So you did your research and came to the conclusion that a crested gecko is the perfect pet for you. Or perhaps you need to learn how to be selective about acquiring new breeding stock? Whatever the reason, this guide can help you make the right choices for your needs.
Choosing a healthy gecko
Unless you plan to rescue a crested with special needs, it is important to take home a healthy pet. This is especially the case if you have more reptiles at home that could be exposed to a pathogen brought in by your new addition. All new pets should be quarantined away from your other reptiles for a minimum of one month. Follow strict hand-washing protocol to further minimize the risk of exposure.
Questions for the seller:
There are several questions you should ask the seller. If the person selling the geckos bought them in mass for resale, it is more difficult to get a health guarantee on the gecko. If possible, choose a new pet from a knowledgeable breeder.
Did you produce the gecko? If so, you have a better chance of receiving parental info
Do you have photos of the parents? If yes, see if the parents fit your standards
What is the age of the gecko? Do you have the hatch date? Most breeders record hatch dates; The gecko should be at least one month of age
How much does the gecko weigh? Make sure the gecko isn’t small for it’s age
How is the gecko currently fed? Is it eating well? How is it currently housed and misted? Matching the seller’s husbandry habits in the beginning makes for an easier transition
Healthy gecko checklist:
Bright, clear eyes of equal size
Active responses to handling (not lethargic)
Full range of motion in the limbs
Full body, full limbs (healthy weight)
No bumps or kinks in the spine, tail, or limbs
No underbite or overbite
No swollen limbs or weak/floppy jaw
No excessive stuck shed
Healthy tail tip, or healthy frogbutt
It helps to know what are you looking for in your next purchase. Is this your first crested gecko, maybe even your first reptile? Are you open to rescuing a special needs gecko? Do you think you might breed crested geckos in the future? Are you shopping for a mate to a gecko you already own? Planning ahead is the best way to avoid an impulse buy. If you see a gecko for sale that isn’t exactly what you are looking for, pass and be patient. Most people find that if they do not stick to their plans, they are on the market very soon looking for that perfect gecko.
Choosing a pet
Follow the questionnaire above to choose a healthy crested gecko. If the gecko is a gift for a child, consider bringing home a larger, less fragile gecko. If the gecko will not be breeding, pick out the gecko you fall in love with and leave it at that. Keep in mind that crested geckos can live well into their teens or more—these are lifetime pets.
Special needs geckos
If you made the decision to bring a special needs animal into your home, we applaud your good deed. The most common ailment afflicting crested geckos is metabolic bone disease (see MBD in Gecko Glossary). These crested geckos often need a lifetime of Repashy RescueCal and regular vet visits to ensure a good quality of life. There is no guarantee that a crested gecko afflicted with MBD will ever recover from its ailments even if the symptoms are in their early stages. One may need to monitor food consumption and defecation more closely as well. In the case of geckos with a severe floppy jaw, assisted feedings may also be required.
For future breeding stock:
Buyers often associate well-developed crest and head structure (often collectively referred to as structure) with quality. Purchasing stock with excellent structure will automatically increase the desirability of future offspring. A healthy large size also tends to be an attractive feature in breeding stock.If you want to own nice breeding stock on a low budget, purchase animals at a young age and raise them to breeding size. If you are purchasing an unsexed gecko, be sure that you would be happy with it whether it went male or female. Some sellers will guarantee sex at a certain age or weight, which can be helpful in building a breeding colony. Purchasing geckos with linage info or well-known geckos is also a wise move. Make your decisions about colors and patterns based on a combination of your interests and what will be able to sell.
First week at home:
Have the enclosure constructed prior to bringing home your new crested gecko. Transfer the gecko to its new habitat and allow one week to adjust to a new husbandry schedule. By holding off handling for one week, stress experienced by the gecko is significantly reduced. Enjoy observations at feeding time during the first week—you have years to spend getting to know your new gecko!