Crested Gecko Cage
The first item that you need to think of when considering keeping crested geckos is, of course, the cage, or terrarium or vivarium.
Suitable crested gecko cages come in different shapes and qualities. Your cresties will not know the difference between glass and plastic and some people keep their geckos in converted plastic containers. As long as you provide the right temperatures, humidity, ventilation and hiding places and ensure that the dimensions are right, any cage will do. We would recommend glass-build crested gecko cages though. Glass does not scratch and is therefore easier to clean and more hygienic than plastic, wood or any other material.
Also, glass terrariums look better, and we feel that the crested gecko cage should also look ok if it is in your house. If you don’t want to buy a ready-built terrarium for your geckos, you can also convert an aquarium to a crested gecko cage. However, you have to ensure that the ventilation is good and make sure that your geckos cannot escape it.
How Big Should Your Crested Gecko Cage Be?
Cresties don’t really need that much space. The most important consideration when buying a cage are the dimensions. Crested geckos live in trees and like to climb, therefore your cage should be higher than wide.
The size of your terrarium depends on how many geckos you want to keep. Chris Johnson recommends terrariums with at least 10 gallon capacity for one gecko, 15 gallons for two and 20 gallons for three geckos in his Crested Gecko Secret Manual.
Setting Up Your Cage
Heating & Lighting
So you have built or bought a terrarium, what do you need to do next? Remember, your gecko needs a fairly high temperature, so you unless your room is very warm, you will need some sort of heater. This could he either a lamp or a heating mat. If your crested gecko cage is fairly small, such as the 18”x18”x24” that we recommend for two geckos, using a lamp may be quite difficult. You have to be careful not to install any heating device that gets very hot as they could inflict serious burns to your pet. For this reason, we recommend heating mats (see Crested Gecko Supplies) which are installed under the tank.
Before putting your geckos into the cage, check out the temperatures that your heating device produces in the tank. Temperatures should range between 68-86 Fahrenheit (20-30 degrees centigrade), higher temperatures as well as lower ones could be harmful! Keep in mind that the temperature in your room may vary as well, so if it gets very hot inside in summer for example, temperatures in your cage could rise exponentially, which could even lead to your pet’s death.
For complete peace of mind, we recommend the installation of a thermostat which will also allow you to build in some seasonal variation in temperature which is recommended. You can also lower the temperature slightly at night to emulate their native habitat.
Although your geckos are nocturnal and therefore don’t really require light, it is a good idea to provide some light in your cage, if the room that they are kept in is dark. This will enable you to simulate day and night, which is important for the geckos.
Plants and Hiding Opportunities
Your geckos need branches to climb on as well as some hiding places and plants. Some people like to make their crested gecko cage look like a little real rainforest and therefore insist on using real plants. Purists would even resort to plants that are native to New Caledonia (Chris Johnson provides a list of native plant species in his Crested Gecko Secret Manual). The plant issue is entirely up to you though, as your geckos won’t know the difference between plastic and real and they also will not be able to tell where the plant originates. If you use real plants, species such as Philodendron and Ficus are ideal.
The advantage of plastic plants is that they are easily cleanable and therefore more hygienic.
In addition to plants you will also have to provide some hiding opportunities for your geckos. If you keep more than one gecko, ensure that there are enough places for all your geckos to hide. Hollow branches, cork bark or even paper towel cores make good hiding places. Be creative, but make sure that your hiding places are safe, so avoid stacking up stones for example.
A very important issue is your choice of substrate. You can use newspaper, which is easy to remove if soiled but doesn’t look great. We prefer to use soil or moss as it looks more natural. Avoid gravel or other granular substrate as your crested geckos may swallow them and cause gut impaction.
Crested Gecko Cage Background
The best thing to do is to buy a cork or plastic background and fit that on the inside of your crested gecko cage. This will provide more climbing surface for your geckos and it looks good and natural too.
You will also need to install a water bowl in your crested gecko cage. This bowl should be shallow to avoid drowning. The food bowls should not actually be part of the set-up as you should always remove them after your geckos have eaten.
Hygiene is very important when you keep crested geckos, and not just to keep your geckos healthy, but also you and your family. Crested geckos may carry salmonella, so you should always wash your hands after handling them or the equipment.
You should do spot-cleaning at least every other day to remove excrement. Food bowls should always be removed after they finished their meal, don’t leave any left-overs in the cage.
The cage needs regular cleaning. We recommend the use of commercial reptile cleaners (check out My Crested Gecko Store) as your regular house cleaners may be toxic!
Where To Get All The Stuff for my Crested Gecko Cage?
With the rising popularity of reptiles as pets, most pet stores have a wide variety of equipment that you need to set-up your perfect crested gecko cage. The internet makes shopping for more exotic supplies easy. We have put together the equipment and supply that we believe is useful when keeping cresties – check out My Crested Gecko Store!