Do Crested Geckos Make Good Pets?
Crested geckos are among the most beloved pet reptiles you can get, thanks to their amazing variety, shiny personalities, and cute looks.
But beyond all this glamour, are geckos easy to maintain, and, above everything else, do they make for good pets?
The answer to both questions is yes. Crested geckos are easy to feed, maintain, and breed and make for excellent pets for both novice and professional hobbyists.
However, their ease of care and excellent pet material depends on the quality of care they’re getting.
A lot of factors will influence geckos’ health, lifespan, and overall wellbeing, including temperature, humidity, diet, and overall quality time spent in their habitat.
9 Reasons Crested Geckos Are Good Pets
If you’re looking to get a pair of geckos, you might be interested in the following 9 reasons that show why these lizards make for excellent pets:
1. Crested Geckos are Hardy Reptiles
Geckos are very hardy and adaptable. The proof of that is their ability to adapt to life in captivity better than one would expect.
So long as they have an adequate temperature, and humidity and receive a balanced diet, geckos will thrive.
Now, as is natural with all creatures, geckos are occasionally prone to some health problems. However, even these are the result of poor care and improper human intervention or assistance.
Some of these problems include:
- Calcium deficiency – This is a common issue that can be easily fixed through the diet. Overfeeding – This is another common one, especially since geckos don’t eat too often. One meal every 2-3 days should suffice for an adult crested gecko. Overfeeding them can cause obesity, affecting the lizard’s daily functioning and even causing health problems along the way.
- Respiratory infections and skin issues – While these problems can have multiple causes, improper humidity is among the most widespread triggers. Crested geckos require a humid environment, generally more humid than many other reptiles. You need at least 70% humidity for your geckos to remain comfy and healthy over the years. Otherwise, they will experience health problems
Other than that, the reptile is quite hardy and won’t experience any relevant health problems long-term.
If you’re worried that your gecko might be sick, assess its physical appearance. Sick geckos tend to display darker colors, produce bloody feces, and lose weight unexplainably.
However, the symptoms will always differ based on the disorder’s profile. Some geckos might experience bloating if constipation or overeating are the underlying problems or mouth fungus if mouth rot is to blame.
Either way, identifying the gecko’s health problems early on is key to providing the reptile with a fast and effective treatment.
2. Crested Geckos Thrive in Room Temperature
Geckos will thrive in temperatures around 75 to 82 °F, which eliminates the need for a heater or crafting special conditions to regulate your lizard(s) temperature.
That being said, you do need to monitor their habitat’s temperature since it can quickly deviate in some cases.
One such case is when the terrarium is closed, and humidity raises significantly. Such a situation is the perfect ground for gradual increases in environmental temperature, which may cause your gecko discomfort.
Past a certain point, of course, since geckos are lizards and lizards love warm and humid environments on principle. They are more uncomfortable in colder habitats than in warmer ones.
3. Crested Geckos are Easy to Feed
Crested geckos rank as omnivorous reptiles, so they will consume primarily insects and secondarily fruits.
They demand a balanced diet to remain healthy, otherwise, they might experience nutritional deficiencies, which can be deadly. Calcium deficiency is especially concerning with crested geckos that don’t get proper nutrition.
Fortunately, geckos are very easy to feed and keep satisfied from a culinary perspective.
There are a variety of reptile foods you can consider for your gecko, but I would recommend going to the roots and feeding your reptile live insects. The gecko isn’t too picky about its prey.
Roaches and crickets are among the favorite meals, but your gecko will mostly eat anything that will fit its mouth.
For a reliable reference point, the insect needs to be as long as the space between the lizard’s eyes. I know, it’s a weird metric, but it works.
When it comes to feeding your gecko properly, follow these tips:
- Overripe fruits only – Geckos won’t eat fresh or ripe fruits, so keep that in mind when choosing the right fruits for them. They need to be overripe for the gecko to consume them with pleasure. So, you either let the fruits muster for a while before feeding them to your reptile or use them to make a paste for easy consumption. Bananas, passion fruit, and peaches – these are all viable options for your gecko. Feel free to experiment with other fruit types as well, depending on what your reptile enjoys.
- Grow your insects yourself – I advise against feeding geckos insects caught in the wild. These are often packed with parasites or airborne chemicals that will transfer to your geckos. Instead, you should grow your insects yourself in a homemade terrarium. The investment is negligible, and the benefits are huge. The insects will be healthy, properly fed, and more nutritious than their feral counterparts. This approach with also provide you with a good supply of food for your geckos.
- Supplementation – Since your geckos live in a closed environment, they don’t have the opportunity to diversify their meals too often. They depend on you to do so. Unfortunately, you can’t really do that too well either since you have a limited supply of insects at hand. You can’t afford too much diversity in this sense. So, to avoid the nutritional deficiencies that could arise from this shortcoming, I recommend supplementing your gecko’s diet properly. It’s easy – you just douse the insects in some calcium and D3, along with other vitamins and minerals, if necessary.
When discussing feeding frequency, the situation will get even easier. Crested geckos only eat several times per week, typically around once every 2-3 days.
Juvenile geckos might need daily meals, but adults not so much. This is great if you lack the time necessary to feed geckos every day or your lifestyle requires you to leave home often.
So long as the geckos have sufficient humidity, adequate temperature, and a good, nutritious meal every couple of days, they will thrive.
As a footnote, I recommend feeding your geckos live insects. This will keep them active and engage their hunting behavior.
4. Housing Crested Geckos is Simple
A 20-30-gallon terrarium is sufficient for a pair of geckos, depending on their size and personalities.
The trick is to have the terrarium tall rather than long. These reptiles are born climbers and love to watch over their territory from a height.
They will also climb the terrarium’s walls thanks to their toe pads, so make sure to have a lid on. Otherwise, they might escape.
In essence, you have several components to consider for your gecko’s environment:
- A climbing-friendly setup – Add branches and wood that your gecko can use to climb and relax. These will also make the environment more natural-looking, keeping your gecko happy and comfy in its new habitat.
- A proper substrate – Geckos don’t care too much about the substrate, except when they’re eating since most of their food will rest on the substrate. Other than that, they don’t care too much about it. Except when it comes to humidity. The ideal gecko-oriented substrate should gradually retain humidity and release it into the air. Plain soil should do the job just fine. Make sure you also throw some leaves in since geckos love to occasionally hide and play around the leafy substrate.
- Manage the humidity – Geckos are lizards, so this already tells you everything you need to know about their preferred humidity levels. However, geckos seem to require even more humidity than other reptiles. I recommend aiming for a 70% humidity value to make sure your gecko remains healthy long-term. You can achieve this value by keeping the temperatures closer to 80 F, adding a water bowl to the terrarium, using soil as a substrate, and regularly spraying water in the enclosure.
Other than that, geckos don’t need much to thrive. Just make sure you clean their habitat regularly by removing uneaten food and feces and be on a constant lookout for mold.
Mold loves warm and humid environments just as much as geckos do.
5. Crested Geckos are Easy to Handle
They are easy to handle in the sense that they don’t bite, sting, or exhibit any hostile behavior towards you.
That being said, geckos are kind of shy and this is unlikely to change, no matter how often you interact with them.
It’s in their nature to use their shyness as a protective barrier against any potential threat. And you’ll always be a potential threat to them.
Other than that, they won’t give you too much trouble if you try to handle them for some reason.
They will squirm a bit, though, and might even lose their tails in the process, which is less than ideal since they won’t grow back.
So, if you can, I say avoid handling your geckos at all if possible. If you have to, make sure you’re gentle enough and leave them be if they become overly fidgety.
6. Crested Geckos are Not Hypoallergenic
This is an important point since many pet lovers are allergic to the very pets they love.
This isn’t the case with crested geckos since they have no fur or other irritants to worry about.
7. Crested Geckos Come in Various Colors and Patterns
That’s right, crested geckos display an impressive variety of colors, patterns, and traits.
This is already awesome since many reptile owners select their favorite pets based on their physical traits and differences. These also factor in when considering the gecko’s pricing.
Here are a handful of gecko types to consider based on your goals:
- Patternless – You would think that this category is the least impressive and you would be right. But you would also be right if you’d think that it has a charm to it that other types lack. Many reptile owners like their geckos simple and natural, without any fancy traits, in which case paternless geckos are right up their alley.
- Flame geckos – These geckos carry a special color magic with them. Flame geckos appear doused in lava with bright-red, molten patterns running down their head and back towards the tail. These geckos are as close as you can get to a fire-spitting ancient dragon. Except they’re not ancient dragons. And they don’t spit fire.
- Harlequin gecko – This type also has an extreme variation called, you guessed it, Extreme Harlequin. In essence, Harlequin geckos combine black and light yellow, making for a creamy coloring and harlequin-like pattern. You can’t deny their uniqueness, and they are highly appreciated on the market.
- Dalmatian gecko – Dalmatian geckos are light yellow with creamy nuances and tiny brown and black spots covering the entire body. The pricing difference between different Dalmatian geckos rests in the size and number of their spots. The larger and more widespread the spots are, the more expensive the gecko.
- White Spotted gecko – The White Spotted gecko stays true to its name. This specimen showcases a brown body with a creamy top, especially around the head, and white/creamy spots throughout the body.
This is just a modest sample because the geckos display immense variety in general.
Furthermore, crested geckos also show distinct personalities, allowing you to interact with each one slightly different than with the other.
8. Crested Geckos Have a Long Lifespan
This is rather unusual for reptiles and animals in general living in captivity. Most of them have longer lifespans in the wild and will experience shorter lives in captivity.
Reptiles aren’t famous for their long lifespans either. Fortunately, geckos go a bit off the charts.
These small reptiles can live up to 20 years in captivity with proper care, adequate maintenance, and a balanced and optimized diet.
This is sufficient time for the gecko to become a family member.
9. Crested Geckos are Low-Cost Pets
That’s right, crested geckos aren’t expensive at all.
Once you’ve created their ideal setup, the only expenses coming along the way include:
- Food and supplementation – Geckos require a diet comprising fruits and insects. If you’ve decided to grow insects at home for your geckos, this will give you an unlimited supply of reptile food for a minimal investment. You will be buying some extra calcium and other vitamin supplementation occasionally, but it won’t be anything too burdening, financially speaking.
- The initial investment – This includes the costs of setting up the terrarium, including decorating it properly. This is a one-time investment, so it doesn’t really matter when counting the long-term financial strain.
- Maintenance costs – These are generally kept to a minimum since crested geckos don’t need too much maintenance. The only cost associated with caring for geckos, in general, is of physical nature. So, the maintenance work comes down to physically cleaning their habitat occasionally, and that’s about it.
- Health problems – Crested geckos are rather hardy creatures, but even they will run into some health issues once in a while. In this case, the treatment will cost some money, depending on the disease’s nature and how severe it is. Fortunately, geckos are unlikely to fall sick, given proper maintenance and care and when receiving adequate food.
All in all, crested geckos are affordable and cheap pets.
Are Crested Geckos Good Pets for Children?
Yes, crested geckos are great pets for children. They’re docile and friendly, even though they’re not fond of being hand-held.
Do Crested Geckos Like to Cuddle?
If crested geckos like to cuddle, they won’t like to cuddle with you. These are rather shy reptiles that only appreciate the company of their own species. So, give your geckos the space they need and watch them from a distance, and everybody will be happy.
Do Crested Geckos Show Affection?
No, crested geckos don’t typically show affection, but this isn’t a gecko problem, it’s a reptile problem.
In the words of a famous crested gecko that could speak English: ‘If you want affection, get a cat.’
This is how it goes.
In conclusion, crested geckos are exotic, peaceful, and gorgeous pets that will adapt immediately to live in captivity.
Choose your favorite gecko carefully, prepare the ideal habitat for it, and provide the reptile with optimal care and it will remain by your side for decades.