Crested geckos are relatively easy lizards to look after, and make great pets for older children and adults. They are ideal for people who do not want to feed live food as they can be kept on powdered foods mixed with water or suitable pureed fruit.
These lizards are nocturnal, which means that they are active during the night, or when the vivarium lights are switched off. They can sometimes be quite noisy moving through foliage late at night. Males can also sometimes make a quacking or squeaking noise, especially if they are courting a female, so may not be suitable for a bedroom.
They are very variable in their colour forms and crest development. Some common colour forms or "morphs" include buckskin, pinstripe, Dalmatian and flame. Crested geckos do not have the same needs for company as most mammals, so are happily kept on their own. It is usually not possible to sex crested geckos when they are very small.
Like most reptiles, they are normally housed in an enclosed cage with glass doors known as a vivarium. Crested geckos have specific requirements, therefore it is essential that the environment within the vivarium is controlled precisely and monitored continuously. They also need plenty of places to hide whilst the vivarium or room lighting is on. As they are tree-dwelling (arboreal) lizards, they need a tall vivarium, 45-65cm high as a minimum, along with plenty of suitable décor such as leafy plants which they can climb onto.
Being nocturnal it is generally accepted that they do not have the same lighting requirements as many reptiles which are active during the day (diurnal). However, it can be beneficial for them to have to have 12-14 hours of either artificial or natural light each day.
Heat is not usually an important part of keeping a crested gecko and many keepers do not use additional heating as they are happiest between 20-26 degrees C. A heat mat could be used to maintain a stable temperature, and this should always be linked to the correct thermostat. Temperatures over 28 degrees C can be harmful to crested geckos. Humidity is very important for crested geckos and the vivarium should be maintained at 60% - 80% RH (Relative Humidity). This can be achieved by spraying the vivarium liberally with water in the evening. These geckos prefer to lick droplets from leaves rather than drinking from a bowl.
Lighting from above is desirable but not essential. An ideal set up will have lights creating a distinct day and night regime. At night a blue or red night light can allow you to watch your geckos as they investigate their environment and look for food. Blue or red LED lights are ideal as they do not add any additional heat to the vivariums and are low cost to run.
Crested geckos are easy to feed as there are commercially produced dry food which only needs to be mixed with water or suitable pureed fruit. This should be their main source of food, as it is complete and no further supplements are needed. Live foods such as crickets, small locusts and waxworms can also be given 2-3 times each week.
As long as they are given the correct food, environment, care and attention, crested geckos are normally problem-free.