Crested gecko Care
Crested gecko by Eco Heathen (flickr)
Crested Gecko information
The crested gecko or eyelash gecko as it is sometimes referred to (Rhacodactylus ciliates), is a very popular arboreal lizard remarked for its beauty and great character and nature in captivity. Growing to about 6-8inches in captivity (exceptionally up to 10 inches) crested geckos get their name from the characteristic crests which run from the top rim of the eye down the back of the gecko. They have a fairly long lifespan which is thought to be somewhere in the region of 10-20 years in captivity (however it should be said that despite its popularity this is a very new species to the hobby so little is known). Despite the fact they are nocturnal they often awake from their slumber around dusk and dawn so you will get to see some activity in the evenings.
These attractive lizards make fantastic pets for a number of reasons, and no reptile keeper should be without at least one crested gecko (I should warn you now though that they’re one of those charming species which tend to accumulate in your collection...). Crested geckos are very well natured and take well to handling (as with many animals though they after often nervous and skittish to start with but they do tame down well), they are stunning to look at, have great characters and make a great display species to boot.
Crested gecko fact: Thought to be extinct for some 100 years, the crested gecko was only rediscovered in 1994 when a single specimen was found in the Southern Half of Grande Terre.
Crested geckos have a very restricted range, being limited to Province Sud, New Caledonia and a few small islands which surround it. They occur in Grande Terre, and Ile des Pins. They are found at elevations between 150m and 1,000m in a number of forest habitats; costal, closed humid and montane forests where it shelters in tree crevices by day, coming out to hunt in the canopy at night.
Crested gecko by Zaahir (flickr)
Sexing Crested Geckos
Mature crested geckos are reasonably easy to sex, however sexing immature specimens requires the keen eye of an expert and a jewellers hoope. Anybody who offers to sex an immature crested gecko by eye should, in my opinion, be treated with a degree of scepticism. In a similar vein, I wouldn’t let anybody less than a true expert near a crested gecko with a jewellers loope, its a tricky process requiring process which can be damaging to your gecko if done incorrectly.
With mature specimens crested geckos are much easier to sex, the males being characterized by a relatively large bulge formed by the hemipenes near the vent, along with a row of preanal pores which appear in the scales just above the vent. The preanal pores look like scales with a dent towards the centre of em (ie they go in at the middle) which looks a little darker. Female crested geckos lack both the bulge and the pores.
Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A. 2010. Rhacodactylus ciliatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 04 July 2011.
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Handling + summary
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