The Crested Gecko, also known as the New Caledonian Crested Gecko or the Eyelash Gecko is believed to have originated from Southern New Caledonia. It was first described in 1866 by the French zoologist Alphone Guichenot and is also known as Guichenot’s Giant Gecko. The species was long believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994 after a tropical storm revealed it along with several other species in the rain forest.
Since their rediscovery in 1994 they have become very popular in the pet trade. Although the exportation of wild Crested Geckos is now outlawed, the species that were imported around the USA and Europe before the ban are the ones that established the breeding lines we know today.
The Crested Gecko has an array of different color patterns including yellow, orange, grey, red, brown and many other different shades. They also all carry variable markings, such as blemishes, stripes and spots and the size and position of the crests may vary immensely. All these are naturally occurring and are not specific to any certain family or region of species. It is not rare for offspring of the same clutch to look totally different in pattern and coloration from their parents or siblings.
The Crested Gecko is very popular amongst the pet trade worldwide and this is because it comes from cooler climates and therefore prefers cooler temperatures, so replicating the living conditions is not so hard and the cost is very reasonable. During the day they like the temperature around 24oC (75oF) dropping to around 13oC (55oF) at night. Daytime temperatures can mostly be attained without any additional heating or just a tiny heat source. You may want to place a small heat mat in for the cold nights. Temperatures above 30oC (85oF) can cause serious health problems for your gecko. The Crested Gecko generally grows to around 7-10 inches in length, with the male being the larger, so you only need a small enclosure. A vivarium or similar around 18″x 18″ x 24″ would be ideal for a large adult. Put down some humus as the surface. This absorbs water that is sprayed into the terrarium without turning moldy. The enclosure better be quite high rather than wide because the gecko loves to climb. They are arboreal (climbing) lizards and can climb up almost any surface. They also like to climb branches and rocks, so some of these in the enclosure will also help. Remember to set a few hiding and resting places for the Gecko because it will help replicate the natural habitat. They are nocturnal creatures and like to hide during the day. It is advisable to put your lighting on a timer with around 10-12 hours of light per day.
The Crested Gecko is omnivorous, which means it eats live creatures and vegetation. A good mixture of soft fruits such as bananas, peaches and apricots plus crickets and locusts make up a good diet. Wax worms and mealworms are also nutritious for them. You can get Gecko food in tins and jars from the pet shops and these are full of the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy diet. Placing a small bowl for your gecko to drink from, spray/mist the rocks and leaves daily as they love to lick the dew from the surfaces. Remember to clean out the enclosure monthly or weekly. Molted skin, feces, old food can cause bacteria to grow rather quickly.
The Crested Gecko does not mind being handled and can become very tame, but always handle with care and never grab or pick up a Crested Gecko by its tail. If you do try to grab a gecko by the tail, it will detach its tail from its body as defense mechanism. While this is not fatal for the animal, the tail will not grow back.