Also known as the eyelash gecko, the crested gecko is a pretty little lizard that can sport a variety of colors and patterns. They were thought extinct until the 90’s, when they were rediscovered. A local Bucks County, PA vet discusses crested gecko care below.

Handling

Generally, crested geckos will only bite if they feel scared. (Note: even if you do get bit, it probably won’t hurt much or break the skin.) However, they aren’t really fans of being handled. If you do pick your pet up, take care not to hold him by the tail. Crested geckos can drop their tails, but they won’t grow back.

Housing

Crested geckos need at least a 20-gallon tank. They are arboreal, so choose one that offers vertical space, and provide things for your pet to climb. As for accessories, you can add things like cork bark, vines, driftwood, and live plants. (Tip: pothos and philodendrons are good options.)  For substrate, you can use coconut fiber, peat, moss, newspapers, paper towels, and/or butcher papers. Avoid using pebbles, reptile sand, or substrates made for furry animals.

Conditions

These cute lizards do have some specific environmental needs, which require both special equipment and careful monitoring. You’ll need to provide two zones, one warmer than the other. And while you won’t need special lights, your pet may benefit from a low-wattage UVB light. (Red ones are a good option for night.) As for humidity, a range between 50 and 70 percent humidity is ideal. You may want to invest in an automatic mister or fogger.

Food

Your lizard can have commercial gecko food, supplemented with live insects, such as crickets, roaches, waxworms, and silkworms. Hunting live insects also provides entertainment and stimulation. You’ll need to sprinkle nutritious powder over the bugs before they become lunch. You can also offer mashed fruit or jarred baby food as a supplement.

Health

Lizards are susceptible to specific illnesses, such as metabolic bone disease. Some general red flags to watch for include mouth rot, stomatitis, respiratory issues, skin problems, redness around the mouth, wheezing, drooling, rashes, and excess mucus. More general symptoms include a lack of appetite, lethargy, stiffness, and/or strange postures. You’ll definitely need a vet that is experienced with reptiles! Be sure to ask for specific care tips.

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