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Crested geckos are endemic to New Caledonia in the South Pacific and inhabit coastal forests, closed humid forests and mountainous forests. Being an arboreal (tree-dwelling,) species, these geckos spend most of their time amongst vegetation, in crevices of tree trunks and other small spaces. They have a nocturnal/crepuscular lifestyle, meaning they are most active during the night when they will hunt and forage for insects as well as dining on fruits growing in the trees. Their environments are humid with dense foliage.
The terrarium for this species needs to be tall enough to allow for their arboreal lifestyle – we suggest one of two sizes which both offer a similar amount of space, but with slightly different shapes; 60x45x60 cm or 45x45x90cm. It’s also recommended that a glass terrarium is the best option over wood or mesh, as these tend to hold humidity better as well as allowing for suitable drainage layers.
Commonly used substrates for this species are orchid bark and soil mixes. Substrates can be an important contributor to humidity in the terrarium regardless of if it is decorated with live plants or artificial. If a drainage layer is used, this should consist of hydro balls/gravel and matting underneath the substrate, preventing the substrate from becoming waterlogged while also contributing to humidity.
Your Crested gecko will need a hot spot in its terrarium alongside a cooler area to allow the animal to sufficiently regulate its body temperature. A thermostatically controlled heat source needs to be creating an area of around 26 -28°C, with the area away from the heat remaining in the low 20’s Celsius.
Terrarium temperatures can drop to room temperature at night without heat intervention as long as it remains above 10-15°C. Thermostats will regulate temperatures so that they remain where they should be without overheating the enclosure.
In its natural environment, your Crested gecko would be exposed to UVB/A light and this is an important addition to your vivarium. Even with its nocturnal behaviour, UVB/A is inescapable in the wild and will be used by the animal. UVB is essential in metabolising calcium and other nutrients used in supporting bodily functions and keeping strong, healthy, bone structure.
UVA is also used by the animal and even enables better eyesight. Both are present in a good quality UV strip bulb. Strips are recommended over compact UV bulbs as the UV is more successfully emitted from a long strip than a compact bulb. This bulb should be used in a 12 hour cycle, going off at night, and imitating the cycle of the sun. Your UV bulb will need changing every 6-12 months (bulb and manufacturer dependent) as they become less effective over time.
As well as heat and UV, humidity is also a necessity in your vivarium. Humidity is the moisture level in the air, which is raised through spraying the vivarium frequently, choosing beneficial substrates and providing good quality water sources.
Regular tap water can be used for spraying and any other water sources. Water sources can include drippers, waterfalls and fountains as your gecko will not drink from a water dish or still water. Your gecko may also drink the droplets off leaves when sprayed but a constant water source still needs to be available. Any water source needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure dirt in the system doesn’t contaminate your gecko’s drinking water.
Your crested gecko is an omnivorous species and needs to be provided with both fruit and insects in its diet. The fruit portion is often provided in the form of commercial mixes such as Repashy or Pangea. These are powders which can be mixed with water to create a paste. Cut or mashed-up fruit like banana and strawberry can also be provided. Your gecko won’t eat every type of fruit so it’s recommended that you research the best options.
Insects like crickets and locusts also need to be provided. These give the gecko the opportunity to hunt and enable the intake of nutrients that wouldn’t be in fruit or mixes. Calcium and multivitamins are also required and these can be mixed into fruit and dusted onto insects. Dusting should take place at every feed with Calcium used more frequently than multivitamins.
Terrarium Décor should consist of branches, foliage and at least 2 hiding spaces where your gecko can take cover and feel secure.
- Heat source
- UVB Lighting
- Water source (dripper/waterfall)
- Door lock/ wedge
- Calcium and Multivitamin
- Cleaning Equipment
- Spray bottle
Purchase a complete set-up for Crested geckos here
Species fact file
Common name: Crested gecko
Scientific name: Correlophus ciliatus
Origin: Southern New Caledonia
Length: 15 – 20cm
Terrarium Size: 60x45x60cm / 45x45x90cm
Temperature gradient: 22 – 28°C
Humidity: 70 – 80%
Lighting: Mid-level UVB
Feeding: Live insects, fruit and powder mixes (e.g. repashy)
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Temperament: Jumpy, easily tamed