The goal of our Animal of the Month program is to promote certain individual species that we believe make great pets for herp keepers of any skill level. But what is it exactly that makes an animal a great pet? That question could be answered in countless different ways depending on who you’re asking, but as far as we’re concerned, there are a few key traits that any species must exhibit before we’d recommend it as a great pet option for pretty much anyone. These traits include a docile temperament so that it can be easily handled, an attractive physical appearance, and relatively simple care requirements. This month’s pick has all of this and more, and we are excited to name the Crested Gecko (Correlophus ciliatus,) as our Animal of the Month for July, 2017!

Crested Geckos are certainly one of the most popular pet lizards in the world! Believed extinct until they were rediscovered in 1994, they are now commonly bred in captivity by professionals and hobbyists alike, resulting in healthy babies being readily available year round. Thanks to all these breeders, Crested Geckos are available in a wide variety of amazing colors and patterns. This arboreal species, native to tropical, southern New Caldonia, was built for a life in the trees and primarily occupies the rainforest canopies found on it’s native islands. They are excellent jumpers, have a semi-prehensile tail, and their toes are covered in hundreds of microscopic hairs (seta & spatulae) that help them cling to solid vertical surfaces.

Scales ‘N Tails highly recommends Crested Geckos. We believe they make wonderful pets for beginners and experts alike. With an average adult length of about 8 inches, they’re substantial enough in size to be easily handled, while at the same time being small enough not to require a massive terrarium. Years of captive breeding have resulted in countless color and pattern morphs, giving people many different options to choose from. They are very hardy in captivity when kept properly, and as mentioned, they are typically very docile in nature and are easily handled. However, understand that they can, and will drop their tail when handled improperly, and unlike other gecko species, it will not grow back.


Caring for a pet Crested Gecko is straight-forward and relatively simple. For most situations, we recommend keeping babies in a 10-gallon terrarium, and juveniles and adults in a tall terrarium, similar to a Zoo Med 12”x12”x18”, or larger, Naturalistic Terrarium. Zoo Med’s Eco Earth and ReptiSoil are both great substrate options, filled to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches, since both are excellent at holding moisture. A choice piece or two of cork bark or sandblasted grapevine should be placed vertically to provide climbing areas and hide spots. Live plants also make great additions to a Crested Gecko cage, and many different plant species will grow well in the ReptiSoil when provided the right lighting. Live or artificial plants will beautify the terrarium for the owner, while also providing the gecko with a greater feeling of comfort and security.

Crested Geckos don’t like it too hot, but you’ll need to provide a 72-78 degree warm area, so a supplemental heat source may be necessary. The ambient cage temperature should remain right around 70 degrees. A humidity level above 50 percent is important for Crested Gecko’s health, and 70 percent is ideal. Increasing relative humidity can be easily accomplished by misting the cage once or twice per day with a spray bottle. We also recommend the Zoo Med Repti Fogger for all humidity loving animals as it is very easy to use and relieves the owner of the responsibility of daily misting. Crested Geckos will most typically drink small water droplets from the sides of the terrarium or off plant leaves, but we do recommend keeping a small water dish, filled with clean water, available at all times. Understand that providing your Crested Gecko with the proper environment is crucial to it’s health. We strongly recommend using a Thermometer & Humidity Gauge to ensure conditions are right as it is very hard to guess these things with much accuracy.

One of the most attractive characteristics of Crested Geckos is the fact that they do not require being fed live insects on a daily basis! These animals are omnivores, with a preference for fruits, and there are currently a number of different fruit based powdered Crested Gecko foods on the market that contain all the nutrients essential to their diet. Both Pangea and Repashy have excellent powdered foods that simply need to be mixed with water and served up in a clean dish. While these diets are formulated to meet the dietary needs of the animals, we do still recommend at least one weekly offering of calcium dusted crickets or roaches for optimum health and well being.

If you provide the right environment for your Crested Gecko, then you’ll be able to enjoy your pet for a long time. Captive animals can easily live 15 – 20 years under the proper conditions, and many individuals have lived well into their 20’s.

Finally, we wouldn’t be doing our Animal of the Month justice if we didn’t make it an affordable pet option. So for the month of July, while supplies last, we will have well started, captive bred baby Crested Geckos available for $34.99! So if you’re interested in a new pet lizard, this is a great time to get one!