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Crested gecko is one of the most popular reptiles in the pet trade. It belongs to the lizard class of the animal kingdom. This reptile had been recently rediscovered in the last century. Though they fall amongst the lizards but still many of their physical attributes and natural habits are way different from usual lizard family. They have very attractive appearance and interesting behavioral pattern. Find out all about this amazing and beautiful species in the article below.
Find detailed physical description of the wonderful crested gecko here.
Head: The head is wedge shaped. A crest runs from their eyes till their tails and joins into one crest on the back side of their neck.
Body: Body shape of this reptile resembles very much to that of a lizard.
Length: These reptiles grow within a length of 5 to 7 cm. In captivity, they have been recorded to grow up till 10 cm.
Weight: Adult males of this species usually weigh about 25 g. Adult females weigh between 35 and 40 g.
Eyelids: Their eyes have hair like projections which are actually skin extension. These extensions look like eyelids. A transparent scale is there in their eyes to keep it moist.
Color: Their color varies widely. Their different shades include yellow, orange, red, blue, brown and grey. They can be of self color or patterned on their skin. The patterns may vary different types of stripes to spots and patches.
Tail: Their tail is covered with small hair near its tip. These hairs are called setae. Each seta is separated into many hundreds of hairs, which are called spatula. The tail does not grow back after shredding.
Feet: Their toes have tiny claws that help them in climbing extreme surfaces also.
Crested gecko bears its origin in South Province of New Caledonia. Three separate population of this species are found in Isle of Pines along with its surrounding islets and on Grande Terre’s main island.
The wild habitat of crested gecko primarily consists of coastal plains, mountains and inland forests. Tropical islands with hot and humid temperature suit this reptile the best.
Behavioral traits of the crested gecko are as interesting as its physical features.
- They are arboreal beings.
- They love climbing vertical surfaces.
- This reptile is nocturnal. It stays more active during the nights.
- Once their tails drop off they do not grow back.
- They are omnivorous in their diet habit. Sometimes they even accommodate well as frugivorous.
Crested geckos can be termed as both omnivores and frugivorous, depending upon the circumstances. In the wild these crested geckos feed on crickets and other small insects. They also eat rotting flowers and fruits.
Crested geckos usually breed throughout the year leaving only the cold months of November and December. Those two months are called their “cooling cycle”. After this cycle they once more start mating in January and February. They can mate anytime between those 8 to 10 warm months.
Not much is known about the reproductive behavior of crested geckos in the wild. In captivity, they have been observed to breed throughout the year apart from very cold months. Females are required to mate only once and it becomes capable of laying 2 eggs every month at a stretch of 8 to 10 months.
The females have a sack within their mouth for calcium. If any calcium deficiency occurs while they lay eggs then they might suffer minor to major health problems and even might not be able to recover from that ever.
The newly hatched crested gecko babies feed only on the egg yolk till the time they shed their skin for the first time.
This species of reptiles can live up to 15 years if they are been taken care of properly, in captivity. In the wild they might live for about 10 to 11 years.
The only known predators of the crested gecko are the little fire ants in the wild. They attack these geckos and bite them to hunt them down. Many of the bigger mammals, reptiles and birds of animal kingdom prey on these geckos.
This tiny reptile has many adaptive features that enable them to suit themselves to their ambience. Many of those features are common to the main reptile class and some are very unique to the crested geckos.
- These geckos have special feet that have a lamellae layer. Lamellae are thin plate like tissues that help their feet to grip firmly on any surface. This helps them while climbing up any vertical height.
- A layer of the lamellae tissues is also present in the tail of this reptile, helping them to grip with the tail while climbing.
- They lick their eyes to clean them.
- They come in various colors and this helps them to avoid being detected by their predators. The darker color of them helps them to camouflage in the wild and the bright color is helpful to hide within the flowers.
- The bright colored crested geckos have an added advantage of their color. They can feed on the flowers without any disturbance or risk of predation.
Pet Care Sheet
Crested geckos make very humble and entertaining pets. Its harmless nature, small size, easy diet, unique physical features make it one of the most popular pets round the globe.
Housing: A terrarium of 20 gallon is sufficient for 2 geckos. There should be enough natural plants and flowers kept inside the terrarium. The terrarium should be ideally tall so that they can climb. Cardboard tubes or bamboo tubes need to be provided inside for them to hide. Wines and branches should be placed for them to play around. Peach moss or any other substrate that absorb moisture is to be added.
Lighting: This reptile is nocturnal so light is not much needed. A couple of hours of UV rays are sufficient for their well being, but they should not be exposed to the light at a stretch. During summers the gecko can be provided with 10 hrs of darkness and 14 hrs of partial light. During winters it can be exposed to 10 hrs of light and 14 hrs of darkness.
Temperature: During daytime the temperature should be maintained around 70 degree F towards high and 80 degree F towards low. During the nights the temperature should be kept within 60 degree F towards high and mid 70 degree towards low.
Humidity: Humidity level should be maintained within 70% and 80%. The terrarium needs to be misted daily in order to keep the humidity level high.
Feeding: Diet of this reptile is very convenient. They can be fed on small insects, preferably dead ones. They can also be given rotting flowers and fruit bits. Occasionally, their foods can be dusted with calcium and multi-vitamin powder.
Water: Provide fresh, clean, chlorine-free, filtered water in a shallow dish inside the terrarium.
Interaction: A couple can be kept together in one terrarium. In a little bigger terrarium a group of these geckos can be housed but care should be taken that only one male gecko is in the group. Though these geckos are harmless but still too much of human handling can be harmful for them.
Crested geckos were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered following a tropical storm in the year 1994. Even today, these animals are listed as “vulnerable” in the wild by IUCN.
Find out many more fun and interesting facts about this amazing crested gecko.
- Their tails are prehensile.
- Unlike other lizard species, this gecko does not grow it tail once it sheds off.
- They originally belong to New Caledonia.
- Their most popular feature is their skin projection above their eyes that look like eye lids, but those are not their eye lids.
- Since they do not have eye lids so they lick their eyes with their tongue to clean the eyes.
- Some of these geckos also make squeaky sounds.
- They do are both omnivores and frugivorous at the same time.