Are Crested Geckos Easy to Breed?
Crested geckos are probably some of the most popular pet reptiles you can get. They’re exotic, cute-looking, easy to keep, and will live up to 20 years in the ideal habitat. What’s not to like about them?
In this article, we will discuss breeding crested geckos because you will do it eventually. All gecko owners eventually end up breeding their geckos, especially since keeping more than one gecko is the norm.
Combine this with the gecko’s mating season, which can last up to 8 months, and you should prepare to multiply your geckos soon.
But let’s dive into the geckos’ mating and breeding behavior to see what to expect.
Crested Geckos are Prolific Breeders
That’s right, crested geckos are prolific breeders in terms of breeding frequency and the babies’ survival rates.
Here are some key aspects of gecko mating and breeding to highlight this point:
- A lengthy mating season – The geckos’ mating season begins in late February/early March and will last until late September. So, the reptiles will mate throughout the warm season and will pause during winter. Combine this with the incubation period of around 35-40 days, and you’ll get a proficient breeder that’s always ready to deliver.
- The success of the mating – So long as you have a male and a female gecko in the same environment, they will mate, and they will breed. The success of the mating process is almost always guaranteed since gecko females aren’t too picky about their partners. So long as the male will put in sufficient work, the female will eventually give in. So, you won’t have problems getting the 2 into liking each other.
- The female will bury the eggs – The eggs are rather difficult to locate because of the female’s tendency to bury them into the substrate. This is one of the reasons why many gecko keepers prefer to rely on nesting boxes. Nesting boxes allow gecko owners to track where the eggs are and remove them from the habitat if separate care is necessary.
- The female must be well-fed – The gecko female will become sexually mature at 18 months of age and requires to achieve a certain weight for the pregnancy to be successful. I recommend having the female at around 1.5 ounces before the mating process, otherwise, the reptile might not reproduce successfully. The female’s diet also matters a lot in this sense. Gecko females will lose a lot of calcium when producing the eggs, which will weaken them considerably. Consider providing them with additional calcium to compensate for the nutritional losses.
- Multiple mating sessions – Many geckos will only mate once, but this isn’t a rule. Most will actually mate multiple times over the course of several days. This usually leads many gecko keepers to leave the male and the female together for about a week. This will ensure the mating’s success.
- The female will experience behavioral changes – You can tell that the female is pregnant by assessing its overall behavior. Pregnant female geckos will naturally migrate towards warmer areas of the tank, showcase increased appetite, and remain in hiding longer than usual. These are signs that the female is already fueling its eggs and looking for a hidden area to deliver them.
These points make for a general overview of gecko mating and breeding that apply to all crested geckos.
Crested Geckos are Low Maintenance
Crested geckos are the dream reptile pets for a variety of reasons. However, the most compelling point in their favor is the ease of care.
Geckos don’t need too much maintenance or financial investment to thrive.
If you’re looking to keep geckos healthy and happy for decades to come (they can live up to 20 years in captivity), consider the following:
- Stable temperatures – Geckos prefer temperatures around 75 to 82 F. Your gecko’s favorite value may differ, but this is the ideal range for the most part. A warm environment will keep geckos active and will help them with digestion. You may need to increase the temperatures a bit during the mating season to signal geckos that the time for mating has come.
- Higher humidity levels – Geckos require a bit more humidity than what many reptile owners may be used to. You should go for a 60-70% humidity range which should be fairly easy to achieve. Spraying their habitat twice per day helps just as much as having water-retaining soil in place. You should also provide a water bowl since geckos will drink water and bathe occasionally.
- A varied diet – Geckos are omnivorous reptiles, so they consume mainly insects and fruits. A combination of both should be provided, preferably once every 2-3 days since adult geckos won’t eat more often than that. I recommend feeder insects packed with calcium and D3, especially if your geckos don’t have direct access to sunlight. This takes us to the next point.
- Adequate lighting – Geckos absorb and synthesize D3 through their skin, so they need access to sunlight to remain healthy and avoid nutritional deficiencies. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, ensure an adequate source of UVB light to compensate for that.
- A well-crafted habitat – There are several aspects weighing in the balance here. First is the terrarium’s size and shape. I recommend at least 20 gallons for one gecko, arranged vertically. Geckos need vertical space since they tend to climb and rest high a lot. Then you should consider adding branches, leaves, wood, and other decorations that the geckos can use for hiding. They tend to spend their daytime in hiding since they are nocturnal animals. Just make sure you don’t overcrowd the environment so that it will impend the gecko’s movements around its habitat.
- A healthy male-to-female ratio – This one should be simple. Don’t keep more than 1 male in any given terrarium. Males are overly aggressive and territorial with each other, so they won’t take another male’s presence lightly. Go for a 1-male-per-3-4-females rule, and you can’t go wrong.
- Fewer interactions and handling – Geckos are docile and friendly, but not too friendly. They won’t attack you, but they don’t like being handheld and handled too often. They might become fidgety and even trigger them to lose their tails, which won’t grow back. This is rather atypical for a reptile, but what can you do?
These may seem like a handful, but they’re actually not. To put it bluntly, provide your gecko with a diverse and nutritious diet, keep the temperature, lighting, and humidity within ideal parameters, and offer a stress-free and relaxing setup for the reptile to thrive.
Nothing more than that is needed for the gecko to grow healthy and experience a successful and fruitful mating season.
Incubating Crested Gecko Eggs is Simple
The incubation process requires several approaches:
- A nest box – Many people use actual incubators for the eggs, but those aren’t absolutely necessary. A nest box should cover your needs perfectly. Get one fitting to be placed in the gecko’s habitat, allow the female to bury its eggs inside, and then remove it if necessary. You can keep it there, provided the environmental temperature is slightly higher, and the humidity is adequate.
- Optimal humidity – You should spray the eggs regularly to keep them properly humid. Otherwise, they might collapse and become unviable. Look for small dents on the egg’s surface. This is an indication that more spraying is necessary to bring the humidity levels up.
- Bury the eggs – Usually, the gecko female will get that part done. Make sure that the female can dig in the substrate since geckos always bury their eggs. If the eggs aren’t buried, fix the problem.
- Check for mold – Mold is almost obligatory in humid and warm areas, which, unexpectedly enough, coincides with the gecko’s ideal parameters. Make sure to check for mold accumulation around or onto the eggs’ surface and clean them gently, if any.
Other than that, prepare for a strong waiting game since gecko eggs will take their time to hatch.
The incubation period varies between 35 and 90 days, which seems preposterous, but it actually makes sense from a biological perspective.
This prolonged incubation period is designed to keep the eggs viable in case the environmental conditions are suboptimal.
More specifically, in case the temperatures are below the accepted limit. The good news is that you can reduce the incubation period drastically by increasing the temperature a bit.
Caring for Crested Gecko Babies is Easy
Fortunately, caring for gecko babies is as easy as it gets. These tiny fellas enjoy similar temperatures and humidity levels as adults, so accommodating them won’t be too difficult.
That being said, you should increase the temperature and humidity levels a bit during the hatchlings’ first month of life.
This will help them with their shedding and promote a higher metabolic rate, effectively boosting their growth.
An important point should be made about the substrate. Gecko babies retain the same feeding behavior seen in adults.
So, they will feed around the substrate and ingest substrate particles in the process. This can increase the risk of choking. S
o, I would advise avoiding all forms of substrate until the hatchlings are old enough.
Or, at most, use paper since it’s safe and easy to clean.
Other key points include:
- Dieting – Gecko babies will mostly consume the remaining yolk on the hatching day. Some won’t even hatch completely sometimes until the yolk is gone. After that, the hatchling will undergo the shedding process, and only after that, it will eat. So, expect your gecko baby to have its first meal 2-3 days after hatching. Regarding the actual food, consider feeding your gecko babies commercial gecko powdered food. These contain all the necessary nutrients that the gecko needs to experience ideal growth. You can introduce fruits 2-3 weeks later and insects 1 month later.
- Habitat parameters – At first, you can house baby geckos in small containers and move them into a terrarium when they reach 3 months of age. Consider keeping the humidity levels at 60-80% and the temperature up to 80 °F during the day.
- Handling care – Geckos don’t like being handled, and this applies to the young as well. The problem is that gecko babies are even more sensitive and fidgety than adults, so avoid handling them until they reach 6 months of age. Naturally, you can’t avoid that completely since you need to weigh them occasionally. When the time comes, handle the geckos with care to prevent them from jumping away and hurting themselves. Also, don’t grab their tails since they might lose them on purpose and those don’t grow back.
Other than that, gecko babies aren’t really that different from adults.
Crested Geckos Grow Really Fast
This is great news for people who grow geckos for profit. Geckos will put up 2 grams (0.07 ounces) within the first month and up to 1 gram (0.03 ounces) per month moving forward.
Your gecko should reach 9 grams (0.3 ounces) by 6 months of age. This is an impressive growth rate for a reptile, especially considering that geckos can live up to 20 years.
Geckos are easy to breed and even easier to care for.
If you’re interested in my gecko care material, check out the rest of my articles on the subject.