Crested geckos are a species of gecko that is native to the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. They live in moist forest habitats with dense vegetation such as rainforest canopies, vine thickets, or mangroves. While they’re endemic in their land of origin, these lizards are kept as pets in other parts of the world. If you’re considering one, you might want to know for how long the lizards live. So, what’s the lifespan of crested geckos?
The lifespan of crested geckos is 15-20 years. If well taken care of, they can live to their full life expectancy as pets, which means that the lizard can be with you through many years of your life.
Crested geckos lifespan in captivity
Crested geckos can live for as long as 15 to 20 years in captivity (as pets). This is on the upper end of the crested gecko lifespan. These lizards have a slightly shorter life expectancy in the wild due to increased exposure to predators and other harsh conditions in their natural habitats.
When kept healthy with regular vet visits and proper dieting, most pet owners will see their pet reach an age of up to 20 years old before dying from natural causes such as old age.
As pets, the care these lizards get improves their chances of survival by a great deal, which is why most young crested lizards will survive compared to those hatched in the wild.
Lifespan in the wild
In the wild crested geckos only live for an average of 10-18 years. This is due to the harsh environmental conditions like predators and disease, which make it difficult for crested geckos to survive for as long as those in captivity.
The lifespan of a crested gecko in the wild depends on how many risks they have to face such as predators, temperature changes, and even other dangers in the home like chemicals or pesticides that could cause diseases and other risks.
Note that the lizards live high up in the trees and use their tail as a third leg, which helps them survive most predators and avoid falling to the ground where they would be exposed to more risks.
Common dangers that they face in the wild crested gecko lifespan include:
- Predation by birds and other crested geckos. They may also be eaten in the wild when they’re still hatchlings or eggs if their nests are found by predators.
- Deforestation has led to a decline of crested gecko populations on Isle de Pines due to habitat destruction and fragmentation.
- Loss of natural food sources like insects that live in trees (creepy crawly crests), leaves, flowers, etc., because of deforestation as well as agricultural production activities such as ploughing rice fields where these lizards depend on for cover during daylight hours.
This is why captive-bred crested geckos have higher chances at survival than those that hatched in the wild.
How big do crested geckos get?
Crested geckos typically grow to lengths between 6-10 inches excluding the tail. The tail alone can grow as long as 6-inches if it is not exposed to other dangers such as tail rot or even tail drop when ambushed.
During their lifetime, crested geckos will grow gradually, and how big they get will depend on a number of factors including the quality of food, gender, and overall genetics given most of the pets are bred to bring out unique traits such as big size, morphs, etc.
In terms of weight, crested geckos are typically 20-50 grams when fully grown. Different crested gecko morphs will have different weights and sizes, but 20-50 grams is the most common range for a crested gecko that has been bred to grow big or show unique traits by breeders who specialize in these kinds of stunting projects.
Keep in mind that most breeds and types of crested geckos only start reproducing when they attain a weight of at least 35 grams. You might also find that the lifespan of female crested geckos used in breeding programs may reduce compared to males.
This is because breeding strains the female crested gecko, making her more susceptible to diseases or even death through exhaustion. It also puts a strain on their nutrition stores especially important minerals such as calcium, leaving them more exposed to deficiencies that can affect their life expectancy.
If you’re using your female crested gecko for a breeding program, you can improve their chances of living to their full lifespan by supplementing nutrition stores with calcium and vitamin D. Additional nutrition sources like fresh fruit, vegetables, and insects can make a big difference in the quality of nutrition your crested gecko receives.
The lifespan of male vs female geckos
The average lifespan of female crested geckos is usually shorter than that of males because females make more demands on their bodies during breeding seasons. Breeding generally takes a toll on the female lizards, which means that calcium and other food resources stored in their bodies are used up more often compared to what happens with male crested geckos.
If you’re keeping a female crested gecko, it is important to check her calcium levels regularly and to ensure that she is getting the calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients necessary to maintain her health.
Also, fat deposits on their bodies are important to check to determine whether or not the gecko is getting skinny or not, especially during the breeding season. You will, therefore, want to feed female crested geckos a little more than the males to ensure that you help them live their lives to the fullest.
Ways to Help Your Crested Gecko Live its Full Lifespan
The life span of crested geckos depends on how well they are cared for by their owners. In captivity crested geckos generally live 10-18 years but have been known to live up to 20 years as pets. But, is there something you can do to make sure the lizard lives as long as its lifespan can allow?
Here are ways to help your crested gecko live to its full lifespan:
Maintain a healthy weight – 40g
Feed the gecko to maintain a healthy recommended weight of 40 grams (for adults). This means that the crested gecko won’t be skinny or overweight. A skinny lizard will have a compromised immune system, which means its life expectancy may reduce significantly.
Provide fresh water every day
Offer high-quality live food items, such as crickets and mealworms. Crested geckos are omnivores, meaning they can eat a variety of foods. When purchasing your crickets or worms for your pet’s feeding time offer the best quality available to avoid weight loss.
- Offering vegetables once in a while is also important because it will provide them with essential nutrients that aren’t found in their insect diet.
- Provide humid spots in the enclosure
Provide humidity to the gecko by making sure their enclosure has a few moist spots. I would recommend maintaining humidity between 50% and 60%. Unlike most other pet lizards, crested geckos require a little bit more moist environments. Therefore, find ways to ensure your pet is well taken care of. A dehydrated crested gecko will have an unhealthy appearance, slow movements, and lethargic behaviour when dehydrated
Provide humid spots in the enclosure – This can be done by placing moistened moss on rocks and hiding other wet items around the enclosure (such as sponges). You should mist your gecko daily too.
Misting your crested geckos is important because if their humidity levels are too low it can lead to shedding problems, such as dry skin and even bacterial infections that may be fatal for small lizards like cresties.
Make sure you have fresh water available at all times. Crested geckos require high humidity on a daily basis so they don’t lose moisture from their bodies which leads to them being dehydrated or having very dry skin.
Feed the crested gecko with high-quality food
Another way to help crested geckos live to their full lifespan is to make sure you feed them with high-quality foods. Try feeding them calcium-rich foods like dusted insects, vegetables, or calcium supplements to uphold a healthy diet.
Offer calcium-rich food items such as dusted insects for enrichment purposes. A varied diet including calcium-rich food will help keep their metabolism strong which can lead to longer life expectancy than if they ate just one type of food item over and over again without any variety.
Reduce stressors in their environment
Stress can be a major cause of shortening the life span of your pet gecko. Try to reduce as many stressors in their environment as possible. Keep aggressive pets away and do not let them roam around freely causing disturbances to your crested gecko. This will help keep your crested geckos calm which is essential for their emotional health.
Covering the cage with darkness during the day is important to allow the crested gecko to get some sleep time. Covering the enclosure with dark material such as towels helps mimic nighttime and allows them to rest properly before being active again.
If the enclosure does not get enough sunlight during the day, provide a basking lamp. While crested geckos don’t need UVB, research has shown that it can be beneficial to their health.
Maintain proper hygiene in their enclosure
Another great tip to improve the life expectancy of your crested gecko is to clean their enclosure properly. Maintain a clean and dry environment for them by removing any faecal droppings or spilt food items on the floor.
Every day ensure that you clean out your gecko’s water dish, keep it full of fresh water, and change the paper towel lining in the hiding spot to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and other pathogens in their enclosure.
Clean living space is essential because if not done daily can increase common illnesses such as parasitic infections which are fatal to smaller lizards like cresties.