Dragon Crested Gecko – A Guide to Caring for This Unique Reptile

One of the main reasons why the Dragon Crested Gecko is such a popular pet is its ease of care. These geckos are relatively low-maintenance and can be kept in a simple setup, such as a terrarium. They thrive in moderate temperatures and require a humidity level of around 60-70%. Providing a suitable environment with plenty of hiding spots and climbing branches is essential for their well-being.

Feeding the Dragon Crested Gecko is also a simple task. These geckos are primarily insectivorous and can be fed a diet consisting of insects such as crickets and mealworms. It is recommended to dust their food with calcium and vitamin supplements to ensure their nutritional needs are met. With the right care and attention, the Dragon Crested Gecko can live up to 20 years in captivity.

About Dragon Crested Gecko

Dragon Crested Geckos are medium-sized reptiles, typically measuring around 8-10 inches in length. They have a distinct crested ridge that runs from the top of their heads down to their tails, giving them their name. This crest is made up of soft, flexible skin that can be raised or flattened depending on the gecko’s mood or environmental conditions.

In terms of coloration, Dragon Crested Geckos can display a wide range of patterns including spots, stripes, and even bi-coloration. Their bodies can come in various shades of green, brown, orange, and red, making them quite stunning to observe. Additionally, they have large eyes with vertical pupils, which allow them to see well in low light conditions.

As pets, Dragon Crested Geckos are relatively easy to care for. They do not require a large enclosure and can be housed in a terrarium that is a minimum of 20 gallons in size. The terrarium should be set up with plenty of branches and foliage to replicate their natural habitat. Providing hiding spots and areas for climbing is essential to keep them happy and stress-free.

Dragon Crested Geckos are primarily insectivores and feed on a diet of live insects, such as crickets and roaches. However, they also enjoy eating fruit-based diets and commercially available gecko food mixes. Proper nutrition and a varied diet are crucial for their overall well-being.

Overall, Dragon Crested Geckos make wonderful pets for reptile enthusiasts of all levels. Their unique appearance, low maintenance requirements, and docile nature make them a fantastic choice for anyone looking to keep an exotic pet.

Appearance and Characteristics

Distinctive Features

One of the most striking features of the crested gecko is its crested head, which gives it its name. This crest, made of soft tissue, runs from the top of the gecko’s head down to its tail. The crested gecko also has large, bulging eyes and a sticky tongue that it uses to catch its prey.

Another unique characteristic of the crested gecko is its ability to change its color. These reptiles have the ability to alter their skin coloration based on their mood, temperature, and surroundings. This makes them fascinating to observe and adds to their overall appeal as pets.

Size and Shape

The crested gecko is a small-sized reptile, typically growing to be around 8 to 10 inches in length. Despite their small size, they have a sturdy build and a chunky appearance. Their tails are prehensile, meaning they can grasp onto objects, and their bodies are covered in bumpy skin, giving them a unique texture.


One of the main reasons people are drawn to crested geckos is their stunning and vibrant coloration. These reptiles can come in a wide range of colors and patterns, including various shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and brown. Some crested geckos even have patterns that resemble stripes or spots, adding to their visual appeal.

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Brown

Their vivid colors make these geckos a beautiful addition to any reptile collection or terrarium.

Natural Habitat of the Dragon Crested Gecko

In its natural habitat, the dragon crested gecko inhabits the trees and relies on its excellent climbing abilities to move around. The lush vegetation provides it with ample hiding spots and access to a variety of food sources, such as insects and nectar.

The warm and humid climate of New Caledonia is essential for the survival of this reptile. It thrives in temperatures ranging from 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C) and requires a humidity level of around 60% to 80%. These conditions can be replicated in a terrarium to ensure the wellbeing of the dragon crested gecko in captivity.

Reasons to Own a Dragon Crested Gecko

Dragon Crested Geckos are becoming increasingly popular as pets due to their unique and exotic appearance. Unlike other reptiles, they are colorful and have a vibrant pattern on their soft, leathery skin. Their captivating appearance makes them a favorite among reptile enthusiasts and collectors.

Exotic Pet

Low Maintenance

Dragon Crested Geckos are relatively easy to care for and require minimal maintenance compared to other reptiles. They are small in size, typically measuring about 8-10 inches in length, making them suitable for individuals living in apartments or small spaces. They don’t require large enclosures or elaborate setups, which makes them an ideal pet for beginners or busy individuals.

Unique Terrarium Decor

Setting up a terrarium for a Dragon Crested Gecko is a fun and creative process. These geckos are arboreal, meaning they spend a majority of their time climbing and perching on branches and plants. You can create a beautiful and natural-looking habitat for your gecko by incorporating various live plants, branches, and vines into their enclosure. This not only creates a visually appealing environment but also provides them with a sense of security and enrichment.

Gentle and Tolerant

Choosing a Dragon Crested Gecko



The age of the Dragon Crested Gecko is also an important consideration. Young geckos are typically more skittish and may require more time and patience to get used to handling. If you are a first-time reptile owner or prefer a more relaxed pet, it may be best to choose an adult gecko.


When selecting a Dragon Crested Gecko, it is crucial to choose a healthy and active individual. Look for clear eyes, a plump body, and healthy skin. Avoid geckos with visible injuries or signs of illness such as lethargy or lack of appetite.

Color and Pattern

Overall, choosing a Dragon Crested Gecko is an exciting process. Consider their temperament, age, health, and colors when making your decision. With proper care and attention, your Dragon Crested Gecko will become a beloved member of your family and bring joy to your life for years to come.

Choosing the Perfect Terrarium for Your Pet Crested Dragon Gecko

If you are considering adding a dragon crested gecko to your collection of exotic pets, one of the most important factors to consider is the housing setup. Providing the right terrarium for your gecko will not only ensure its comfort and well-being, but also add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home or office.

When choosing a terrarium for your dragon crested gecko, there are several key factors to keep in mind. Firstly, the size of the enclosure should be appropriate for the size and activity level of your gecko. A spacious terrarium will allow your pet to explore and climb, promoting its physical and mental health.

Another important factor to consider is the temperature and humidity requirements of your dragon crested gecko. Many species require specific temperature ranges and humidity levels to thrive. Choose a terrarium that allows for easy temperature and humidity control, such as one with built-in heating elements or humidity gauges.

Enclosure Requirements for a Dragon Crested Gecko

A colorful and exotic pet, the dragon crested gecko requires a proper housing setup to ensure its health and happiness. Creating the ideal terrarium for your gecko is essential, as it will provide the necessary environment for them to thrive. Here are some key factors to consider when setting up the enclosure for your dragon crested gecko.

Size and Dimensions

Substrate Options

Temperature and Humidity

Proper temperature and humidity levels are crucial for the health of your dragon crested gecko. The temperature in the enclosure should be maintained between 75-80°F during the day and drop slightly to 65-75°F at night. As for humidity, it should be kept around 50-70%. To achieve the right humidity levels, mist the enclosure daily and use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity.

Lighting and UVB

Decoration and Hideouts

To make the enclosure more visually appealing and provide hiding spots for your gecko, add various decorations such as branches, plants, and rocks. These items will also create a stimulating and enriching environment for your pet. Ensure that the decorations are securely placed to prevent them from falling on your gecko.

Cleaning and Maintenance

To maintain a clean and hygienic environment for your dragon crested gecko, spot clean the enclosure regularly. Remove any feces, uneaten food, and shed skin. Replace the substrate every few months or as needed. Regular cleaning and maintenance will prevent the buildup of bacteria and keep your gecko healthy.

By following these enclosure requirements, you can provide a suitable and comfortable habitat for your dragon crested gecko. Remember to monitor the temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of the enclosure regularly to ensure your pet’s well-being.

Substrate Options for Your Dragon Crested Gecko

Another substrate option is reptile carpet. Reptile carpet is a synthetic material that is easy to clean and maintain. It is a good choice for geckos that have a tendency to eat or ingest their substrate, as reptile carpet is not digestible. However, keep in mind that reptile carpet may not provide the same natural look as other substrate options.

Paper towels or newspaper can also be used as a temporary substrate or as a suitable option for young geckos. They are easy to clean and replace, but may not offer the same level of comfort or naturalistic appeal as other substrates.

Temperature and Humidity

Proper temperature and humidity levels are crucial for the health and well-being of a dragon crested gecko. It is essential to provide a suitable environment in its terrarium to mimic its natural habitat.


To achieve the desired temperature, you can use an under-tank heating pad or a heat lamp. It is recommended to place the heat source on one side of the terrarium, creating a temperature gradient. This allows the gecko to regulate its body temperature by moving to the warmer or cooler areas as needed.


Adequate humidity is essential for the overall health of a dragon crested gecko, as it helps with shedding and hydration. The humidity level should be maintained between 50% and 70% in the terrarium.

There are several ways to achieve and maintain proper humidity levels. One method is to mist the enclosure with water using a spray bottle once or twice a day. This helps to increase the humidity temporarily. Another option is to use a reptile humidifier, which emits a fine mist into the air, maintaining a consistent humidity level.

In addition to misting or using a humidifier, you can also incorporate live plants in the terrarium. Plants naturally release moisture into the air through the process of transpiration, increasing humidity levels. Just make sure to choose plants that are safe for reptiles and do not use any pesticides or chemicals.

Monitoring the temperature and humidity levels regularly with a thermometer and hygrometer is essential. This ensures that the conditions in the terrarium remain within the appropriate range for a dragon crested gecko’s needs.

Lighting and UVB

Proper lighting is essential for the health and well-being of your dragon crested gecko. These exotic pets require a combination of natural and artificial light to thrive.

One important aspect of lighting is providing UVB rays. UVB rays are essential for the production of vitamin D3 in the gecko’s skin, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Without adequate levels of vitamin D3, crested geckos can develop health problems such as metabolic bone disease.

To ensure your dragon crested gecko receives enough UVB rays, it is recommended to use a UVB bulb specifically designed for reptiles. These bulbs emit the necessary wavelengths of light to promote vitamin D3 production. Place the UVB bulb in a fixture above the terrarium, positioning it according to the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the proper distance and intensity.

In addition to UVB lighting, your dragon crested gecko will also benefit from a regular photoperiod. This means providing a consistent day and night cycle by using a timer for the lights. Aim for 12-14 hours of light during the day, followed by 10-12 hours of darkness at night.

When selecting lighting for your crested gecko, be cautious of heat bulbs. While these bulbs can provide additional warmth, they do not emit UVB rays and can lead to overheating if used improperly. It’s best to provide a separate heat source, such as an under tank heater or ceramic heat emitter, to create a suitable temperature gradient in the terrarium.

By providing the proper lighting and UVB exposure, you can ensure your dragon crested gecko remains healthy and vibrant, showcasing its beautiful colors and thriving in its reptile habitat.

Feeding: A Major Consideration for Your Exotic Pet Dragon Crested Gecko

As a proud owner of a dragon crested gecko, it is essential to understand the dietary requirements of these unique reptiles. Feeding your crested gecko a proper and balanced diet is crucial for its overall health and well-being.

Why Diet Matters

Dragon crested geckos are exclusively insectivores, which means they primarily consume live insects in the wild. However, in captivity, their diet should also include a variety of fruit-based powdered diets to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Providing your dragon crested gecko with a well-balanced diet is crucial because it directly impacts their growth, development, and overall lifespan. A poor diet can lead to various health issues like nutritional deficiencies, metabolic bone disease, obesity, and more.

Dietary Requirements

The diet of a dragon crested gecko should consist of a combination of live insects and powdered diets. The powdered diets specially formulated for crested geckos are readily available in pet stores and online. These diets are enriched with vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients that your gecko needs to thrive.

Your dragon crested gecko’s diet should contain a ratio of 80% powdered diet and 20% live insects. You can feed them every other day, offering a balanced mix of both options.

Feeding Schedule

For young geckos, feed them every day, while adult geckos can be fed every other day. Remember to remove any uneaten food within 24 hours to avoid contamination and health issues.

Live Food Options

It’s crucial to provide a variety of live insects to keep your gecko’s diet interesting and diverse. Different insects have different nutritional profiles, so offering a mix of crickets, mealworms, and other options will prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Remember to dust live insects with calcium and multivitamin supplements before feeding them to your gecko. This will help ensure they receive the necessary nutrients while devouring their prey.

Maintaining a proper feeding regimen is essential for the health and well-being of your dragon crested gecko. By providing them with a balanced diet of powdered diets and live insects, you can ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients they need to thrive in their colorful terrarium. Remember to establish a feeding schedule, offer a variety of live insects, and supplement their diet with calcium and multivitamins regularly. By following these guidelines, your dragon crested gecko will grow and thrive in your care as a happy and healthy pet.

Dietary Requirements for a Dragon Crested Gecko

The primary food source for a dragon crested gecko is insects. They are insectivores and rely on a diet rich in protein. Some of the best live food options for these geckos include crickets, roaches, mealworms, and waxworms. These insects not only provide the necessary protein but also stimulate the gecko’s natural hunting instincts.

Supplements are another important aspect of a dragon crested gecko’s diet. Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements are crucial for their bone health and overall development. These supplements can be dusted onto the live food before feeding to ensure the gecko receives the necessary nutrients.

Remember to always provide clean, fresh water for your dragon crested gecko. A shallow dish of water should be available in their enclosure at all times. The water should be changed regularly to prevent bacterial growth and ensure the gecko remains hydrated.

Feeding Schedule for Your Dragon Crested Gecko

Feeding your dragon crested gecko is an important aspect of their care, as it ensures their overall health and well-being. These colorful lizards have unique dietary requirements that need to be met in order to keep them healthy and happy.

Dietary Requirements

Dragon crested geckos are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant matter and insects. Their diet should consist mainly of a prepared powdered diet, specifically formulated for crested geckos. These powdered diets provide all the necessary nutrients and vitamins that your gecko needs to thrive.

In addition to the powdered diet, it is also important to offer your gecko a variety of live insects as part of their diet. This can include small insects such as crickets, mealworms, and wax worms. These live insects provide enrichment and help stimulate your gecko’s natural hunting instincts.

Feeding Schedule

When offering your gecko their powdered diet, simply mix the powder with water according to the package instructions. This will form a paste-like consistency that can be placed in a small dish within the enclosure. Replace the dish with fresh food every 24 hours to prevent spoilage.

Remember to also provide a shallow dish of clean water at all times for your gecko to drink from. The water should be changed daily to ensure its cleanliness.


Live Food Options for Dragon Crested Gecko

Live Food Option Description
Cricket A popular choice among gecko owners, crickets are rich in protein and can be gut loaded with nutritious food for added health benefits. They should be of appropriate size to avoid any choking hazards.
Dubia Roach These roaches are a great source of protein and are easily digestible for geckos. They are low in fat and can be provided in various sizes depending on the age and size of your pet.
Mealworm Mealworms are a staple food for many reptiles and provide a good source of protein and fats. They can be offered as a treat or as part of the regular diet, but should be fed in moderation due to their high-fat content.
Waxworm Waxworms are high in fat and should be considered as occasional treats rather than a regular food source. They are rich in calcium, making them a good choice for geckos that require an extra boost of this essential nutrient.
Phoenix Worm

Handling and Care

Before picking up a crested gecko, it is essential to wash your hands thoroughly to remove any potential contaminants that could harm the lizard. It is also important to support their body properly while handling them to prevent any injuries.


Proper Handling Techniques for Your Dragon Crested Gecko

1. Prepare the Terrarium

Before removing your gecko from its terrarium, make sure it is set up properly. Check that the enclosure is secure and there are no potential escape routes. Also, ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are appropriate for your gecko’s needs.

2. Approach with Care

3. Support the Body

Always support your gecko’s body when handling them. Use both hands to gently hold them, making sure to cradle their body and tail. Avoid squeezing or applying excessive pressure, as this can cause harm or distress.

4. Time and Frequency

Start with short handling sessions, gradually increasing the duration over time. Geckos may need time to acclimate to being handled, so be patient and observant of their reactions. It is recommended to handle your crested gecko a few times a week to maintain their comfort with human interaction.

Keep in mind that each gecko is unique and may have different tolerances for handling. Pay attention to their body language and cues, such as tail-wagging or vocalizations, which may indicate discomfort or stress. If your gecko shows signs of distress, gently return them to their terrarium and try again later.

Remember: Always wash your hands both before and after handling your crested gecko to prevent the transfer of potential pathogens.

5. Providing a Safe Environment

6. Monitoring Stress and Health

Regularly monitor your gecko’s behavior, appetite, and physical appearance to identify any signs of stress or health issues. Stress can manifest in various ways, such as loss of appetite, abnormal shedding, or lethargy. If you notice any concerning changes, consult a reptile veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember: Your gecko’s well-being should always be your top priority. If you are unsure about handling techniques or have any concerns, seek advice from a reptile expert or an experienced reptile owner.

By following these proper handling techniques, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your dragon crested gecko!

Common Health Issues

Metabolic Bone Disease

One of the most common health issues seen in dragon crested geckos is metabolic bone disease (MBD). This condition occurs when the reptile’s diet is deficient in calcium and Vitamin D3, leading to weak and brittle bones. Signs of MBD include bowed legs, tremors, and difficulty moving.

To prevent MBD, it is crucial to provide a properly balanced diet for your gecko. This should include a calcium supplement and access to UVB lighting, which helps the reptile synthesize Vitamin D3 naturally.

Respiratory Infections

Dragon crested geckos are susceptible to respiratory infections, especially if their enclosure is too cold or damp. Signs of a respiratory infection include wheezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. If left untreated, this condition can be life-threatening.

To prevent respiratory infections, ensure that your gecko’s enclosure is kept at the proper temperature and humidity levels. A clean and well-ventilated habitat is also essential. If you suspect your gecko has a respiratory infection, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.


To prevent parasitic infestations, maintain a clean enclosure and ensure that any live food offered to your gecko is free from parasites. Quarantining new geckos before introducing them to your existing collection can also help prevent the spread of parasites.

Shedding Issues

Dragon crested geckos, like other reptiles, shed their skin periodically. While shedding is a natural process, problems can arise if the gecko has difficulty shedding or if pieces of shed skin get stuck. Stuck shed can constrict blood flow and lead to serious complications.

To help your gecko shed properly, provide a moisture-rich environment during the shedding process. This can be achieved by misting the enclosure or providing a moist hide. If there are persistent shedding issues, consult a veterinarian for further guidance.