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cost of owning a crested gecko

You should figure out an estimate for the cost of owning a crested gecko before you head to the pet store to buy one. Sure, crested geckos are cute and all, but you don’t want to go bankrupt buying one. If you’re still under your parent’s watch, their decision will also be influenced (at least in part) by the expenses involved, so it’s a good idea to do some math and research before you bring up the idea at the dinner table.

The crested gecko itself can cost anywhere from $50-$150. The price of the gecko will depend upon several factors, including morph, gender, and age. If you factor in the enclosure, accessories, and food, the cost of owning a crested gecko will be around $300-$400.

If you’re looking to buy a fancy designer brand crested gecko, get ready to pull out those bills. Designer brands can cost hundreds of dollars at the lower end to thousands of dollars depending on the morph.

Now, let’s go a little further into how much the setup will cost and everything you need to get started.

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How Much Will My Crested Gecko Setup Cost?

Depending on how much you’re willing to splurge on your crested gecko the amount of money you need will vary. As a rough estimate, you’ll need at least 300 to 400 dollars on the cheaper end to buy all the essentials for your crested gecko, minus the crested gecko itself. We recommend buying an enclosure, some substrate, feed, a spray bottle, terrarium plants, feeding/drinking bowls, a digital thermometer, lighting/heating equipment, gecko-friendly disinfectant, cleaning supplies, and a digital scale to start with.

If you’ve previously owned a similar reptile, the costs involved might go down. The aquarium itself will cost around $100, so if you re-use an aquarium, or pick up one at a garage sale for cheap, you’ll save extra dough. Make sure to clean the terrarium, using an algae scraper and bleach. Rinse thoroughly before you put your crested gecko in to avoid infection or disease.

Expenses are expenses, but please do note that you’ll also need plenty of time to care for your crested gecko each day – set aside a minimum of fifteen days per day for general maintenance so your gecko doesn’t get sick. This fifteen minutes can be used for having fun with your crested gecko, cleaning out its aquarium, and giving him/her food.

How Does the Morph of a Crested Gecko Determine the Price?

You’ll be surprised to hear that the morph of a crested gecko isn’t central to determining the end price at what the gecko is sold at. Other factors such as the breeder’s reputation and lineage may come into play. However, when looking at the crested gecko morph’s value, most breeders determine the price based on its overall attractiveness.

This may be why you might find some morphs overpriced. In the reptilian world especially, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the pricing of the crested gecko is entirely up to the breeder. What might seem like a plain old brown crested gecko to you might be a beautiful, healthy-looking gecko worth $200 to the breeder.

There is one type of gecko morph that is regularly sold for high prices, which is the pinstripe gecko. Pinstripe geckos have raised, cream-colored scales along their sides. The most valued and appreciated pinstripe geckos have a solid cream back and stripes across their entire body.

How Do Supply and Demand Play a Role in Determining the Price of a Crested Gecko?

In most countries, the price of your average crested gecko won’t exceed a hundred fifty dollars, especially in Western countries such as Australia and the USA where the demand for crested geckos is high and the supply too. In recent years the crested gecko market has become quite saturated and most crested geckos will now go for thirty to fifty dollars.

In some areas, especially in the countryside, crested geckos are somewhat of a rarity and not many pet shops will have crested geckos for sale, which will increase the price of one crested gecko up to a hundred dollars. On the contrary, some areas will be overflowing with crested geckos to the point where designer brands can be bought for just a hundred dollars. Supply and demand plays a great role in determining the price of your crested gecko, that’s for sure!

With that being said, you probably won’t be able to buy a crested gecko under $30 unless you know the breeder personally or you’re buying several at discounts. This is to prevent crested geckos from being a low-value pet that can be easily discarded.

How Does the Gender of a Crested Gecko Determine the Cost?

The gender of a crested gecko will influence the cost of a crested gecko a little, purely because of breeding purposes. Adult females are usually priced a little higher than male geckos as they breed lots of offspring. If you want the best value, we suggest going for a male gecko.

Male crested geckos also have fewer health complications than female crested geckos, which is another reason why many choose males over females unless they’re a breeder. However, if you want more than just one crested gecko, you should buy two females as they’re less likely to fight.

How can you tell whether you’ve bought a male or female? Wait for your gecko to mature (this will make it easier to discern your gecko’s gender) and check out their vent. Adult crested geckos will have large hemipenal bulge(s) right on the back of their vent, whereas females won’t.

What Are Some of the Most Expensive Crested Gecko Morphs?

The morphs on crested geckos are seemingly endless. With such a wide range of patterns and colors, no two crested geckos are the same. Pinstripe geckos regularly go for more than a hundred dollars, depending on the morph and pattern.

However, some of the most expensive crested gecko morphs are often those that are unique and different from others. Albino crested geckos and special marbled crested dragons, depending on the quality of the morph, can fetch up to a thousand dollars! Other popular morphs of crested geckos include Jet Blacks, Halloweens, Creamsicles, and Blonde Harleys.

All You Need to Give Your Crested Gecko a New Home

An enclosure

Typically, you’ll be able to use an aquarium as a terrarium for your crested gecko’s home. This terrarium will have to be large enough that your crested gecko can move around freely without feeling too trapped. The larger, the better!

As a general guideline, you want your juvenile crested gecko (weighing less than 12 grams) to have at least 5 gallons (around 19 liters) of space, and your adult crested gecko (weighing more than 12 grams) needs to have at least 20 gallons (around 76 liters) of space. You could also house multiple crested geckos in the same tank that will have to be larger than 30 gallons (around 114 liters), though this isn’t recommended due to the risks involved.

It’s never, NEVER a good idea to put two male crested geckos together, no matter how old they are. They’re most likely going to fight and try to kill each other. A male and female placed together will have babies, so unless you want to breed a bunch of crested geckos you shouldn’t place them in the same terrarium. You can safely put two females together without much trouble, as long as they’re around the same size.

Substrate

In case you didn’t know already, substrate is the term used to describe the bedding used in an enclosure. It’s used so your reptile can feel more at home and doesn’t have to sit on plain glass. There is a wide range of substrates that you can use for your crested gecko, including:

Coconut fiber bedding

Moss

Mulch

Soil

Feed

You can opt to buy the crested gecko feed that you can find at pet stores or online, or you can just feed your gecko certain fruits, including:

These fruits are best mashed up and mixed with crested gecko feed, rather than being given as a main meal. As a treat, you can give your crested gecko some insects. Crickets, mealworms, and waxworms are all possible options.

Spray bottle / Automatic mister

A spray bottle or an automatic mister is a must, especially if you live in a dry environment. Spray bottles are by far the economical choice when keeping a crested gecko, as it’ll set you back only a couple of dollars. Fill the spray bottle with water and spray your crested gecko a couple of times a day depending on the humidity.

Automatic misters will cost a little more but if you’re the forgetful type it will be a worthwhile investment. You will only need to fill up the auto mister a couple of times a week and let it do its thing. Keep in mind that you’ll have to use treated tap water with both a spray bottle and an automatic mister.

Terrarium plants

Think of terrarium plants as a playground for your gecko. It’ll prevent them from being too bored and let them feel more comfortable. When terrarium plants are placed properly, it’ll transform your terrarium and make it look like a piece of land cut out of a forest. Plus, all the water droplets from your mister/spray bottle won’t be absorbed into the substrate and your bearded dragon will be able to lick them up.

When it comes to terrarium plants, you have two choices: artificial or natural. Although artificial plants won’t wilt and last forever, we recommend natural plants since the texture will be more similar to your crested gecko’s natural habitat. Popular terrarium plant choices include sansevierias, golden pothos, ferns, and bromeliads.

Feeding/drinking bowls

You can get creative with feeding/drinking bowls. They just have to be non-toxic and safe for the gecko; you could use the ceramic bowls sold at pet shops, which won’t set you back much more than a couple of dollars.

If you want to save money or have pet shops near you, you can also just take bottle/milk caps, file the rough ends down and place water or food in them.

Digital thermometer

Crested geckos are extremely sensitive to high or low temperatures. Anything above 80F (26 degrees) or below 50F (10 degrees) can be dangerous for them and can lead to death. Optimally, your terrarium should be between 72-75F (22-24C) if you want your gecko to be happy. The temperature of your terrarium can be controlled by heating/lighting equipment and placement (whether it’s placed in the shade or sun)

Digital thermometers will usually cost around twenty bucks, and it’ll be a worthwhile investment. Check the temperature of your terrarium. If it’s too hot, move the enclosure to the shade or a cooler room. If it’s too cold, turn on the heat lamp/heater!

Heating/lighting equipment

Heating equipment isn’t necessary for your terrarium, but it would be a nice addition if you live in a very cold climate. Remember that even if you buy a heating lamp you have to make sure that there’s also another space in the terrarium where your gecko can “cool off” so he/she doesn’t overheat. Also, if you choose to use a heat lamp you’ll have to turn it off at night so you don’t disturb your crested gecko!

If used improperly, heating lamps can harm your crested gecko. Make sure to read all the instructions and check the temperature inside the terrarium using your digital thermometer regularly!

Gecko-friendly disinfectant

Reptile enclosures can get pretty gunky and gross at times. Sometimes your crested gecko might get infected with parasites, in which case you should take him or her to the vet and get the terrarium cleaned. But how? You might feel at a loss with the wide range of chemicals available. We recommend just using reptile disinfectant, which is available online for fairly low prices. Spray it everywhere and wipe it down with a dishcloth!

Cleaning supplies

You need some cleaning supplies for when your terrarium inevitably gets dirty. Buy or source a sponge, a bucket, a hand sleeve, a toothbrush, and rubber gloves. The sponge and bucket can be used for the reptile disinfectant, and you’ll need rubber gloves so your hands don’t get damaged by the harsh chemicals. The toothbrush can be used for scrubbing those stubborn crevices – just remember not to use it when you’re brushing your teeth!

Digital scale

Like any other animal, you can draw some conclusions on the overall health of your gecko through measurements (or you might just be curious). If you’re into numbers, having a digital scale can be a fun way to track your animal’s growth. Record your crested gecko’s weight in a spreadsheet and create a graph once you have enough data!

Decorations (optional)

There is a wide range of decorations available if you feel like your substrate and terrarium plants weren’t enough. You could add cacti, heatwave rocks, and fountains to your terrarium if you wish. Just remember to make sure that all these accessories are crested gecko-friendly and pose no health concerns, either to you or your gecko.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article helped you get an idea of what you’ll need to raise your very own crested gecko at home. Keeping a pet is a difficult but rewarding process, and we recommend buying a crested gecko only if you believe that you’re a hundred percent up for the menial tasks in between. If you do believe that you’re up for the job, make sure to take care of your crested dragon and buy it the correct equipment. In no time you and your gecko will be best buds!

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