Dalmatian crested gecko, Correlophus ciliatus
Crested geckos, one of the best beginner reptiles
- Crested geckos are the perfect introduction to tropical geckos
- Easy to handle thanks to their calm nature
- Attractive geckos with a variety of morphs available
Do Crested geckos make good pets?
Crested geckos are cute, hardy and easy to care for, making them excellent pets for both beginner and experienced hobbyists. Although hatchlings can be a little jumpy, they are very easy to tame down with a bit of work and trust-building, and will quickly become a calm, relaxed gecko that you can bring out to show the whole family. Crested geckos, particularly males can become territorial, so this species is not suitable for cohabitation. At Swell Reptiles, our Cresties are all captive bred in the UK, so you can rest assured that your gecko came from a reputable source.
What type of enclosure is best for Crested geckos?
Crested geckos can be found naturally in the forests of New Caledonia, so are best kept in vertical enclosures with plenty of cover and branches to climb. Due to their higher humidity requirements, glass terrariums work the best, as wooden vivariums are likely to warp in continuous moisture.
We recommend a minimum adult enclosure height of 90cm (3ft), making an Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 45x45x90cm the perfect choice. To simplify things further, why not take a look at our Crested Gecko Starter Kits to get everything you need to get going in a single purchase.
How do I heat my Crested gecko?
Cresties thrive in slightly lower temperatures than most reptiles, preferring a basking spot temperature of around 28°C (82°F), with the cool end in the early-mid twenties. Due to their arboreal nature, the thermogradient should go from top to bottom and be warm near the top with a cooler forest floor. This is easiest to achieve using a basking lamp or a ceramic heater hung above the terrarium using a light bracket.
All heating equipment must be hooked up to a compatible thermostat to ensure their safety, if opting for a basking lamp, a dimming thermostat is required, alternatively if using a ceramic heater, a pulse thermostat is required.
Unless your home drops below around 15°C (59°F) overnight, you will not require any additional heating for the night time, however, if it is required, a non-light emitting heat source such as a ceramic heater can be used, set to lower temperatures than during the day to mimic a natural overnight temperature drop.
Do Crested geckos need UV?
Although Crested geckos were kept in the hobby for a long time without the use of UVB, this often led to sick and even deformed geckos. More recent research has highlighted the importance of UVB exposure for this species and at Swell Reptiles, we use UVB for all of our Crested Geckos.
Being crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during dusk and dawn, they do not naturally spend much time in the sun and therefore only require a low-level UVB to keep healthy. For this, we recommend the Arcadia ShadeDweller Arboreal which was formulated specifically with Cresties in mind and can be rested on the mesh top of your terrarium.
The strength of your UVB should be based on the distance between the light and your animals highest basking point, so if this distance is greater than 38cm (15”) you may need the slightly more powerful Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6%. If you are unsure whether the UV you have purchased will be suitable, you can check the UVI at varying distances using a Solarmeter (this should be between 1-2 for Crested geckos).
How humid should a Crested gecko be kept?
Cresties do best with a humidity level of around 70-80% although this should be allowed to drop to around 50-60% before being increased again. This is because in consistently high humidity Crested geckos can be prone to respiratory infections. To achieve these rises in humidity, a simple handheld spray bottle used a couple of times a day can work, or you can opt for a more sophisticated fogger or rain system.
How do I decorate a Crested gecko’s vivarium?
Due to the increased humidity required to keep Cresties healthy, they are the perfect choice for diving into the world of bioactivity. The foundations for any bioactive set-up should be a drainage layer of Hydro Rocks covered with a semi-permeable Hydro Matting before topping with high-quality moisture-retaining planting substrate such as Arcadia EarthMix.
Once you have the foundations in place you can begin planting, it is worth bearing in mind that due to the drops in humidity, the chosen plants need to be tolerant of this and should also grow in such a way that you will be providing lots of cover in the canopy, which makes hardy climbers such as Golden Pothos a great option.
If bioactive isn’t your cup of tea, your Crestie will not mind too much, just ensure you still provide plenty of cover from artificial plants such as the Swell Trailing Abutilon and climbing areas in the form of branches and vines.
What do Crested geckos eat?
Cresties are omnivorous and naturally feed on a diet of rotting fruits and live insects. In captivity, this diet can be difficult to achieve whilst still providing your gecko with all the nutrients they require to be healthy. Due to this, there are many high-quality formulated gecko diets on the market with a wide range of flavours to choose from, from leading brands such as Pangea or Repashy.
Whilst formulated gecko diets will form the largest part of your Crested gecko's diet, occasional feedings of livefood are vital to their development, which should be offered once or twice a week. All live food should be supplemented appropriately, following a set 8 meal cycle. For this, we recommend the use of a high-quality multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3.
How do I buy a Crested gecko?
We almost always have captive, UK bred Crested geckos for sale in our superstore, however, they must be collected in person and cannot be ordered online. If you are interested in any of the geckos we have available, please head down to the store to see us in person.
We will ask to see a few images of the set-up to ensure this is sufficient and your temperature and humidity parameters are as they should be, and will ask a few quick questions to ensure you are ready for the commitment of adopting one of our geckos. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.
For more detailed Crested Gecko husbandry information, please see our Crested Gecko Care Sheet.
|Common names||Crested gecko, Eyelash gecko, Crestie|
|Scientific name||Correlophus ciliatus (previously Rhacodactylus ciliatus)|
|Adult size||20cm (8")|
|Natural habitat||Forest habitats favouring dense foliage|
|Housing||Vertical enclosures (90cm/3ft tall minimum)|
|Ideal temperature||28°C (82°F) (warm end); 22°C (72°F) (cool end)|
|Ideal humidity||70-80% with drops to 50-60%|
|Average lifespan||10-15 years|
|Personality||Docile, sometimes jumpy|
|Ease of handling||Easy|