Animals / Reptiles

The Crested Gecko

Синонимы и названия на других языках

 New Caledonian crested gecko, Guichenot’s giant gecko, eyelash gecko

 Kronengecko, Neukaledonischer Kronengecko (German)

Классификация

Order: squamata

Family: gekkonidae

Genus: rhacodactylus

Species: Rhacodactylus ciliatus.

Ареал

The crested gecko is endemic to New Caledonia, it can be found in its central and eastern parts.

There are three disjunct populations, one is found on the Isle of Pines and surrounding islands, and two others on the main island of Grande Terre. One of them is found along the Blue River and the other near the mountain Mount Dzumac. 

The crested geckoes can be found in the tropical rainforests. It is a nocturnal and arboreal species that goes down only for hunting and picking up fallen fruit. Geckoes are solitary lizards and they keep to their own territory.

Внешний вид

On average adult males and females are about 10-12 cm long (tail included). Males’ tails are a little thickened at the base. Also males are a bit larger, more powerful and more vividly colored than females.  Males’ heads are wider and their spikes are more distinct than females’.

Crested geckoes have varied coloration depending on the habitat: they can be gray, brown, green, pale yellow and red, so that the gecko is not visible against the substrate of the area where it lives. Most of the time crested geckoes spend in the upper layer of the rainforest. They are active at night and at dusk.

Характер

Overall the crested gecko is a peaceful species, they fight with other males and can even injure females only during the mating season. They rarely bite people and it reminds more of a nip than a bite. They can be tamed and then they can be handled and even fed from tweezers.

You should be careful when taking a gecko up: it drops its tail easily and the new one doesn’t get as long or as beautiful. 

Содержание и уход

The crested gecko doesn’t need a big tank. It should be kept alone, since males tend to fight with each other. They can be put together with females only for mating. The minimal size of the tank for one gecko is 40х40х60 cm. The enclosure should be vertical and have stones and logs which the gecko can use as hiding places. Log should be put vertically too. A part of the tank should be free. In order to maintain humidity you can have real plants in the enclosure. Crested geckoes don’t destroy them.

On one of the logs you need to arrange a basking spot; the temperature there should be around 28 degrees. It is important that the lamp is located at least 15 cm from the gecko’s body, otherwise the lizard can get burnt. The temperature gradient is necessary. A UV lamp is a must.  

Crested geckoes hardly ever get down, so you can use for substrate coconut husks or gardening soil covered with moss. A water bowl is not necessary, because geckoes lick drops of water from plants and stones, so you will have to mist the enclosure daily.

The ambient temperature should be around 22-24°C at night and between 22 and 25°C at daytime (up to 28°C in the basking area).  

The air humidity should be about 70%, real plants will help to maintain it, and you will have to mist every day.

The geckoes need about 12 hours of moderate light a day with UV and filament lamps. 

Кормление

This species is mainly herbivore but they can eat both animal and plant feed. Crested geckoes can eat cockroaches, crickets, mealworm and pink mice. From plant feed you can offer your gecko bananas, mangoes, apricots, peaches, lettuce. They also like honey and puree for children.  

You can also feed the gecko with commercial feed. Adult geckoes should be fed every second day, and young geckoes – every day. It is best to feed them in the evening since they become active towards the night. You will have to take away uneaten food so it doesn’t rot. 

Особенности

This species has interesting behavior patterns and they are fun to watch.

They are easy to keep and to feed and don’t require a large tank.

The crested gecko can drop tail so you have to be careful when you try to catch it. Also they can get injured when they fight with each other and even during mating.

Live feed is required. 

Болезни

The lack of calcium and UV light at an early age can result in rachitis. The lizard’s limbs get twisted. The disease can be prevented by timely adding of calcium to the lizard’s menu and by UV light in the enclosure. 

If the level of humidity in the enclosure is not high enough, the gecko can keep some shed skin and this can lead to necrosis. Mostly the skin stays on the eyes and fingers. The molted skin has to be removed with the help of tweezers, but you have to wet it properly first. The prevention is to maintain the appropriate level of humidity in the enclosure. 

Разведение

The crested gecko becomes sexually mature at the age of 2-3 years old. It is an egg-laying species. In order to stimulate breeding, it is desirable to organize brumation period for about 1.5 month under the temperature of 15 degrees. After brumation the geckoes have to get a lot of UV light and vitamin E. Sometimes geckoes breed even without brumation. The copulation normally occurs at night and lasts for about 10 minutes. Approximately 40 days later the female lays 1-2 eggs which it buries in the substrate. You should take them away and put in the incubator. The temperature during the incubation has to be between 27 and 29 degrees. The hatchlings come out after 70 days. They start eating once the yolk sac is dissolved.  Then they have to be fed with small insects and finely cut fruit.

Average life span is 10 - 12 years. 

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