Why are Crested Geckos so Expensive?
Crested geckos display an impressive variety in terms of coloring and pattern. Naturally, the various morphs come with matching costs, causing some geckos to be spicier than others.
Add to this the cost of building the reptile’s habitat and providing proper care long-term, and the financial involvement can be significant in some cases.
But if you’ve never had a crested gecko before, what should you expect in terms of pricing and cost of maintenance? Let’s dive into it!
How Much Do Crested Geckos Usually Cost?
The cost of a crested gecko varies based on the reptile’s morph. The notion of a morph refers to the gecko’s unique features like coloring, size, pattern, shape, etc.
Since geckos have been subjected to intense human-guided selective breeding, it’s only natural that the available morphs display an immense variety.
The pricing will differ accordingly, so you will get geckos costing $30-40, while others can reach thousands of dollars based on the specific morph.
Crested gecko morphs spread over an A-to-F classification, each class containing multiple morphs. While some morphs, like the dalmatian, extreme harlequin, moonglow, or quad stripes, can get very expensive, these are rather rare.
The most popular morphs that lack these intense characteristics are more affordable, placing the crested gecko among the cheaper pet reptiles available.
Which is the Most Expensive Crested Gecko Sold?
The most expensive crested gecko sold today belongs to the melanistic morph, which is to say that the gecko is completely black.
The reptile was sold in 2021 and went for a staggering $27,000. Melanistic morphs are entirely black, including the eyes, with no other discernable color or pattern.
The black trait was already present in the axanthic morphs, except it wasn’t clean. Axanthic morphs display various shades of black, going from light grey to intense black, but never clean.
Plus, the black coloring tends to change over time, and it loses its composure.
Melanistic geckos don’t have this problem, which is why they are so popular and expensive today. It’s also a new morph, so the naturally higher price makes sense.
Factors that Influence Crested Gecko Price
If you plan on getting a crested gecko, you need to be aware of the factors that will influence its pricing.
- The morph – The morph is clearly the first factor to consider. Some morphs like the wild gecko can get extremely cheap, even below the $20 mark. Others will range in the thousands, as we’ve already seen.
- The gecko’s gene pool – This is where things get tricky because this already eliminates regular gecko shops as potential buying spots. These marketplaces breed geckos indiscriminately, so the animals will display mixed genetics, usually subpar to what you get from selective breeding. You want a gecko with no obvious genetic problems or faults like weak immune systems, respiratory issues, or visible physical defects. So, I recommend getting your gecko from experienced and certified breeders who can vouch for the reptile’s quality.
- Age and overall health – Young and healthy geckos will cost more than old or sick ones. Who would buy an old and sick gecko, you wonder? Not many people; at least, not knowingly. This brings us to the previous point. Only get your gecko from a reputed and trustworthy gecko breeder to prevent scamming. If the gecko belongs to a decent-to-high morph, but it’s cheap, it’s probably too good to be true.
Naturally, getting the gecko is only the tip of the iceberg. You also need money to craft the reptile’s habitat, get the necessary equipment, and then consider the costs coming with long-term care.
Fortunately, the costs of setting up the gecko’s habitat make for a one-time spending. As for long-term maintenance, geckos are fairly cheap.
For instance, geckos only eat once every couple of days, in most cases. So, you probably won’t spend more than $20-30 per month on food. However, I recommend setting up an insect nursery to grow live insects for your gecko at home.
It will only require a modest initial investment and minimal maintenance costs, while the benefits are priceless.
Should You Buy an Expensive Crested Gecko?
The answer to this question is by no means easy. It all depends on your goals. But here’s how I see the situation.
Crested geckos are hardy and adaptable creatures that can live up to 20 years or more in captivity. So, it’s safe to say they will become loved family members.
In this case, I think it’s worth getting a more expensive gecko belonging to a more interesting morph. Provided, of course, you offer optimal care and top-notch maintenance.
Your goal should be to preserve your gecko’s health long-term to prevent any health problems along the way.
Some strategies to help with that include:
- Sourcing your gecko wisely – We’ve already been through this point. Getting your gecko from reputed and reliable sources is key here. The quality of care doesn’t matter if your gecko is predisposed to various diseases or comes with genetic problems from the get-go.
- Ensure the optimal habitat – Provide each crested gecko with around 20 gallons of vertical space. These reptiles are climbers, so they don’t have much use for horizontal space. Remain in the 20-gallon range since geckos can get stressed if their habitat is larger than that. That’s due to them having to actively look for food and water, which can be a drag considering the gecko’s predilection for laziness.
- Optimize living parameters – We’re talking about geckos here, so the temperature, humidity, and lighting are key factors in the gecko’s long-term wellbeing. Provide your gecko with a temperature gradient, creating cold, warm, and basking areas throughout its habitat. Humidity needs to stay between 70 and 80%, and UVB lighting is necessary to ensure optimal calcium and D3 synthesis.
- A robust day/night cycle – Crested geckos are nocturnal animals, so they require a sold day/night cycle. This allows them to rest properly and remain happy long-term.
- A diverse diet – Fruits and insects are necessary for the gecko to get all of its necessary nutrients. Be wary, all geckos are predisposed to Metabolic Bone Disease. You may need to supplement your gecko’s meals with calcium and vitamin D3 powder to prevent that. Speak to your reptile-specialized vet in this sense.
- Assistance during shedding – Adult geckos shed around once a month. They don’t usually need assistance in the wild since they can perform the shedding process just fine by themselves. The problem comes in captivity, where the environmental factors are slightly different than in the wild. So, make sure you provide the gecko with peacefulness, higher humidity, and even active assistance during the shedding process. Regarding the last point, I’ve written more detailed articles on how you can do that.
- Humidity is key – Crested geckos need stable and high humidity levels to thrive. Environments with low humidity will cause them to experience respiratory and skin-related problems. Some of these will turn deadly when ignored. You can raise the humidity in your gecko’s enclosure by relying on a moisture-retaining soil mix, adding live plants, and spraying the habitat regularly.
Plus, make sure you don’t pair your crested geckos with any other tankmates. These are solitary animals that don’t like company. That being said, you can keep a male and a female or 2 or more females, provided you have enough space for all.
Even so, always keep an eye on your geckos’ interactions to prevent tensions and violence.
Ultimately, choosing the ideal gecko comes down to personal preference. Some people, especially beginners, ignore the morph altogether since all they want is a gecko.
It doesn’t matter what the gecko looks like. This alone makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Others have more specialized preferences. Fortunately, the market is ready to provide. Figure out your goals, choose your favorite gecko, and ensure optimal maintenance, and your pet will thrive.