It is important to know the average growth rate of a crested gecko to ensure you are not underfeeding or overfeeding your lizard.
Crested geckos stay relatively small throughout their lives, but how quickly do they grow?
A crested gecko will gain one gram per month for the first six months of its life. As a juvenile, the growth rate accelerates, and the gecko will gain up to 20 grams in the next six months. Crested geckos will reach their adult size at around 12-24 months, weighing 25-55 grams.
As adults, female crested geckos are generally larger than males.
However, male crested geckos will go through a growth spurt at 3-4 years of age, where they will catch up to the size of the females.
Read on to learn more about the average size of a crested gecko, as well as which factors determine and influence the lizard’s growth.
Adult Crested Gecko Full Size And Weight
Crested geckos will usually reach their adult size between 12-24 months of age. On average, an adult male crested gecko will weigh between 25-30 grams, while adult females will range anywhere from 35-55 grams.
While male geckos are usually smaller than females at this stage, they will have a growth spurt at around 3-4 years of age.
This allows the male crested geckos to grow to roughly the same size as the females.
It is best to pair a male crestie with a female close to its size for breeding purposes.
A much larger female crestie may cause injury to a smaller male during mating.
A crested gecko is considered to be sexually mature once it weighs at least 35 grams, so a male may not be ready for breeding at the same time as a female of the same age.
With most reptile species, a male will have a larger head and legs, and its tail will be broader.
Female crested geckos have longer bodies to allow them to carry eggs during pregnancy.
They also need extra body weight for their bodies to accommodate producing and laying eggs.
Crested Gecko Size Chart (Age/Weight/Length)
The following chart shows the average weight and length of a crested gecko depending on its age.
|Crested Gecko Age||Average Weight||Average Body Length with Tail|
|Hatchling||1.5-2 grams||2.5-3” inches|
|2 months||3 grams||3-4” inches|
|3 months||4 grams||3-5” inches|
|4 months||5 grams||4-6” inches|
|5 months||7 grams||4-6” inches|
|6 months||9 grams||5-7” inches|
|9 months||16-35 grams||6-9” inches|
|12 months||35-50 grams||9-16” inches|
|18-24+ months||35-55+ grams||9-16”+ inches|
Keep in mind this chart shows the average weight for crested geckos.
Every gecko is different because they vary in length, and not all crested geckos still have their tails.
If your crestie has chubby legs or fat rolls around its head, neck, or stomach, these are signs your lizard is overweight.
Likewise, thin limbs and visible ribs or hip bones indicate an underweight crested gecko.
What Determines A Crested Gecko’s Size?
An adult gecko’s size is not solely due to the amount of food it eats. The ultimate size of a crested gecko is determined by genetics and how long the lizard was incubated before it hatched.
A crestie born from large parents is more likely to be large as an adult. Smaller cresties usually come from smaller parents.
The size of two breeding crested geckos does not necessarily guarantee the size of their offspring, as the incubation period of the hatchlings is also a factor.
Crested gecko eggs incubated between 80-100 days are more likely to produce larger geckos than eggs with a shorter incubation period.
The longer incubation period gives the crestie hatchlings more time to grow.
Large hatchlings can eat food more easily, which allows them to grow quickly.
Smaller hatchlings may have difficulty eating, and they are more likely to be bullied by larger geckos at feeding time.
The recommended incubation temperature for crested gecko eggs ranges from 68-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).
Crestie eggs will hatch between 60-70 days in warmer temperatures.
The eggs may incubate for up to 120 days in cooler temperatures before they hatch.
What Influences Crested Gecko Growth?
Tank temperature, dehydration, poor nutrition, tail dropping, and a small enclosure will affect a crested gecko’s growth rate. If the gecko is being bullied or is suffering from an illness, it will also grow more slowly.
In addition to genetics and incubation period, which affects the overall adult size of a crestie, there are also factors contributing to the reptile’s growth rate as it reaches adulthood.
Most of these factors are easily controlled, and with proper care, your crestie will be able to grow and thrive.
Crested geckos do well with a daytime temperature gradient between 72-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C). Nighttime temperatures may be a bit lower, ranging from 65-75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).
A temperature gradient is important for a crestie because it gives the reptile the ability to warm up or cool down as needed.
Crested geckos are cold-blooded reptiles, and they need warmth to regulate their body temperature.
A crestie’s body also requires heat for energy and proper digestion.
If a crestie is kept in low temperatures for an extended period, it will have less energy to eat.
The reptile’s body will also focus more of its energy on vital body functions.
When a crestie’s body does not have the energy it requires, its overall growth will be stunted.
A ceramic heat emitter is a safe and efficient way to provide warmth for your crestie.
The heat source may be turned off at night if the room’s ambient temperature is not lower than 65° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).
It is important to regularly monitor tank temperatures throughout the day to ensure your crestie gets the warmth it needs for healthy growth.
For a full guide, check out our article on crested gecko temperature requirements.
Dehydration and Low Humidity
To prevent your crested gecko from becoming dehydrated, it is important to maintain adequate humidity levels of 60% during the day and 80% at night. A shallow water dish with fresh, clean water should also be provided to your gecko at all times.
Dehydration will cause a crested gecko to eat less, and it will grow more slowly as a result.
Mist the enclosure at night to raise humidity levels in your crestie’s tank.
Your crestie will also hydrate itself by drinking water droplets from the plant leaves in the enclosure.
An automatic reptile fogger may be placed in the tank to release a mist at timed intervals, but you must ensure the device is not raising humidity levels too much.
Monitor humidity levels in the tank several times during the day by using a hygrometer.
It is also crucial to ensure the temperature is not too high because excessive heat will quickly cause a crestie to become dehydrated.
These are all signs of dehydration if your crestie is lethargic or has a kinked tail, sunken eyes, or wrinkled skin.
Mild dehydration may be treated by soaking your gecko in a shallow dish of lukewarm water twice a day for 30-45 minutes at a time.
If your crestie is severely dehydrated, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
A veterinarian will be able to treat your gecko by injecting fluids into its body until the animal is properly hydrated.
A nutritious diet is vital for a crestie to grow and stay healthy. A poor diet will not only stunt a crestie’s growth but may lead to metabolic bone disease and other illnesses.
There is no cure for metabolic bone disease, so prevention with a healthy diet is key to your gecko’s health.
Crested geckos are omnivores, which means they eat certain fruits and live insects.
Suitable staple feeder insects for a crestie include crickets, roaches, and small locusts.
Waxworms and superworms have a high-fat content, so only feed them to your crestie as a snack 1-2 times per week.
To add nutritional value to the feeder insects, you will need to gut load them by feeding them a mix of greens and vegetables.
Within 24-48 hours of feeding your crestie, this should be done to ensure the insects contain maximum nutrition.
In addition, to live gut-loaded insects, a crested gecko diet needs to include:
- Vitamin D3
- Multivitamin supplements
Fruits may also be given to your gecko as a snack, including:
Use a calcium powder supplement 2-3 times per week by dusting it directly onto your crestie’s food.
A multivitamin supplement may be given once per week in the same way.
There are also several commercial crested gecko diets mixes available, and they offer all of the nutrients the reptile needs to stay healthy.
These diet mixes usually come in powder form, and they are mixed with water.
A commercial crested gecko diet is safe for a crested gecko to eat at every meal, but it is always best to add variety by offering live insects and fruits on alternate days.
For more options, check out our picks for the best crested gecko foods.
Tail dropping will affect a crested gecko’s growth because it decreases the overall weight and size of the reptile. If a crested gecko drops its tail at an early age, it is less likely to grow very large.
A crested gecko can drop its tail without any adverse effects on its health.
You may also want to read our guide on crested gecko tail dropping.
However, unlike the leopard gecko, a crestie is not able to grow a new tail.
Cresties without tails tend to stay smaller for their entire lives.
They no longer have a tail to store fat, so the reptile will have to ensure it has enough body fat to maintain proper function and growth.
A crestie will drop its tail if it is suddenly frightened or stressed, so it is important to approach your gecko slowly and avoid any sudden movements.
Cresties without tails are known as “frogbutts,” and they will continue to live healthy lives.
However, the geckos will have to make some adjustments to their climbing techniques.
A crestie’s tail is prehensile, which means they can use it to hold onto branches.
Without a tail, your crestie may not be able to reach certain climbing spots anymore.
If your crested gecko loses its tail, there will be a small wound on the rear of the reptile.
It is crucial to keep this wound clean to avoid infection until it is fully healed.
Keep your crestie in a separate hospital enclosure until its tail wound is fully healed.
Once you place your crestie back into its regular tank, monitor your pet, and rearrange any climbing branches it cannot get to easily.
The Enclosure is Too Small
If a crested gecko’s enclosure is too small, it will not provide enough space for the reptile to grow properly. A small enclosure may also cause the gecko to feel stressed and lose its appetite.
The only time a small enclosure is right for a crestie is when it is very young.
Baby cresties do well in a 10-gallon tank because the smaller space helps them feel more secure.
However, once a crestie is 12 months old and weighs close to 25 grams, you will need to move the animal to a larger tank to encourage growth.
An adult crested gecko needs at least a 20-gallon tank to live comfortably.
For more than one crestie, a 30-gallon tank is better.
The enclosure for a crestie should be taller than it is wide to accommodate the gecko’s climbing habits.
A mesh screen top is also necessary to keep the crestie from escaping the enclosure.
Bullying From Another Crested Gecko
If a larger cage mate is bullying a crested gecko, it may become stressed and stop eating, which will slow the gecko’s growth. A larger crested gecko may also bully a smaller one when it comes to food.
To encourage healthy growth among hatchling and juvenile crested geckos, it is important to keep them separated.
There are some rules to follow to avoid any potential bullying when keeping multiple cresties in one enclosure.
Two male cresties should never be placed in an enclosure together.
Males are very territorial, and they may become aggressive and cause injury to one another.
Two female cresties will do well together as long as they are similar in size and the enclosure is large enough to have their own separate space.
If you want to breed cresties, it is best to house more than one female with a male.
Males become very aggressive with females during mating.
Having multiple females in the enclosure helps prevent injury from an aggressive male.
Males and females should never be kept in the same enclosure if you are not prepared to care for possible hatchling geckos.
Illness or Parasites
Illnesses and parasites will slow a crested gecko’s growth by causing the reptile to suffer a loss of appetite. Parasites will also leach important nutrients from the gecko’s body, causing weight loss.
Most illnesses are easily preventable with a proper tank environment and a healthy diet.
Crested gecko upper respiratory illnesses are usually caused by high humidity coupled with low temperatures.
If the substrate in the enclosure is not maintained properly, it may breed bacteria which will also cause respiratory issues in cresties.
Metabolic bone disease is caused by a calcium deficiency in a crestie’s diet.
The disease causes crippling bone deformities of the jaw, spine, and tail.
These bone deformities may cause seizures and will eventually lead to death.
There is no cure for metabolic bone disease, but it is prevented by providing your crestie with adequate calcium in its diet.
A crested gecko may get parasites from its food or environment.
Never feed your crestie any wild insects, as they may be infested with parasites.
Purchase your feeder insects from a pet store or other reputable source, or breed your live insect colony.
Maintain cleanliness in the enclosure to avoid the spread of parasites and other harmful bacteria.
Quarantine any new cresties from your existing ones to ensure your new pet is free from parasites or transmittable illnesses.
The most common signs of internal parasites in cresties include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
If your crestie is showing any of these signs, seek veterinary care right away for treatment.
How To Fatten Up Underweight Crested Geckos
To help an underweight adult crested gecko gain weight, be sure to feed it plenty of gut-loaded insects such as crickets, roaches, and small locusts 3-4 times a week. Add some high-fat insects such as waxworms or superworms as a treat 1-2 times per week.
Signs your crestie is underweight include:
- Slender legs and body
- Visible rib and hip bones
- Lack of calcium sacs
- Flat belly
If your crestie appears underweight, it is important to find out the underlying cause of the issue.
Ensure your crestie does not have any parasites or illnesses and maintain an optimal environment in the enclosure.
Any of these factors may cause your reptile to have a loss of appetite.
A high-protein crested gecko diet mix, such as one specifically made for breeder geckos, may also be used to help your pet gain weight.
Mix one part of the diet powder with 2-3 parts water, and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Experiment with how much water to add to create the consistency your gecko prefers.
If your crestie is still refusing to eat, you may need to hand-feed your pet.
Use your hand or special rubber-tipped feeding tongs to offer food to your gecko.
Never force-feed your crested gecko if it does not want to eat, and seek veterinary care if the problem persists for more than two weeks.
Baby cresties need to be treated within one week of not eating due to their smaller size and greater risk of malnutrition and death.
What To Do If Your Crested Gecko Is Overweight
To help a crested gecko lose weight, you will need to place the reptile on a diet. You will gradually reduce the amount of food your offer to your crested gecko over a few weeks.
Signs of an overweight crested gecko include chubby legs and fat rolls around the head, neck, or stomach.
Overweight cresties are more susceptible to heart disease, infertility, and shedding issues.
This slow change to your crestie’s diet prevents the animal from starving.
Use a small kitchen scale to keep track of your crestie’s weight throughout the diet process.
Start by feeding your gecko one less insect for three consecutive feedings.
Next, offer two fewer insects to your crestie for three more feedings.
Keep reducing the number of insects by one for every three feedings, and then maintain the same number of insects per feeding once your crestie starts to lose weight.
Do not feed your crestie any fatty insects such as waxworms or superworms during the diet.
Once your gecko is at a healthy weight, begin offering one of these high-fat insects as a treat 1-2 times per week.
Regularly monitor your crestie’s weight and avoid overfeeding it in the future.
It is also helpful to provide your gecko with a larger enclosure so it can get adequate exercise.
Check out our complete guide on crested gecko obesity at the link.
Commonly Asked Questions
Are male or female crested geckos larger?
Female crested geckos are typically larger than the males for the first 12-24 months of life.
Male cresties will experience a growth spurt and catch up to the female’s size at 3-4 years of age.
Why does my crested gecko look flat?
A stressed or scared crested gecko will flatten its body to hide from a perceived threat.
A crested gecko may also flatten its body to absorb heat.
Once the stressor is removed or the temperature in the enclosure is corrected, the gecko will return to normal.
How long can a crested gecko go without eating?
Crested geckos may go without eating for 2-3 weeks, especially if you have just brought them home.
Your crestie may take some time to become acclimated with its new surroundings before it will resume eating again.
A frogbutt crestie will likely go less time without eating because it lacks a tail to store fat.
It is best to seek veterinary care during the second week to rule out any underlying illness.
Should I hand-feed my crested gecko?
Hand-feeding is a great way to get a picky crested gecko to eat, and it also helps your pet bond with you.
Hand-feed your crestie with your fingers or special feeding tongs with rubber tips to avoid injury.