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Crested gecko tips?

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by GingerC, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. GingerC

    GingerC Arachnopeon Active Member

    I've been considering getting a crested gecko for quite a while now, since before I ever got into inverts. I thought I'd never be able to convince one of the parental units, and I honestly just wasn't sure if I'd be able to put up with so many feeder insects.

    I'm still not entirely sure what happened, but somehow I've got a mantis, a spider, a scorpion, a thriving culture of mealworms, and trips to the pet store every Saturday for crickets (and occasional supplies). At this point, I'm pretty sure I can tolerate a tub of bugs hidden in my bedroom. :p

    But before I get serious about this, I have questions that must be answered! They are as follows:

    1. I've seen some varied opinions on external heating for crested geckos... some say they're fine at room temperatures, others say they need a heat gradient. What do you guys think about this? My house stays between 78-82 F this time of year; winter temps don't drop below 70 and summer temps never exceed 85.

    2. Does anyone have any experience with the commercially available habitats kits (Exo Terra, Zoo Med, etc.)? Are they any good?

    3. Can crested geckos be housed communally- and if so, how large of a tank would be large enough for a pair? I'm probably just getting one gecko, but I'm curious.

    4. How often and how much do you mist their enclosures (or provide any other means of retaining humidity, like pouring water into the substrate).

    5. What substrate do you use?

    6. Do you feed the formulated stuff to them? If you do, what brand do you use, and how often do you supplement with insects?
  2. darkness975

    darkness975 Dream Reaper Arachnosupporter

    @GingerC Some others can answer your questions better but what I can tell you is that they actually do not like the temperature to be too high. I have heard from various sources that anything over 85 F and they will actually start to suffer from it given their native climate being more temperate. So 70 - 80 seems to be a widely pitched temperature range.

    An employee at a local shop had a bunch of them a few years back. We lost power for a week in winter time and the temperatures in people's houses plummeted into the 40s and such. Despite this, he said that his cresties were still fairly active and roaming around, though not as hungry. I would not intentionally test their temperature limits but it is nice to know that you don't need to fuss over heat lamps or heat mats unless you are sharing your house with a polar bear or arctic fox :p
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  3. Belegnole

    Belegnole Tarantula Guy Old Timer

    My suggestion would be to find one or more of the forums like this one where crested gecko keepers gather. But...

    1 Like tarantulas no heater needed

    2 Front opening enclosures are great, but I don't believe that most use the kits. I've heard of a number altering the top to better control humidity levels. I myself am about to do this on a 18*18*24.

    3 No communal. OK some do it but in general it is a bad idea.

    4 Current general consensus is once a day bringing the level up to 100% then allowing it to drop down. Basically cycling the level.

    5 Due to health concerns revolving around the cresties eating the substrate many use paper towels. Only adults are put on other things such as coco substrate. If you are interested in a vivarium then many use setups similar to the ones used for dart frogs.

    6 Yes.. The formulated stuff is great. The current favored brand seems to be the Pangea with Rapashy in second place. I believe that both now have a version which includes bugs. If you feed bugs separately you need to dust them with a calcium supplement. I do both and am about to switch to the Pangea to see if I can get a better feeding response.

    Hope that helps....
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  4. GingerC

    GingerC Arachnopeon Active Member

    Wait, they can somehow stay active in 40°F weather?? I'm a homeotherm and even I need three blankets when it's that cold. That's pretty impressive.

    Messing around with heat lamps and thermometers and power outtages was my primary concern, good to know that my house is a fine temperature. Hopefully my potential future gecko will never experience such cold, though. ;)

    Yeah, you answered all my questions! :) Thanks!

    I did just think of another one, though... after reading a few more caresheets, I've seen varying recommendations for tank size for adult geckos. What would you say is the minimum?

    I've seen a few sheets say that 10 gallons is fine, but I'm buying a 10 gallon tank for other purposes and it does seem to be on the small side for such big lizards.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  5. darkness975

    darkness975 Dream Reaper Arachnosupporter

    Well like I said I would not try that nor was this a scientific study. It was word of mouth at a shop.

    70 - 80 is probably your ideal range but drops into the 60s are not outside the norm from what I read about them a while back when I was considering getting some.
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  6. CWilson1351

    CWilson1351 Arachnosquire Active Member

    Just wanted to offer a bit of input, the other two members hit most things right on the head though. I am a member on a gecko centered forum, but I am not sure about the rules about giving links to other websites. I definitely would recommend looking some up though, since they are tailored more to these specific animals. Anyhow, here is what I do know.

    1) Heating and lighting: They need 12 hours of lighting and heating all year long. During the night, all lighting and heating aggregates are simply turned off, for example through a timer plug. Night temps can safely reach the low 60s/ 16 to 20°C. Day temps should be between
    68-81°F with an optimal range of 72 to 77°F, NEVER above 83°F!! If your house doesn't support these temperatures as far as being warm enough, I suggest a space heater or small heat mat that can be plugged in to a digital thermostat. I have 4 of them that only cost me $30ea on Amazon. If the temperatures get too warm the only thing I can advise is either a window or portable Air conditioner. Be sure to figure out how long the AC can be running to get the temperature back to where it needs to be. Do this before putting your Crestie in that room. Just like you do not want to overheat your Crestie, you don't want it too cold either.
    2) Feeding: I know many people that swear by Pangea. Many of them are breeders and long time keepers. I use it for my juvenile Gargoyle gecko and he is doing great. You definitely can occasionally offer things like crickets as supplements as well. As stated by Belegnole, you have to dust the insects with calcium.
    3) Housing: Only house one Crestie per enclosure. A vertical Exo-Terra 18 x 18 x 24 inches is ideal for Adult Cresties, but National Geographic manufactures a vertical 16 x 16 x 24 inches as well. I would stick to buying only the tank, and buying any decorations, dishes, lamps, substrate, etc separate. My overall experience is that the "Complete Kits" are seldom good for anything other than the tank itself.
    4) The rest: Substrate was covered by Belegnole, just want to add that the best time to do the misting is in the evening. Then wait the 24hrs for it to dry out. Lastly, I know that many people do handle Crested Geckos but overall they are similar to tarantulas as a better pet to watch than handle. It is possible to acclimate them to human interaction, but one issue that is not mentioned enough is that excess stress can overheat the gecko and actually harm them. It isn't just the known problem of them dropping their tails.

    Hopefully you do get one and enjoy many years with it! Not sure if I really helped beyond the others, but if you have any other questions I am always happy to help out. :)

    EDIT: Forgot to say the size enclosure is for Adults, all better now.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  7. Belegnole

    Belegnole Tarantula Guy Old Timer

    Some use 10 gallon tanks on end for adults or the Exo Terra / Zoo Med 12*12*18. Personally I think 20 gallons and up is better. But it can depend on the animal. A very timid or shy animal may do better in a smaller enclosure. I don't think that there is a hard set rule for the size.
  8. Sir Aculeus

    Sir Aculeus Arachnopeon

    I kept a pair for years and mated them successfully in a large exo-terra tall terrarium with a small waterfall I custom made and decorated with live plants. The waterfall would drop into a shallow pond and then sucked back up and filtered. I never had to mist and never needed a water dish. Just add water once in a while.

    Don't keep them together unless it's a mating pair. Only one per enclosure! They are jumpers, climbers and are very active. I would use a tall terrarium with some bendable artificial vines for climbing, coconut husk and a cork background (you can mount liveplants on it). Ten gallon minimum if you want them to be happy and healthy. Give them natural day and night cycles with a full spectrum bulb (sunlight bulb). Make sure they have plenty of hiding spots. You can keep a male and female together. Make sure to separate your eggs when she lays them. Separate the pair after each clutch is laid so the female does not suffer from calcium deficiency and has a chance to recuperate. 80% humidity and temps anywhere from 60F - 70F at night... 75F - 83F during the day (if you hit 85F add a small fan or raise your lights). Mist once a day the entire enclosure....they love it and lick the water off their face and glass :)

    Check out pangeareptile.com ...by far the best food for crested geckos!!! And never feed them baby food! Dusted crickets occasionally. And don't forget to let them out once in a while (but not too often they can get stressed out and drop their tale)... mine use to like watching TV for a few :p ..... Some of them have a bit of an attitude and can snap at your fingers....it tickles! But they are awesome and love to be rubbed on top of their heads..just go easy and let them get use to you. Good luck and enjoy!

    Great... now I miss them! :arghh:
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017 at 7:31 PM
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