Crested Gecko as it is commonly found in English literature (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) is part of the Reptilia Class, the Gekkonidae Family, the genus Rhacodactylus.
They can be found in the wild in northeastern Australia and on islands adjacent to Komodo Island. The species was rediscovered in 1994 after it was declared extinct.
Several specimens were seen after a tropical storm. Although their export from the area of origin was strictly forbidden, they are now among the most common gecko reptiles in the world due to their original and special appearance and the ease with which they breed in captivity.
Crested Gecko is usually found in the tropical forests of the mountainous area in places with heat and humidity where temperatures vary between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius. It is an arboreal species that reaches 18 to 22 cm in length with its tail.
The scientific name is of Greek origin. Rhakos means spine and dactylus means finger, and ciliatus comes from the Latin cilia which refers to genes.
Specifically, the name tries to explain and describe the origin of the reptile: It is a gecko with spine with fingers and crest.
Crested Gecko’s Food
Crested Gecko is a gluttonous animal, its food being largely made up of insects and fruits. He prefers well-ripened and sweet fruits, he even likes honey.
In the wild no one chews their food so it is good to leave some of the work and for the stomach otherwise you will learn it lazy.
If they are dear to you and you have specimens as pets you can feed them with worms, crickets or fruit purees.
The puree made from apricots or bananas does not have to be a homogeneous paste, it should be well grated so that the animal can grab and swallow pieces of fruit.
When feeding it with insects or worms do not forget to “roll” them in calcium powder. Calcium powder is a supplement that helps maintain a healthy diet.
In the wild the gecko feeds on very ripe fruits and small invertebrates that it catches by the characteristic style.
An advantage for which they are chosen as pets is the fact that they do not have to be fed daily and not necessarily with insects, or if they are left alone for several days they can be put in the terrarium some kind of insect cocoon built so slowly they to get out harder, so rarer.
Apart from insects, they can also be fed with the “Crested Gecko Diet”, this is a kind of powder that can be purchased from pet stores.
Anyone who is patient and loves his animal can feed it with a fruit puree mixed with vitamins and minerals that meet the nutrient requirements.
If you decide to feed them with powder and/or mash, it is best not to remove the insects from the menu (crickets or other invertebrates that can consume their soup).
It is good to avoid large insects, hard fruits and in general any strong food because the animal does not have enough strength to “chew”.
Besides the fact that he does not have teeth and swallows his entire prey he can be harmed by the big and strong foods. Don’t worry if you see that he doesn’t eat because he doesn’t consume much food. The best evidence that they feed themselves are the “traces” left behind (the corner where they make their needs).
Like other dinners, he will generally choose a place where he will meet his needs.
It is good not to make excess bananas (because they contain potassium and prevents the assimilation of calcium) and citrus fruits (citric acid can damage in large quantities and cause discomfort to the animal).
Crested Gecko’s Features
One of the reasons why it has become so popular is that there are so many designs available in a wide variety of colors. It can be found in many colors: red, orange, yellow, olive, gray, brown and different combinations of these colors from mixed crosses: tiger, striped, stained, etc. These breeding varieties call them “morphs”.
If you buy a gecko with ridge it is good to see it in advance to see what it is like. If you can see the terrarium where he spends his time it is even better, if he has clean noses and mouths or if his eyes are healthy.
Those who shake their legs when they move or have a soft mouth, like rubber, mean they are sick. Some of them are recovering, some are not.
If you ask what age is they are most likely to lie to you. It is best to buy animals from acquaintances or from someone you can trust. A healthy animal has sharp senses, it does not lose its balance, if you try to put your hand on it, it makes those steps because there are no dogs to stand on the handle, etc.
The tail at the crested gecko does not regenerate. The animal may lose its tail only once for various reasons. When a predator grabs him by the tail he can “leave” his tail which will struggle for a few seconds to attract attention so the animal can be saved.
The place will heal, but another tail will not grow in this species. Another way to “lose” its tail is to fight between the members of the species; men are fighting territorially. It can remain without a tail if it gets stuck in the wild between two branches or under a stone and fails to remove it.
Crested Gecko’s Reproduction
This species is one that breeds in captivity with ease. It adapts to living conditions and if it has food and water it does not present problems in multiplying.
For reproduction it is good for the reptile to be mature so that it does not have problems at birth. The mating is recommended after the age of 15-18 months, the weight of the female should be at least 35 grams, and the male minimum 40.
To facilitate the laying of the eggs, put in the terrarium a vessel of several cm with a damp substrate because the lizards like the moisture. After the gecko lays eggs, either in a saucepan or elsewhere, if you have experience it is good to put them in the pot which should not be more than 5 cm deep and should not be covered all by the substrate.
WARNING, you should not twist the eggs because the embryos can die. The incubation temperature is room temperature 22-24 degrees, but this can vary as inevitably happens in most cases, between 20 and almost 30 degrees Celsius.
The higher the temperature, the faster the hatching will take place and the chance that the little ones will be male is higher. If at a temperature up to 23-24 degrees, about 75 days will pass, the higher the temperature, the closer the closure will take place, about 2 months (60 days).
If it happens that some eggs do not hatch in time you do not have to worry as long as they keep their color and continue to grow because they are considered “late”.
There are cases in which the difference of hatching between the first and last egg was 3 weeks or even a month. The process does not depend entirely on temperature.
Once they have come out, you should keep them away from adults for cannibalism. They can be fed a few days after hatching, usually after the first moult. It is said that the food with which a gecko baby can be fed should not be greater than the distance between his eyes.
The sex of the little ones can be clearly differentiated after 6 months. It is possible to become visible sooner but to be sure it is best to stay a month or two. In males you can see the hemipenis, two swelling at the base of the tail, swelling that distinguishes them from the females.
To be sure that we have established the correct sex we can check the femoral pores, at the base of the lower legs. It is very simple, as in the case of swelling, only males have these femoral pores. They can be identified by their appearance as scales.
It is difficult to specify at birth what morph will be when the baby becomes an adult. Parents can be a good indicator of the future colors. The pattern and colors, in general, will remain the same, only in intensity can changes occur, the colors become more faded as the animal grows.
Like many other gecko lizards, they need calcium in their diet to produce healthy shell eggs and maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D3 allows the assimilation of calcium. This can be assimilated by a dietary supplement.
Bone diseases are called bone metabolic diseases (MBD) and are caused by lack of calcium and vitamin D3. You can easily see if a gecko is lacking in calcium if his legs shake when moving, if he can’t keep his balance, if his limbs or jaws are soft or he is lethargic.
These symptoms are more evident in females that are about to lay eggs, but can be seen very well in males. It is a treatable disease, but in the long term it leaves traces on the animal so it is best to prevent it.
If the animal has been suffering from this disease for a long time or remains in the incorrect position with the limbs bent after treatment, it may remain disabled if the limbs are welded in the incorrect position.
If your pet loses consciousness and becomes lethargic, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. It is not advisable to go to an experienced breeder because although you may know the cause, it may be wrong to dosage.