How To Incubate Crested Gecko Eggs

If you intend to keep crested geckos, you may wonder whether or not you should try to breed them. If your crested gecko cage is large enough to hold 2 or more geckos breeding becomes an option. If you do intend to get male (just one please!) and female crested geckos, you will be quite likely to eventually find some eggs in your cage, if you provide the right climate, food, space etc.

Personally, I find that breeding reptiles is the ultimate reward when keeping them. There is nothing like finding a baby gecko in the incubator.
There are a number of factors to consider though, before you decide to breed them. For one, you will need an incubator for the eggs. You can choose to buy one in a shop (see the one that I have in my Amazon store), but you can also build one yourself.

If you decide to go down the DIY route, you will need a heat source, such as a heat mat or cable and a thermostat (again – check out the one on Amazon). I have used a plastic aquarium with a heat cable inserted. I fill the bottom part of the aquarium with about an inch of water and immerse the cable in the water. I then put a little stand into the water (like a little box or so) and onto that I place a (cleaned) cricket box. The cricket box is filled with vermiculte, which I keep moist (not wet!). This is where the eggs are placed. Right next to the eggs I place the sensor of my thermostat. Finally, I cover the aquarium with a lid (cling film will also do), leaving a little space to allow for some ventilation. Do will have to cover the cricket box with a lid with holes when you get closer to the hatching date to avoid your baby geckos falling into the water of the aquarium!

Set your thermostat to keep the temperature between 78 and 84 degrees F (26-29 degrees C). You can expect your geckos to hatch after 50-70 days.

The DIY route is certainly cheaper (although you will need the heat device and thermostat), but since you can expect a female to lay 15-22 eggs per year, you may actually decide that buying a manufactured incubator is worthwhile. It is cleaner and safer.

If you have any other DIY ideas, I would be keen to learn about them – just respond to this post!

Good luck with breeding!

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Can You Keep Crested Geckos With Other Species?

If you are as much into reptiles and amphibians as I am, it is tempting to add other species to your crested gecko cage. I personally find this all the more tempting as crested geckos are nocturnal and therefore potentially leave the cage “unused” during the day.

Generally, most experts will advise against introducing any other species, unless your crested gecko cage is very large. The main reason for this is that other species would disturb your crested geckos and vice versa. In the wild it is actually very rare that different species’ paths cross and if indeed they do, there is ample space to avoid the other and hide. In a cage, obviously, space is very limited.

Another factor is that smaller lizards could also be regarded as prey for crested geckos.

So, rather than introducing other species to your crested geckos, you could consider adding more cresties. It should be noted, however, that male crested geckos tend to be aggressive towards other males. Depending on the size of your crested gecko cage, you can keep one male and two or even three females. Size and the number of hiding places are a crucial factor here though. We recommend a 15 gallon tank for two crested geckos and 20 gallon tanks for a group of three geckos.

Before introducing any new gecko to your cage, you should keep them in a separate quarantine tank for at least three months. You need to do this in order to keep communicable diseases and parasites from spreading to your existing gecko population. Keep the decoration of the quarantine tank to a minimum and use kitchen paper as substrate. This makes keeping everything clean and hygienic and you will be able to check that the excrement has a normal consistency. Watch your new crested geckos on a daily basis to evaluate their behaviour, appetite and the consistency of their excrement.

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Buying a Crested Gecko

In this post, I will discuss what you need to consider when buying a crested gecko.

As with all reptiles you should, in my view, try to get geckos that were bred in captivity. This avoids supporting the illegal trade in this endangered species and your geckos will generally be in a much better condition.

Where to buy a crested gecko

Crested geckos can be bought from professional and private breeders, pet stores and at reptile shows. Many breeders will ship your geckos, but as you would expect, this bears some risks. Ideally you will see your gecko and watch it a little while before buying it. If you don’t have access to a breeder or store nearby, you may have to resort to the shipped option. If you do, you should speak with the breeder first to get a good idea as to whether he/she is experienced with shipping geckos. Risks are clearly higher in the cold or hot season when the package may be exposed to temperatures outside the comfort zone of your gecko.

My favourite option when buying any reptile is to find private enthusiasts who breed them. As mentioned in other articles, crested geckos are fairly easy to breed and therefore there is no shortage. Try to find a private breeder that you can visit and select your gecko in person. That way you will see how the parent geckos are kept.

What to look out for

Clearly, it is best to see the geckos on offer before taking them home. If you are unable to do that though, you should try to obtain a number of pictures of the geckos on offer in order to get an impression of the condition of them.

You should pay attention to the following:

General constitution: The body weight is a good indicator of the overall health of a crested gecko. While you don’t need to weight him, make sure that no bones are protruding.

Skin: have a close look at the skin of the gecko, in particular the armpits to make sure that there are no parasites. Also, the gecko should not have any skin flaps. Geckos regularly shed their skin, but they should be able to rid themselves of the entire skin.

Bone  structure: the bones should look straight and not have any kinks in them. This could be a sign of metabolic bone disease. If the crested gecko is missing its tail, it does not make it unhealthy. Just make sure that the wound is properly sealed.

Eyes: the eyes of the gecko should be clear with the pupils vertically dilated

No damages: apart from a missing tail, no other blemishes or injuries are acceptable.

Agility: hold the gecko and watch what he/she will do. The gecko should make an agile appearance and not sit limply on your hand. If he tries to bite you, it’s actually a good sign.

Quarantine

If your new crested gecko will join others in your cage, you should consider putting the newbie through two or three weeks of quarantine. This will avoid importing any parasites or diseases. A basic cage will do the job, though you should still ensure that basic needs, such as temperature and humidity are met. Keep the interior simple and use, for example kitchen roll rather than a more natural substrate. This way you will be able to see any excrement, which may indicate a problem. If you don’t know much about the origins of your new crested gecko, you may even decide to have the gecko dung examined by a lab to determine the presence of parasites. Contact a vet who specialises in reptiles for advice.

During the quarantine you should regularly spend time to watch your new crested gecko, see how he feeds (try live food) and behaves in general.

Conclusion

Choosing  a new crested gecko is not very difficult. You should try to get one that is bred in captivity and see it in person before buying it if you can. If you have to resort to buying one over a distance, make sure that you obtain a number of pictures first that will help you get a good impression on the condition of the gecko. Also check with the breeder how he/she sends out the gecko to avoid any horrible surprises when the postman delivers…

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One or more crested geckos?

Should you keep your crested geckos in a group?

This is a question that I hear and read about quite regularly, and it is not confined to crested geckos.

People who are new to reptile keeping frequently apply a human approach to keeping herps. Or they may think about keeping some mammals or birds that need social interaction with others of their species, when considering their reptiles’ needs.

Generally, it should be noted that there are only a few reptiles that enjoy being kept in groups, a good example would be bearded dragons. In addition, most male lizards will start to fight other males in the terrarium, which you should really avoid. Most reptiles, including crested geckos, are solitary in nature and will only seek company when it is time to mate. So that’s that then, you may think – one gecko only for me.

Even though crested geckos may be solitary in general, it is in their nature to seek a partner to reproduce. The question then arises whether it really is “healthy” for your gecko to be kept in solitary confinement. Risking that you may now think that I have gone “all human” in my approach, I am a proponent of keeping two or more crested geckos in a terrarium (only ever one male at a time though). One reason is that I think that a mission when keeping any reptile or amphibian should be to breed them, to root out the trade in captured and imported reptiles. Another is that reproduction is part of nature and your crested geckos should be given the opportunity to answer nature’s call.

Before stuffing your terrarium with geckos though, you should consider the size of your crested gecko cage, as all your inhabitants should have an opportunity to hide to get some privacy. Johnson recommends crested gecko cages measuring at least 18”x18”x24” inches in his Crested Gecko Manual for two or more geckos. If your crested gecko cage is smaller than that, you should stick to one individual as your geckos may otherwise suffer from stress, which in turn could lead to sickness and / or premature death.
If the set-up, size and climate of your crested gecko cage is good, you can expect your geckos to enjoy a very active procreational lifestyle, which will result in regular hatches of eggs. As you would expect, this will be driven by the male gecko in the group. I would therefore recommend to keep one male with two female geckos, as your male crestie may otherwise stress out the female. The size of the crested gecko cage is therefore very important, as is the availability of plenty of good hideouts for all of your geckos. You should spend some time to watch the behaviour of your geckos to see whether the male is harrassing the female. If that is the case, you may have to separate them for a while to give the female time to rest. As mentioned before, stress is very harmful to crested geckos and should be avoided.

If your crested gecko cage conforms to the recommended size and you do you have leafy plants and branches etc in your terrarium, your geckos will thrive and enjoy a harmonious life.

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How can you keep your crested geckos healthy?

If your cat, dog or parrot gets sick, you will probably take it to the vet and expect to get treatment and drugs to cure the illness. Even very complicated surgery is performed on domesticated pets these days. But what happens if your crested gecko or any other reptile or amphibian that you may be keeping gets ill? Have you ever taken a snake to your vet around the corner? Would you trust any vet with your gecko’s disease? Over the past few years or decade, reptiles have become more popular as pets, however very few vets would know how to treat your crested gecko properly. Fortunately, you can find experienced vets via ARAV (Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians). However, even experienced vets may struggle to cure your crested geckos’ disease. The size of crested geckos and the difficulty in handling them makes treatment of these animals more difficult. Therefore, you want to do everything possible to prevent your crested geckos from falling ill. Here are the main points that you need to consider if you want to keep your geckos happy and healthy:

1) Hygiene

One of the most crucial elements of health, both in animals and in humans, is hygiene. Your crested gecko cage should be easily accessible and you should have good visibility of all areas in the cage. Check your crested gecko cage on a daily basis and clear all excrement, uneaten food and shed skin. Every 8 weeks (depending on the number of geckos you are keeping in one cage) you should give the cage a complete clean, i.e. remove all plants, climbing branches and remove and dispose of the substrate and wash the cage using a specialised disinfectant (e.g. Zilla Terrarium Cleaner) You should keep in mind, that crested gecko excrement is likely to contain salmonella, so make sure that you wash your hands after handling your geckos and working on the cage.

2) Diet

As with humans, your crested geckos’ diet should be varied and contain nutrients such as phosphate and calcium. Fortunately, crested geckos are omnivorous and will enjoy both meat and plant products. Although your geckos may enjoy baby food (e.g. pureed fruit), you should ensure that you vary your menu. It is tempting to just feed baby food as it is available everywhere, but you should be aware that crested geckos need nutrients that may not be that important to human babies and meat should form about a third of the geckos diet. While baby food is fine to give to your geckos on a regular basis, I would also recommend to use commercial crested gecko food, such as Repashy, as this will include a good balance of crucial nutrients. When feeding fresh fruit or baby food, you should apply calcium powder, which is available in well-stocked pet shops and online.

While you may not like keeping insects in your home, I believe that you should regularly feed live crickets. Apart from providing important nutrients, live crickets will also provide your crested geckos with some valuable exercise and thrills.

3) Temperature, humidity and ventilation

These three elements form the climate in your crested gecko cage and are naturally important to maintaining your geckos’ health. As crested geckos are native to rainforests, your cage should be warm and humid. This is turn makes your cage a great breeding ground for bacteria and moulds as well! Good ventilation is of the utmost importance to reduce the proliferation of bacteria or moulds in the cage, both of which may harm your geckos. Your cage should have two ventilation grids, one close to the bottom of the cage and one at the top, to allow proper circulation (think of your shower room without any ventilation!).

4) Know the basic illnesses

Despite your best efforts your crested geckos may get affected by illness or other little ailments. Early detection is crucial if you want to help your gecko effectively. It is therefore very important that you take the time to watch your geckos. Are they eating well? Is their behaviour in any way unusual? Do they shed their skin in their entirety, or do little bits stick to the skin for long? Changes in behaviour may indicate health issues.
You should acquire a basic knowledge of the most common crested gecko diseases and health problems so that you can act fast and effectively if something is troubling your geckos. Books on crested geckos will provide you with just that knowledge and will help you determine whether you should consult a vet or whether you can treat your gecko yourself.

 

Think of your crested geckos’ natural home

I believe that too many reptiles are kept in sub-standards which are likely to lead to disease and early death in these creatures. Too many people think that they can quite easily and cheaply convert a plastic box or a cupboard into a crested gecko cage and neglect fundamental elements in the design (e.g. ventilation, easy to clean). By keeping the native habitat in mind as a model, you can create a home for your geckos that is both natural and easily manageable. By being responsible and keeping the basics in mind, you can ensure that your geckos stay healthy and happy.

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Build versus buy

Should you build your own crested gecko cage, or buy one?

One of the great things about crested geckos is the fact that they are not very demanding when it comes to their habitats. Therefore, many books and websites explain how you can quite easily build your own crested gecko cage by converting a plastic box into a home for your cresties. So what is the best solution to house your geckos? Well, I personally believe that it depends on your own preferences, abilities and finances.

What to consider when building your own crested gecko cage

Clearly, the first advantage that springs to mind is the cost factor. A suitable commercially built crested gecko cage costs a little over $100, if you have a plastic box or a cabinet or so at home that you can quite easily convert into a crestie habitat, you will clearly save some money.

Depending on your handy-man skills, you may be able to build a crested gecko cage that fits a dedicated area perfectly and provides better ventilation, more space, better lighting and heating than a commercial tank. Whatever you use to build your cage, you should give thought to a number of things before you start building your crested gecko habitat. One of the most important elements of a good tank is ventilation. You should include at least two ventilation slots, ideally one toward the bottom of the tank and one at the top to enable proper circulation of air. Just punching some holes in to the top of a plastic box will not be good enough!

Secondly, you will have to consider how your cage will be heated. If you use a heating mat, you will have to make sure that the bottom of your crested gecko cage will withstand the heat emitted by the mat. If you plan to install your mat underneath the tank, consider the thickness and material of the floor of your cage as you may lose a lot of heat if the floor is thick or made of a low conducting material such as wood.

Hygiene is another factor to consider when building your own cage. Wood, for example is much less hygienic than glass and more difficult to clean. In addition, untreated wood will start to rot if you maintain the humidity levels required. Treated wood may emit toxins that could damage your crested geckos. Plastic is good to clean, but will scratch easily.

Access to your terrarium is very important but easily overlooked as well. You want to be able to easily remove soiled branches, used food bowls and even your geckos easily, so you will need a large enough opening, ideally on the front of the cage.

Your home-built crested gecko cage should also offer a secure environment for your geckos. I have mentioned toxins that may seep out of wood, particularly when exposed to heat and humidity, but you should also consider the doors of your cage for example. Glass sliding doors are in my view the most secure system, but may be a bit more challenging to install. If you use hinged doors, you will have to make sure that they lock securely so that you geckos cannot escape. If you use a converted plastic container, which may be very light, you should ensure that it cannot be accidentally knocked over.

What do your geckos think?

Almost all keepers of crested geckos (and other reptiles) will agree that the animals themselves don’t really care whether they live in a converted home or one purchased on Amazon, as long as the above criteria are fulfilled. If I personally had the time and tools and wasn’t such as lousy handyman, I would probably always build my own cages regardless of the reptiles or amphibians that I want to house in them. The reason is that I would be able to fit the cages exactly into place and could devise my own systems for heating, lighting ventilation and access.

However, since I am not very good at craftsmanship, and like my reptile cages to look good as well (so no plastic boxes for me), I personally prefer to buy them. Since crested geckos don’t require much space, their habitats are not that expensive. You may also be able to get a good used one for a bargain price, if you are also equipped with two left hands as I am.

Whatever you do though, you should always keep your pet’s needs in mind when considering your crested gecko cage options.

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Are Crested Geckos Good Pets for Children?

If you have children, you will probably have had discussions about their wish for a pet. Maybe you budged and already own a dog, cat, guinea pig or suchlike. Pets are great to have, if you as parents are into them as well, but what if you aren’t? My daughter for example owned rabbits and although cute, I would never get any rabbits again. My daughter was too young to really take care of them, so it was up to me and my wife to look after them – and boy do they produce a lot of round little pellets.

So personally, I would definitely prefer my children to own crested geckos for example. They are confined to a relatively small cage, don’t smell and don’t make any (or little) noise.
But are they really a good pet for children? The answer, in my opinion, is that it depends on the age of your children. Crested geckos certainly are not the ideal pet for young children. Children generally want to own a pet that they can handle, and, although crested geckos can be handled (as opposed to many other lizards or geckos) they are quite fragile and should not be handled every day. In addition, crested geckos are nocturnal, so your children will generally not see much of them during the day, which may frustrate them. Lastly, crested geckos’ excrement may contain salmonella, which can lead to serious illness, particularly if children contract it. If you leave the care of the crested geckos to your children, can you be sure that they wash their hands after handling the geckos or their habitat? Salmonella may be perceived to be a minor risk, but do you want to run that risk?

So, in essence, I would not recommend crested geckos as children’s pets. If your children like geckos (as I did as a little boy) and are really keen to keep them, you should consider yourself as the main keeper and only allow your children access to the crested gecko cage under your supervision. If you are considering crested geckos as pets, you will have to enjoy keeping them as much as your children want to have them now!

Keeping pets is a huge responsibility and should be taken seriously, so carefully consider buying crested geckos for your kids. A rabbit may be the better choice after all…

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Hello Crested Gecko Fans!

New Crested Gecko Blog

Hello crestie fans (and those who may be on their way to becoming one)!

Welcome to my new crested gecko blog, which I have created to help those who are thinking about getting a crested gecko as well as those that are already keeping them. I believe that my site provides a good overview of what crested geckos are, what they need to thrive and how to breed them.

For the seasoned crested gecko keeper, the information provided on this site may not be a revelation, but I invite those who are very experienced to share their tips and tricks on this site. Any feedback is welcome!

Please also let me know if you know of any other great crested gecko sites that I should maybe link to, or if you have got any good experience with any gadgets and tools that I should maybe add to my little crested gecko store.

What would be really fantastic, would be if you have any nice pictures of your geckos that I could publish on this site!

Thanks for reading thus far, I hope that I am providing something of value to you!

All the best

Marc Mathews

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