8 Cool Facts about Crested Geckos

Learn eight cool facts about crested geckos from reptile and amphibian expert Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.

Crested geckos are arboreal lizards, meaning animals that inhabit trees, that are found in the South Pacific. You’ll find them in the islands of New Caledonia and surrounding areas. And, amazingly, I’ve been in the industry for a long, long time, 45 years ago this animal didn’t exist.

This was something that we didn’t see very often, and certainly not in the pet world. They were very secretive creatures that lived in very sparsely-populated areas of the planet and, therefore, they weren’t "known to science". But lo and behold, someone did find them and started to bring them back into the United States to breed, and now they are a popular animal in the pet trade.

They are beautifully adorned with colors that will match their habitat and match their backgrounds. They do not have the ability to change colors, but they do come in a variety of different ones. My favorite parts of them, if you could focus on our big guy here, is that they come with built-in eyelashes. You’ll find that snakes do not have any eyelids, but most lizards do. Crested geckos are one of the exceptions to the rule. They do not possess a closeable eyelid.

So, they’re constantly staring wide open. Nature gave them a little bit of an eyebrow row right there to protect them, but in order to clean their eyelid, they’ve developed a fascinating habit. And that is they just stick out their tongue and it extends far enough that they can actually lick their eyeballs. So, that is always a favorite for people to watch when he needs to do it. And it’s a very effective way to keep his eyes clean if you don’t have an eyelid.

If you see the little baby one I have here, he’s complete with a tail, where his daddy here, that’s an adult male crested gecko, has lost his tail. And that is another habit of arboreal lizards, in particular, that they drop their tails when any kind of danger comes along. This one is so quick to do that.

You could stare at him for a long time and if you frighten him enough just by looking at him, he will just drop his tail automatically. Unfortunately for him, he does not grow his tail back. It stays a stump for the rest of his life. That’s just his problem.

But crested geckos are an amazing creature. They’re fruit eaters to a degree. They’ll lick the nectar out of flowers, almost bird-like. They’ll also eat fruit that’s rotting on the forest floor, and they’re no strangers to catching an insect that’s running on the ground. You’ll see them usually in a tree upside down, facing downward, sleeping all day, therefore, a nocturnal predator, with their eyes wide open. Those fantastic eyeballs, those little slits, that always gives you an idea it’s a nocturnal creature.

He’s looking for anything that’s moving on the forest floor and he just flies down and gets it. I say fly because he’s got a little bit of a, not a webbed foot, but his toe has got a little bit of a pad to it, that he can just glide down to the forest floor. Little nails all across make it easy for him to climb, and he’s perfectly adapted for hunting and living in the trees in the New Caledonian rainforest, which is a very temperate area, not very hot, not very cool.

He doesn’t get a lot of sunlight. He just kind of lives in the canopy and he’s a very peaceful, easygoing creature. There’s a variety of different types these days. The crested gecko from the South Pacific.