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Crocodile Geckos: Your Next Scaly Obsession!

Crocodile geckos are a one-of-a-kind and intriguing choice for a pet, and if you have an interest in reptiles and are looking for one, the crocodile gecko might be the ideal choice for you. In recent years, these geckos have seen a rise in popularity among enthusiasts as a result of their unique look as well as the unusual activities they exhibit.

But, before you go out and get one, it is vital to educate yourself on how to properly care for a crocodile gecko and the requirements for doing so. In this care sheet, we will cover everything from their dietary and housing needs to their health and behavior, so that you may give a happy and healthy life in captivity for your crocodile gecko.

Follow this guide to discover everything there is to know about taking care of crocodile geckos, regardless of whether you have experience keeping reptiles or are just starting out in the hobby.

Crocodile Gecko origin

The Mediterranean region of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East is the natural habitat of crocodile geckos, which are also known by the scientific name Tarentola Mauritanica.

Countries such as Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria are examples of some of the places you could find them.

In the wild, they are most active at night and like to live in rocky locations, cliffs, and abandoned buildings.

They also prefer to avoid direct sunlight. In recent years, crocodile geckos have seen a rise in popularity in the pet trade as a result of their distinctive look as well as the unusual activities they engage in.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that wild-caught specimens should be avoided at all costs because they are frequently under stress, lack proper nutrition, and may even be infected with illnesses.

It is usually advisable to purchase a crocodile gecko from a breeder or pet store that has a good reputation in order to guarantee a healthy and happy pet.

Appearance

Crocodile geckos are easily distinguishable from other species of gecko due to their singular physical characteristics. As a form of self-defense, they have a narrow body and a long, thin tail that is readily able to be broken off.

They have a rough and textured look due to the scales that cover their skin, which are tiny and granular in appearance.

They have huge eyes, but no eyelids, and their pupils are vertical, which provides them with superb night vision. Its coloration can vary, but often they have a base color of light brown or gray with darker brown or black patterns that mimic the skin of crocodiles, which is where they get their name. Crocodile skin.

It’s possible that certain people also have yellow or orange highlights on their bodies. Crocodile geckos, in general, belong to a visually arresting species that, when kept as pets, are one-of-a-kind and interesting.

Behavior

Crocodile geckos are nocturnal, meaning they are most active in the evening and overnight. In order to avoid the heat and the harsh light throughout the day, they would often conceal themselves in cracks or burrows. They are known to be highly energetic and nimble, having the capacity to easily climb steep surfaces and leap short distances. They can also climb vertical surfaces with relative ease.

When it comes to their demeanor, crocodile geckos are often calm and simple to handle. Nevertheless, if they sense that they are being threatened or are uncomfortable, they may become protective or jittery. Due to the fact that they are solitary creatures, it is best to house them separately to avoid territorial conflicts.

Crocodile geckos have the ability to make vocalizations, which is an unusual and unique trait. They communicate with one another or send out a warning signal by making a characteristic barking or chirping sound.

This sound may be used in any context. Crocodile geckos, as a species, are lively and fascinating creatures that, when kept as pets, offer their owners a one-of-a-kind experience that is also very gratifying.

TEMPERAMENT

Crocodile geckos have a reputation for being calm and simple to manage, but their demeanor can change depending on their unique personalities and how well they have been socialized. On general, crocodile geckos are calm and easy to handle. They may be shy and protective when initially introduced to a new setting; but, with time and care, they may get adjusted to their new surroundings and bond with their owner.

Crocodile geckos, like other reptiles, should only be handled violently if necessary; otherwise, they run the risk of becoming agitated or hurt. Crocodile geckos should be handled with care and gentleness at all times. They should be picked up from beneath and supported correctly; however, they should never be caught by the tail since it may break off as a defensive mechanism. They should be picked up from underneath and supported properly.

Crocodile geckos may make excellent pets; nevertheless, it is vital to keep in mind that they are solitary animals that, in order to avoid territorial conflicts, should be maintained apart from one another. Crocodile geckos have the potential to be an interesting and satisfying pet if they are given the appropriate care and attention.

Enclosure

While keeping a crocodile gecko as a pet, one of the most crucial considerations to make is the size of the enclosure. The cage should be large enough to provide the gecko sufficient area to walk around, climb, and participate in other behaviors that are normal to its species. In addition to helping to reduce stress and improve general health and well-being, a bigger enclosure can be beneficial in this regard.

There is a minimum suggested enclosure size of 20 gallons for one crocodile gecko; however, it is usually advisable to go greater if at all feasible. A bigger enclosure can give additional options for enrichment, such as the installation of climbing structures, hiding spaces, and other accessories. Another benefit of a larger enclosure is that it can hold more animals.

It is essential to take into account the mature size of the crocodile gecko while choosing an enclosure for it, which may be anywhere from four to six inches in length. As a matter of thumb, you should make sure there is at least one square foot of floor area available for each gecko.

In addition to its width, the height of the enclosure is another crucial factor to take into consideration. Being arboreal creatures, crocodile geckos require both climbing apparatus and vertical room to thrive. The height of the cage can determine the number of climbing and exploring options available.

In general, making sure that the cage you provide your crocodile gecko is roomy and of a proper size is one of the most important things you can do for its health and well-being.

Lighting

Lighting is an essential component of crocodile gecko care since the environment in which they are kept can have an effect on their general health and well-being. Even though they are nocturnal and do not need to be exposed to UVB illumination, crocodile geckos nevertheless need a regular light and dark cycle in order to keep their circadian rhythm stable.

It is advised to have a cycle of 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness, and this cycle may be replicated with a standard incandescent or LED light bulb. The light should be positioned at one end of the cage to produce a temperature gradient, with the basking point reaching around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and the colder end reaching approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius).

It is imperative that, in addition to providing the crocodile gecko with consistent lighting, a secluded area be made available for it to escape to throughout the day. This might be a commercially produced hide developed specifically for reptiles, or it can be a naturalistic hide such as a piece of cork bark or a clay pot.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that crocodile geckos are photosensitive, so it’s in your best interest to steer clear of utilizing lights that are very vibrant or vivid in their habitat. Throughout the night, red or blue lights can be used to offer a dim source of light, but they shouldn’t be too bright so as to disrupt the normal activity of the animals.

If you provide your crocodile gecko a regular light and dark cycle as well as a place to hide, you may assist to improve their general health and well-being.

Humidity

It is essential for the health and well-being of your crocodile gecko to maintain the appropriate amounts of humidity at all times. The ideal relative humidity for crocodile geckos is between 50 and 60 percent, which may be attained by supplying a water dish, misting the area, and using the proper substrate. Crocodile geckos have a very specific substrate need.

Increasing the humidity in the cage by spraying it with water once or twice a day might be helpful in doing so. It’s possible that the amount of times you mist your gecko’s enclosure will need to be altered according on the individual characteristics of the enclosure, such as the size of the habitat and the weather in your region.

Keeping a water dish within the cage is another thing that can help keep the humidity levels stable. The water dish should be wide enough for the gecko to soak in if they so wish, as well as shallow enough for it to be easy for the gecko to drink from.

The selection of the appropriate substrate might also have an effect on the humidity levels. It’s possible for some substrates, including coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, or reptile bark, to enhance humidity levels while also helping to retain moisture. It is best to steer clear of using sand or other types of loose substrates, since they can serve as a fertile foundation for the growth of germs and may even be consumed by the gecko.

In addition to spraying the enclosure with water, providing a dish for the reptile to drink from, and selecting the appropriate substrate, you may also use a hygrometer to keep track of the relative humidity of the space. If humidity levels are regularly low, you may need to change the frequency with which you spray the enclosure, or you may want to think about adding a humidifier to the space.

In general, ensuring that there is an adequate amount of humidity around your crocodile gecko is critical to ensuring that it stays healthy and happy. Your gecko has the potential to do very well in its habitat if it is provided with the appropriate care and attention.

Substrate

Choosing the right substrate for your crocodile gecko is an important aspect of their overall care. The substrate not only provides a comfortable surface for your gecko to walk and lay on, but it can also impact their health and well-being.

One popular substrate for crocodile geckos is coconut fiber or coconut coir. This substrate is natural, absorbent, and helps to retain moisture, which can help to maintain the proper humidity levels in the enclosure. Coconut fiber also has the added benefit of being easy to clean and replace when necessary.

Another option for substrate is reptile bark, which is made from the bark of certain trees. Reptile bark is also absorbent and can help to retain moisture, but it is also lightweight and can be easily kicked around by the gecko. It is important to monitor your gecko’s behavior and ensure that they are not ingesting the substrate.

Sphagnum moss is another substrate option that can help to maintain humidity levels. This substrate is natural and can be found in pet stores or gardening centers. Sphagnum moss is also easy to clean and replace when necessary.

It is important to avoid using sand or loose substrates for crocodile geckos, as they can be ingested by the gecko and cause impaction. Other substrates to avoid include wood shavings, gravel, and corn cob bedding.

Overall, choosing the right substrate for your crocodile gecko can help to promote their overall health and well-being. It is important to select a substrate that is natural, absorbent, and easy to clean and replace when necessary.

Decoration

Not only can decorating the enclosure of your crocodile gecko add to its aesthetic appeal, but it also has the potential to give mental and physical activity for your gecko.

Providing your gecko with an environment that is as close to its natural habitat as possible might be beneficial to its general health and well-being.

Adding real or fake plants is a great way to spruce up the environment that your gecko calls home. Real plants, such as pothos or snake plants, can assist to oxygenate the cage and offer your gecko with a natural place to hide.

There is also a fantastic alternative available in the form of artificial plants, which do not call for any upkeep and may have the same visual appeal.

The enclosure can be further embellished by the use of natural elements such as pebbles, branches, and so on. These things may serve two purposes for your gecko: they can provide a climbing surface for your gecko, as well as a natural basking location.

Because your gecko might be harmed by materials that have been treated with chemicals, it is essential that you refrain from utilizing such products.

Your gecko’s emotional and physical health are both affected positively by its access to hides and caves. Your gecko needs a place to hide so it may feel safe and comfortable when it needs to take a break. You may purchase skins already made, or you can make your own using natural materials like clay pots or the bark of cork trees.

It is crucial to avoid cluttering the enclosure with decorations since this can make it difficult for your gecko to move around and can provide hiding areas for insects or parasites.

To minimize this problem, it is best to keep the number of decorations to a minimum. It should not be difficult to dust and preserve the decorations, though.

In general, adding decorations to the cage of your crocodile gecko can assist to create an atmosphere that is more lifelike and interesting for your gecko.

Your gecko’s habitat may become a thriving environment if you provide it with the appropriate care and decorations.

Cleaning

Maintaining a clean habitat for your crocodile gecko should be considered an integral element of its overall maintenance.

Maintaining a clean environment for your gecko and preventing the formation of bacteria that may be detrimental to it can be accomplished by routine cleaning.

The size of the enclosure, the quantity of geckos, and the substrate that is being utilized are all factors that will determine how often the enclosure has to be cleaned.

It is advised that a daily spot cleaning of the enclosure be performed, and a thorough cleaning of the enclosure should be done once per month.

When performing spot cleaning, you remove any excrement, shed skin, or uneaten food from the cage as soon as you become aware of their presence.

A scoop or a paper towel can be used to accomplish this task. Moreover, the water dish has to be cleaned and replaced on a consistent basis.

A thorough cleaning requires the removal of any substrate, decorations, and any other materials that may be inside the enclosure.

After using a cleaning that is safe for reptiles, the cage has to be scrubbed and then thoroughly washed with water.

Once the cage has been cleaned and allowed to dry, a new layer of substrate and new decorations can be applied.

While cleaning the cage, it is critical to always wear gloves in order to avoid spreading any bacteria or parasites that may be present.

Any equipment or instruments that are used for cleaning the gecko’s enclosure should likewise be labeled for usage exclusively within the enclosure itself.

Your crocodile gecko’s overall health and well-being depend on you performing routine cleaning on a consistent basis. Your gecko will be able to thrive in their surroundings if it is cleaned and cared for properly.

Food and water

Feeding your crocodile gecko a balanced diet is important for their overall health and well-being. In the wild, crocodile geckos primarily feed on insects, so their diet in captivity should reflect this.

Crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches are all great options for feeding your crocodile gecko. It is important to offer appropriately sized prey items that are smaller than the width of your gecko’s head. Feeder insects should also be gut-loaded, or fed a nutritious diet, before being offered to your gecko.

In addition to insects, it is recommended to offer your gecko a calcium supplement at least once a week. This can help to prevent calcium deficiency and promote healthy bone growth.

Water is also an important aspect of your gecko’s diet. It is important to provide a shallow water dish in the enclosure that is large enough for your gecko to soak in. The water dish should be changed and cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

It is recommended to feed your gecko every other day or a few times a week. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems. It is important to monitor your gecko’s behavior and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly.

Overall, providing a balanced diet and fresh water is essential for the health and well-being of your crocodile gecko. With proper nutrition and care, your gecko can thrive in their environment.

Handling

Crocodile geckos are not recognized for having gentle personalities, and as a result, they are not typically advised as pets for people who want to handle their reptiles on a regular basis.

Crocodile geckos, on the other hand, can get more accustomed to being handled if the process is carried out with patience and the appropriate handling procedures.

It is essential to wait until a crocodile gecko has had sufficient time to adjust to its new surroundings before attempting to handle it once it has been acquired for the first time.

As soon as they are comfortable in their new home, you should begin acclimating your gecko to your presence by placing your hand inside the cage for brief amounts of time on a daily basis.

When the moment comes to handle your gecko, it is essential to approach them in a measured and unhurried manner. Make sure you don’t grasp their tail or any of their limbs while you’re using two hands to carefully sweep them up from beneath.

It is also essential to support their body and keep them close to your body so as to assist them in experiencing a sense of safety.

It is best practice to limit the amount of time spent handling your gecko to no more than 10–15 minutes at a time. The gecko may be less likely to experience stress and to sustain harm as a result of this.

In order to avoid the transmission of any bacteria or parasites, it is essential to wash your hands both before and after handling the material in question.

While handling crocodile geckos in general, it is important to use extreme caution and patience. Your gecko might develop accustomed to being handled with ease over time if you take the appropriate precautions and care for it.

It is essential, however, to give the personality of your gecko the respect it deserves and to refrain from forcing it into circumstances that it finds unsettling.

Common health issues

Crocodile geckos are subject to a variety of health problems, just like any other kind of living organism. Crocodile geckos are prone to the following frequent health problems, so keep an eye out for them:

Geckos can develop a variety of health problems as a result of parasites, including anemia, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Mites and ticks are two examples of common parasites.

It is essential to perform routine checks on your gecko to look for any symptoms of parasites and to treat them as soon as possible if any are discovered.

Metabolic bone disease is a frequent health problem in reptiles and is brought on by a calcium shortage in their diet. Weakness, tremors, and a weakening of the bones are all potential symptoms of this condition.

This illness can be avoided in part by following a healthy diet and taking the appropriate amount of calcium supplements.

Infections of the Respiratory Tract Respiratory tract infections can manifest themselves in captive geckos if the humidity levels in their cage are too low, or if the temperature is too low.

Some of the symptoms include wheezing, drainage from the nose, and fatigue. To treat this ailment, you will need to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Crocodile geckos constantly shed their skin, however these reptiles can struggle to do so in an appropriate manner due to a condition known as “shedding.”

This might result in skin infections and the retention of lost skin. Ensure that the enclosure has the appropriate amounts of humidity to aid in the shedding process, and if required, give a shedding box for your gecko that contains moist moss to assist them in the shedding process.

Mouth Rot: Mouth rot, also known as stomatitis, is a bacterial illness that can manifest in geckos as a result of improper hygiene, inadequate diet, or physical stress.

In addition to swelling and redness, patients may also have drainage from the mouth. If you feel that your gecko has mouth rot, it is essential to take them to the veterinarian so that they can receive the appropriate therapy.

Taking your crocodile gecko in for routine veterinarian exams and providing it with the appropriate level of care will help prevent these and other health problems. It is essential to do routine observations of your gecko’s behavior and appearance in order to identify any potential health concerns at an early stage.

Price

The price of a crocodile gecko can vary depending on several factors, including the age, gender, and the breeder or seller. On average, a baby or juvenile crocodile gecko can cost anywhere from $50 to $150. However, some rare color morphs or patterns can be priced much higher.

It is important to purchase your crocodile gecko from a reputable breeder or pet store to ensure that you are getting a healthy gecko.

Cheaper geckos sold at big-box stores or online marketplaces may come from unhealthy breeding conditions, and they may be more prone to health issues.

In addition to the initial cost of the gecko, you will also need to consider the cost of setting up their enclosure, including the cost of the enclosure itself, heating and lighting equipment, substrate, decorations, and ongoing costs such as food and veterinary care.

Overall, crocodile geckos can be a relatively affordable reptile pet option, but it is important to budget and plan accordingly to ensure that you can provide them with the proper care they need.

Good for kids?

Crocodile geckos have a temperament that may be described as demanding, and they are not well-suited to be handled on a regular basis. Because of this, they are not often advised as pets for young children. They are also quite fragile and have unique care requirements, therefore it is possible that youngsters should not be given responsibility for them since they might not be able to offer the degree of care and attention required.

In addition, crocodile geckos have very particular housing needs, including temperatures and humidity levels, which can be challenging for youngsters to maintain on their own. The gecko may have health problems and stress if it is not properly cared for.

If you are thinking of acquiring a crocodile gecko for your child as a pet, it is essential to carefully evaluate their capacity to provide the required care and attention to the animal. It is essential that you watch over any interactions that take place between your kid and the gecko, both to ensure the gecko does not sustain any injuries and to keep your child out of harm’s way.

In general, crocodile geckos may make interesting pets; however, young children may not be the greatest candidates for owning one since they are unable to offer the kind of care and attention that is required to keep the geckos healthy and content.

Breeding

For those who have a passion for reptiles, breeding crocodile geckos may be an experience that is both gratifying and exciting. If you are interested in raising crocodile geckos, the following are some important factors to take into consideration:

Crocodile geckos usually achieve sexual maturity between the ages of 9 and 12 months, however it is advised that you wait until they are at least 18 months old before attempting to breed them.

Crocodile geckos can live for up to 25 years.

In order to successfully breed crocodile geckos, it is necessary to couple a male and a female of the species.

It is possible to reduce the risk of aggressiveness and improve the chances of successful breeding by introducing them to each other in stages.

When it comes to housing, it is advised that a separate breeding enclosure be provided for the male and female gecko during the time of year when they are trying to reproduce.

The enclosure has to be big enough to give the geckos plenty of room to roam around freely, and it also needs to be outfitted with the right kind of heating and lighting.

Diet: The provision of a food that is both nourishing and diverse is very necessary for effective breeding. In addition to preventing metabolic bone disease and improving reproductive success, providing calcium and vitamin D3 as dietary supplements can assist animals maintain healthy bones.

Crocodile gecko females will normally lay one to two eggs at a time, once every two to four weeks. Crocodile gecko egg clutches can range in size from one to two eggs. In order to induce egg-laying, you should provide a nesting box that is filled with a wet substrate.

Because egg-binding and other health problems might arise during the mating season, it is essential to keep a close eye on the condition of the female animal.

Incubation: After removing the eggs from the nesting box in a safe manner, they should be placed in a separate container that has the ideal levels of both humidity and temperature.

It usually takes between sixty and seventy days for the eggs to hatch.

For breeding crocodile geckos, meticulous preparation, attention to detail, and a dedication to supplying the geckos and their progeny with the appropriate care and resources are required.

Before attempting to breed crocodile geckos, it is critical to perform in-depth study on the procedure, as well as get a solid understanding of it.

Conclusion

Crocodile geckos are intriguing, one-of-a-kind lizards that make excellent pets for knowledgeable individuals who are passionate about reptiles. They have particular needs in terms of care, which include the provision of a sufficient enclosure, enough lighting and warmth, as well as a nourishing meal. Despite the fact that they may be purchased for a price that is not prohibitively expensive, it is essential to create a budget and make appropriate plans in order to pay for continuing costs like as food and veterinary care.

Crocodile geckos have challenging personalities and stringent requirements for their care, thus it is not advisable for young children to keep them as pets. Crocodile gecko breeding, on the other hand, may be a gratifying and exciting experience for experienced reptile keepers; nevertheless, it does involve careful preparation and attention to detail.

Crocodile geckos, in general, are excellent pets for those who are able and willing to offer the kind of care and attention essential to ensuring the animals’ continued good health and contentment. Crocodile geckos have a potential lifespan of up to ten years and, if given the right level of attention, may be wonderful lifelong companions for people who are passionate about reptiles.