8 Essential Tips for Setting Up Your New Crested Gecko

Crested geckos are popular pets due to their unique appearance and relatively easy care. However, setting up the perfect environment for your new pet can be a daunting task. This article will provide you with eight essential tips to ensure your crested gecko thrives in its new home.

A terrarium with climbing branches, hiding spots, water dish, UVB light, heat source, substrate, and artificial plants for a new crested gecko setup

Choosing the right habitat is crucial to your crested gecko’s well-being. A minimum of 20-gallon tank is recommended for adult geckos, with a secure lid to prevent escape. Substrate options include coconut fiber or paper towels, which should be spot cleaned daily and fully replaced every few months. A temperature gradient of 72-80°F during the day and 65-75°F at night, along with a humidity level of 60-80%, is vital for your gecko’s health and comfort.

Setting up the environment with climbing branches, hiding places, and a water dish will provide your gecko with a stimulating and secure home. Proper lighting and heating requirements, a varied diet of insects and fruit, and handling tips will all be covered in this article. Whether you’re a new or experienced crested gecko owner, these tips will help you provide a healthy and happy life for your pet.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right habitat and substrate is crucial for your crested gecko’s well-being.
  • Proper temperature, humidity, and environmental enrichment are essential for your gecko’s health and comfort.
  • Providing a varied diet, proper lighting and heating, and gentle handling will ensure your crested gecko thrives in its new home.

Choosing the Right Habitat

A terrarium with branches, plants, and hiding spots. Temperature and humidity gauges. UVB and heat lamps. Water and food dishes.substrate for burrowing

When it comes to setting up a suitable habitat for a Crested Gecko, there are a few things to keep in mind. The right habitat will provide your gecko with a safe and comfortable environment to thrive in. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right habitat for your Crested Gecko.

Terrarium Size and Type

The first thing to consider when choosing the right habitat for your Crested Gecko is the size and type of terrarium. Crested Geckos are arboreal creatures, which means they need a tall terrarium with plenty of vertical space to climb and jump. The terrarium should be at least 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide, with a minimum of 10 gallons of space per gecko.

A glass terrarium is an ideal choice for a Crested Gecko habitat, as it provides good visibility and is easy to clean. Avoid using plastic or mesh habitats, as they do not retain heat and humidity well.

Substrate Selection

Choosing the right substrate is crucial for your Crested Gecko’s health and well-being. The substrate should be absorbent, easy to clean, and safe for your gecko to ingest. Some good substrate options include coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, and reptile carpet.

Avoid using sand, gravel, or wood chips as they can cause impaction if ingested. Also, make sure to avoid substrates that are too dusty, as they can cause respiratory problems for your gecko.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Crested Geckos require specific temperature and humidity levels to thrive. The temperature should be kept between 72-80°F during the day and no lower than 65°F at night. A basking light or ceramic heat emitter can be used to provide heat.

Humidity levels should be kept between 50-70%. A hygrometer can be used to monitor humidity levels, and a misting system or spray bottle can be used to provide humidity. Make sure to mist the terrarium at least once a day to maintain the proper humidity levels.

By considering these factors when choosing the right habitat for your Crested Gecko, you can ensure that your gecko has a safe and comfortable home to thrive in.

Setting Up the Environment

When setting up the environment for a new crested gecko, it is important to create a habitat that is both safe and comfortable. Here are some tips for setting up the perfect environment for your new pet.

Landscaping and Plants

Crested geckos are arboreal creatures, which means they spend most of their time in trees and other high places. To create a habitat that feels natural to your pet, consider adding some plants and branches to the enclosure. Live plants such as pothos, bromeliads, and orchids can provide a naturalistic feel to the enclosure and help maintain humidity levels. Make sure the plants you choose are non-toxic to your pet.

Hiding Spots and Climbing Structures

Crested geckos are nocturnal creatures that need a place to hide during the day. Provide your pet with plenty of hiding spots, such as cork bark, coconut hides, or PVC pipes. These hiding spots should be placed in different areas of the enclosure to allow your pet to choose a preferred spot. Additionally, crested geckos love to climb, so adding some climbing structures such as vines or branches can provide a stimulating environment for your pet.

Overall, creating the perfect environment for your new crested gecko requires careful consideration of their natural habitat and needs. By providing hiding spots, climbing structures, and live plants, you can create a habitat that is both safe and comfortable for your new pet.

Lighting and Heating Requirements

UVB Lighting

Crested geckos require access to UVB lighting to help them produce vitamin D3, which is essential for proper calcium metabolism. Without adequate UVB exposure, crested geckos can develop metabolic bone disease, which can lead to deformities and other health problems.

When selecting a UVB bulb, it is important to choose a bulb with the appropriate strength for the size of your terrarium. A 5.0 T8 linear UVB bulb, an Arcadia 6% UVB bulb, or an Arcadia ShadeDweller bulb are all good options for crested geckos. It is also recommended to replace the UVB bulb every 6-12 months, as the strength of the bulb can diminish over time.

Heat Sources

Crested geckos do not require additional heating if they are kept in a room with a stable temperature between 72-78°F. However, if the room temperature drops below this range, supplemental heat may be necessary.

A heat mat or ceramic heat emitter can be used to provide additional heat, but it is important to monitor the temperature closely to ensure it does not become too hot and harm the gecko. It is recommended to use a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the heat source.

In conclusion, providing proper lighting and heating is essential to the health and well-being of your crested gecko. By selecting the appropriate UVB bulb and heat source, and monitoring the temperature closely, you can help ensure your gecko stays healthy and happy.

Diet and Nutrition

A terrarium with various insects, fruits, and calcium supplements. Water dish, hiding spots, and UVB light also included

Crested geckos are omnivores and require a balanced diet to maintain their health. In this section, we will cover the feeding schedule, types of food, supplements, and water requirements for your new crested gecko.

Feeding Schedule

Crested geckos should be fed every other day, and juveniles can be fed daily. It is recommended to feed them at night since they are nocturnal animals. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, so it is essential to provide the right amount of food.

Types of Food

Crested geckos can eat a variety of foods, including insects, fruits, and commercially available crested gecko diet. The primary source of protein should come from insects such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. Fruits such as mangoes, papayas, and bananas can be offered as a treat.

Commercially available crested gecko diet is an excellent option since it provides a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. It is essential to ensure that the diet is specifically formulated for crested geckos.

Supplements and Water

Supplements such as calcium and vitamin D3 are essential for the health of crested geckos. Calcium should be dusted on insects before feeding them to your gecko. Vitamin D3 is necessary for calcium absorption and can be provided through UVB lighting.

Crested geckos require fresh water at all times. It is recommended to use a shallow dish to prevent drowning. The dish should be cleaned daily to ensure that the water is fresh and free from bacteria.

In summary, a balanced diet, including insects, fruits, and commercially available crested gecko diet, is essential for the health of your new crested gecko. Supplements such as calcium and vitamin D3 should be provided, and fresh water should be available at all times. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your crested gecko is healthy and happy.

Handling Your Crested Gecko

A terrarium with climbing branches, leafy plants, and a shallow water dish. A small feeding dish with powdered gecko diet and a misting bottle nearby. Temperature and humidity gauges on the wall

Crested geckos are generally docile and easy to handle. However, it is important to handle them properly to avoid injuring them or causing them undue stress. Here are some tips on how to handle your crested gecko:

Taming and Interaction

It is important to give your crested gecko time to adjust to its new environment before attempting to handle it. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. During this time, it is best to limit interaction with your gecko to feeding and cleaning its enclosure.

Once your crested gecko has settled in, you can begin to handle it. Start by placing your hand in the enclosure and allowing your gecko to climb onto it. Avoid grabbing your gecko or picking it up by the tail, as this can cause it to drop its tail, which is a defense mechanism.

Handling Do’s and Don’ts

When handling your crested gecko, there are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Support your gecko’s entire body when picking it up
  • Handle your gecko in a quiet, low-stress environment
  • Pay attention to your gecko’s body language and stop handling if it appears stressed or uncomfortable
  • Wash your hands before and after handling your gecko to avoid transmitting bacteria


  • Do not handle your gecko roughly or squeeze it
  • Do not handle your gecko for extended periods of time
  • Do not handle your gecko if it is shedding or has recently shed its skin
  • Do not handle your gecko if it is sick or injured

By following these tips, you can ensure that your crested gecko remains healthy and happy while being handled.

Health and Wellness

A terrarium with plants, branches, and a shallow water dish. A heat lamp and UVB light overhead. Substrate and hiding spots for the gecko

When it comes to keeping a crested gecko healthy, there are a few things to keep in mind. This section will cover some common health issues and veterinary care.

Common Health Issues

Crested geckos are generally hardy animals, but they can still develop health issues. Here are some common problems to look out for:

  • Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): This is a condition that occurs when a crested gecko doesn’t get enough calcium or vitamin D3. Symptoms include lethargy, tremors, and deformities. To prevent MBD, make sure your gecko’s diet includes calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.
  • Respiratory Infections: Geckos can develop respiratory infections if their enclosure is too cold or too damp. Symptoms include wheezing, discharge from the nose or mouth, and lethargy. To prevent respiratory infections, make sure your gecko’s enclosure is kept at the proper temperature and humidity levels.
  • Parasites: Geckos can pick up parasites from their environment or from other animals. Symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, and lethargy. To prevent parasites, keep your gecko’s enclosure clean and avoid introducing new animals without first quarantining them.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your crested gecko, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary care is important for keeping your crested gecko healthy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Find a Reptile Vet: Not all veterinarians are experienced with reptiles, so it’s important to find a vet who has experience treating crested geckos.
  • Annual Check-Ups: It’s a good idea to take your crested gecko to the vet for an annual check-up. This can help catch any health issues early on.
  • Sick Visits: If you notice any symptoms of illness in your crested gecko, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can make the problem worse.

By taking good care of your crested gecko and seeking veterinary care when necessary, you can help ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy.

Breeding and Lifecycle

Crested geckos are relatively easy to breed and can produce multiple clutches of eggs in a year. However, before attempting to breed them, it is important to understand their breeding cycle.

Understanding the Breeding Cycle

Crested geckos reach sexual maturity at around 8 to 12 months of age. Males will start displaying aggressive behavior towards other males and will start to show interest in females. Females, on the other hand, will start to develop plumper bodies and will start to show signs of ovulation.

Breeding season for crested geckos usually starts in early spring and lasts until late summer. During this time, males will become more active and will start to court females. They will display their bright colors and make chirping sounds to attract females.

Egg Laying and Incubation

After mating, females will start to produce eggs within two to four weeks. Each clutch usually contains two eggs, and females can lay up to 10 clutches in a year. It is important to provide a suitable egg-laying site for females, such as a container filled with moist soil or vermiculite.

The eggs will take around 60 to 70 days to hatch, and the temperature and humidity levels during incubation are crucial for the development of the embryos. The ideal temperature for incubation is around 72 to 80°F (22 to 27°C), and the humidity should be kept at around 80%.

Once the eggs have hatched, the hatchlings should be kept in a separate enclosure to prevent them from being attacked by adult geckos. They should be fed a diet of small insects such as fruit flies and pinhead crickets.

Overall, breeding crested geckos can be a rewarding experience for reptile enthusiasts. By understanding their breeding cycle and providing the right conditions for incubation, you can successfully breed these fascinating creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What essentials are required for a proper crested gecko habitat?

To ensure a comfortable and healthy environment for your crested gecko, it is important to have the right essentials. Some of the essentials are a proper-sized terrarium, substrate, temperature, lighting, humidity, and food. A terrarium of at least 20 gallons is recommended for adult crested geckos. Coconut fiber or paper towels can be used as a substrate. Temperature should be maintained between 72-80°F during the day and 65-75°F at night. UVB lighting for 10-12 hours per day is essential for the gecko’s health. The humidity level should be maintained between 60-80% with misting twice a day. It is important to feed the crested gecko a varied diet of insects and fruit.

How should one handle a crested gecko properly during initial interactions?

It is recommended to handle a crested gecko gently and with care during initial interactions. It is advised to let the gecko come to you rather than trying to grab it. It is also important to support the gecko’s entire body while handling it. Gradually increase the handling time and frequency to help the gecko acclimate to its new environment.

What are the key factors to consider before purchasing a crested gecko?

Before purchasing a crested gecko, it is important to consider factors such as the size of the terrarium, the cost of food and supplies, and the lifespan of the gecko. Crested geckos can live up to 20 years, so it is important to be prepared for a long-term commitment. It is also important to research the breeder or pet store to ensure that the gecko is healthy and well-cared for.

How long does it typically take for a crested gecko to acclimate to its new environment?

Crested geckos typically take 2-3 weeks to acclimate to their new environment. During this time, it is important to monitor the gecko’s behavior and make sure it is eating and drinking regularly. It is also important to avoid handling the gecko too much during this period to reduce stress.

What are the different crested gecko morphs and how do they affect the pet’s care?

There are several crested gecko morphs, including harlequin, pinstripe, flame, and dalmatian. The different morphs do not affect the care of the pet, but it is important to research the specific care needs of each individual gecko, as some may have unique health or behavioral issues.

Where is the best place to purchase a healthy crested gecko?

It is important to purchase a crested gecko from a reputable breeder or pet store. Online reviews and recommendations from other gecko owners can be helpful in finding a trustworthy source. It is also important to inspect the gecko before purchasing to ensure that it is healthy and in good condition.