We stopped breeding "Rhacodactylus" species at the end of 2012. But we keep this caresheet online to share our 10 years of experience, keeping and breeding them, with you.On this page you will find a care sheet specially written for keeping New Caledonian geckos in particular the Correlophus ciliatus. You can also download it by clicking this link. In the download version old names are still used in July 2012 the whole Rhacodactylus species was taken under the loupe and they split this species up in Correlophus, Mniarogekko and Rhacodactylus.In 2002 we started keeping Correlophus formally known as Rhacodactylus, the subspecies was Correlophus ciliatus. At that time there was almost no information about them. We had to learn it the hard way. During these years we got more and more experienced and this brought us where we are today.This care sheet is mainly written keeping Correlophus ciliatus in mind, however you can use this care sheet for keeping all New Caledonian gecko species we keep. The hole care sheet is build on our own experience and we will keep updating it if we think we need to.
Introduction - Housing - Diet - Handling - Hatchlingcare - Breeding
Correlophus ciliatus also called crested gecko's thought to be extinct for a long time.In 1994 they were rediscovered on the island ( group ) of New Caledonia. New Caledonia is an island that is located on the Northeast of Australia. The climate of this island is moderate. The temperatures normally don't go higher than 26 degrees Celsius. At the right you see a map of New Caledonia, this map can be enlarged and in the enlarged version you will also find a climat table.They are been captive bred for 15 years now, and there is a large number of colors and morphs available in crested gecko's. This is one of the reasons why they are so appealing to people. They are also very easy to take care of and are very hardy animals.Crested gecko's are nocturnal, this means they sleep during the day and wake up when it gets dark, to look for food. They eat insects and fruit. Crested gecko's are well equipped for life in the rainforests. Their feet literally stick on any surface.Crested geckos have lamella under their feet. These lamella have a lot of different ridges, these ridges have hairy tips. The hairy tips contain more little “hairs”. These little hairs look like little barbs. Crested gecko use these barbs to walk around rough materials, but they can’t use this at smooth surfaces. There is something else as well, the hairy tips somehow make a static electrical field, this electrical field is strong enough for them to stick to smooth surfaces. That is why these animals can walk on glass. When you moisture your terrarium and the glass is wet you will see that the geckos slip away that’s because electric and water don’t go together. They have a adhesive pad at the end of their tale similar to their feet, they use their tale for climbing also but they don’t have to have a tail for climbing. If you would like to know more about this take a look at this article: Learning from the geckos tail.Crested gecko's are able to drop off their tail when they feel threatened. Remarkable is the fact that there are more gecko's living in the wild without a tail then with a tail. In captivity they sometimes drop of their tail too. This occurs not often, unless you treat them carelessly. But that’s no guaranty as we found out ourselves. As careful we always are, it happened. When we were cleaning one of the terrariums we put the gecko’s in a plastic container. 15 minutes later when we walked by, we were almost done cleaning, it somehow got frightened, gone crazy and dropped its tail. The female who was in the same container as the frightened male was staring at him, what are you doing. As you can see it can always occur. Luckily this is the only example we have, in our experience, with crested gecko over the last 9 years. You can see the male to the left.As you already read they normally drop the tail when they feel frightened, that’s why you must never grab them, but let them walk you’re hand without really holding them. They will feel free and relaxed than. It can happen that a juvenile drops its tail while it is hunting. The animal can get so enthusiastic by seeing its prey it can drop the tail. Luckily this won’t happen often, we just read about it and have never seen in it real live.It is not exactly known how old crested gecko's can get. But they can become 15 years at least, as there are still gecko's alive that they caught in the wild more than 15 years ago.
Crested gecko's aren't very difficult animals to keep. They are satisfied with a simple setup with egg cartons or with a setup with real plants, as long as they got enough things to climb on. They also need enough places to hide in, when they feel threatened or just want to sleep during the day.In the wild these gecko's live in the tree canopy. It is important that we imitate their environment in the wild. This means that the substrate has to be soft and has to hold moisture, to keep a high humidity level into the enclosure. You can use substrates like coconut or orchid bark or Canadian sphagnum moss. We keep our animals on Repti-bark. To keep the humidity levels high in the enclosure we spray the enclosures with water every evening. Also it is very important that the animals have enough and good hiding places where they can retire or hide if they feel to it. These hiding places can vary from carton egg boxes to hollowed out wooden tree trunks. This is up to the owner. You can use real plants they keep the humidity high, but are difficult to clean. A very good alternative is plastic plants. We chose this option. A disadvantage is you have to spray more to keep up the humidity level. If you want to see your animals you can get a glass terrarium. Lots of people who keep a lot of cresteds have them in plastic containers. We have chosen for glass terrariums cause we enjoy observing them. Our adults are all housed in glass terrariums. We house our little ones in small plastic containers. For both adults as hatchlings we use artificial foliage and wooden branches. This is much easier to maintain then real plants. We don't house our hatchlings together, so each one has an even chance to grow up.The measurements of the enclosures depend on how many animals you want to keep into one enclosure. We house a breeding pair into enclosures of 24" x 18" x 24" This a comfortable size, 16" x 16" x 24" will do fine also. The most important thing about the enclosure is the height, cresteds rather have a height enclosure then one that is wide. Cause they love climbing. We house a max of three gecko’s in one terrarium. We use plastic containers for the hatchlings, we use different sizes they grow with the animal. See pictures to the right. This is perfect for growing up. They can stay in a container like this till they reach the age of 9-12 months. These containers are also very handy if you need to quarantine a Crestie.We have a water dish in each terrarium. They always have access to water. This water needs to be fresh every day.We use Repti-Bark or Forest bark as substrate in our terrariums. Repti-Bark or Forest Bark are a natural product containing little pieces of tree bark. ( it’s in the name already ) The substrate in the plastic containers is kitchen paper, this paper is very soft and holds water very well what is very good for the humidity. It also protects the animals from hurting their self while hunting down crickets.When you would like to house multiple gecko's in one enclosure keep in mind you only house one male with one or more females. Never house males together, they are very territorial and will fight each other till death......In the wild crested gecko's live in a moderate climate. This means you can keep them at room temperature. During the day temperature's can be between 21 and 26 degrees and during the night between 19 and 22 degrees. If the temps go lower, they need additional heating. Higher temps can also be damaging to crested gecko's and can even be deadly to them!To keep the humidity up to level we spray their enclosures once a day. The humidity has to be somewhere around 70%. The humidity is very important for shedding. When your geckos do not get out of shed very well you have to check the humidity, it is probably too low.
The diet of crested gecko's is simple. You can give you’re gecko's mashed fruit several times a week and insects. For mashed fruit you can use commercial baby foods or you can mash fruit yourself. Use fruits like pear, apple, banana, apricot or peaches. For insects, crickets is a good option, but you can also use other insects like cock-roaches. In total we feed them 3 times a week, 2 times fruit and 1 time insects.Gecko's love crickets, when they are young they love hunting the crickets down. When you start feeding them they get into an attack mode, the tail goes up and they start hunting the crickets down. We discourage feeding them insects you find in your own garden, cause they can contain chemicals. Which can cause serious damage to your gecko.When you feed insects they cannot be bigger than de distance between the mouth and the eyes of the gecko. To obtain maximum nutritional food value for Crested Gecko's ,crickets should be “gut-loaded" 12 to 24 hours before being offered as a feeder insect. You can feed the crickets vegetables, various grains etc. The more nutrition the crickets eat the more your gecko benefits from this. It is important to give crickets something like apple or carrot, these contain water that the crickets need.Also it is important to give your gecko calcium and vitamins. You can use a combination product called Miner-all from Sticky Tongue Farms. This product contains both calcium and the vitamins they need. Dust your crickets in Miner-all before feeding the gecko's, it's also used in the baby food. Off course you can also buy calcium and vitamins separated.For adult crested gecko's we use Miner-All every third feeding and for breeding females we use Miner-All every second feeding.The fruit can be placed in a small container into the enclosure, we use the lids of small plastic cups. Put about a teaspoon a baby food in the container for each gecko, they won't eat more of it. The next morning take the food out of the enclosure and clean it very well before reusing it.Hint : It is best to feed the gecko's in the evening cause they are nocturnal animals and will start looking for food in the evening when it is getting dark outside.
It is important when you handle crested gecko's you do this in a calm manner.Crested Gecko’s can jump from one object to another. When you have a Crested Gecko sitting at your hands they can jump to they take a leap when you don't expect it. If you react by grabbing them it can cause them to drop their tail, cause they feel threatened. Always try to let them jump from one hand to your other hand. Keep one hand in front of the other and let them walk or jump over your hands. If you handle them this way they are more likely to walk on your hands then leap away. When they jump of your hands they can also harm themselves so be careful when you handle them.Cresties usually don't mind being picked up as long as you don't do it too often. Crested Gecko’s are not for playing, not like a dog or a cat. So respect this and let the animals live like it would live in its natural habitat. When you pick it up to much the animal can get stress. This can stop the animal to eat, and finally it can die. Keep this in mind when handling Crested Gecko’s.Most people keeping Crested Gecko’s already know this. But we wanted to pay some attention to this because we often get mail with people asking about it. Our answer is, try to handle your Crested Gecko as least as possible.Only handle them when you have to remove them out of their enclosure for cleaning or something like that.
When crested gecko's hatch they don't eat right away. It usually takes a couple of days. First they shed and after shedding they start eating.Taking care of hatchlings is not much different than the care of adult crested gecko's. Because they have a lot of growing up to do they need more calcium and vitamins then adults. Instead of giving them food three times a week you can go for giving them food four times a week. Two times baby food and two times crickets. You can do this till they reach an age of 6 months, after that you continue to feed them 3 times a week like adult Crested Gecko’s. When you reduce the feeding to 3 times a week you can reduce the amount of Miner-All also. Every second feeding will be enough.When feeding your hatchlings crickets, make sure they aren't bigger than the space between the eyes and the mouth of the gecko. If the hatchling just came out of the egg use the smallest size cricket that are available. In Holland they are called dust crickets. When the hatchlings grows u can use larger size crickets but still follow the rule... no bigger than the space between eye and mouth. Don't feed the baby's too much crickets at once. This can cause stress to the animals. Give each gecko about four to five crickets each feeding.
Crested gecko’s can reach mature status at 9 months. Only this is not the right time to start breeding them. They are still to young at that age, this is unhealthy for them. The best thing is to wait until the female has reached about 35 gram's and is as least 1,5 years old, the male has to be as big as the female. The males weight is not really important as long as he's at a minimum of 9 months. If you put a male and a female together in a terrarium the mating will start itself, you do not have to do something special for it. Keep in mind that the male has to be as big as the female or she won't give him a try to mate with her.Understanding the difference between male and female is easy, a male can be recognized by its balls under his tail. Females are flat under the tail. ( see picture below for a male crested gecko and female crested gecko ) The difference between male and female shows when they have reached a age between six to eight months. There are Specialists that say they can see it when the gecko reaches an age of three months. We think it is still a big guess then.The female will lay 12 to 18 eggs in a season. ( auriculatus, chahoua and sarasinorum lay less ) The time between the laying will differ from four to six weeks throughout the whole year.It is important to give the female her winter break. That means that she needs about three months to gain strength. The only way to do that is to cool her environment to about 18/19 Celsius en to shorten the daylight time to less than 12 hours of light a day. (You are simulating winter time) The geckos stop mating then. If you think you can solve the problem by separating the male and female....your wrong. When a female gecko mates she will keep some sperm with her for bad times. In nature gecko's won't meet each other that often, so females save up sperm for later. If she did not to this the species would extinct in no time.
As told earlier on this page, the female will lay 2 eggs a time. She is very picky in where she will lay her eggs. If you want to make sure you will find her eggs before they dried out, you have to simulate nature again.Females will lay her eggs in a moist place where they can dig in their eggs.A cheap and easy solution is to fill a little container with moist vermiculite. Make sure that your container is the moistest place in the terrarium. She will lay her eggs in your container than. Another option, and we think this is the most natural way, is to use a snake cave or something like that. You can fill the cave with moss, females like this because they can drudge around before laying her eggs. This is the option we chose for. Hint : Make sure before your female gets pregnant she has enough calcium in her. She needs the calcium to produce healthy eggs, but she also needs enough calcium to stay healthy herself. If the calcium level in her is to low she can all kind of diseases, for example bone diseases. Worst case scenario……she can die. Read the info at the diet section if you don’t understand the calcium level. So far we do not have any kind of trouble with females getting unhealthy in the laying season. They all produce healthy eggs and stay in good shape their selves.Incubating the eggs: There are different ways to hatch eggs. Some breeders prefer incubators others prefer the natural way on shelves. We tried both methods but the only one that worked out for us was incubating on shelves with a temperature between 22 and 23 degrees Celsius. This is the method we keep using.Of cause you cannot lay you’re eggs on the shelve and expect them to hatch. We will be more clear in what we want to tell you.When the female has lay her eggs, carefully get the eggs out of the terrarium and lay them in a container filled with moist vermiculite. Never rotate the egg when you get it out of the terrarium, hold it like you picked it up and carefully lay it down in your hatching container. Make sure you vermiculite stays moist enough, check this every day. We spray the vermiculite every other day with water to keep it moist. Don't spray directly on the eggs! I pick up the egg to spray onto the vermiculite then. With this method we have a hatching rate of almost 100%. The eggs usually hatch in about 3 months .This was the method we used till season 2007. Now we use Hatchrite from Lucky Reptile, not that we did not have good hatch results but it is a easier way of breeding and it takes less time. The only thing we have to do is to put the eggs in the Hatchrite wait for about 2,5 to 3 months and hope they will hatch.Before we start using Hatchrite we had to control the humidity ourselves like you read before, we do not have to do that now this saves time and in this time we can do other thinks like cleaning terrariums. As our number of cresties is growing and growing so does the maintaining of them…time is what we need. Below is a short text about Hatchrite, give it a look.If you think that all of this is too difficult then there is another option for you, easier than the one we use but more expensive. The product you have to use is called “Hatchrite”.Hatchrite is a new innovative substrate for hatching reptile eggs. The substrate is pre hydrated for easy use. The bag is re-sealable. Water is already added so you can just pour and go! Hatchrite incubation substrate is formulated to give you better hatch rates, save you time on needlessly having to maintain the substrate, and takes the guesswork out preparing water to substrate ratios typically associated with other incubation methods! Try it if you don’t have any kind of success using vermiculite. If you do not understand everything what you read above and you are still heaving questions about it, feel free to contact us, we love to help you. You can contact us by filling in our contact form.
In 2008 World of Ball pythons was launched, now doing 850.000+ pageviews a month. From the same owners now comes World of Hognose.
IRES Reptiles is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected...
IRES Reptiles Gildehof 1-3 6626 KZ Alphen a/d MaasThe NetherlandsIRES Reptiles is a coöperation between:IR Reptiles ( VAT NL140864416B01 )ES Reptiles ( VAT NL151921088B01 )Contact us