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As crested geckos become more popular, questions about their husbandry arise more often.  Feeding and housing are basic concerns and both are addressed in this month’s Readers’ Questions.  We have also including a question about breeding, as we approach the middle of the breeding season for many species.

Question 1:

How do I get my crested gecko to eat roaches?

[Related Post: Blaptica dubia Care & Compared to Other Roaches]

Zach Spyker responds: Getting them nice and hungry doesn’t hurt. If you have a crested in healthy condition and good weight I would suggest fasting them for a few days or even a week to 10 days for some individuals. Making sure they have plenty of water during this time is important. If they are used to eating live prey switching them to roaches should be quite easy. Make certain that the prey item is appropriately sized. It’s important especially if it is an unfamiliar one. Try starting off on the smaller side. One the other hand if your crested is used to eating a product like CGD it may be more difficult to get it to eat live prey. Cresteds, like many other geckos, are pretty instinctual animals so if they see movement of a small object near them and they are hungry enough they will go for it. Tong feeding works well for this.  

Danielle Holley responds:  With hatchlings or juveniles I would definitely make sure they are established on Repashy’s Crested Gecko Diet (CGD) first before adding any insects to their diet. Once you know they are established on CGD you can add a roach to their enclosure and see if they eat it. I would leave it overnight since they can be shy eaters. Check the next day to see if it’s been eaten or not and if it has not been eaten remove the roach and try again another time. Some crested geckos do not like insects.

Getting an sub-adult or adult crested gecko to eat roaches, depends on how you keep your adults (groups or individuals). I would put a bowl that was small enough for the geckos to get in but big enough where the roach can’t escape and put a few in it and see if the gecko(s) eat the roaches. 
 
Make sure all roaches are appropriate sizes for the geckos they are being fed to, also make sure they are gutloaded and coated with either Calcium or Crested Gecko Diet.

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Question 2:

Does a screen cage provide enough humidity for my crested geckos?


 Zach Spyker responds: The water added to your enclosure by misting will provide and raise the humidity. The type of enclosure you choose will determine how often you have to spray them down. It also depends on where you live and the humidity of the room you are keeping them in. I find they can be too dry. Screen cages require more misting in dryer climates, sometimes several times a day. I keep mine in glass tanks with screen tops or screen fronts.  I spray once a day 4-7 times a week depending on the season and that works well for me.

Danielle Holley responds: First, I don’t recommend screen cages for Crested Geckos but if you can’t find anything else and you have to use it then you have no choice. You can cover a couple of sides with plexiglass and it will hold more humidity. I would definitely get a good digital hygrometer to keep track of how humid it is inside of the cage. Crested Geckos don’t need to be wet at all times; they need a wet and dry cycle thorough the day. I mist in the morning and evening sometimes just once if the cages are not dry in the evening. With a screen cage I would suggest at least 3 times a day doing a decent misting not drowning the cage but just a  little damp, leaving some water on the cage furniture for the gecko to drink. Also I would suggest a water bowl for them in screen cages. You can provide them with a humid hide for aid in shedding if you notice them having problems with shedding and mist a little more often too.

Should I leave my male with my female gecko all breeding season?

Zach Spyker responds:  While others have had good success with keeping pairs, trios or groups together, I would not recommend it for everyone.  Although some pairs get along better then others. I believe it is good for both sexes to get a break and rest up. Breeding can be stressful, especially for the female. If you witness copulation I recommend removing the male. if you do not witness copulation right away, try leaving the male in with the female for a week or two. It usually doesn’t take too long for him to get the job done and that is really what he is in there for.

Aliza Arzt responds: Whether to leave male and female geckos together depends first on what kind of gecko you’re breeding.  Some geckos are known to be solitary and territorial and are put together for breeding purposes only.  Other species are more social and thrive in breeding colonies.  For those in the middle of the spectrum, like leopard geckos, the decision about whether to leave breeding groups together depends on many factors including: how responsive the male is to being turned down by the female, how the groups get along, availability of separate housing.  Obviously, if the groups aren’t getting along, they need to be housed separately regardless of how convenient this is for the breeder.  A breeder who wants to try housing groups together should watch the geckos carefully throughout the season for signs of stress from the females and bullying.

I have generally been successful housing my breeding colonies together in glass enclosures from January through October.  I have found generally that despite the males’ eagerness to breed early in the season, they have lost interest by mid-season (June or July) and can live peacefully alongside multiple females.

About Our Experts

Aliza Arzt is one of Gecko Time’s editors. In her other life she is a home care speech therapist living in the Boston area. She has been breeding leopard geckos since 2005 and has recently been successful in breeding African Fat Tail and Coleonyx geckos as well. Other interests which she pursues in her copious free time include work in ceramics, practicing aikido and surfing the internet. Her live and ceramic geckos can be found at http://geckcessories.wordpress.com

Danielle Holley lives in Florida and is married to an understanding husband who also loves animals. She has been owned by geckos since 1999 and has been addicted to them ever since. She is also owned by 4 beagles and a Quaker Parrot. Danielle started breeding in 2000 with 2 normal leopard geckos and started breeding Crested Geckos in 2009 with a few breeding groups she acquired in 2008. That has now grown to at least 60 leopard geckos and at least 30 crested geckos. She hopes to keep growing her collections and improving her breeding stock; she is currently breeding intensely colored Tangerines, Trempers, Bells and a few miscellaneous projects. For cresties she is working mainly with Pinstripes and Reds and  a few other morphs as well. Her main goal is to breed healthy and thriving geckos.  Her geckos can be seen at http://sunshinegeckofarm.webs.com.

Zach Spyker has a love for all animals which has led him to raising and caring for a variety of animals throughout his life, from dogs and cats,mice and rats, to finches, parrots, ducks and chickens. For the last 15 years, though, reptiles and amphibians in particular have become his passion. For the last 12 years he has focused on geckos in particular, amassing a collection which includes 12 gecko species among other herps which include dart frogs, monitors, boas and pythons. His zeal for geckos has led him to create healthygeckos.com. An on-line store and informative site where you can find care information about various geckos.

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Aliza is a home care speech therapist living in the Boston area. She has been breeding leopard geckos since 2005 and has also been successful in breeding Coleonyx, African Fat Tail and Gargoyle geckos. Other interests which she pursues in her copious free time include work in ceramics, practicing tai chi and surfing the internet.

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