Crested geckos

The crested gecko, Correlophus ciliatus (previously Rhacodactylus ciliatus) is a middle size (adult SVL around 10cm) nocturnal and semi-arboreal gecko living in New Caledonia. Thus, it likes humid and temperate environments. It is perfect for beginners because it is docile and does not need much maintenance and a relative simple installation.

Characterizations

The crested gecko is characterized by the presence of two lines of spiny scales starting over the eyes and following the median line. Its color varies among brown, green, grey, pale yellow to red, therefore there are many color morphs. Most animals have a median band between the two rows of spiny scales that is lighter than the color of the body. Furthermore, crested geckos often have blotches on their tail.

The terrarium

The crested gecko is semi-arboreal, thus the terrarium needs to be vertical with branches or climbing plants as well as some hiding spots. We recommend a terrarium of at least 40x40x60cm (LxDxH) for a couple or a trio (2 females with 1 male). For the substrate, the crested gecko likes humidity so we put at least 5 cm of earth or coco fibers and green plants such as Pothos, Chlorophytum, Dracaena, Zamioculcas or Ficus. Every evening, we spray our terrarium to increase the humidity level and we water the plants once per week. You can also use an automatic spraying system, but be careful to have a drain at the bottom of the terrarium, unless it will be rapidly full of water. Given the room temperature where the terrarium is, you will need a heating system. In summer, the terrarium should be between 24 and 29°C during the day and between 20 and 22°C during the night. In winter, the terrarium should be between 20 and 24°C during the day and should go slightly down during the night. As a heating system, we recommend a 40 W bulb (be careful to burns, geckos love to rest on it!) or a heating pad (for example 14 W). Crested geckos are nocturnal animals, thus they do not need UV. However, if you put living green plants in the terrarium, we recommend putting a small neon light (with or without UV) that will be on for 13 to 14h during summer and 10 to 11h during winter.

Feeding

The crested gecko is ideal for beginners because it can be fed only with the « Repashy » powder that simply needs to be mixed with water. This powder is a mix of fruits and proteins, thus it is a complete food for these geckos. Nevertheless, we prefer to give fresh fruits to our animals (banana or mango twice a week) and crickets (once a week with calcium) and in particular to our adult females who need more calcium than the “Rephashy » powder can provide (it is our opinion).

Reproduction

No difficulties to determine the sex of adult individuals. Indeed, males have two bulges at the base of their tail baring the hemipenises. For juveniles, it is trickier because sexual dimorphism becomes obvious only after one or even two years. However, with a good lens it is possible to determine the sex thanks to the pores present above the cloaca. They become visible when the animal weight around 5 grams and only in males. Females lay two eggs, 7 to 9 times during summer approximately every four weeks. Be careful to calcic crash during the reproduction period.

References

  • Bauer, A. M., Jackman, T. R., Sadlier, R. A., & Whitaker, A. H. (July 31, 2012). Revision of the giant geckos of New Caledonia (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: RhacodactylusZootaxa, 3404, 1-52.
  • Seipp, R., & Henkel, F.-W. (2000). Rhacodactylus: Biology, natural history & husbandry. Frankfurt am Main: Edition Chimaira.
  • De, V. P., Fast, F., & Repashy, A. (2003). Rhacodactylus: The complete guide to their selection and care. Vista, Calif: Advanced Visions.

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