crest of skin that runs from their head to their tail. Care for crested geckos is relatively easy, and owners must ensure they have a tall enclosure with plenty of branches and foliage, a temperature range of 72-78°F, and a diet consisting of insect-based meal replacement powder and fruits. Despite being generally healthy animals, owners should watch for common health problems such as metabolic bone disease, stuck shed, and respiratory infections. Overall, crested geckos are fascinating pets that can be enjoyed for many years with proper care.