Like its cousin the leopard gecko, the Crested gecko is another excellent beginner pet reptile. Known for their crested eyelashes, they are a hardy nocturnal lizard and can live up to 14 years of age and grow up 23cm long. This species of gecko does enjoy climbing so you will need to keep that into consideration when building your Crested gecko terrarium.
Crested geckos can be acceptable pets for children but will need to be handled with care. Like other geckos, they can shed their tail when frightened but unlike other geckos that tail will not grow back. Crested geckos also eat crickets so it may be in your interest to build a cricket insectarium for feeding purposes as well.
This guide will cover the details to make sure your Crested gecko terrarium is good to go when you introduce your new pet into it.
Selecting a terrarium
As mentioned above, Crested geckos enjoy climbing. So you’re going to want a terrarium that’s taller than it is long. At the very least half a meter tall. For an adult Crested gecko you’re going to want a 75L volume terrarium at the very least. For each additional Crested gecko that you add to the terrarium add 20L.
So for example, if you had 3 Crested Geckos and you wanted to use an aquarium you’d want a 115L aquarium at the very smallest. Cages and clear plastic tubs can also be used but unless stated otherwise, this guide will assume that you are using an aquarium.
For smaller or baby crested geckos you may want to use something smaller. This will allow them to more easily catch their food. As they grow older, you can then move them into a larger terrarium.
Furnishing your Crested gecko terrarium
You’re going to want a non-toxic substrate that preferably helps hold in humidity. This is because Crested geckos not only prefer fairly humidity environments, but also because they tend to eat their substrates, especially in the case of younger Crested geckos. I recommend using peat moss, paper towels, coconut fibres, or even shredded newspaper provided that the ink is non-toxic.
Next you’ll want to assemble plenty of branches, vines, and other platforms for your Crested geckos to climb and jump from. Make sure that they are sturdy and stable. You don’t want your geckos getting hurt when something falls over.
Plastic, silk, or real plants can be used as shade and hiding places in your Crested gecko terrarium. If you do use real plants, make sure that they are non-toxic as your geckos may end up eating some of them. Again, more likely to happen with younger Crested geckos. Tillandsia may be used but make sure that you are aware of how large your particular species grows.
Lighting, humidity, and temperature
Crested geckos do not require as much heat to survive as other reptiles. In fact, too much heat can stress them out. A low watt bulb will be all that’s needed as the temperature in the terrarium should never exceed 26°C. At night, simply turn the bulb off and let the terrarium drop down to room temperature. Be careful with the placement of the bulb, you don’t want your geckos climbing up to it and burning themselves.
The humidity however needs to be high. 80% humidity is perfect but don’t let it fall any lower than 60%. I recommend getting a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your Crested gecko terrarium. You may need to mist the terrarium several times a day and it is recommended that you have a shallow pool of water to help maintain humidity. The key word here is shallow, you don’t want to drown your pet lizard.
Also unlike other pet reptiles you don’t need to have a UVB light for the terrarium. However, some say that there is a small benefit in helping their metabolism. Whether you use one or not is completely optional.
Housing multiple Crested geckos is acceptable provided that there is only one male. They are territorial and it is recommended that they be housed separately. Multiple female Crested geckos however is perfectly fine.
Also remember to have a meshed screen at the top of the terrarium. This will not only prevent your geckos from jumping out and escaping, but also prevent any of their food from escaping should you decide to use live prey.