October 21 is Reptile Awareness Day
Posted October 22, 2018
Once thought to be extinct, crested geckos were
rediscovered in 1994. Since their reemergence, the crested gecko’s
easy-going personality and low-maintenance lifestyle has made it a
popular pet among children and adults alike.
This Reptile Awareness Day, Rachel Ellerd, a second-year
veterinary student at the Texas A&M College of Veterinarian
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, reminds us just how unique and
important crested geckos are to the reptile family.
Crested geckos are easily identifiable and come in a wide array
of colors and markings. Their interesting name stems from the
fringed crest that runs from their eyes to their necks and backs.
According to Ellerd, the reptile’s distinct features set them apart
from other geckos.
“Crested geckos have tiny projections over their eyes resembling
eyelashes, which is why some people like to call them eyelash
geckos,” Ellerd said. “They also have two rows of soft spines along
their sides, and instead of eyelids, they have transparent scales
over their eyes they lick to keep moist.”
Specialized toe pads are another unique feature of the crested
gecko; these pads allow them to easily jump and move along vertical
surfaces, which is an important attribute for owners to remember
when choosing the correct tank for their pet.
“Since these geckos are semi-arboreal, meaning they spend most
of their time in trees, they need upright tanks when living in a
home environment,” Ellerd said. “Adult crested geckos can reach
lengths of 4 inches or more, not including their tails, so they
need 20-gallon tank, if not larger.”
Crested geckos do not require special heat lamps or light, and
Ellerd said their environment should remain at room temperature.
They do require moderate humidity, but this can be accomplished by
lightly misting the tank using a spray bottle filled with warm,
filtered water once or twice a day.
Because crested geckos are omnivores, eating both fruits and
insects in the wild, owners have a variety of options when it comes
to choosing the right food for their pet.
While Ellerd prefers to feed her crested geckos a commonly used
and accepted commercial diet, many owners choose to supplement
small insects and mashed fruit, such as bananas, peaches, and pears
into their gecko’s daily diet.
Along with easy maintenance, Ellerd recommends owning a crested
gecko because of their docile temperament.
“Although they might be a little jumpy as juveniles, as they
age, they tolerate handling well,” Ellerd said. “If you’re looking
for a great low-maintenance pet, a crested gecko will be the
perfect fit for you.”
If cared for properly, crested geckos can live anywhere from 15
to 20 years. As long as owners can commit to caring for these
unique creatures, crested geckos can make for great, long-lasting
companions for you and your family.
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
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