Reptile Specialty Care Sheets are a great way to get detailed information on a particular species you might be interested in. These care sheets are put together from research and experience into our own pets.
Crickets have become a staple diet for a lot of reptiles and amphibians. Purchasing crickets online in large quantity has become very common place among exotic pet hobbyists and even sports fishermen. This article will cover the basic care and breeding of the common house cricket, Achetus domesticus.
Crickets will hatch, grow to adulthood and die with an average life span of eight weeks once reaching adulthood. The males perform the chirping and are good indicators of weather conditions. The frequency of chirping is low in cold weather and high in warm weather.
Males will perform the chirping and while chirping their wings, rear legs and body will shake. Females will have an ovipositor that protrudes from their rear and is significantly larger than males.
A cricket will go through a growth cycle reaching maturity after 5 weeks and then die after 8 weeks of adulthood. Each week the cricket will grow in size until it reaches its adult size.
Crickets can live in moderate room temperatures from 70-80F but will only thrive in the low 80s. Below 70F will prove detrimental to health and most crickets will die. A reptile heat bulb, either colored or ceramic is recommended for winter or cold climates.
Moderate humidity is recommended. The growth cycle will be increased with warm temperatures and higher humidity in the 60% range.
Crickets will eat plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some crickets will become cannibalistic if not fed a proper diet on a regular basis. The leading Cricket and insect breeders offer diets and reptile food companies even produce a diet for crickets. All food given to crickets should be nutritionally complete since you are gut loading the insect to be food for a reptile. Water should be provided through a damp sponge, water crystals or a shallow dish with gravel so the crickets do not drown.
Gut loading crickets is a proven scientific theory that you will provide the most nutritious live prey by feeding crickets high-quality food prior to offering them as prey to your pet.
I use Armstrong’s Cricket containers that are made of a dense plastic and have screen covers to prevent escapes. These are sold as kits with food and water, cricket containers and scooper to collect the crickets. I highly recommend these for the ease of use and cleaning.
You can also make your own for a fraction of the cost using a Sterilite storage container and cutting a square hole out of the top and with the use of a hot glue gun and the scrap material from the square cut out you can put a wire mesh or fabric over the hole and glue the extra material through the mesh and contact the plastic material of the lid. This method is relatively cheap if you own a glue gun yourself. Be sure to follow all warnings provided with the glue gun and any tools you use.
A single adult female can produce 2000 crickets in her lifetime. Keeping crickets in large numbers can reduce your feeder bills. You will want to begin with an egg laying container, in the adult enclosure place a shallow container with moist dirt at the bottom. A shallow deli cup or Tupperware container works great. Place the egg carton over the container with enough room for the crickets to move freely in and out of the egg laying container. This is to provide the females with a sense of security.
Every one to two weeks transfers the egg laying container in a new cricket container. We will call this container the pinhead bin. Provide the same food as you do the adults but be sure to keep a moist sponge instead of any shallow water dishes to prevent drowning. That’s it!
The Mourning Gecko is one of the fascinating gecko species in the hobby today. There is no need for a male to reproduce as this gecko is parthenogenetic. Not only is this nocturnal species active during the day but very communal, exchanging body language and even establishing a hierarchy of sorts. Lepidodactylus lugubris is well adapted to varying environments being endemic to the Pacific region and introduced to the Hawaiian Islands, Cocos Islands, Queensland Australia as well as Central and South America.
The mourning gecko cage should be vertically orientated rather than horizontal since this is an arboreal species. The larger the cage, the more geckos you can house and since this is a communal species you will want six individual geckos at the least for the most activity. The cage should be furnished with as many removable plants, leaves, and branches as possible. Bamboo is highly recommended for the enclosure since it can easily be removed, trimmed and replaced. We use an arboreal feeding ledge to offer both food and water which makes routine chores an easy task!
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
Mourning Geckos should be kept at temperatures between 70 °F and 80 °F. The warmer the temperature the more active this species will become. This species is endemic to tropical regions with moderate to high humidity. We recommend 60% as the minimum and no more than 80%. Allow the cage to dry out for a period during the day to prevent bacteria build up. Lighting the mourning gecko cage will help with seasonal change, social interaction, and visual appeal.
Diet & Nutrition
Mourning gecko food is primarily insects, fruit, and nectar with no desire for green leafy vegetation as this species are more frugivorous than omnivorous. We offer a balanced diet around Crested Gecko Diet.
Meal Replacement Powder Crested Gecko Diet by Repashy Superfoods is the most advanced reptile food available with human grade ingredients that are balanced to make this a complete diet. We offer both Crested Gecko Diet and Day Gecko Diet 3 times a week.
Live Feeders We feed 1/4" crickets, roach nymphs, and Phoenix Worms as live feeders every evening that the Meal Replacement Powder is not offered. All our insects eat left over Crested Gecko Diet which makes for great gut loading. We also dust all insects except for phoenix worms with a Calcium powder that has Vitamin D3 using the shake and bake method.
Weekly Feeding Routine On a consistent routine your geckos will be familiarized with the food and the feeding routine. We like to feed all our fruit eating geckos four times a week. We offer fresh Crested Gecko Diet two times a week; Monday and Friday. We allow the diet to remain in the enclosure for two nights and remove the uneaten portion when we offer live feeders.
Handling and Taming
We do not recommend handling Mourning Geckos. This species is very fast and can grip almost all surfaces and fit itself into small crevices making a missing gecko impossible to catch or find. The skin is also very tender and with rough handling can break and tear as one of their defense mechanisms.
Colonies are primarily all female due to their parthenogenetic nature.
Sexual maturity is reached within 8 to 10 months with egg development and laying around this time. Two eggs are produced with only one on occasion. This species is also cannibalistic to both eggs and hatchlings. Always have live feeders available in the cage every evening to prevent cannibalism.
Eggs are glued in place on vertical walls and decor. These eggs are difficult to remove without breaking or cracking the egg. We recommend the same method used for Phelsuma eggs with a ventilated 2oz cup taped over the egg to prevent the hatchling from escaping or being eaten and incubate in place. The total incubation time of the egg is 60 days with temperatures in the low 70 °F.
Hatchlings should be removed from the adult cage as soon as first noticed. Keep hatchlings with like sized Mourning Geckos and ensure that the cage is escape proof. We offer more CGD to the younger geckos than we do live feeders to adults. This species is very easy to raise. Fun Facts
The Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroach, Gromphradorhina portentosa, is the most widely kept pet cockroach in the United States. The giant of all cockroaches this species will reach 2-4 inches and live for up to five years making an fascinating insect for display in science classes and home vivariums.
The hissing cockroach can climb smooth surfaces, even glass. Select an enclosure with a secure lid that will not allow for escape. For our nymphs, we use a Tom's Critter Keeper. We prefer this or a terrarium with a screen lid that slides in place. A large horizontal terrarium with a good amount of floor space can be used for all stages of growth. Provide some branches or large vines as this species will sometimes climb. Hides on the floor space are a great way to reduce territorial disputes between males. Use logs. Coconut hides, leaf litter or similar covering. For breeders, a good amount of stacked egg crate can be used to allow enough territory for males and females to breed. A food and water dish should be provided. We use water crystals in our water bowl to prevent drowning and the build-up of bacteria and mold -- no smell, unlike sponges.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
The temperature for hissing cockroach is best provided in the 75°F to 95°F (24–35 °C) range. Like most roach species the lower the temperature, the less they eat, breed and thrive. The same can be said with too high of temperatures.
For a class, pet select a temperature range of 75°F to 80°F (24°C - 29°C)
For breeding a temperature range between 87°F to 92°F (30°C - 33°C)
Provide a high enough humidity that mold or fungus does not grow, but successful molting is accomplished. We provide a humidity cycle of 60-80% and to reduce the growth of mold we allow the humidity to drop during part of the day. As a tropical species, a light cycle of 12 hours a day is recommended, but this species will survive and breed with a seasonal cycle of 10 hours in the winter/fall months and 12 hours during summer months.
Diet & Nutrition
Hissing cockroaches are omnivorous and should be fed a varying diet. Fruits, vegetables and commercial diets such as BugBurger are recommended for daily feeding. Gut loading, a process of feeding your insects a highly nutritious diet before offering them as prey to your reptiles is highly recommended. You may offer dandelion greens the night before as a means to increase calcium consumption or do like we do and offer SuperLoad by Repashy Superfoods.
This species is somewhat difficult to sex. Males develop horns on the pronotum and thicker, hairier antennae. Sexual maturity is reached within six months. Females deposit and reabsorb the egg sack (ootheca) allowing the eggs to incubate internally, for 60-70 days, hatch and the nymph to exit giving the appearance of live birth. Each female can produce 20-40 young at a time.
That's it! If you have any questions, comment below or email us. Best of luck with your Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroach!
The Guyana Orange Spotted Cockroach, Blaptica dubia, is one of the best feeder insect for lizards, monitors, geckos, frogs and predatory insects. The soft exoskeleton and high nutritional content is far superior than crickets. Blaptica dubia cockroaches are from tropical climates with mid range humidity and easy to care for since they can not fly or climb.
We keep our roaches in Armstrong Cricket Bins that are designed to hold 1500 crickets. These cricket bins are sturdy construction and have a screen top to help prevent escapes. The sides of the enclosure are sanded so your insects can climb 3/4 of the side but a smooth surface at the top does not allow them to climb out. I actually prefer this so if the Blaptica dubia colony reaches greater numbers there is more surface area for the insects to use. You should use egg crate stacked sideways to give a sense of security along with a food and water dish with porous sides for nymphs to climb up and be able to eat and drink. We use water crystals in our water bowl to prevent drowning and the build up of bacteria and mold -- no smell unlike sponges. Roach nymphs are bred in the Cricket Bin and moved once a week to a Large Kritter Keeper that is setup the same as the adult breeder bin.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
This is a tropical species so a temperature range of 75–95 °F (24–35 °C) should be provided for reproduction or moderate room temperature in the 70 °F range if you plan to only offer them as food and order the sizes needed. Do not allow the temperature to fall below 68 °F.
Humidity is best in the mid-range but this species is more tolerant of lower humidity than others. If the humidity is too low there will be problems molting. We have no problems with the humidity in the 60% range.
Lighting is not a requirement for dubia cockroaches but we do provide indirect lighting on a seasonal cycle of 10 hours a day in the fall and winter to 12 hours a day during summer months. Dubia roaches will be more active at night, savaging, securing territory and mating.
Diet & Nutrition
Dubia roaches are omnivorous scavengers and should be offered a mix of fresh produce such as carrots, apples, oranges, lettuce (not iceberg or romaine), and fruit. Along with the produce you should offer grains with a good amount of vitamins and minerals -- baby cereal is a good source. Allen Repashy has determined that a constant consumption of high protein results in lactic acid build up which can result in massive colony die-off. If you are to mix your own diet Allen has determined that the maximum protein for colony production is 12% of the entire diet. Repashy Superfoods offers Bug Burger, a nutritionally balanced product to feed insects and we highly recommend this product.
Sexing and Breeding Blaptica dubia Cockroaches
As a sexually dimorphic species the males will be slender with wings and females appear wider and wingless. Sexual maturity is reached between four and six months. Dubia roaches are ovoviviporous. The females will lay an egg sack (ootheca) and then pull the sack back inside allowing the eggs to incubate for nearly 30 days, hatch and the nymph to exit giving the appearance of live birth.
Some people have claimed that mild allergies have developed after producing a large colony of Blaptica dubia roaches and believe it is due to the feces or dust during cleaning. That's it, hopefully with this care sheet you will have a thriving colony capable of producing consistent feeders of the highest nutritional content to your pet.
The New Caledonian Giant Gecko, Rhacodactylus leachianus, is the largest gecko of the genus and the largest known living gecko. Their ability to produce calls ranging from whistles and hisses to growls and grumbles has peaked the interest of even the most experienced gecko keepers. The varying color and patterns of the different localities makes an amazing display animal for any home vivarium or collection.
The body shape appears uniform from snout to vent with varying traits of each locality. Base color can range from green, brown, grey and even black with white, pink and yellow accent colors. While the Grande Terre localities (Poindimie, Mount Koghis, Yate, Mount Humboldt and Riviere Bleue) are the largest of the subspecies the Offshore Island localities (Isle of Pines, Menore, Bayonnaise, Moro, Duu Ana, Nuu Ana, Nuu Ami, Koe, Brosse, Caanawa) tend to be the most attractive with bands, blotches or spots of white, yellow or pink coloring.
This species is greatly arboreal. In nature they spend the majority of their time in tree hollows or branches high in the tree top. To properly keep this species you will want to utilize three vertical cage sizes for the three stages of life; hatchling, juvenile and adult.
The enclosure should offer hiding places such as cork bark flats vertically orientated or cork hollows . Hatchlings can use paper towel rolls to mimic this natural hiding place. We also recommend thick branches wider than the body of the gecko is.
Keep in mind that an opaque enclosure or ABS plastic enclosure in either black or white will also help this species to feel secluded as they naturally are in the wild.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
Our Giant Geckos are kept between 72 °F and 80 °F for the majority of the year. All of our Rhacodactylus geckos experience a cooling period where the temperature falls to a low of 65-70 °F to prevent continued egg production. The temperature should never fall below 65 °F or rise above 85 °F as this species has a hard time tolerating these temperatures. The humidity should be between 60-80% with a proper humidity cycle. We recommend the humidity cycle, allowing the humidity to lower below 60%, to dry out the enclosure and prevent bacteria buildup. This species is susceptable to bacterial infection far greater than any of the counterparts in the genus. For prevention we do not mist the decor of the enclosure the gecko naturally rests on for extended periods of the day and rather mist the walls of the enclosure (exluding the floor). Lighting can benefit Giant Geckos a number of ways. Our Offshore Island individuals will often be seen sitting on the top of the branches under full spectrum lighting. It is also believed that proper lighting will aid in the development of color. We do not off full spectrum lighting any longer to our Giant Geckos and instead offer a day/night cycle through a skylight in the gecko room. Color has not been seen to diminish but there is pigment enhancing ingredients in the Crested Gecko Diet we offer our Giant Geckos.
Average High Temperature
Average Low Temperature
Average High and Low Relative Humidity
Diet & Nutrition
New Caledonian Giant Geckos are omnivorous feeding on insects, small mammals, fruits and nectars. Hatchling to Juveniles will feed on a single robust cricket, feeder roach and meal replacement powder while adults may lose interest in crickets but continue to eat feeder roaches along with pinkie mice and meal replacement powder.
Meal Replacement Powder We started using Crested Gecko Diet by Repashy Superfoods before our first Giant Gecko purchase. This product is made from human grade ingredients and has helped problematic geckos that we acquired from keepers who did not provide a balanced diet. In short we highly recommend this product and as such offer it in the Reptile Specialty Store. Our Giant Geckos will consume 2oz (roughly 1oz a night) of CGD during the summer months.
Live Feeders A lot of new keepers will often offer a number of crickets to their Giant Gecko and notice little to no interest from the Giant Gecko. This is where the criticism of the lazy or laxidaisy behavior comes into play. We found that a good amount of movement on the ground floor of the enclosure actually makes this species uncomfortable. Offering one cricket of a robust size and measuring the width between the eyes will coax the gecko to eat. As the Giant Gecko grows older you may offer feeder roaches and pinkie mice. We offer pinkies only once or twice a month and feeder roaches weekly. This species may appear as a difficult eater to the novice keeper.
Weekly Feeding Routine On a consistent routine your geckos will be familiarized with the food and how often it is fed. We like to feed all our Rhacodactylus geckos 4 times a week. We offer fresh Crested Gecko Diet three times a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We allow the diet to stay in the enclosure until we replace it on that third night. We find that as the diet becomes ripe the geckos tend to consume more of it. In nature a piece of fruit that falls to the ground and begins to ripen (not spoil) allows for the geckos to be more apt to smell, find and consume the fruit. On Sunday we remove all food from the enclosure and offer live prey that has been dusted with vitamins and minerals and gut loaded the night before. Any mixed but unserved diet is placed in the refrigerator or freezer for future feeding.
Handling and Taming
Each individual will have its own personality and acceptability to handling. This species has been coined as having cage aggression and believed to stem from protecting their territory in the wild. However, there are some individual geckos that do not exhibit the same cage aggression and previously mentioned and can be removed from the enclosure without problem. We handle our Giant Geckos weekly if not every other night. Using a glove to remove them from the enclosure or a tightly knit terry cloth towel to prevent injury from bites to the handler. Once removed from the enclosure the temperament is calm and relaxed especially from a non-threatening handler. We often remove an aggressive individual to allow them to rest on our shoulder as we clean and feed other geckos. Hatchling to juveniles are less apt to express cage aggression and more likely to be flighty. For these geckos we use the hand walking method to calm and relax the gecko. After a while they become tame and allow us to remove and handle without any problems. When these geckos start reaching maturity we have noticed they start presenting signs of cage aggression with threatening stance and growls, grumbles or clucking and whistles. This is the point we begin using gloves. Great care should be given to handling this species to prevent injury to the handler.
Sex can be determined at 3" SVL using an 8x photographers loupe. Males will have pre-anal pores, and a post-anal hemipenile bulge. Females may also have femoral or pseudo pores that can trick an untrained eye. Femoral pores lack the distinctive dark pit with crinkled edges and can appear smooth and shiny or slightly dimpled.
Breeding Giant Geckos may be a daunting task and the main reason they continue to be expensive to own. This species forms compatible pairs and should be housed as such. However, a compatible pair can become incompatible at any time and often the smaller of the two (generally the male) will receive injuries that can be fatal. There are a few tricks that can be done to help introduce a pair.
Familiarity Place two separate enclosures side by side with one individual gecko in each. Allow the geckos to visually see each other. The screen side of an enclosure will help for scent and smell acceptance. Territorial Females?Releasing a male into a females enclosure should be done with a means to protect the male and judge the females demeanor.
Signs of Copulation The male will often make clucking noises and head bobbing to warrant his interest in copulation with the female. You should observe the pair as much as possible during introduction and copulation to intervene if aggression becomes apparent. Even a compatible pair can become incompatible at any time.
This species is Temperature Sex Determined. Incubate eggs between temperatures of upper 60 °F and lower 80 °F. The higher the temperature the lower the incubation time and greater chance of producing males. The lower the temperature, the longer the incubation time and greater chance of females produced.
We house juveniles in medium to large Kritter Keepers for their first year of life. With a single cricket an offering and Crested Gecko Diet being the primary source of nutrition. Cage furnishing is paper towel substrate and paper towel rolls for climbing and hiding. A single fake plant like hanging ficus is also offered. We keep the same feeding schedule for hatchlings to juveniles as we do adults. The only difference is the amount of food offered. Tom's Kritter Keepers with the locking top hold humidity the best but to ensure a proper humidity cycle we drill 20 1/4" holes on either side for greater ventilation.
Correlophus ciliatus, (formerly Rhacodactylus ciliatus) commonly known as Crested Gecko or Eyelash Gecko, is native to the southern region of New Caledonia (Grande Terre) and a satellite island just Southeast, Pine Island (Isle de Pins). The Crested Gecko spend the majority of their time in low-level trees and shrubs often finding secure hiding places on the ground floor to sleep during the day. This species is an opportunistic eater feeding on a wide range of insects as well as fruit. The easy care requirements, prolific breeding habits, an intense pallet of colors and pattern, all propelled this gecko through the reptile popularity ranks.
New Caledonia map for Rhacodactylus gecko
Correlophus ciliatus is a hardy species that can thrive in almost any conventional cage. Your enclosure can be as elaborate as a naturalistic vivarium or as basic as a terrarium with the plastic decor. Because of their arboreal nature, you will want to choose an enclosure that is in a vertical position rather than horizontal. We also recommend three cage sizes to match the three stages of life. A hatchling should go right into a small enclosure of up to five gallons until they reach 5-6 months old at which point should be moved into a ten-gallon enclosure. Around six months of age, the sex can be determined by the hemipenile bulge and males should be separated in their enclosure. Females can live communally as long as they are all around the same size and fed regularly. Adults can thrive in fifteen to twenty-gallon enclosures alone. For every addition to the enclosure such as a mate, you should increase the cage size by 5 gallons. A breeding trio of one male for two females will have enough space in a thirty-gallon cage to interact comfortably.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
Crested Geckos should be kept at moderate room temperature between 72 °F and 80 °F for the majority of the year. A night time drop of five degrees is adequate but not necessary. Temperatures should not rise above 85 °F or fall below 65 °F for any length of time as these temperatures stress the geckos and can result in illness or death.
The Crested Gecko is temperature sensitive and should never be exposed to temperatures above 85 °F or near a window where the temperature fluctuates. Be smart about providing heat and make sure you use a temperature regulating device.
Average High Temperature
Average Low Temperature
Humidity is an important factor in the overall health of your crested gecko. Proper humidity should reside in the 60-80% range. Inadequate humidity will result in shedding problems. The poor shed can result in severe health problems such as lost limbs (digits or crests) to decreased eye sight and even death. For areas that have relatively low humidity you can mist the enclosure as many times as necessary or introduce a waterfall or potted plants. For the extreme such as a desert climate you can provide a humidifier in the room the pet gecko is in or a humidifier specifically for the enclosure that turns on periodically or from a sensor.
Average High and Low Relative Humidity
Too much humidity can also be a bad thing. Standing puddles of water can provide sanctuary for bacteria to live. Crested Gecko should not be exposed to damp conditions for long periods of the day. Routine cleaning and exposure to UVA/UVB can reduce the risk of harmfull bacteria. A humidity cycle is also recommended. Allow the enclosure to dry out for a period during the day. This will limit the ability of bacteria to thrive. Lighting has been highly debated. All New Caledonian geckos spend some time exposed to daylight in nature but the benefits are sceptical at best. We know that full spectrum lighting will help prevent bacteria growth. We also know that the hours of lighting will help induce breeding in most reptile species. We follow daylight savings time in our facility. 12-14 hours of daylight during the summer months and 10 hours of light during the winter months. We do not provide UVB/UVA but offer food items that contain calcium and vitamin D3.
Crested Geckos are Omnivorous primarily feeding on fruit and insects. In nature, these geckos will lap up nectar, feed on ripe fruit that has fallen to the ground and just about any moving insect. Although Crested Gecko are omnivorous, they will not feed on foliage. The diet of captive reptiles is far less varied than that of their counterpart in the wild. It is important that we, as keepers, offer the most nutritional and varied diet possible.
Meal Replacement Powder
We have found Crested Gecko Diet from Repashy Superfoods to be the most nutritionally balanced diet available. There are two forms of the diet. The most common is the Complete diet which is formulated to be able to provide all the nutritional needs of these geckos even under the most demanding conditions -- breeding. The second is a Day Gecko Diet developed with Phelsuma and Lygodactylus geckos featuring a Cherry/Fig flavor that these geckos go crazy for.
We recommend live crickets, phoenix worms and specialty feeder roaches as food for your geckos. When it comes to live food these three options are the most commonly offered. You can also offer wax worms as a treat or during the winter months after breeding has ended since wax worms have a high fat content.
All insects should be Gut Loaded before being offered as food to your gecko. Gut Loading is essentially providing a highly nutritious food to the insect before your geckos' feeding. On Saturday we offer left over Crested Gecko Diet to our live feeders in preparation for Sundays live feeding extravaganza.
Select your live feeders by size in length. Choose a live feeder that is no greater than the length between the eyes. Coat the feeder with Calcium and Vitamin D3 by placing in a plastic bag with the powder and shaking until the feeder is covered in the powder.
Weekly Feeding Routine
On a consistent routine, your geckos will be familiarized with the food and how often it is fed. We like to feed all our New Caledonian geckos 4 times a week. We offer fresh Crested Gecko Diet three times a week; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We allow the diet to stay in the enclosure until we replace it on that third night. We find that as the diet becomes ripe the geckos tend to consume more of it. In nature, a piece of fruit that falls to the ground and begins to ripen (not spoil) allows for the geckos to be more apt to smell, find and consume the fruit. It must be instincts that induce this feeding response. On Sunday we remove all food from the enclosure and offer live prey that has been dusted with vitamins and minerals and gut loaded the night before. Any mixed but unserved diet is placed in the refrigerator or freezer for future feeding.
Handling and Taming
Crested Geckos are hardy animals that tolerate a good amount of handling. Care should be given to new additions or untamed animals. Always allow a 2 week period where handling is avoided. Hatchlings especially should be observed and if handling becomes necessary, bring the cage to the ground level and handle the gecko just barely off the ground. This two week period will allow the animal to become accustomed to your interaction and routine limiting undue stress. Handling your new gecko will help tame them. We recommend handling each day after the two-week-waiting-period of about 5 minutes or more. This will help the gecko become accustomed to you by sight and scent. After the first few weeks and depending on the behavior of the gecko you can increase the handling time of up to 20 minutes. We recommend a handling technique referred to as "hand walking." While the gecko is on one hand and alert they will attempt to jump, climb or move from one hand to the next. With the gecko in either your left or right hand place your free hand in front of the gecko. Distance away will entice the gecko to jump while a hand in hand posture will result in climbing. With the gecko moving from one hand to the next continue placing the free hand in front. This is also very good exercise and a bonding experience between the gecko and handler essentially taming the pet. Remember to do this process low to the ground to prevent injury from falling. Young Crested Geckos should not be placed in a position to jump especially over a hard surface. Keep your hands close while using this technique.
Males will develop preanal pores and a hemipenile bulge. Females will have neither of these indicating factors. Sexing can be performed as early as 6 months to 9 months of age without a jewelers loupe. Between 5 and 10 grams males can be determined using a jewelers loupe (10x magnification) over the pore region. Pores appear as small scales that have a dark spot in the center.
Males reach maturity at 9 months old while females reach maturity at 12 months old. It is recommended to allow the males to reach 12 months old and females to reach 14 months old before breeding. Weight is also a factor and goes hand in hand with age. Females should weigh 35 grams at the minimum while a 40-gram female will be mature and able to produce fertile eggs with a greater hatch rate than one of less weight or younger in age.
We only recommend calcined clay (SuperHatch) as an incubation medium. Regulate temperatures between 70F and 76F. The greater the incubation temperature the shorter the incubation time, and lower the incubation temperature the longer the duration. The longer the duration, the larger, healthier the hatchling will be.
We house single hatchlings in a small Kritter Keeper until they reach 10 grams in weight and at that point move them into 10-gallon enclosures up until adult size. I keep the same feeding schedule for Hatchlings as I do Adults with the only difference being the amount of food offered is slightly less.
That's it! Hopefully, you found this Crested Gecko Care Sheet useful and if you have any other questions feel free to comment below or send us an email.
Often the second choice of avid Rhacodactylus keepers, the Gargoyle Gecko, is a fascinating gecko thanks in part to their intrinsic appearance. An adult size of roughly 8" total length with a robust body shape, slender appendages, bony head structure, and a multitude of body color with striped and reticulated accent color appeals to any hobbyist for breeding or display. Added to the appeal is the ease of care, feeding, and handling -- making this species a popular choice for first time keepers and breeders since their introduction to the hobby in the 1980s'.
The Gargoyle Gecko is endemic to the southern region of New Caledonia also referred to as Gande Terre. To date there have not been any specimens collected on the surrounding islands like many other species of the genus. Also interesting to note is that the gecko is found in scrub habitat with low lying shrubs and sparse trees possibly due in part to their limited climbing abilities.
The Gargoyle Gecko makes a fantastic display animal often resting in plain sight during the day. The cage can be as elaborate as a vivarium or basic as a quarantine tank. We do recommend similar cage requirements as their counterpart, Crested Geckos. Three cages to meet the three stages of life; Hatchling, Juvenile and Adult.
The nature of these geckos is quite aggressive and the housing of a harem can result in aggression of a dominant cagemate on all occupants of the cage and nipped, dropped or missing tails. The tails are generally eaten by the dominant cagemate. This aggression can begin at any stage of growth and if a regenerated tail is a concern then housing one individual gecko per cage is highly recommended. You may limit the aggression by allowing enough cage space for the pursued gecko to escape and multiple hiding places. An observed cagemate exhibiting aggression can be removed and housed solo. An ample supply of food at all times is also recommended. A hiding place for every cage mate should be provided and thick branches throughout the cage so a gecko can escape an aggressor.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
Gargoyle Geckos come from a more arid habitat on Grande Terre but fit in well with the same regimen as that used with their counterparts in the genus. A temperature range of 70F to 80F is adequate. A basking spot of 80-82F may be used if provided, especially during breeding season. Do not allow the temperature to rise above 85F or fall below 65F as these temperatures may result in death. Humidity is an important factor in the overall health of your Gargoyle Gecko. Proper humidity should reside in the 60-80% range. Inadequate humidity will result in shedding problems. Poor shed can have severe health problems such as lost limbs (digits) to decreased eye sight and even death. For areas that have relatively low humidity you can mist the enclosure as many times as necessary or introduce a waterfall or potted plants. For the extreme such as a desert climate you can provide a humidifier in the room the Gargoyle Gecko is in or a humidifier specifically for the enclosure that turns on periodically or from a sensor. Too much humidity can also be a bad thing. Standing puddles of water can provide sanctuary for bacteria to live. Gargoyle Geckos should not be exposed to damp conditions for long periods of the day. Routine cleaning and exposure to UVA/UVB can reduce the risk of harmful bacteria. A humidity cycle is also recommended. Allow the enclosure to dry out for a period during the day. This will limit the ability of bacteria to thrive. Lighting has been highly debated. All Rhacodactylus geckos spend some time exposed to daylight in nature but the benefits are skeptical at best. We know that full spectrum lighting will help prevent bacteria growth. We also know that the hours of lighting will help induce breeding in most reptile species. We follow daylight savings time in our facility. 12-14 hours of daylight during the summer months and 10 hours of light during the winter months. We do not provide UVB/UVA but offer food items that contain calcium and vitamin D3.
Diet & Nutrition
Gargoyle Geckos feed on insects, smaller lizards, pinkie mice, fruit and nectar in the wild. Their natural habitat should be full of potential prey items and from a young age all insects slightly larger than the space between the eyes are relished. As these geckos mature to become adults they become less interested in the conventional insects. Larger prey items such as newly born pinkie mice, and feeder roaches are recommended. Less is more with Gargoyle Geckos, so offer a couple prey items for an individual gecko instead.
Meal Replacement Powder We have found Crested Gecko Diet from Repashy Superfoods to be the most nutritionally balanced diet available. There are two forms of the diet. The most common is the Crested Gecko Diet which is formulated in three flavors, Original, Mango and Peach. The second is Day Gecko Diet with an identical formula nutritionally but with a combination of Cherry and Fig flavor.
Live Feeders Gargoyle Geckos will readily feed on live insects from hatchling to juvenile. Offer a robust prey item and no more than 5 insects per feeding. As they mature to adult you may want to offer feeder roaches or pinkie mice to familiarize the gecko with other available food items. Eventually they will loose interest in crickets and other live feeders will be needed to sustain breeding.
Dust all live feeders with a Vitamin and Mineral supplement mixed with Calcium that has D3. D3 is required for nocturnal species that do not utilize UVA/UVB lighting to properly digest and utilize Calcium. Without D3, any reptile will suffer and eventually die from Metabolic Bone Disease. We use and recommend CalciumPlus by Repashy Superfoods and ReptiCalcium by ZooMed.
For Gargoyle Geckos choose a feeder by size in length. The size should not be greater than the length between the eyes and very robust. Coat the feeder using Calcium with Vitamin D3 by placing the feeder in a plastic bag with the powder and shaking until the feeder is coated in the supplement.
Weekly Feeding Routine We follow the same feeding routine as with all our geckos. We offer fresh Crested Gecko Diet three times a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We allow the food to stay in the enclosure until we replace it on that third night. We find that as the diet becomes ripe the geckos tend to consume more of it. In nature a piece of fruit that falls to the ground and begins to ripen (not spoil) allows for the geckos to be more apt to smell, find and consume the fruit. On Sunday we remove all food from the enclosure and offer live prey that has been dusted with vitamins and minerals and gut loaded the night before. Any mixed but not served diet is placed in the refrigerator or freezer for future feeding.
From time to time, during breeding season, we attempt to switch up the feeding of live prey and the MRP. Rather than feed live prey once a week we may try to feed again on a second night during the week rather than the Crested Gecko Diet. We shoot for Wednesday and Sunday for live feeders but if no live feeders are accepted we offer the CGD the following day or that evening.
Handling & Taming
Much like Crested Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos tolerate a good amount of handling. Care should be given to new additions or untamed animals. Always allow a 2 week period where handling is avoided. Hatchlings especially should be observed and if handling becomes necessary bring the cage to the ground level and handle the gecko just barely off the ground. This two week period will allow the animal to become accustomed to your interaction and routine limiting undue stress. Handling your new gecko will help tame them. We recommend handling each day after the two week waiting period of about 5 minutes or more. This will help the gecko become accustomed to you by sight and scent. After the first few weeks and depending on the behavior of the gecko you can increase the handling time of up to 20 minutes. We recommend a handling technique referred to as "hand walking". While the gecko is on one hand and alert they will attempt to jump, climb or move from one hand to the next. With the gecko in either your left or right hand place your free hand in front of the gecko. A distance away will entice the gecko to jump while a hand in hand posture will result in climbing. With the gecko moving from one hand to the next continue placing the free hand in front. This is also very good exercise and a bonding experience between the gecko and handler essentially taming the pet. Remember to do this process low to the ground to prevent injury from falling. Young Gargoyle Geckos should not be placed in a position to jump especially over a hard surface. Keep your hands close while using this technique.
Sexing Gargoyle Geckos can be performed as soon as the Snout to Vent Length reaches 2.7-3". Females exhibit pseudopores (similar scale shape as the male pores) that form in rows of three compared to the males five rows of preanal pores. Another way to distinguish between the male and female is that the male will have enlarged cloacal spurs and a postanal hemipenile bulge. Females can present a similar postanal bulge, but not as large. The best way to determine sex is with a photographer or jewelers loupe and count the rows of pores.
Breeding Gargoyle Geckos requires patience and greater attention than the breeding of Crested Geckos. As stated previously these geckos can exhibit aggression towards one another (often females toward the male) which can result in limited eating habits, tail loss and wounds from bites. With all that said a watchful eye is recommended to ensure breeding success. Stress is a big factor to consider when planning a breeding project. The breeding cage should be setup first and of appropriate size with a good amount of thick branches and foliage to escape an aggressor. Do not disturb the cage except to clean and be sure to keep the breeders in the same cage throughout the season. A lay box with appropriate substrate material should be incorporated into the enclosure before the breeders are introduced. The lay box serves other purposes than depositing eggs such as shedding and refuge from tankmates.
Incubation We only recommend calcined clay (SuperHatch) as an incubation medium. Temperatures should be regulated between 72 °F and 83 °F. The greater the incubation temperature the shorter the incubation time (between 45-60 days), and lower the incubation temperature the longer the duration (between 60-70 days).
We house single hatchlings in a large Kritter Keeper until they reach 10 grams in weight and at that point move them into 10 gallon enclosures up until adult size. I keep the same feeding schedule for Hatchlings as I do Adults with the only difference being the amount of food offered is slightly less. We house them on their own to prevent tail loss. If housed in groups you will want to keep the sizes very close and remove larger individuals or faster growing individuals from the group. Separation should be done prior to sexual maturity and males housed separate from females but similar sized females can mature together if time is available to observe their habits and potential injury or lost tails are not a concern.
The Chameleon Gecko, Eurydactylodes agricolae, and Eurydactylodes vieillardi is a fascinating gecko species we keep and breed. This species is slow moving and very well aware of its surroundings. Found in New Caledonia, this species is endemic to Grande Terre, Iles Belep, and Ile Yandé. Reaching a maximum size of 6-7" for females and 4-6" for males. Females are sexually dimorphic and may also appear as darker in color than males during breeding.
A 1.1 pair, one male to one female will be okay together, and even a trio may cohabitate without competition for food.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
Chameleon Geckos are found in their natural maquis habitat low to the ground and in brush type foliage. A temperature range of 72-78F (22C to 25C) with a nighttime drop between 68-74F (20C to 23C) is tolerable. A humidity range of 60-80% should be provided to compensate for natural weather parameters of New Caledonia. Full spectrum lighting is beneficial as this species enjoys basking while sleeping and could benefit from d3 absorption. The most significant benefit of full spectrum lighting is the coloration of this species when exposed to UVA/UVB bulb.
The Chameleon Gecko feed on insects, fruit, and nectar in the wild. We offer a variety of live insects such as fruit flies, wax worms, phoenix worms, cockroach nymphs, and small crickets.
Meal Replacement Powder MRPs work by mixing the product in powder form with water to create a semi-thick liquid that smells like fruit nectar. There are some products on the market. Crested Gecko Diet from Repashy Superfoods is one example.
Live Feeders Chameleon Geckos will readily feed on live insects from hatchling to juvenile. Offer a small prey item such as fruit flies to hatchlings. As they mature, an adult may be offered cockroach nymphs (dubia) and crickets of appropriate size.
Dust all live feeders with a Vitamin and Mineral supplement mixed with Calcium. We do not provide lighting and use Calcium with vitamin D3.
For Chameleon Geckos, choose an insect by size in length. The size should not be greater than the distance between the eyes and very robust. Coat the feeder using Calcium with Vitamin D3 by placing the feeder in a plastic bag with the powder and shaking until coated in the supplement.
Weekly Feeding Routine We provide the same feeding routine as with all our frugivorous geckos. We offer fresh MRP three times a week; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We allow the food to stay in the enclosure until we replace it on the third night. On Sunday we remove all food and offer live prey that has been dusted with vitamins and minerals and gut loaded the night before. Any mixed but not served diet is refrigerated or freezer for future feeding.
Handling & Taming
Chameleon Geckos can be handled but may also secrete a foul smell if they feel threatened. If you don't want to stink after handling your gecko, then I have a recommendation for you. I like to place my hand in front of the head and maneuvering my other hand behind the gecko. Soon enough your little friend will be running up your arm. You can then use the "hand walking" technique to keep your gecko from going wild and running around the place. Place your free hand in front of the gecko as it is moving to the edge of your hand and then repeat. Your gecko will also become tired and more manageable.
Sexing Eurydactylodes agricolae is performed visually. The male will have an enlarged hemipenal bulge while females will not. Adult females will also be larger in size and length. Sexing Eurydactylodes vieillardi is done in the same manner.
Breeding Chameleon Geckos can be a bit tricky due to their small size. We start off the spring season, bringing them out of the cooling period. The male and female will copulate and in a months time, the female will produce eggs. A lay box with appropriate substrate should be provided throughout the year. We prefer New Zealand Sphagnum Moss over vermiculite since it is easier to spot the smaller eggs. Provide a cool down for females to recover from the previous breeding season. The cooling period is when the temperatures gradually decrease, and the production of eggs stops. Try and shoot for temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s.
We like to use calcined clay (SuperHatch) as an incubation medium. Vermiculite will also work. We incubate in room temperature (low 70s) along with other New Caledonian species.
We feed hatchling to juveniles the same as adults with phoenix worms, pinhead crickets and fruit flies for live prey. We offer the same commercial diets that we do for adults just in smaller quantities. These hatchlings are small and can fit through small spaces like a door jam of a cage. A small Kritter Keeper is a good size and screen or cheese cloth can be used to prevent an escape through the vents in the top. A 16oz container used for fruit flies can also be used. Much like Mourning Geckos we recommend the sliding screen top terrariums which can be sectional.
That's it! If you have any questions comment below or email us. Hopefully, you found this Chameleon Gecko Care Sheet useful.