How to Choose a Crested Gecko

Crested Geckos

Crested geckos are fairly new to the pet market when compared to other pet reptiles and geckos in the trade. But, that doesn't mean they are any harder to care for. Actually, they make one of the best beginner reptiles because of their ease in captivity.

Although, the average lifespan is unknown, it is estimated that they can life an average of 10-15 years like most other pet geckos when at their optimum health and care.

So, when bringing home a crested gecko, you should be familiar with how to properly care for the species and how to choose a healthy gecko. Because even if you know everything about the care and husbandry of crested geckos, if you bring home a sick gecko, you may be in for a long ride.

Where to Buy a Crested Gecko

Once you've decided to bring home a crested gecko, and you've done all your research, meaning you know the proper husbandry and diet, you're ready to pick out a crested gecko. You need to take into consideration a few things...

You need to take into consideration a few things...

When purchasing a crested gecko from a pet store you will need to take into account:

  • Their current husbandry may not be correct.
  • Unknown genetic history
  • Unknown history, in general

With retail reptiles, you do not know whether or not the parents were health and not prone to genetic disorders.

Whereas, with breeders, they take care and pride into their reptiles, and any sign of a health concern that may have a slim chance of being hereditary, is removed from the breeding groups.

But, it all falls down to your opinion, as not all pet store reptiles are sickly, housed improperly, etc. And, you may not want to pay the $55 to $75 for overnight shipping from a breeder.

You can always consider a local reptile show. To which you will normally find cheaper prices, more variety, and breeders.

Signs of a Healthy Crested Gecko

It may be difficult to asses a gecko's health by just looking in its enclosure, so ask to hold the crested gecko for closer inspection. Check to make sure that the gecko has the characteristics found below, as they are those found in healthy crested geckos.

  • Acceptable body weight is the first sign of a healthy gecko.
  • No external blemishes such as bite marks, skin tears, sores, rashes, etc.
  • Clear eyes with pupils that appear as thin slits Clean ears, nostrils, and vent.
  • Free of mites.
  • No kinks in the spine, pelvis, or tail bones.
  • If the gecko is tailless, make sure that it is completely healed.
  • No hard masses along the underside of the abdomen.
  • Ease of movement.

Unhealthy crested geckos exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Thin appearance could indicate parasites or improper feeding/diet.
  • Protruding hip bones (even if the rest of the body may have bulky) indicates major health concerns.
  •  External blemishes can indicate parasites, stress, bullying Eyes that are sunken into the head.
  • Pupils that are widely dilated under normal light.
  • Retained shed can indicate improper husbandry.
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose, and vent can indicate respiratory infection or other illnesses.
  • Mites.
  • Kinks in the spine, pelvis, or tail bones can indicate improper supplementing and diet.
  • Hard mass on the underside of the abdomen can indicate impaction or retained eggs.
  • Lethargy or difficulty moving can indicate a very serious concern.

Make sure to inspect the caging, as well as the gecko. Make sure that any feces in the tank is well formed and not liquefied. Ask what they are eating and what supplementation they are receiving (since you have done the proper research, you know what the diet should be).

If you have any concerns about the health or care of a crested gecko, do not bring it home. Because, although rehabilitation is rewarding in itself, it can be very costly...

Crested Gecko Morphs

Although, they are fairly new to the market, crested geckos already come in a variety of morphs. Which is one more reason that you should love them! ;-) Breeders tend to have a higher quality crested gecko than what you will find at your local pet store.

Breeders are selectively breeding crested gecko for "designer" morphs versus your more basic ones.

  • Cream (Creamsicle)
  • Cream Harlequin
  • Dalmatian
  • Exaggerated Crests
  • Extreme Harlequin
  • Flame (Fire)
  • Halloween
  • Harlequin
  • Harlequin Pinstripe
  • Lavender Pinstripe
  • Mardi Gras
  • Olive
  • Patternless
  • Pinstripe
  • Red
  • Red Harlequin
  • Red Dalmatian
  • Reverse Pinstripe 
  • Super Dalmatian
  • Tan
  • Tiger (Brindle)
  • Yellow
  • Yellow Harlequin
  • Yello Pinstripe

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Comments 26 comments

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Male crested geckos have a dark 'V' shaped grouping of pores at their vent. They also have two bulges. Females do not have either. Ensure that you are offering both crickets and CGD in order to provide the healthiest, most balanced diet.


Gecko1 4 years ago

sorry, 12 crikets.


Gecko1 4 years ago

My Creste is fine, but he is thin one day and fat the next. also, he eats 2 crickets at a time. How can tell if it's a boy or girl? He is 6 in long


Renee 5 years ago

I am so excited, i am preparing a tank and June 25, I'll bring home my female gecko! Thanks for all your help! Once I have the gecko I might need to contact you again!

Bye for now, Renee


Renee 5 years ago

Thank you so much for you're advice. I went to talk to Lauren Brink who is the daughter of the owner. She told me that she understood my concern, and that she would help me out. She owns many animals including crested geckos and many other arboreals. I examined the enclosure and 3 of her 6 geckos. they looked wonderful, and she told me that she would sell me one, which her mother agreed to. They live at her house and looked great. I think I found a salution!!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Animals from pet stores aren to always the best bet. I would inquire where the geckos came from. View the enclosure, overall condition of the gecko, inquire what it's eating. Just because you know the people, does not mean that it is a healthy animal.

Or, you can wait and find a show that is within a travel distacne to purchase a gecko there.


Renee 5 years ago

This is Renee, who has also been posting on another one of your hubs. I also hope you are still posting on this one. I am having credit card issues right now, so buying a gecko online isn't working.Would it be safe to buy from a local pet store? The owners are friends of mine, and they live down the street. The shop is clean and family owned, but would that be in my and the lizards best interest?

Hope to hear from you soon, Renee.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Two leopard geckos in a 20 gallon long or one crested gecko in the same 20 gallon stood vertical. Do not mix these species. They have no related care

When considering between the two, one uses heat and needs a door diet of insects and the other requires no heat and a commercial made diet with few insects.


Jason 6 years ago

I can't make my mind up about a leopard gecko and a crested. I've read elsewhere that a 20 gallon tank could house 2 geckos, if true would it be ok? They wouldn't be the same 'species' I guess but they're still both geckos.


emily 6 years ago

hey ! today my leopard gecko just died and i only had him for a few months ! the vet said he had pin worms and something else dont remember the name sorry only 13 years old and i am HEARTBROKEN i LOVE animals! i really am interested in getting a crested gecko . i just want to have some tips and ideas for his cage and keeping him healthy!?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

How long have you had the gecko? What are the temperatures in the enclosure? What is the substrate you're using? You may want to try live crickets instead of the dried mealworms (most reptiles really don't care for dead insects). Coat the crickets in pure calcium (no D3). Sometimes they will have tail kinks caused by genetic issues that develop over time; they may not be born with it, but develop it. It could be calcium or genetic issues; you'll just need to watch it. It's not going to hurt the gecko by any means. Just try adding a little extra calcium to the diet to see if that helps; I wouldn't overdo the calcium though.


AlexD13 6 years ago

Hi, I bought my little juvenile crested gecko around a month ago, and s/he seemed to be doing fine until after her/his first shed with me. the shed was successful, there was no skin left over in her/his body, but he has recently become lethargic (even at night) and her skin has lighter blotched areas that just recently appeared. Also her/his tale has become a tad crooked. Could this be from a lack of calcium? I've been feeding her CGD and i attempted to feed him a few mealworms (which she did not eat, probably because they were zoo med's dead canned mealworms). i mist her tank so that it stays between 60 and 80 percent humidity at all times, and change her food and water almost daily. I'm very worried about him/her and was wondering if you could provide some insight.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You should not house the frog and crested gecko together. You shouldn't mix species, as it is very hard to make the enclosure idea for both species.


tangofall07 6 years ago

when i first got my gecko I got it from regal reptiles. I want in there to buy a frog for my girl friend and when i show the Crested gecko I know I wanted one. I asked the guy at regal reptiles what kinda of frog would be able to live with the gecko and he told me that the tiger-Legged walking frog would be OK. The both of them really got along and slept side by side many nights. Now I am sad to say my gecko died after about 3 months, not sure if he was sick when I got him but at first he was very active and social. The frog is doing great but I just don't understand what want wrong with my gecko. He started to get very sluggish and not eating very much. I fed him CGD and mealworms coated with calcium. When I found him the day he died he was a very pale color and on the floor of my tank. I want to buy another crested gecko but not to sure if the frog and the new gecko would get along. The frog is a little bit bigger now but not to much. What do you think?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You don't want to offer baby food. It has no nutritional value. Mix the CGD with water and water only. You need to try to get the temps to stay below 75F.

New geckos don't always eat right away. The more you try to force feed, the more you are stressing out the gecko. LEAVE IT ALONE.

More than likely, if the gecko is eating, you're not seeing anything because you're offering a good bit. Use a bottle cap to feed in so that you can see if the gecko is eating. Use about a 1/4 tsp of CGD and a little water to fill up the bottle cap.


kelsey 6 years ago

hello i just baught a male crested (6 months old). but i am having dificulties getting him to eat (hes only been here for a few nights). i feed 1 teaspoon of CGD+1 teaspoon of baby food+1 teaspoon of water. i have it in a lid that's very reachable on the ground. hes in a 20 gallon, and the temp ranges from

70-77 during the day and unfortunately drops to 66 at night. but i would put the food on the side of his mouth and he would stay still until i moved my finger then hed lick it off his mouth, but now i go to feed him and he turns his head away completely...how can i get him to eat on his own from the lid of his food? (he gets crickets once a month) thank you


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I realize that there are a lot of people saying different things, but in a way it's common sense that there really aren't any nutrients from regular lighting, so how would a gecko grow better with plain lighting? It's not getting any nutrients or vitamins from the light alone. It would make more sense if the breeder said UV lighting because at least there would be something emitted from the light, but nocturnal reptiles don't really need UV lighting, so it won't do a substantial, if any, amount of good.

Leave the CGD in overnight, but crickets should be removed after about 10-15 minutes so that the crickets don't munch on the reptile. Crickets can truly create serious damage when left in an enclorue with a reptile, especially a nocturnal one who is sleeping throughout the day, a sick one, a young one, etc.


claire 6 years ago

Hmmm that's when i start getting confused, as i trusted what he said, guess when you start out with a new pet you have to learn as you go along. Don't seem to be doing too bad so far and s/he doesn't mind been handled and also takes food off my finger (CGD) i also leave the food in the enclosure overnight and take it out first thing in the morning (I get up every morning at 4) so its not in there too long.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

The light really doesn't have any effect on growth. It is purely for lighting and sometimes heat, depending on the type of bulb and the enclosure being used. Lighting is not necessary at any age.


Claire 6 years ago

S/he doesn't seem to mind the light and there is plenty of leaves and other follage for hiding places. I spoke to a breeder and he said the light will help with growth and bone development, but when s/he gets older the light won't be needed, as long as there is some natural daylight coming in. Thank god cos bulbs cost a fortune. I will try putting the CGD in a lid as i have a dish but think its a bit on the large side!. S/he seems content and healthy, I just worry too much as this is completely new to me.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You probably won't ever need to use the under tank heater. Be careful of the light; you may want to lower the watt just to be sure. Mist twice a day.

Because the gecko is young, offer just a small bit of CGD. I use bottle caps and slowly increase the size of the bottle cap when I notice the gecko is successfully eating the portion sizes.


claire 6 years ago

I bought a heat mat but don't need to use it.The temperature is normally 75-80 (never gets right up to 80) and on a night it tends be 70 and stays at that level. I have a light on througt the day (UVB 5) at a cost of £22. S/he seems happy enough, doesn't move around much through the day. I mist the enclosure once on a morning and then on a night is that sufficient? I will try the CGD tonight. I put some in last night but don't think s/he had any. Thanks on your advice :)


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Just make sure that you offer CGD daily. Crickets can be occasional. They really don't need them with CGD, but they like them.

Also make sure that you mist the enclosure daily. Humidity is important, and younger geckos are more susceptible to dehydration than older geckos.

Watch your heat and lighting. You don't want to overheat. Most people don't use any lighting or added heat, as crested geckos can thrive in average room temperatures.


claire 6 years ago

Thank you. I want to get it right as this is my first ever lizard, s/he is really cute and likes to peep at me, all i can see is this big eye. S/he doesn't appear scared though as when i make changes to the food/water s/he jumps on to my hand.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Never leave crickets in the enclosure. Remove uneaten crickets after about 10-15 minutes.

Never feed baby food. Baby food is formulated for human babies and nothing else. It has no nutritional value for reptiles. Offer crested gecko diet meal replacement. It comes in a purple bottle in pet stores. Offer this daily. Those websites and care sheets that say to feed baby food are far outdated information. Do not offer baby food. Mix the CGD with water.


claire 6 years ago

hi,

just brought home my first ever baby crested gecko. not sure if its male or female as it is still very young. Although s/he is thin she looks healthy and we assume is eating ok as we put 5 small crickets in last night and there were only 2 left this morning. It says on websites to feed baby food (fruit) but on my care sheet i got it states not to feed this to any kind of crested gecko?? confused as to what is right and what is wrong

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