Complete Crested Gecko Care Guide

 What is a Crested Gecko?

Crested Geckos are an arboreal gecko species from the island of New Caledonia. Their scientific name is Correlophus Ciliatus. They are distinguished by the crest like spikes that perimeter their head. They are also commonly known as Eyelash Geckos. Their average lifespan in captivity runs 15-20 years. They are low maintenance, friendly, and make great beginner reptiles. 

Diet and Supplements

A commercial crested gecko diet (CGD) such as Repashy, Pangea or Zoo Med should be provided every two-three days. All three of these brands will provide proper nutrition for your gecko. These diets come in many different flavours so you might want to try a couple varieties to see which ones your gecko likes best. It will come in a powder form that needs to be mixed with water to create a consistency similar to a smoothie. Live insects such as crickets or mealworms dusted with a calcium and vitamin supplement should also be offered once or twice a week. Repashy Calcium Plus is highly recommended as an all in one supplement. Adult female geckos should be provided with extra calcium to aid in egg laying. (More information under "Breeding") Live insects are especially important for geckos under 1 year because this is when most of their growth takes place. A small water dish should also be provided, your gecko should always have access to fresh water. Baby food or real fruit can be given as a treat but they should never replace the CGD.   

Enclosure Setup

Plastic storage bins and glass enclosures are both good options for a Crested Gecko setup. When choosing a spot to place your geckos enclosure try to pick a temperature neutral area such as on a table/desk in a bedroom/living room as opposed to on the floor. Similarly do not place your geckos enclosure in front of any heating/cooling vents.

You will want to provide lots of branches or other climbing items both vertically and horizontally as well as lots of foliage for your gecko to climb and hide in. You can use fake plants, just make sure to rinse them first. For the bottom of the enclosure you have a couple different options; paper towels work best for younger geckos so that you can keep things clean and monitor their poops. For geckos 6 months or older you can use a loose substrate such as damp coco fiber or a bioactive substrate (More information under "Bioactive"). Your geckos weight will determine what size enclosure they require. You can use the following chart as a guide:

Weight in grams

Enclosure Size (for one gecko)


8”x8”x12” or equivalent 


12”x12”x18” or equivalent


12”x12”x24” or equivalent


18”x18”x24” or larger

 Crested Geckos do best when housed by themselves. Never put two males together because they are territorial and will be aggressive towards each other. Females can sometimes be kept together successfully if sufficient space is provided but it is not recommended for beginners. Females and males should also never be housed together unless you are prepared to breed them. 


If you would like to use real plants in your Crested Gecko enclosure then it is best to set up a bioactive habitat. This type of setup costs a little bit more upfront but is somewhat self sustaining and will not need to be replaced. Aside from cleaning the walls of the enclosure there is no other maintenance required.

To begin you will need to create a drainage layer on the bottom of the enclosure using hydroballs/clayballs, or small pebbles. This layer should be at least 2-3" thick. On top of the drainage layer you will want to place a sheet of mesh to separate the drainage from the soil. On top of the mesh you will pour your substrate. A good bioactive substrate should consist of reptisoil or organic potting soil (without any fertilizers), coco fiber, wood chips/bark chips, moss, and leaf litter. Mixed into this substrate you will need to add a clean up crew (CUC), these are small invertebrates that consume decaying matter such as plants, poop and mold. They are the most important part of a bioactive terrarium. The most common CUC used in reptile terrariums are called Isopods. There are many different species of Isopods but Dwarf Whites are one of the best species to use for Crested Gecko terrariums. They populate very quickly and do a very good job at keeping the substrate clean. After adding your Isopods you can now start to plant and add pieces of wood or other decor.

Some plants that do well in Crested Gecko terrariums include Pothos, Philodendrons, Syngoniums, Dracaenas, Bromeliads, Ivys, and Pileas. Be sure to rinse your plants well before planting them in your terrarium to prevent pest infestations. Water them a couple times a week and provide adequate lighting. If your enclosure isn't exposed to natural daylight you may need to purchase a plant specific light such as a SunBlaster.

Temperature and Humidity 

Use a thermometer and hygrometer to check the temperatures and humidity in your geckos enclosure. Daytime temperatures should be around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and should never exceed 87. Night time temperatures should be around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. A natural temperature drop at night time is good. If temperatures fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night you will want to provide a small heat source such as a space heater, a heating pad or a ceramic heat emitter. Make sure to always use a thermostat to prevent fire hazards. Extreme heat or extreme cold can both result in fatal complications.

Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the geckos enclosure, this will raise the humidity. Depending on what type of enclosure you're using the frequency and amount in which you spray will vary. If you have a glass enclosure it is best to spray well every evening since these enclosures tend to dry out faster. For plastic enclosures you should only lightly spray a few times per week since plastic holds humidity in much longer. When spraying enclosures with paper towels as a base be very careful not to soak them. Damp is okay but soaking wet substrate can be very problematic. If using regular tap water be sure to add water conditioner/dechlorinater, otherwise you can use distilled or spring water. Humidity should have a spike of approximately 70-80% at night time and allow for a dry period during the day around 50-60%. Exceptionally low or high humidity for long periods of time can result in respiratory infections. 


Crested Geckos are crepuscular which means that they are active at dusk and dawn. In the wild they would not usually be active during the day when the sun is out, therefore it is not necessary to provide a UVB light for this species but it is still beneficial nonetheless. In my experience, when given access to 5-7% UVB the geckos will happily come out to bask. Providing some sort of natural light during the day and shutting all lights off at night time will help to create a day/night cycle. Never place your geckos enclosure directly in front of a window, in the summer the sun rays can heat it up very quickly and in the winter it is likely too cold. 


Remove any uneaten food from the enclosure after 12-24 hours. Do not leave food in longer than 24 hours or it will start to grow mold and attract fruit fly larvae. If using paper towels they will need to be replaced at least once-twice a week or whenever dirty. Never let the paper towels get too wet or your gecko could develop a bacterial infection. If using a loose substrate mix you will need to fully replace all of it every 6 months unless you have a bioactive setup. If using fake plants and decorations they will need to be taken out and soaked in warm soapy water once a month. The walls of the enclosure will also need to be wiped down with a vinegar water solution or a commercial reptile glass cleaner. Make sure to remove your gecko while doing this. Never use windex or any other household cleaners on/in or around your geckos enclosure. 


Young geckos should not be handled until they are at least 1 month old. Once they reach a month old handling should still be limited (5-10 minutes per day). Baby geckos will be significantly jumpier than adults and are easily stressed out. Too much stress can result in your gecko dropping their tail. Handle your gecko multiple times a week for short amounts of time and try tong feeding insects if you want them to get more used to you. Crested Geckos do not necessarily need or want to be handled so this is purely for your own convenience. Without regular handling when your gecko is young you may end up with a very flighty adult.


Your gecko will usually shed its skin once a month. With proper humidity they should be able to do this on their own. Sometimes you will need to help out, this is especially the case for babies. If your gecko is having a hard time getting their skin off on their own you can place them into a container with paper towels and a little bit of lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes. This will help to soften the skin and it’ll be a lot easier to come off. You can then use a Q-tip to gently roll the skin off. Make sure your gecko also has some sort of rough surface in their enclosure such as a piece of cork bark, this will aid them in shedding. 


If you plan on breeding Crested Geckos it is best to do as much research as possible before you start. Ask questions, and source from multiple experienced breeders as well. The following paragraphs are based off of my personal experience.

It is very important to breed with purpose. Before choosing the geckos you want to breed be sure to consider the geckos age, structure, pattern, colours, and health. Any geckos chosen to breed should be at least 16-24 months old, in good health and have a desirable appearance (Large crests, vibrant colours/pattern, etc). Breeding females should weigh at least 45 grams, and breeding males should weigh at least 35 grams. The bigger the better!

Once you've selected two geckos that you want to breed, the pair should be housed together and then separated after 1-2 weeks. Keeping a breeding pair together for longer periods of time can cause unnecessary stress/harassment which could lead to injuries, weight loss or even death. Once separated the female should be provided with a laybox consisting of damp moss or coco fiber. This is where she will lay her eggs. Generally a gravid female Crested Gecko will lay 2 eggs every month for 5-12 months. Each egg will take approximately 3-4 months to hatch. That's potentially 10-24 baby geckos so be prepared with supplies!

On occasion some females will lay only one egg, or one fertile egg and one infertile egg. This is normal and especially common in virgin females, females paired with virgin males and females nearing the end of their breeding season. When deciphering a fertile egg from an infertile egg you can shine a flash light underneath. A fertile egg will typically be round, firm and a red circle can be seen inside. Infertile eggs will be slim, soft and completely yellow inside. The infertile eggs can be tossed, or you can incubate them just in case if you're not 100% sure. If they start to mold in the incubator then you can toss them. Fertile eggs will need to be incubated at room temperature (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit) in a slightly ventilated container full of damp substrate such as vermiculite or perlite. This substrate should stay damp, never too dry or too wet. If you need to rehydrate the substrate you can spray it lightly but do not spray the egg directly. Do not let the eggs get too warm and do not handle the eggs while they're incubating. 

Once the babies hatch they will need to be setup in very simple/sterile plastic bins. Paper towels, a couple fake plants, a piece of cork or rock, and a small water dish. They will be very sensitive. They will likely refuse food for the first 3-4 days. Offer CGD every other day, or every 2 days. Once they are eating their CGD regularly on their own (usually 3-4 weeks old), you can introduce some small insects.