Several of our animals here at Alligator Attraction were pet surrenders. It’s not because they weren’t good pets. It’s because they weren’t good pets for the person who adopted them. Many people get caught up in the “adorable factor” when they’re considering a pet. They don’t do their research to figure out the critical components of pet ownership such as:
- Average life expectancy of the pet
- Cost of food
- Vet costs, especially for exotic breeds
- Specific needs in the long-term like vaccinations, heat lamps, or maintenance
Some animals are very costly because of the special requirements they have. Average life expectancy is also a major reason why we have some of the animals we do here at Alligator Attraction. After all, childhood is relatively short. If you adopt an animal for your preteen and the critter’s average life expectancy is over 5 years, as the parent, you will likely be taking on this responsibility when your child leaves your home.
Are you ready for that?
Periodically, on our blog, we like to highlight animals chosen as pets and their special needs. Often visitors to Alligator Attraction interact with our animal friends and they go home with a desire to adopt the same type.
Our spotlight blog posts are written so that people understand what’s involved in adopting these animals. If you missed our first adoption post on the Hedgehog, check it out here.
If there’s an animal you’d like to see featured on our blog post, please drop us a line and will write a future post and the care and requirements of that particular animal.
This month, we’re spotlighting the crested gecko.
Important Things You Need to Know About Adopting a Crested Gecko
Maintenance level: low
Life expectancy: medium
The crested gecko looks a lot like the friends we find climbing on walls and scampering down sidewalks here in Florida but with one difference. These little lizards have crested lines/spines that run from their eyes down their backs on either side, making them look a lot like teeny, tiny wingless dragons.
In fact, since the crest originates at their eyes it can give them the appearance of having eyelashes. That’s why some people refer to them as the eyelash gecko.
While they don’t look like they’d be much trouble to take care of, there are a few things you need to know about the crested gecko before you decide to make them a pet.
The Ideal Environment for a Crested Gecko
Their specialized toe pads allow them to climb all kinds of surfaces. That’s why it’s extremely important to keep this in mind when selecting a home for them. You never want to leave an opening in the ceiling of their habitat. They will find it and escape.
Crested geckos are semi-arboreal, which means they like to spend most of their time in trees so you want a habitat that accommodates that. They won’t want to be on the ground in a sandy aquarium. Crested geckos want lush foliage and places to climb.
Since some adult geckos can grow to be four inches, not including their tail length, a small twig won’t do either. You want a 20-gallon aquarium (or larger) for this small creature. Many owners make the mistake seeing a relatively small lizard and assuming it doesn’t need a very big space.
Unlike some lizards, crested geckos don’t need a heat lamp. Room temperature is just fine. However, what they do need is a humid environment. Not difficult if you live here in Florida. However, if you don’t, especially if you live somewhere very dry, you’ll want to mist the environment two or three times a day with a squirt bottle of warm, filtered water.
Crested Gecko Feeding
Crested geckos are omnivores, meaning an animal that eats plants and animals. In the case of the gecko, they prefer fruits and insects. When it comes to feeding your gecko you can choose a commercial food or give them a selection of small insects and soft, mashed-up fruit like bananas and pears.
Handling and Lifespan for Crested Geckos
Some people who adopt reptiles are into the cool factor of walking around with the animal on their hand, arm, or shoulder. While many lizards don’t tolerate handling very well, the crested gecko does. Although young geckos may be slightly jumpy when taken out of the cage, as they mature, they become more docile and easier to handle. All in all, they are relatively low maintenance pets.
The one thing that most crested gecko owners don’t realize is that when you take care of these animals they can live 15 to 20 years. An animal that lives 15-20 years will be with you for a lot of changes in your life. So before adopting a crested gecko consider if you or your family is willing to make that commitment. If not, you may want to look for an animal with a shorter life span.
Additional Resource: Caring for a baby crested gecko