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  • New to crested geckos - questions before purchase

    Hello,

    We are getting a crested gecko for my daughter who just turned 11. I have been doing my due diligence and watching videos and reading info on the internet as well as went to two exotic pet stores to see and handle them. My plan was to go through a breeder though and in looking for one in my area I could not find a lot. The one that I did find seems very nice and very helpful with all my questions but they only have some that are 8 up to 12 months old. Is that a good age to purchase them? I prefer not a super baby anyway as I have read chances of survival are much greater if a little older. My daughter though wants to watch it grow. The other option is to have it shipped from another area but my concern is how does the shipping affect the gecko. Any concerns with shipping? Also is the chances greater with shipping of getting a gecko that is not the temperment we would like which is easier to handle and less jumpy?

    For the enclosure I keep reading and seeing videos with conflicting information. For a baby or one the age this breeder has, what size enclosure is best? When they are an adult I have seen some say 12x12x18 is good and other says no it should be 18x18x24. I prefer what is best for the gecko.

    For feeding I have seen and read again conflicting info. Some say must feed the commercial diet along with insects and others say you can feed just the commercial diet. I don't know what to do. I have no issue with the insects if needed but obviously is easier without but if it needs them then so be it. The main reason I was hoping for no insects, and somebody please let me know if my thinking is incorrect but I was thinking that if you are not feeding live insects the concern of parasites goes away.

    Any other info or advice you can give is super welcome.

    Thanks
    Mike

  • #2
    I think an 8 to 12 month old would be perfect. They are not always full grown at that age, so your daughter can still him/her grow, but they are not as flighty as babies, and if you get an older one that is used to being handled, that is a BIG PLUS!

    All of my geckos were shipped, and if purchased from a reputable breeder, they will be packaged well and will arrive in good health. Shipping is always stressful for them, but if left alone for at least two weeks in their new enclosure, they will acclimate just fine. However, there is no guarantee on temperament. If your daughter is not used to handling reptiles, then I would strongly encourage a tame adult.

    For an adult (including 8-12 months), the 18x18x24 (or larger) is the best size. The 12x12x18 is good for a hatchling or juvenile, but is not large enough for an adult. That is another plus for buying an adult or sub-adult - you only have to purchase one tank!

    Cresties do just fine on just the Pangea or Repashy powdered diet (please do use just those brands though, other cheaper brands are not as nutritious). Two of the Pangea formulas include insects, and all are complete diets. Live insects are not "necessary", but are a good enrichment for them, and if you like, you can try feeding them occasionally as a treat. Also, get your insects from a reputable source, and then you shouldn't have to worry about parasites.

    Hope this helps! Good luck to your daughter! And THANK YOU for doing your research!
    Eileen
    TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
    Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TAD View Post
      I think an 8 to 12 month old would be perfect. They are not always full grown at that age, so your daughter can still him/her grow, but they are not as flighty as babies, and if you get an older one that is used to being handled, that is a BIG PLUS!

      All of my geckos were shipped, and if purchased from a reputable breeder, they will be packaged well and will arrive in good health. Shipping is always stressful for them, but if left alone for at least two weeks in their new enclosure, they will acclimate just fine. However, there is no guarantee on temperament. If your daughter is not used to handling reptiles, then I would strongly encourage a tame adult.

      For an adult (including 8-12 months), the 18x18x24 (or larger) is the best size. The 12x12x18 is good for a hatchling or juvenile, but is not large enough for an adult. That is another plus for buying an adult or sub-adult - you only have to purchase one tank!

      Cresties do just fine on just the Pangea or Repashy powdered diet (please do use just those brands though, other cheaper brands are not as nutritious). Two of the Pangea formulas include insects, and all are complete diets. Live insects are not "necessary", but are a good enrichment for them, and if you like, you can try feeding them occasionally as a treat. Also, get your insects from a reputable source, and then you shouldn't have to worry about parasites.

      Hope this helps! Good luck to your daughter! And THANK YOU for doing your research!
      Thank you very much for the reply.

      OK great, on the age. I was just wanting to make sure that my daughter would still get to see some growing. The breeder said they would range in size of 6-8g currently. They were recommending a small plastic container initially and not move up for a bit to larger tank. I was thinking of getting the 18x18x24 now though and plant it and give it time to grow as the gecko grew before adding the gecko to it. In your opinion is a planted tank a lot harder to care for? While I like the idea and look of it, if it is too difficult I would avoid it. The room it will go into is a smaller room that does have two windows (one facing southeast and one facing southwest). In that room is it best to have it in an area that gets sunlight or no sunlight? She does have blinds in each window so though some light would come in, we can prevent direct sunlight on the tank if that is best. Though we plan on moving probably in around a year so I don't know the new room sixe or characteristics but as of now that is the way it would be set up.

      We live in Northern NJ. So Summer gets hot and Winter gets cold. We do use central Air but don't put it where it gets into the 60s. Is it best though to make sure the air in the room does not blow directly on that tank? For Winter we usually keep it in the mid 60s. Will we need a heat lamp for the winter? I would prefer to do that than have to turn the whole house up to keep the room warmer. If I need a lamp, do you have any suggestions on type and how to keep it correct temp without getting too hot?

      I do prefer to get it from a local(ish) breeder because I would prefer not to ship it. I would think it would be better for my daughter to hold it prior. She has held her friend's gecko and another friend's bearded dragon and did fine. For the leaving alone for two weeks, is that only for shipped geckos, or she should not try to handle for two weeks even if picked up at a breeder?

      For the diet, the breeder currently uses Pangea to feed the geckos. For the reputable source, as I would only do occasionally as a treat, I would need something local to get them. There is not a lot close to me for that but there is a Petsmart and Petco. I have seen lots of people say not to go there for the actual geckos or other pets, but what about the feeder insects? Would they be ok to get from? i just am concerned about the parasites. I don't have a problem otherwise in feeding them. My daughter has fed both crickets and meal worms to a friend's bearded dragon and she did fine handling them (though had trouble catching the crickets out of the cricket keeper to do the feeding).

      Thank you again! And, NP defintely doing my research. I don't want to do this without the knowledge we need. We don't want to be the family who gets a pet and cannot care for it properly.

      Comment


      • #4
        The breeder said they would range in size of 6-8g currently.

        That is a juvenile then, and will have quite a bit of growing to do. My 8-year-old adult weighs 41, but he is on the small side.

        They were recommending a small plastic container initially and not move up for a bit to larger tank. I was thinking of getting the 18x18x24 now though and plant it and give it time to grow as the gecko grew before adding the gecko to it. In your opinion is a planted tank a lot harder to care for? While I like the idea and look of it, if it is too difficult I would avoid it.

        Start with a large Kritter Keeper then, and move him into the 18x18x24 when he gets to about 15g. I am generally lazy, so I prefer fake plants in my tanks. I use paper towel, with an Exo Terra moss mat on top of it for substrate. Don't use Repti-Carpet though, that is nasty stuff and can harbor bacteria. People who have vivariums will have to chime in on the difficulty of keeping it; I personally have a brown thumb and can't grow plants to save my soul. So fake works best for me. I got most of my plants at thrift stores (washed well), and have bought cork bark and mopani wood for accents. I am very happy with how that works for me. I clean my tanks every 3rd week.

        The room it will go into is a smaller room that does have two windows (one facing southeast and one facing southwest). In that room is it best to have it in an area that gets sunlight or no sunlight? She does have blinds in each window so though some light would come in, we can prevent direct sunlight on the tank if that is best. Though we plan on moving probably in around a year so I don't know the new room sixe or characteristics but as of now that is the way it would be set up.

        Indirect sunlight is best. Never direct - it will make your tank extremely hot, just like being in a hot car.

        We live in Northern NJ. So Summer gets hot and Winter gets cold. We do use central Air but don't put it where it gets into the 60s. Is it best though to make sure the air in the room does not blow directly on that tank? For Winter we usually keep it in the mid 60s. Will we need a heat lamp for the winter? I would prefer to do that than have to turn the whole house up to keep the room warmer. If I need a lamp, do you have any suggestions on type and how to keep it correct temp without getting too hot?

        I'm in Wisconsin, so know about the cold. You'll need a heat lamp - I use a ceramic heat emitter (CHE) that only gives off heat and not light. Those have to be in a wire fixture, not a dome light, or they get too hot. If you have the 18x18x24 tank by then, use a 40W or 60W CHE. UVB lighting in addition is optional and up to you. I do use it. In summer, yeah, don't let the fan blow directly on the tank. Watch that temps don't go above 80. My tanks got up to 82 this summer, and I was a little worried. They did fine, but it only stayed that way for a very short amount of time. DO get a digital thermometer/hygrometer (Pangea sells one for about $12) so you have an accurate reading of temps and humidity. Optimal temps are between 65 and 80, any higher or lower and they're in the danger zone.

        I do prefer to get it from a local(ish) breeder because I would prefer not to ship it. I would think it would be better for my daughter to hold it prior. She has held her friend's gecko and another friend's bearded dragon and did fine. For the leaving alone for two weeks, is that only for shipped geckos, or she should not try to handle for two weeks even if picked up at a breeder?

        That would be for all geckos, shipped or not, although if it is already tamed, she might be able to handle for short periods of say 5 minutes a day, until it is acclimated and used to being on its "new planet". Any move to a new place stresses a reptile, and they can stress rather easily.

        For the diet, the breeder currently uses Pangea to feed the geckos. For the reputable source, as I would only do occasionally as a treat, I would need something local to get them. There is not a lot close to me for that but there is a Petsmart and Petco. I have seen lots of people say not to go there for the actual geckos or other pets, but what about the feeder insects? Would they be ok to get from? i just am concerned about the parasites. I don't have a problem otherwise in feeding them. My daughter has fed both crickets and meal worms to a friend's bearded dragon and she did fine handling them (though had trouble catching the crickets out of the cricket keeper to do the feeding).

        I think that might depend on the individual store. My Petsmart has nice, healthy crickets in a large bin. The other ones that come in the small cups don't always look so good. Don't feed mealworms to your crestie - they have too much chitin (hard outer shell) and they are hard for cresties to digest. Crickets and roaches, and an occasional waxworm work well. See what's available at your store. I get my waxworms at a local bait shop. But they are high in fat, so I don't give them often - one maybe once or twice a week.

        Thank you again! And, NP defintely doing my research. I don't want to do this without the knowledge we need. We don't want to be the family who gets a pet and cannot care for it properly.

        APPLAUSE!!
        Eileen
        TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
        Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for all of the information Eileen.

          I will look into the Exo Terra moss mat. I have not heard of that. I did see somebody else's repti-carpet and I agree. It was pretty gross looking.

          For the ceramic heat emitter, when you say in a wire fixture, what do you mean? And for the UVB are you using that during the day? Does that just give light and no heat?

          For the crickets, how offten and how many would be given along with the Pagea?

          Thank you again!
          Mike

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi. I am planning on getting my daughters gecko this Friday. Until it is older could I go with a 5 gallon tank and if so do I need to stand on end? If so do I need to do anything to the screen top being it will be sideways? Will it hold humidity properly?

            Thanks
            Mike

            Comment


            • #7
              They like heights, but it's harder to take care of a tank with the screen on the side, as you'll have to be very careful of escapes when cleaning/feeding, and you really shouldn't mist through it or the mesh will rust. You'd be better off with a small tub with holes poked in the top and sides (sometimes you can find those dog food containers that are almost clear), or look on Craigslist for a smaller used Exo Terra or ZooMed tank - that would be your best bet if you can find one. They are easy to use and clean until your gecko is ready for a larger, permanent home.
              Eileen
              TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
              Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TAD View Post
                They like heights, but it's harder to take care of a tank with the screen on the side, as you'll have to be very careful of escapes when cleaning/feeding, and you really shouldn't mist through it or the mesh will rust. You'd be better off with a small tub with holes poked in the top and sides (sometimes you can find those dog food containers that are almost clear), or look on Craigslist for a smaller used Exo Terra or ZooMed tank - that would be your best bet if you can find one. They are easy to use and clean until your gecko is ready for a larger, permanent home.
                If I used it standard way laying down it is a little bigger than a large critter keeper. Cannot I not use until it is large enough for an 18x18x24? I just thought would look nicer than a critter keeper. I looked for small used zoomed or Exo Terra but was unable to find one.

                Thanks
                Mike

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can use it temporarily. it's just going to be a little harder to take care of. Put some vines in it so he can hang out near the top, and make sure you have a good digital thermometer/hygrometer to monitor temps and humidity. Pangea sells one here for about $12 that works well.
                  Eileen
                  TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                  Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TAD View Post
                    You can use it temporarily. it's just going to be a little harder to take care of. Put some vines in it so he can hang out near the top, and make sure you have a good digital thermometer/hygrometer to monitor temps and humidity. Pangea sells one here for about $12 that works well.
                    Thanks again. Do you mean harder in terms of work or harder to be successful providing what the gecko will need? I did order a digital thermometer hygrometer combo. It should have arrived today. I’m not home at the moment. If you think the critter keeper would be better I will go that route. Please just let me know what you think. I figured this was a little bigger but not so much to cause undue stress and would look a little nicer. If it is a bad idea though I would get the critter keeper. We are picking up the gecko this Friday. Thank you again!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I guess it is really up to you...as I said, I think the biggest drawback would be trying to clean it and mist with the screen on the side. It's probably about the same size as a large Kritter Keeper, and those have the screen on the top too, so if you use it with screen on top as a 5-gallon long, a little one should be fine in there as long as you put vines and things for him to climb on toward the top. Keep in mind that young ones are usually pretty skittish, and might try hopping out when you take the top off! Keep looking for an inexpensive Exo Terra or Zoo Med for an interim size. Your permanent tank for when he is grown should be at least an 18x18x24, when he is about 15-20g. Glad that you got the thermometer/hygrometer, that will be helpful to you, and good for the gecko!
                      Eileen
                      TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                      Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TAD View Post
                        I guess it is really up to you...as I said, I think the biggest drawback would be trying to clean it and mist with the screen on the side. It's probably about the same size as a large Kritter Keeper, and those have the screen on the top too, so if you use it with screen on top as a 5-gallon long, a little one should be fine in there as long as you put vines and things for him to climb on toward the top. Keep in mind that young ones are usually pretty skittish, and might try hopping out when you take the top off! Keep looking for an inexpensive Exo Terra or Zoo Med for an interim size. Your permanent tank for when he is grown should be at least an 18x18x24, when he is about 15-20g. Glad that you got the thermometer/hygrometer, that will be helpful to you, and good for the gecko!
                        Great thank you. And yes I plan on 18x18x24 as the next step. I did order plants and vines and they came yesterday. I will keep looking for smaller Exo Terra. So far no luck. Thanks again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just checking on if this looks sufficient for the juvenile? I have an additional leafy vine type plant shown outside the tank in last picture I could use but it was so big it took up whole tank almost that is made by flukers I think. I got on amazon.

                          Also for the thermometer hygrometer I am going to return and get a new one but will use this one until the new one comes. The battery does not seat properly and I had to tape it to get it just right to work. It is the zoo med one shown on this site. Which one did you recommend? Also I am assuming all the digital ones stay outside the tank and have probes on wires. How is best to put the probes in? I can’t fully shut the lid with the probes so was thinking I would have to cut some notches in screen top for the probes but wanted to ask before I cut.

                          Thanks again,
                          Mike
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It looks good for a juvie! Lots of places to hide and climb.

                            Thermometer/hygrometer - I use the Pangea one from this website, it's around $12. I think you could probably just put the whole thing in the tank and not worry about cutting any holes where your gecko could escape. Just don't spritz the probe or the meter directly. Try to hang the probe so it doesn't sit on the floor of the enclosure. It should work until you get a bigger tank with accommodations for the wires.
                            Eileen
                            TAD "Tiny Ancient Dinosaur" (Crestie), Hidey (Garg), O.G. "Office Gecko" (Bauer's Chameleon gecko), TBD "Tiny Badass Dragon" (Western Bearded Anole), 3.1.0
                            Rody Jane (cattledog/stinkwad mix), Dixie Moonpie (rattledog) George P-Dog (lab/Great Pyr) 1.2.0, Ringer (barn cat) 1.0.0

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TAD View Post
                              It looks good for a juvie! Lots of places to hide and climb.

                              Thermometer/hygrometer - I use the Pangea one from this website, it's around $12. I think you could probably just put the whole thing in the tank and not worry about cutting any holes where your gecko could escape. Just don't spritz the probe or the meter directly. Try to hang the probe so it doesn't sit on the floor of the enclosure. It should work until you get a bigger tank with accommodations for the wires.
                              Great thank you. For humidity I know it should be higher at night then less during the day. I have read different levels depending on where you are reading. The Pangea site says “Ideally the humidity level should not drop below 50%. Crested geckos should get several hours of higher humidity (80-100%) every day to ensure that they shed properly.” Others say different info. I’m not sure what it should be during day and then at night. What would you recommend? Tonight is big night. I am taking my daughter to get Gecko.

                              Thank you again!

                              Comment

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