Crested geckos do well with a glass terrarium as their enclosure. This is because glass is great at allowing heat to escape ensuring that the enclosure stays cool enough. Other enclosures such as wooden vivariums are far too efficient at retaining heat.
The crested gecko's vivarium should be at least 450mm in length and 600mm in height. There are 2 main reasons for this; firstly crested gecko is going to grow to around 8" head to tail so they need a space large enough for them to move around in. Secondly they are an arboreal gecko so they need an enclosure with enough height for them to climb.
Crested geckos require a near constant air temperature of 75oF. This is best achieved by sticking a large heatmat on one side of the glass enclosure. This heatmat is regulated using a thermostat to make sure the temperature stays constant.
As the glass is only being heated on one side this also creates a small temperature gradient within the enclosure allowing the gecko to warm itself up or move away to cool down.
If the enclosure is not able to get up to temperature with the heat mat alone a small basking bulb may be implemented in the canopy as long as the temperatures do not exceed 75-80oF.
Crested geckos are reptiles from New Caledonia. Animals that inhabit jungle regions do have some natural cover but still receive a fair amount of UV. Their UVB source should reflect this. In this kind of enclosure lights are generally held in a canopy above the mesh ceiling. In this canopy you can either implement a 5-6% UV tube or the equivelant compact light.
Crested geckos require UVB in order to synthesise vitamin D3 inside their skin. The vitamin D3 helps the gecko to absorb calcium which crucial for bone structure and growth. This is why reptiles can suffer from metabolic bone disease (MBD) when not provided with adequate UVB.
It is recommended that t5 tubes are replaced every 9 months and compact lamps are replaced every 6 months.
Crested gecko should be kept on a slightly moist substrate to increase the humidity inside the vivarium. Whilst any loose substrate has the potential to be accidentally swallowed, we have found this to not be a problem with coarse orchid bark and that is what we keep our crested geckos on. It is also very easy to clean. If the humidity is not high enough with just this substrate we would recommend adding a small ammount of moss to the enclosure.
Crested geckos are an arboreal lizard and they do like to climb on top of things to survey their surroundings. The vivarium should be decorated with various pieces of wood or vine to enable them to do this.
The crested gecko vivarium can be decorated with artificial plants for a more natural look. Natural wood ornaments look very effective and also provide further perches for the geckos. Trailing plants are very good at disguising electrical wires and equipment, as well as providing cover for young lizards.
Crested geckos are omnivorous and have a diet consisting of mainly livefoods and fruit. The core of the livefood diet should be high in protien and relatively easy to digest. We have found that brown crickets are the most readily accepted, but you can also use black crickets or locusts (hoppers). On occasion, for variation you can offer other bugs such as mealworms, waxworms or calciworms. For the fruit portion of the diet we usually feed a complete diet like repashy or a fruit paste.
To provide the crested gecko with optimal nutrition and to keep them in the best of health, they will require diet supplementaion in the form of calcium, vitamins and minerals. These are most commonly available as powders
Any livefood for the gocko should be 'gut-loaded' with an insect food. This basically involves feeding the livefood a nutrient rich diet before they are fed to the crested gecko. Our livefood is delivered to you already gut-loaded but this should be continued at home.
If you keep a male and female together, they may breed. You do not need to do anything to encourage this, providing they are healthy and the conditions are good, it will happen naturally. You need to consider whether you want this to happen. What will you do with the babies if you incubate the eggs?
A gravid female should have access to a nesting box to lay her eggs. The box should be large enough that she can fully turn-around inside it. We use a soil mix in there that is wet enough to clump but no more. We have found that Spider Life substrate is ideal.
The eggs should be incubated in an incubator at 82oF. We incubate our eggs in sealed boxes on a moisture rich substrate (such as Hatchrite) to trap the humidity around the eggs. After approximately 70 days the eggs will start to hatch, the first babies to emerge will encourage the rest of the eggs to hatch.
This is our 'How to Set Up a Crested Gecko Terrarium' video. We uploaded it to Youtube in 20013 and so far it has over 7,000 views!
It is a complete guide that will show you how we keep our crested geckos at Northampton Reptile Centre. It is based on our experiences accumulated over our 20 year history. This is the setup that makes the gecko terrarium foolproof.
The technology has moved on since we made this video, for example we now have T5 UVBs. But this is still a relevant guide that will show you how best to use your equipment to create a great Crested Gecko enclosure.