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New Caledonian Crested Gecko
Rhacodactylus ciliatus

These hardy, friendly, and beautiful geckos are becoming more and more popular. At first you could only find them at reptile expos, but they are now appearing in PetsMarts and Petcos!

Description: Obviously, one of their main features in the crest on their head - skin from their eye back that sticks out in little spikes. If you have seen The Lord of the Rings films you might find their eyes reminiscent of The Eye of Sauron. However, these geckos are much more attractive. They even have little spikey eyelashes!

Crested geckos are born with a prehensile tail, the end of which can cling like their four feet. However, many geckos will drop their tails and they do not regenerate. Some may consider geckos who lack tails to be of less value than those who still have them, but the geckos get along just as well without them. In fact, most geckos in the wild do not have their tails.

One of the interesting things about these crested geckos is the many "morphs" (color and pattern varieties) they come in and breeders are always trying to develop more!

Distinguishing males from females is simple (as long as they are adults). Males have a large bulge at the base of their tails. Females do not. However, geckos are not sexually mature until about 1 year old. You may be able to tell sooner by seeing the femoral pores (which go in a line above the vent), but some geckos will still surprise you even if you think you can or can not see these pores.

Food: Those who don't like to mess with crickets will love these guys! Though I would recommend feeding them crickets as well (and they really enjoy them!) crested geckos are fed mainly on baby food! Some of their favorite flavors are banana and apricot. Avoid citrus and be smart. Don't go feeding them chicken lasagna!

List of good baby foods:

Apricot with mixed fruit
Banana Apple
Sweet Potato
Tropical Fruit Medley

Remember to add some calcium supplement to the baby food!

Tank Setup: 1-2 juvenile geckos would do okay in a 10 gallon aquarium, but no space will go to waste with a larger one! Males should not be housed with other males because they will fight (and injure each other) and expect eggs if you put a male with a female!

Coconut bark serves as good flooring as well as moss. Avoid pebbles that could be swallowed accidently by your geckos when they jump for food, but larger rocks can be used to spruce up your terrarium. My geckos spend most of their time coiled up in the small decorative trees I've given them.

The tank should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees and (another great thing about them) a heat lamp or UV light is not necessary. They only need a heat lamp if the room is too cold to keep a nice temperature and they get sufficient vitamins from their food and supplement. Avoid hot rocks (probably the worst pet product ever invented) and you might look into a bubbling water stump or waterfall to keep your humidity higher. It's probably a good idea to buy some sort of thermometer to make sure it's at the right temp.

Breeding: On compiling the information on crested gecko breeding, I realized it was a LOAD and better suited for its own page. Go to the page here, Crested Gecko Breeding.



Recommended book:

Rhacodactylus by Philippe de Vosjoli, Frank Fast, and Allen Repashy
The complete guide to their selection and care. Great information on the Crested gecko, but also on the Gargoyle gecko, Mossy prehensile tail gecko, Giant gecko, and others.


This article was also published at Associated Content:


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