The best thing for your new crested gecko (no matter what age it is) is to leave it alone to settle in for the first 10-14 days in it's new home. Put the gecko in it's enclosure and only open the door to feed it, change the water and spot clean any messes. The gecko needs this time to get used to you, as well as the new smells and sounds of your home. It will be hard to not pick him up and take him out of the enclosure, but you will be rewarded with a calmer and happier gecko than if you had handled him from the beginning. Your new crested gecko may not eat for the first 7-10 days and that's ok. It is getting used to it's new environment and making sure it is safe. Within 7-10 days you should see a poop in the tank (easy to spot with paper towel substrate) and that is your indication that it is eating.
Food: Our crested geckos eat primarily Pangea Fruit Mix Complete, with the occasional insect as a treat. A favorite insect to feed them is crickets (dusted in a calcium powder to help meet their calcium requirements and prevent Metabolic Bone Disease). You can feed your crested gecko every other day, so 3-4 times a week. We usually feed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Cresteds also love the occasional fresh fruit treat. Please don't give bananas too often, although they like them, bananas deplete their calcium and are harmful. Cresteds love mashed up mangoes, papaya, figs, dates, strawberries, peaches and watermelon. Do not feed baby food to your crested gecko there is too much sugar in it. They don't eat much, all we use for a food bowl is a pop bottle lid. They eat so little that for juveniles and sub adults you may not notice any food missing from their bowl. If it is pooping, it is eating. We keep a water dish in each enclosure. Not all of them drink from it, but it helps with humidity ... it doesn't have to be a large dish, just a small and shallow bowl or lid.
Housing: Crested geckos are arboreal reptiles, so they do better with a taller enclosure as opposed to a longer enclosure. Our juveniles each live in their own enclosure that is at least 12 inches tall. At 20 grams, they then move into their own permanent enclosure that is at least 18 inches tall. While 18" tall is the minimum height for an adult crested gecko, it will use all of the space that you can give it.
There are lots of options for enclosures. Terrariums are great because they come in the perfect sizes (12"x12"x12", 12"x12"x18", 18"x18"x18", 18"x18"x24" LxWxH), they are often the most expensive option. Aquariums are a good option too, the sizes are great (a 10 gallon is 20"x10"x12", a 20 gallon 24”x12”x16” or 30”x 12”x12”, a 29 gallon is 30”x12”x18” LxWxH), but you will need to make sure that it has a secure mesh lid because you will need to flip the aquarium onto it's side to give you the necessary height.
If you move your crested up to a larger tank and find that s/he isn't eating, or is losing weight, move them back down in size for a month or two. Sometimes they can't find their food in a larger tank and just need to grow a bit more before they move up. Also, try putting a couple of bowls of food in the tank so it is easier to find the food.
We use paper towels as substrate in all of our enclosures, it's easy to clean. Eco Earth, or a fine reptile friendly dirt is fine too, but please do not use sand (they are not desert reptiles), or anything with large pieces that can get stuck if they accidentally eat it.
They are arboreal and love to have plants hanging from the sides of their tank to climb on and hide in. They also like a branch, vine or piece of bamboo to climb on. We get all of our plants and bamboo from the Dollar Tree and Dollarama and just attach a suction cup to the vine to hang it from the wall. We like to have at least 3 plants hanging from the walls, a branch to climb, a high sleeping ledge (a plastic soap dish that has suction cups already it from a dollar store works beautifully) or hammock and at least one hide on the ground in each enclosure.
Temperature and Humidity: Cresteds thrive in room temperature (20-24 degrees Celsius) and do not need any heat lamps. They do not handle heat well, will quickly dehydrate and can die at temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius. A temperature spike to 26C is fine ocassionally, but not for long term. If your night time temperature decreases to 18C, your crested gecko will be fine. Cresteds are nocturnal and do not need any UVA/UVB lights, living in a room with natural light is enough for them, but make sure they are getting a calcium with D3 supplement a couple of times a month otherwise you run the risk of health concerns like metabolic bone disease.
Crested geckos are from a humid tropical island (southern New Caledonia) and need a regular humidity cycle. We mist with a spray bottle every evening, just until we can see droplets on the sides of the tank and on the leaves. You want the humidity to get up to the 90% zone, but you do not want standing water on the floor of the tank. Do not over spray, this can cause respiratory problems and may lead to death. Over misting can result in mold growth, so please monitor the humidity levels. Let it dry out throughout the day to 55-65%, if the enclosure gets below 55%, you will want to give a light misting in the morning too. If the tank is not getting down to 55-65% daily, you are spraying too much.Crested geckos need this humidity for a couple of reasons. Licking the water droplets is their main source of water, so they need them there to drink. Cresteds shed approximately once a month and if they are too dry and dehydrated, the shed will not come off smoothly. It can become stuck resulting in lost toes and tips of tails, stuck shed can also cause them to lose their grip on the side of the tank and fall, causing death. Keeping humidity in the acceptable range is important.
You will need a hygrometer and thermometer inside each tank to monitor the humidity and temperature as it will be different inside the tank than outside. Both the stick on, and the dial types are not accurate gauges and we do not recommend using them at all. We only use digital thermometers and hygrometers along with an infrared heat gun.
Other care: Once a female crested gecko gets to about 20 grams she may start to lay eggs. If you use paper towel as substrate, you will want to have a moist hide available for her to lay eggs in. Not all females lay infertile eggs, but many will even if they haven't been with a male. If she is ready to lay, she will look for a moist patch of dirt and can become egg bound, holding the eggs inside, until she finds such a place. Egg impaction can kill her. All you need for a moist hide is a small plastic container (that is big enough for her to fit in) with a lid and some moist Eco Earth and/or sphagnum moss. Cut a small hole in the lid, big enough for her to fit in. Fill the container with the Eco Earth and/or sphagnum moss (we mix the 2) until it's about 2 inches from the rim, put the lid on it and put it in the enclosure. Every female needs a moist hide / lay box. We recommend a moist hide for all crested geckos. This gives them somewhere cool to go when they are warm and helps maintain humidity if you use a paper towel substrate.
Crested Gecko Supply List:
What will you need to bring your crested gecko home?
calcium with D3 supplement
vine or piece of bamboo to climb
ledge or hammock to hang out on
ground hide, substrate
mister, a moist hide
are described in detail above.