Crested Gecko

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Crested Gecko

Correlophus ciliatus

Last updated: January 29, 2022
Verified by: IMP
Image Credit iStock.com/jamcgraw

The crested gecko can walk on glass and even has a prehensile tail.

Crested Gecko Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Diplodactglidae
Genus
Correlophus
Scientific Name
Correlophus ciliatus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Crested Gecko Conservation Status

Crested Gecko Locations

Crested Gecko Locations


Crested Gecko Facts

Prey
Insects, arthropods such as spiders
Name Of Young
hatchling
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
The crested gecko can walk on glass and even has a prehensile tail.
Biggest Threat
Habitat destruction, introduction of invasive species.
Most Distinctive Feature
The fringed crests that shade their eyes and run down the back and over the legs
Other Name(s)
New Caledonian crested gecko, eyelash gecko
Gestation Period
90 to 190 days
Litter Size
two
Habitat
Rainforest from 492 to 3281 feet
Predators
Fire ants, dogs, cats, snakes, rats, other geckos
Diet
Omnivore
Type
reptile
Common Name
crested gecko
Number Of Species
1
Location
New Caledonia
Group
solitary

Crested Gecko Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Tan
  • Orange
  • Peach
Skin Type
Scales
Top Speed
30 mph
Lifespan
10 to 20 years in captivity
Weight
1.06 to 1.23 ounces
Length
six to 10 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
nine months to one year

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“The crested gecko has eyelashes! But not really … ”

The crested gecko is also called the eyelash gecko because it has a protrusion over its eyes that bears fringes that look like eyelids with eyelashes, even though the gecko lacks both. The protrusion, or crest, continues down the animal’s head to the base of its tail and helps in its identification. Endemic to New Caledonia, the gecko is sought after as a pet even as it is endangered in its native land. Read on for more information about this fascinating reptile.

Five Incredible Crested Gecko Facts!

Here are five amazing facts concerning this gecko.

  • Unlike lots of other lizards, crested geckos’ tails don’t grow back if they’re lost. Because of this, a lot of these lizards don’t have tails in the wild.
  • The gecko not only doesn’t have eyelashes, but it lacks eyelids as well. It keeps its eyeballs clean and moist by licking them.
  • It was once thought extinct but rediscovered in 1994. Now, it is protected.
  • There are at least 12 crested gecko morphs, or geckos bred to have pretty colors and patterns.
  • They are found in two locations in New Caledonia’s South Province. One population is on Grande Terre, and the other lives on Isle of Pines.

Scientific Name

The gecko’s scientific name is Correlophus ciliatus, with Rhacodactylus ciliatus being a synonym. Ciliatus comes from the Latin word cilia and means fringe or eyelashes. It describes the crest over the lizard’s eyes that runs down its back. There are only one species and no subspecies.

Appearance

The crested gecko is a lizard that grows to around six to 10 inches in length, including a four to a six-inch-long tail. Its weight is between 1.06 to 1.23 ounces. It has a large head shaped like a triangle and scales that have a texture like beads. The characteristic that gives the gecko its name and is crucial in identification is the continuous, fringed crest that starts above the eyes and looks very much like spiny eyelashes. The spines continue down the sides of the head and body to the base of the tail. Some of these lizards also have stripes down their back.

The gecko lacks eyelids but has clear membranes over its eyes called spectacles, which the lizard needs to lick now and then to keep clean. It also has a tiny ear opening on each side of the head. Four legs have four fingers that are filled with tiny hairs on the end. These hairs let the gecko walk over extremely smooth surfaces such as glass. The toes also have little claws for hanging on. The prehensile tail also has those gripping hairs, or setae at the tip, but the price of this is that the tail can’t grow back when it’s lost. The unusual inability of the tail to grow back is also used in the identification of this gecko.



Wild crested geckos have three color morphs. They are tiger, white-fringed and patternless, and patternless geckos come in solid colors. Breeders have expanded the number of morphs.

The crested gecko is unable to grow its tail back.

iStock.com/jamcgraw

Behavior

These geckos are active at night and are secretive. They are solitary and like to hide in the undergrowth of the rainforest during the day and climb no more than 10 feet into the canopy during the night to forage and hunt. Their eyes have evolved to see well in the dark, and they can also jump. The tail and feet help them cling to tree branches. They make a chirping sound when looking for mates or confronting would-be predators. They’ll even stand up on their hind legs and gape to frighten an attacker.

Crested geckos are non-threatening to humans, and this and their beauty make them sought after as pets. They do well in a terrarium, and one gecko should be comfortable in a tank size of about 20 gallons.

Habitat

In the wild, the crested gecko is only found in the rainforests of Grande Terre or Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. They are most often found in locations that are between 492 and 3291 feet above sea level.

Diet

This gecko is an omnivore, so it eats plant and animal material. Its prey includes small arthropods, and it also eats flowers and drinks sap and nectar. In captivity, crested geckos do well with a diet designed for geckos, and they enjoy treats of crickets and cockroaches about three times a week. Ideally, these insects should be offered while they’re still alive so the gecko can satisfy its instinct to hunt. They should be small enough for the lizard to handle and dusted with vitamin powder.

The gecko shouldn’t be fed mealworms as the exoskeleton is hard for them to digest. As for fruit, geckos can be fed pureed baby food or mashed up bananas, mangos, or stone fruit. Fresh water should always be available.

Predators and Threats

One of the main threats to the crested gecko is the little fire ant, which was introduced to the islands where it lives. Swarms of this dreadful pest not only bite and sting the lizard to death but compete with it for spiders and other invertebrates. The gecko is also endangered by pet dogs and cats, snakes, rats, and its distant cousin, the 14-inch long Henkel’s giant gecko.

Geckos are subject to parasites such as Entamoeba invadens in the wild, and in captivity, they can suffer from ailments such as mouth rot, respiratory infections, and rashes. Sometimes these disorders are due to the terrarium not being properly maintained, or a tank size that is too small for the gecko or geckos.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Though the crested gecko only lays two eggs per clutch, it is capable of breeding every four to five weeks, year-round. Males are ready to breed when they’re between nine and 12 months old and females when they’re a little older or weigh at least 1.06 to 1.23 ounces. The male courts her with a sort of twitchy dance, and if she consents, she will keep still. The female starts to lay eggs 30 to 40 days after mating.

In the wild, the female digs a shallow hole away from the sight of predators and lays her eggs in it. Then, she leaves.

The eggs are large in proportion to their mother. They can be 0.43 by 0.94 inches in length and with a weight of between 0.042 and 0.043 ounces. They hatch 60 to 150 days after they are laid. The baby gecko is independent immediately upon hatching and neither parent takes care of it. It gets nutrients from its yolk sac and won’t properly eat until its yolk sac is gone, and it has molted and eaten its skin. The gecko has a lifespan of 20 years or more in captivity, though its lifespan in the wild is unknown.

Population

Though the exact number is unknown, scientists believe that all of the crested geckos in the wild are found in a space half as big as Rhode Island. Still, they are fairly popular as pets. Because of invasive species and habitat disruption, the IUCN lists its conservation status of the gecko as vulnerable.

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Crested Gecko FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Crested Geckos carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores?

Crested Geckos are omnivores.

Is a crested gecko a good pet?

Crested geckos can make good pets, even for children or people who are new to owning lizards. They are pretty animals and easy to care for.

Do crested geckos like to be held?

Like most reptiles, crested geckos don’t really like to be held. It’s best to admire them from afar.

Is a crested gecko good for beginners?

Because they are clean, docile, and not fussy about their diet, crested geckos are good reptile pets for beginners.

Do crested geckos bite?

They will bite if they feel threatened or stressed, but a calm and happy crested gecko won’t bite. Even if they do bite, their teeth are too tiny to cause damage or even that much pain.

How do I care for a crested gecko?

It’s important to have the right terrarium or tank size for one of these reptiles. A 20-gallon tank or terrarium is the minimum for one adult, and two or three need at least a 29-gallon enclosure. Sphagnum moss, coconut fibers or even newspaper or paper towels make good substrates. Experts warn against putting two males together because they may fight. To find out if you have a male or a female, turn the lizard over, gently. The male will have a bulge near the base of his tail, while the same area on the female will be flat.

The temperature in the enclosure needs to be monitored and regulated. Ideally, it goes from 72 to 80 degrees during the day then drops to no lower than 65 degrees at night. Eyelash geckos do not need as much ultraviolet B light as diurnal lizards, but a bit of UVB is needed to keep them healthy. The enclosure should also have a place for the reptile to hide. Humidity should range between 50 and 70 percent, and this can be had by misting the terrarium with warm water, especially at night.

The lizard should be fed at night. Feed a baby gecko every day, and an adult thrice a week.

How do I mate a crested gecko?

It’s easy. Just put a grown male and female in the same enclosure. An egg box lined with sphagnum moss should be provided. However, you should know that the female can lay eggs every month or so and store sperm. Too much egg-laying can put her at risk of calcium deficiency.

How much is a crested gecko?

A crested gecko can cost between $40 to $150 dollars, and if you want a rare morph, expect to pay even more.

How do I take care of a crested gecko?

Make sure it has enough room, a hiding place, and a good substrate that it won’t eat and is easy to clean. It also needs the right temperature, humidity, and diet.

How long can a crested gecko go without eating?

A crested gecko can go without food for as long as three weeks. However, if the gecko refuses food after two weeks, it’s time to call the exotic pet veterinarian.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crested_gecko
  2. ITIS, Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=819196#null
  3. unique wiki Pets, Available here: https://uniquepetswiki.com/crested-gecko-morphs/
  4. Reptilia, Available here: https://reptilia.org/crested-gecko/
  5. thesprucePets, Available here: https://www.thesprucepets.com/care-of-crested-geckos-1238764
  6. Reptiles, Available here: https://reptilesmagazine.com/how-to-breed-crested-geckos/

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