Welcome to this month's Creature Feature!
The Gecko of the Month is a monthly feature where we will introduce our members to different gecko species. Every month I’ll give you a little background on a species that you might not have heard of and share a great blog detailing facts, care, and husbandry regarding the month's gecko of choice. We hope to encourage you to create new artwork illustrating the Featured species- be it with photography, digital, traditional, or any medium in between which you'd like to showcase!
So, join me each month and put your skills and creativity to the test. Let's learn about a new species and show off some of your great artwork. Your submissions for the monthly Creature Feature must be new deviations created for the monthly theme, and must be submitted to the "Gecko of the Month" folder.
Remember, the aim of the challenge is to introduce yourself to something new which you might not have heard about before, or to simply encourage you to create new art. Challenge yourself and try something different, or just share in the love of the month's featured species with some great art!
This challenge is NOT a contest or a display of professional work, but a fun opportunity to broaden your horizons. Anyone can participate! NO prizes are involved and everyone will be featured in a new journal at the end of the month! As an added bonus one participating member of this monthly challenge will be chosen at random to be our Member of the Month. And will be featured on the front page of our group for the following month. All you have to do to be eligible is to submit your new deviations to the "Gecko of the Month" folder and your name might just be chosen!
Now that you know the rules, lets learn about Crested Geckos!
Gecko of the Month- Crested Geckos:
Crested Geckos, or 'cresties' are quickly becoming one of the most popular species of gecko to keep- both for first time reptile owners and seasoned breeders alike. And, it's really not hard to see why. You would be hard-pressed to find an easier reptile to care for. Not only that, but they reach a very manageable adult size, handle easily, and each one has their own unique personality! For these and many other reasons, the Crested Gecko (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) is our very first Gecko of the Month. To anyone thinking of taking the plunge into reptile ownership, or wishing simply to expand on an existing collection I encourage you to consider a Crestie. But then again, as many of our group members can likely attest- you may find that one is simply not enough and soon find yourself up to your eyeballs in crested geckos!
Cresties, along with most of the other Rachodactylus species, are native to Southern Grand Terre, New Caledonia and at least one small surrounding island (Isle of Pines)- just off the coast of Australia. One of the coolest facts about this species (imho) is that they were believed to be utterly extinct until rediscovered in 1994. Fortunately for the species, and us hobbyists it was quickly discovered that cresties really enjoy getting their hanky-panky on and will breed prolifically. Now a days you cant go to a reptile show without seeing at least one table full of them! And on top of that, thanks to selective breeding, they now come in a variety of fun patterns and 'morphs' to suite even the most refined tastes.
Another fun factoid about cresties is that like many lizard species, they will drop their tail when they feel threatened. But, unlike most lizards- if a crested drops its tail it is then gone forever! I like to call them froggy-butt geckos. It in no way hinders their quality of life and some breeders will even sell them at a discount price. Something to consider if looking for a nice pet on a budget!
Caging/ Housing Requirements:
Cresties are sticky-footed, arboreal geckos whom will spend most of their time clinging to the sides of their enclosures or hiding amongst the scenery you provide them. Now, often you will hear that a 20 gal is the necessary tank size for an adult gecko. But, I have known many a breeder to use more modestly sized caging. The general rule of thumb is that bigger is almost always better for an adult animal (not so much for a baby, who may not easily find their own food bowl in a ginormous cage). And if you are keeping one as purely a pet, why not splurge and give them the best house a gecko could dream of? Personally, I keep all of my Rachodactylus geckos in rubbermaid boxes, flipped on their side, with a door and mesh screen built on for ventilation. It's not the best looking house around but the gecko's are happy! To keep a happy crested gecko, you need to remember they come from a high-elevation, rainforest region. Cool temps and lots of moisture. Glass aquariums may be more visually pleasing, but don't typically hold much humidity.
Fortunately tho, crested gecko's thrive at room temperature. No expensive heat lamps or pads required! They are nocturnal, so UVB is not a must either. Temps should fall between 72-80 degrees F throughout the year, and tank should be sprayed generously each night to keep the humidity up (but allow the cage to dry out a bit during the day). The gecko will also lap of the water from the cage walls/ furnishings when you spray them, so its a good way to make sure they stay hydrated as well!
Ever wanted a reptile, but hate the idea of feeding live bugs all of the time? Hands down, the easiest thing about cresties is their diet. A few big wigs in the breeding industry (most notably allen repashy) have refined and commercialized the perfect blend of crested gecko food which you can pick up as a dehydrated powder in a bottle at just about any pet store. Known as Crested Gecko Diet (or CGD), it has all the proper nutrients, in all the right proportions your little gecko needs to be healthy - all you have to do is add water! That's not to say bugs should be excluded- a growing baby especially will benefit from the extra protein and grow much quicker. But, I have known the occasional crestie to exhibit no interest in incests for their entire life, and grow perfectly healthy. Either way tho, bugs should be a treat and CGD the staple diet.
Cresties as Pets?
This, of course, is just a small sampling of a care sheet. There is so much more you can learn about cresties, and details about their care that I have only skimmed over here. If you're looking into getting a first-time crested gecko be sure you do lots of homework, and study up! If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. We have lots of knowledgeable keepers right here in our group! At the end of the day tho, cresties make wonderful pets. They are one of the most handleable lizards around and are extremely hardy captives. Their simple dietary needs and caging requirements make them perfect for the home, dorm or maybe even hidden in your closet from your landlord (not a suggestion... but it may have happened ). So, come on and share the Crestie love this month. As some inspiration, here are some great cresteds from around DA. Enjoy everyone!