Binomial name :
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The crested gecko, New Caledonian crested gecko, Guichenot's giant gecko or eyelash gecko, Correlophus ciliatus, is a species of gecko native to southern New Caledonia. This species was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994. Along with several Rhacodactylus species, it is being considered for protected status by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. It is popular in the pet trade.
It is currently unknown whether heat plays a role in determining the sex of the embryo, as it can with other gecko species.
Newly hatched crested geckos will generally not eat until after they have shed and eaten their skin for the first time, relying on the remains of their yolk sack for nutrition.
A female crested only has to mate with a male once in order to lay 2 eggs every 4–6 weeks for upwards of 8–10 months. Sperm retention ensures that the eggs the female lays will remain fertile throughout her breeding cycle. After those 8–10 months, females in the wild go through a "cooling" cycle, usually prompted by slight temperature and daylight changes over the winter season. During this time, the females are able to regain the body mass and nutrients they lost during egg-laying. This cooling cycle must be implemented in captivity or females will lay eggs continuously, resulting in calcium depletion, poor health, and even death.
Approximate distribution of the crested gecko
Rhacodactylus ciliatus(Guichenot, 1866)
The species was first described in 1866 as Correlophus ciliatus by the French zoologist Alphone Guichenot in an article entitled "Notice sur un nouveau genre de sauriens de la famille des geckotiens du Muséum de Paris" ("Notes on a new species of lizard in the gecko family") in the Mémoires de la Société Scientifique Naturelle de Chérbourg. It was later renamed Rhacodactylus ciliatus. Recentphylogenetic analysis indicates that R. ciliatus and R. sarasinorum are not closely related to the other giant geckos, so these two species have been moved back to the genus Correlophus.
The specific name, ciliatus, is Latin: cilia means "fringe" or "eyelashes" and refers to the crest of skin over the animal's eyes that resembles eyelashes.
The crested gecko has hair-like projections found above the eyes, resembling eyelashes. It has a wedge-shaped head and a crest that runs from each eye to the tail. Crested geckos do not have eyelids and so they use their long tongues to moisten their eyes and remove debris. The toes and the tip of the semi-prehensile tail are covered in small hairs called setae. Each seta is divided into hundreds of smaller (approximately 200 nanometres in diameter) hairs called spatulae. It is believed these structures exploit the weak van der Waals force to help the gecko climb on most solid surfaces. The toes have small claws which aid in climbing surfaces to which their toes cannot cling. They possess a semi-prehensile tail which they use to assist in climbing. The tail can be dropped as a deterrent to predators. Unlike some other geckos, once they lose their tail it will not grow back; however, this is not as harmful to the gecko as it is in other species, such as the Leopard gecko. In fact, most adults in the wild lack tails.
The crested gecko has many naturally occurring color groups, some of which include: grey, brown, red, orange, and yellow of various shades. They have variable markings, which include spots, straight stripes, and tiger-like stripes. The colors are brighter and more prominent at night.
The crested gecko has distinct structural morphs in head size and crest abundance. Geckos with a head length less than 1.3 times its width are considered "crowned". The numbers and sizes of crests can vary; some geckos have crests that extend to the base of the tail and some lack crests on one side of their body.
Orange color phase
Geographic distribution :
The crested gecko is endemic to South Province, New Caledonia. There are three disjunct populations, one found on the Isle of Pinesand surrounding islets, and there are two populations found on the main island of Grande Terre. One population is around the Blue River, which is a protected provincial park, and the other is further north, just south of Mount Dzumac.
Ecology and behavior :
Crested geckos do not have eyelids. Instead, a transparent scale, or spectacle, keeps each eye moist, and the geckos use their tongues to clear away debris. Like the closely related Rhacodactylus geckos, crested geckos have webbed legs and digits. They are a mostly arboreal species, preferring to inhabit the canopy of the New Caledonian rainforests, and because of this they can jump considerably well. They are primarilynocturnal, and will generally spend the daylight hours sleeping in secure spots in high branches. Crested geckos are, however, less strong climbers than Tokay Gecko species.
The crested gecko, unlike the closely related gargoyle gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus), will not regrow its tail once lost. The cells around the base of the tail are brittle, allowing the tail to break away when
threatened or caught by a predator. The capillaries to the tail will close almost instantly so there is little to no blood loss. The tails will move independently of the body for 2–5 minutes. The loss of their tail is not
A tailless New Caledonian crested gecko
problematic, and most adults in the wild do not have their tails.
Unlike most species of gecko, this species is an omnivore, also considered frugivorous, feeding on a variety of insects and fruit. In captivity, they should be fed a commercially prepared, fruit-based diet with live feeder insects as a supplement. An unbalanced diet containing insufficient calcium can quickly lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Though the export of wild crested geckos is now prohibited, biologists exported several specimens for breeding and study before New Caledonia stopped issuing permits to export the species. From these specimens, different breeding lines were established both in Europe and the United States. The crested gecko is now one of the most widely kept and bred species of gecko in the world.
These geckos can be very long lived. While they have not been kept in captivity long enough for a definitive life span determination, they have been kept for 15–20 years or more. They can be kept healthy on specially prepared diets with sufficient calcium and other nutrients.
Little is known about the wild reproductive behavior of crested geckos, but in captivity they breed readily, with the female laying two eggswhich hatch 60–150 days after they are laid. Eggs are generally laid at four week intervals as long as the fat and calcium reserves of the female are still at healthy levels. Crested geckos have two small sacs for calcium on the roof of their mouths. If an egg laying female does not have enough calcium her sac will be depleted, and she can suffer from calcium deficiency. This can lead to a calcium crash where the female appears shaky or wobbly, lethargic, has a lack of appetite, and can even result in death. Eggs laid by a female whose calcium reserves are low occasionally exhibit signs of congenital metabolic bone disease, such as an underbite and/or a kinked or wavy tail.
Crested geckos are popular display animals.
Jumping crested gecko
Crested geckos mating
Status in the wild
Long believed extinct, the species was rediscovered in 1994 after a tropical storm. It is currently being assessed for CITES protection and vulnerable status. The biggest single threat to the wild population appears to be the introduction of the little fire ant (Wassmania auropunctata) to New Caledonia. The ants prey on the geckos, stinging and attacking in great numbers, and they also compete with the geckos for food by preying on arthropods.
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8 Cool Facts about Crested Geckos | Pet Reptiles
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Crested Gecko Care articles :
1- Crested Gecko Care Sheet
BY PHILIPPE DE VOSJOLI AND ALLEN REPASHY
Crested Geckos (Correlophus (Rhacodactylus) ciliatus)
Crested geckos are originally from New Caledonia (a group of islands between Fiji and Australia). Crested geckos are ideal reptile pets for beginners, with simple, easy- to-meet requirements. Because crested geckos are primarily tree dwellers, they make outstanding displays in naturalistic vivariums.
Crested Gecko Availability
Crested geckos were once considered among the rarest lizards in captivity. Today crested geckos are bred in large numbers and have become standard in the pet industry.
Crested Gecko Size
Both male and female crested geckos reach a moderate size of 4 to 4.5 inches snout-to-vent length (SVL), and 8 inches in total length. Crested geckos are sexually mature when 15 to 18 months of age, and at a weight of approximately 35 grams.
Crested Gecko Life Span
Under proper care, plan for your crested gecko to live 15 to 20 years.
Crested Gecko Housing
Baby crested geckos are best housed in large plastic terrariums or in standard (20-inch) 10-gallon reptile tanks with a screen top. An adult crested gecko should be housed in a 20-gallon tank with screen top. Larger tanks will allow for better displays. In areas with moderate to high relative humidity, crested geckos will fare well in screen cages. These tanks have the advantage of being light and easy to clean. You can keep one male and several female crested geckos together. Male crested geckos may fight, particularly when in the company of females, and should not be kept together.
Crested geckos can live 15-20 years in captivity.
Crested Gecko Lighting and Temperature
Reptiles are ectotherms (body temperature varies with environmental temperature), so it is important that you provide the proper temperature range for activity and feeding. A thermometer is essential for accurate temperature measurements.
Crested geckos like temperatures of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. It can drop to the low 70s at night. In most areas this temperature range will be reached during the warm months of the year without additional heat. In summer, place crested geckos in a cool room if the temperature exceeds 87 degrees. During the winter crested geckos will tolerate night drops into the 60s.
The easiest way to provide heat is a low-wattage incandescent bulb or a ceramic heat emitter in a reflector type fixture placed on the screen top over one side of the tank so that the temperature of basking areas (branches) reaches the desired range. You must always keep one side of the tank unheated so that crested geckos can choose a cooler area to regulate their body temperature. You can also use a subtank reptile heat pad or heat tape under one side of the tank regulated by a thermostat.
If you have live plants in your vivarium additional light can be provided by a fluorescent bulb running the length of the tank. Crested geckos tend to rest in foliage or shelters during the day and are active at night. They do not require UVB light if fed a diet that contains Vitamin D3. Turn off lights at night.
Crested Gecko Substrate
Crested geckos spend most of their time above ground so a variety of substrates can be used. For simple maintenance purposes, reptile carpet is attractive and easily cleaned. For a more naturalistic look, a peat-moss-based soil mix that doesn’t contain perlite will work well. Coir (coconut fiber pulp now sold in reptile stores as compressed bricks) mixed 50 percent with soil is a good choice for growing live plants.
Crested geckos feel comfortable resting in foliage and like to climb on wood. Good landscape materials include cork bark sections for vertical and ground level shelters and climbing areas. Dried wood branches angled across the length of a vivarium provide resting and activity areas. Do not over clutter the tank. Leave plenty of open space. Live or artificial plants in combination with wood and bark will provide the security crested geckos need to rest in the open and add a decorative element to the display. Good plant selections include small Ficus benjamina, Dracaena spp. andPothos.
Crested Gecko Food
In this author’s opinion, the complete powdered diet marketed as Repashy Superfoods “Crested Gecko” Diet has played a key role in making these among the most popular of lizards kept as pets, because it excludes the need to feed live insects. Crested geckos thrive when fed this diet exclusively, which has been tested with thousands of geckos for more than 10 years. The diet is mixed with two parts water and offered in shallow dishes three times a week as much as these geckos will eat at a feeding. The diet is allowed to remain 24 to 36 hours before removal.
In addition to fruit, crested geckos relish insects and some hobbyists choose to offer these as either a primary diet or as supplementary diet. Crickets now sold in the pet trade are the best choice and you should select a size where length of cricket equals width of head. Crickets should be lightly coated with a vitamin/mineral supplement that contains calcium, vitamin D3 and a complement of other essential vitamins and minerals. They should be offered three times a week as a primary diet or once a week as a treat/supplement to the Crested Gecko Diet.
Crested Gecko Water and Humidity
Water should always be available for crested geckos in a shallow water dish. These geckos also require a relative humidity of at least 50 percent and preferably 70 percent. In dry areas the tanks should be lightly misted nightly or a cool air humidifier placed in the room. Inexpensive hygrometers (relative humidity gauges) for use with reptiles are now readily available in the pet trade.
Crested Gecko Tails
In nature, crested geckos will usually lose their tails and end up with a tiny pointed tail nub. “Taillessness” is a normal condition for adults crested geckos. In captivity, hobbyists like their crested geckos with tails, but this requires keeping animals individually and pampered to prevent tail loss.
Crested Gecko Handling and Temperament
Newly purchased crested geckos should not be handled, but first allowed to settle in for three to four weeks to let them adjust to their new environment and to make sure they regularly feed. When you start handling your crested gecko, make handling sessions short, no more than five minutes. Baby crested geckos tend to be flighty and can be injured in the course of handling. For this reason you should wait until they are at least 3 inches SVL before handling. Crested geckos seldom bite and when they do it is of little consequence. A quick nip and let go.
Philippe de Vosjoli and Allen Repashy are the names in Crested Gecko care and information. You can visit their websites at GiantGeckos.com and Store.Repashy.com.
2- Crested Gecko and Gargoyle Gecko Care and Breeding
courtesy to : www.crestedgecko.com/crested-gargoyle
The Crested Gecko (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) has become increasingly popular among reptile enthusiasts over the past few years. Thought to be extinct until 1994, they are now fairly common in captivity. These geckos, from the New Caledonian Islands near Australia, make excellent pets. They are extremely hardy, easy to keep and handle, and come in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns.
Gargoyle Geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) are very similar in size, care and breeding to Cresteds. These geckos are quickly catching on with gecko enthusiasts. Color and patterns such as striped, orange/red blotch, and others are becoming available.
The following is a brief summary of their care, maintenance, and breeding. Unless noted, the information below will work for both Cresteds and Gargoyles:
Acclimating New Geckos: When you receive your new crested gecko, it may take some time for it to adjust to its new surroundings. Geckos can get stressed from being shipped, then placed in a strange environment. This may cause them to go off-feed for several days or more. As long as you set the environment up properly, the gecko should settle in within a few days. One stress factor is the cage type. Most breeders keep their geckos in plastic boxes in a rack system. There is no overhead light other than the ambient room light. Their hot spot comes from heat tape underneath their box. Geckos raised under these conditions usually do very well. However, most pet owners prefer to keep their geckos in a glass tank. They can be decorated much nicer and are better for viewing the animals. The problem is that geckos don't like change. They may be stressed by the glass. The stress level may go up even more if a bright daytime bulb is being used as the primary heat source. Crested Geckos don't like bright light. It will cause them to hide whenever it is on. The best way to acclimate geckos to a glass tank is to do the following: 1: If you use a bulb, make sure it is a nocturnal blue bulb designed for low light emissions. A heat pad can also be used to provide "belly heat". 2: Make sure the gecko has a warm, dark, and somewhat humid hiding place. They need to hide to feel secure. 3: Handle them very infrequently, if at all, for at least the first 2 weeks. 4: Tape black construction paper or cardboard to all 4 sides of the outside of the tank. Every week, remove on side of cardboard. After a month, all 4 sides will be removed. This will give the gecko time to adjust to the new cage. 5: Try to feed it the same food type is used to. Dietary changes can be stressful on crested geckos. 6: If you have geckos and you want to add a new one, keep the new gecko separate for at least 30 days to let it acclimate, and to watch for signs of health concerns. 7: If you put several geckos in one cage, make sure they are approximately the same size. Keep an eye on their food intake to make sure they are all feeding and maintaining good bodyweight. Never, ever put more than one male in a cage, no matter how big the cage is.
Cage Setup: Crested Geckos do well in either a simple, hygienic cage, or an elaborate, naturalistic setup. If your purpose is to display them, you may want to take a naturalistic approach. In the wild, these geckos live in rainforests. They can be found both on the ground or high in the tree canopy. It is very important to give them similar conditions in captivity. This includes a substrate of peat moss, coco-fiber, cypress mulch, or other bedding that will keep the humidity high. Also, include hiding and perching places such as clean branches, driftwood, corkbark, and live or artificial plants. 20 gallon tall aquariums are perfect for single geckos or pairs. 29 gallons and larger cages are need for larger groups. There are many types of reptile-specific cages on the market as well. Be sure to choose one that is tall so the geckos will have vertical space to climb.
If you plan to keep large numbers of geckos, you may want to try a simple, easy maintenance setup. The substrate can be newspaper or paper towel. Cardboard tubes, PVC pipe, and cardboard egg crates can be used as hiding places. A small plastic box with moist peat moss and a small entry hole cut in the lid can be used as a humid hiding place or egg deposition site.
Temperatures: Although they come from a tropical environment, Crested Geckos prefer cooler temperatures. During the day, temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s is ideal. This can drop to the low mid 70s at night. Crested Geckos will become stressed if exposed to temperatures above 85.. Hatchlings and juveniles are more fragile than adults when it comes to temperature extremes. In most cases, room temperature is fine, although a low wattage blue bulb, or an undertank heating pad made for reptiles can be used to provide a little extra warmth.
UV Light: Crested and Gargoyle geckos will do fine without any UV or full-spectrum lighting. However, it can't hurt, and there are some health benefits to it. Also, it is important to have good lighting over the cage if live plants are being used. The geckos will usually hide when the lights are on, but they may expose some of their body to absorb some of the UV rays emitted by the bulb.
Food and Feeding: One of the biggest advantages these geckos have over most other small lizards is that their feeding is not restricted to insects. Fruit babyfood, such as peach or apricot is readily eaten. This should not be used as the only food source for crested geckos because it lacks protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. There are several powdered Crested Gecko diets on the market today. We use the Repashy Superfood's Crested Gecko Diet for our cresteds and gargoyles. It's a powder that contains vitamins, minerals, protein, bee pollen, spirulina and other nutritious food for Crested Geckos. There are also flavors of fruit supplements that can be added to the base diet such as apricot, peach, banana, strawberry, kiwi, and several others. Crested Geckos can be raised on this diet exclusively. Water can be added to it, but we prefer to keep it in dry form in a shallow bowl available at all times. It lasts much longer this way, giving the crested gecko a constant access to food. However, it is extremely important that the food remain completely dry, and changed a couple times a week. If it is allowed to get wet it will become stale quickly, and the geckos will not eat it. Ideally, the diet should be fed in wet form as described on the package. That takes any guesswork out as to whether or not the gecko will eat it. It is not necessary to feed crickets to the geckos, although extra variety is never a bad idea. A good feeding regimen is to give them crickets once or twice a week and Crested Gecko Diet twice a week. Replace uneaten diet with fresh diet. This schedule will give the gecko a fast growth rate and will allow a hatchling to reach maturity in about 9-12 months. It is important not to overfeed, as extra crickets crawling in the cage will stress them. Feed each gecko five or six crickets that are each about 1/2 the size of the gecko's head. Dust the crickets with a calcium and multivitamin mix with each feeding. Make sure to use both a calcium AND a multivitamin powder as these provide different vitamins and minerals. The easiest way to ensure that your crickets are properly supplemented is to use the Repashy Superfoods Calcium Plus supplement. It contains vitamins, calcium and other ingredients that will enhance your gecko's diet. If any fruit babyfood is used, it should be offered in a low dish or jar lid. Generally, each adult gecko will consume about one tablespoon per feeding.
Water: A small water bowl should also be offered. Make sure this is not deep as babies can easily drown if they fall in. Spray the cage with water once or twice a day. Crested Geckos tend to be more active after spraying, especially at night. Distilled water is best for spraying the cage, because it won't leave hard water stains on the glass.
Handling: These geckos tend to be fairly easy to handle. However, there are some individuals that are flighty and may try to bite. As a rule, cresteds and gargoyles will allow gentle handling several times a week. Care should be taken when handling. Rough handling is stressful and may cause them to drop their tail. Gargoyles will regenerate their tails, but crested gecko tails will not re-grow if it is lost.
Raising Babies: Juveniles are best raised in small, plastic shoe boxes with paper towel as a substrate. They should be given a hiding place and a shallow water bowl. Feed them at about the same frequency as the adults. Make sure there are no extra crickets in the cage to stress the gecko. Also, keep the temperature within the safe range, as babies to heat stress easier than adults. GARGOYLES should be raised individually as they tend to bite the tails off their cage-mates.
Longevity: Since Crested Geckos haven't been in captivity for very long, it is not known how long they may live. It is suspected that their average lifespan in ideal conditions is about 10-15 years. Some individuals may live much longer, possibly up to 20 years or more.
Sexing: Crested Gecko cannot be accurately sexed until about 5 months of age and about 15-20 grams in weight. At that time, males develop large hemipenal bulges at the base of their tails. Females have a slight bulge or none at all
Breeding: Both Cresteds and Gargoyles are very easy to breed. Males and females should be approximately 35-40 grams before breeding is attempted. Most are mature at 12-14 months. It is best to raise the males away from the females until they are mature. Once they are mature, they can be placed together. It is important to watch for signs of aggression during this time. Be absolutely sure you are not placing more than one male in a cage. Males are extremely aggressive towards each other. It is helpful to put your geckos through a cool-down prior to breeding. In late fall or early winter, turn the room temperatures down to the upper 60s and turn off any heat source on the cage itself. Keep them at this temperature for 6-8 weeks. You should feed them twice a week, but they may not eat much at this time. Once you warm the room back up and turn their heat sources on, they should begin laying eggs in their nest boxes. Females will usually lay every 3-6 weeks. Crested Geckos will lay up to 18 eggs per season. Gargoyles seem to have a lower reproductive rate, only laying 8-10 eggs per season.
Incubation/Hatchling: Check your nest boxes for eggs every other day. Healthy eggs will be pure white and have a solid feel. Any small, spongy eggs will most likely be infertile. Eggs need to be placed in a deli cup or other small plastic container with about 1-2 inches of perlite or coarse-grade vermiculite. This needs to have water added to it in a 1:1 ratio by weight. It must be moist enough to pack when a handful is squeezed, but no water should drip out. It takes a little practice to get the consistency right. If it is too moist, the eggs will tend to take up too much water and mold. If it is too dry, the eggs will usually shrivel and dry up. You'll want one or two tiny holes in the side of the container to provide fresh air. If you have more air-holes, you will lose too much moisture, which may kill the eggs. Eggs should be incubated at 74-80 degrees. They will hatch in 6-12 weeks. Temperatures closer to 80 will make them hatch quicker. Most "reptile room" temperatures should be warm enough so that you can put the egg containers on a shelf. If the room is cooler than 74, you may want to purchase a Hovabator incubator. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at most reptile supply companies. Make sure this is set up and calibrated before you need to put eggs in them. When the babies hatch, you can set them up individually in plastic shoeboxes. You may house Crested Gecko babies in small groups as long as they are similar in size, and lots of hiding places are available. They should start feeding 3-4 days after they hatch.
Color and Pattern Morphs: Crested Geckos are available in many different colors and patterns, most of which are bright and vibrant. Colors include red, orange, yellow, cream, charcoal, brown, grey, tan, and olive green. Patterns types are patternless, bi-color, tiger-banded, dalmation-spotted, fire-striped, pinstriped, and harlequin. A particular morph gets its name by combining the color with the pattern. For example: a red gecko with a fire stripe down the back and dalmation spots would be labeled a red fire dalmation. See our Gecko Gallery for photos of some of the morphs we are working with.
Crested Geckos are extremely polymorphic, meaning that any combination of breeders can produce multiple color/pattern morphs in the babies. However, selective-breeding of similar traits will tend to produce babies that also show those traits. Selective-breeding in crested geckos has really just begun. A lot of progress in creating new and exciting morphs will be done over the next few years.
Gargoyle Geckos don't have the diversity that cresteds do, but they do come in several patterns- reticulated, blotched, and striped. In some, the blotches or stripes may be bright orange or red.
This information should be enough to get you started. For more information, especially about the color morphs, we recommend "Rhacodactylus: A Complete Guide to Their Selection and Care" by deVosjoli, Fast, and Repashy.
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