Are you considering becoming a reptile owner?
If so, you have likely heard of both crested geckos and bearded dragons.
What are the major similarities and differences between these two lizards?
Which one of these lizards is right for you?
Let’s discuss crested geckos and bearded dragons to find out.
Table of Contents
The crested gecko is a small gecko species, with adults only growing to measure between 7 and 9″ inches (23 cm).
This measurement includes the head, body, and length of its tail.
When baby geckos hatch, they generally measure between 2.5 and 3″ inches (7.5 cm).
Since these lizards are so small as babies, it is vital to handle these delicate creatures with care.
These geckos will grow for the first year and a half of their lives.
Once this lizard reaches 18 months in age, it is considered mature and is fully grown.
These geckos will generally weigh between 40 and 60 grams at full maturity.
If you are attempting to figure out how light this is, compare it to a slice of bread.
The average slice of bread weighs 50 grams, so a fully grown crested gecko will feel about the same as a slice of bread does in your hand.
Bearded dragons are not necessarily considered large lizards; however, they are significantly longer and heavier than a crested gecko.
An adult bearded dragon will grow to measure between 16 and 24″ inches (61 cm) from head to tail.
Baby beardies are also small but grow at a much faster rate.
A two-month-old bearded dragon will measure between 5 and 9″ inches (23 cm) in length.
These lizards will continue to grow a couple of inches every month until they reach full maturity.
This generally happens around one year in age, but your beardie may grow an additional inch or two between its first and second birthdays.
A healthy adult dragon should weigh between 380 and 500 grams.
If your beardie weighs more than 510 grams, it is most likely being overfed and is considered to be overweight.
The average lifespan of a pet crested gecko ranges between 15 and 20 years.
This is one of the longest lifespans of any captive lizard.
If you are taking proper care of your pet lizard and tending to all needs throughout its life, you may be lucky enough to have your reptilian friend in your life for two decades.
Even with the best care, some geckos are not destined to live a life of 20 years.
If your pet lizard is genetically predisposed to illnesses out of your control, it may have a shorter life.
However, as long as you care for your pet to the best of your ability, it will likely live the happiest and longest life possible.
There is some dispute on the lifespan of this particular pet lizard, with some sources stating the lifespan is shorter.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), bearded dragons have an average lifespan between 10 and 15 years.
In some cases, pet beardies have been known to live longer than 15 years.
Some aspects affecting the lifespan of your pet lizard are out of your control.
Even so, if you do everything in your power to properly care for your bearded dragon, it will most likely be in your life for at least a decade.
These geckos are known to have a mild-mannered temperament.
They are generally docile, and adult crested geckos enjoy human interaction.
Once this reptile is fully grown, it is safe to handle it.
Crested gecko owners can build trust by practicing “hand walking”.
Hand walking allows your gecko to crawl from one hand to the next, somewhat like a hand treadmill.
Crested geckos are jumpers and are sometimes known to be skittish if trust is not built between gecko and owner.
It is essential to ensure you do not hold your gecko high off the ground.
If your pet jumps from your hands, you will want it to have the shortest fall possible to avoid injury.
It is best to only keep one of these geckos in a tank.
Males are sometimes territorial and have been known to fight.
These animals do fine on their own without any other reptilian companion.
Bearded dragons are also known to be docile, even-tempered reptiles.
They make for great pets, thanks to their laid-back personalities.
These animals are very sociable and will likely bond with their lizard keepers.
Beardies are generally easy to handle, and most do not mind being picked up.
This is a good thing, considering you will need to handle your dragon multiple times per week to clean its enclosure and for bath time.
Although these lizards are sociable with their owners, you should not house bearded dragons together.
These are naturally solitary animals, and placing more than one beardie in a tank will cause stress and lead to possible fights.
If you own multiple beardies, it is often best to keep one dragon per tank.
This lizard species is crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.
During the day, these gorgeous lizards are often found resting under leaves or basking on a branch.
They are not very active during daylight and usually only move around to regulate their body temperatures.
Crested geckos will become more active at night and generally spend most of their time on branches.
These lizards have special toe pads which allow them to climb vertically on any surface.
Because of this, it is crucial to keep them in vertical tanks with plenty of plants and small trees for them to climb on and stay active.
Unless you are awake during the night, you will likely not experience your lizard buddies being very active.
Bearded dragons are diurnal animals, meaning they are most active during the day.
These reptiles will most likely sleep through the night and are not known to make much noise in their tank.
They will benefit from having a schedule.
You should do your best to switch the lights on and off at the same time every day.
Since berdies are not nocturnal, it is generally easier for owners to see them active and spend time with them.
Bearded dragons are known to be good swimmers and enjoy moving around in the water.
For mental stimulation, consider creating a swimming gym for your pet.
Fill a small kiddie pool or bathtub with lukewarm water.
The water levels should be deep enough for your beardie to swim but shallow enough for them to keep their head above the water easily.
You will want to add some toys and objects to climb on.
Remember to never leave your dragon alone in the water, and limit swimming time to a maximum of 20 minutes.
A crested gecko diet is omnivorous.
They mainly eat fruits and insects, with a small portion of their diet dedicated to vegetables and leafy greens.
Many owners opt to feed their pet lizard pellets and food explicitly made for crested geckos.
This option is healthy and will reduce food costs.
If you decide to feed your gecko live insects and fresh fruits, you will need to ensure the food is small enough to eat. Insects should not exceed the space between their eyes.
As for fruit, it is best to mash up the fruit before serving it.
This will make it easier to eat and digest.
Baby and juvenile crested geckos generally need to eat every day for them to grow.
Adult crested geckos will eat every other day.
The following chart contains lists of the best fruits, insects, and vegetation for a healthy crested gecko diet.
|Mango||Silkworms||Sweet Potato||Collard Greens|
In general, it is suggested to use formulated crested gecko food as the staple of their diet and to add fruits, insects, and some vegetables as needed.
Like most reptiles, the calcium to phosphorus ratio is essential for these lizards, with an optimal ratio measuring 2:1.
If you feed your pet a commercial crested gecko diet, you will not need to worry about supplementing its diet.
However, if you are feeding your gecko mainly fruits and insects, you will need to provide it with calcium and vitamin D3 powder as well as multivitamin supplements.
Bearded dragons are also omnivores, with a changing diet throughout their lifetime.
As babies and juveniles, beardies will need to eat 70% insect protein and 30% plant matter.
Once these reptiles reach adulthood, their diet requirements will swap to 70% plant matter and 30% insect protein.
The frequency of feeding fluctuates, starting with multiple feedings per day and decreasing to a three-day feeding cycle as adults.
More specific information on these feeding requirements is found in our bearded dragon diet sheet.
The following chart contains lists of the best foods for bearded dragons.
|Collard Greens||Bell Pepper||Dubia Roaches||Mango|
These reptiles also rely heavily on calcium, and their calcium to phosphorus ratio should measure 2:1.
It is important not to overfeed your beardie and only to feed it live insects smaller than the space between its eyes.
Sticking to a schedule of feeding it insects one day, salad the next day, and fasting the third day is an ideal meal plan.
The minimum size of a crested gecko tank is 20 gallons.
Since these reptiles enjoy climbing and spend most of their time on trees, a vertical tank is ideal.
Look for one with dimensions measuring 12″ inches (30 cm) long, 12″ inches (30 cm) wide, and 24″ inches (61 cm) high.
A crested gecko habitat should be filled with plenty of vegetation and should have multiple branches and perches.
The best substrates for these animals are moss, reptile carpet, or even paper substrate.
The daytime temperature of a crested gecko terrarium should rest between 72 and 78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C).
At night, the temperature should be lower, between 69 and 74° degrees Fahrenheit (23° C).
To regulate their body temperatures, they will need warm and cool areas of their tank.
Since these lizards are nocturnal, they do not require UVB lighting.
An incandescent light or red light is enough for these reptiles.
The humidity levels will need to remain high in a crested gecko tank, ranging between 60% and 80%.
They should always be provided with fresh water, and their tanks should be misted at least once per night.
Beardies should be kept in a 75-gallon tank.
They do best in a horizontal tank with a good substrate.
These reptiles are prone to health issues such as eye infections, so it is best to use a reptile carpet.
The essential furniture to include in your dragon’s tank are a hide box, a basking perch, and some plants for mental stimulation.
These lizards require plenty of freshwater but tend to do best with running or agitated water.
Consider placing a water feeder over their water bowl to keep the water from being still.
Bearded dragons rely heavily on UVB lighting for their overall health.
You will need to have a UVB bulb secured at the top of the enclosure, as well as a basking light on one side of the tank.
Be sure to place one of the perches under the basking light to keep your dragon comfortable while they are heating up.
The daytime tank temperature should rest around 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C).
The basking area should be slightly warmer, measuring between 90 and 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C).
At night, be sure to lower the ambient temperature to approximately 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).
Bearded dragons require a much less humid environment, with ideal humidity levels resting between 30% and 40%.
Both the crested gecko and bearded dragon make for great pets.
These reptiles are docile and relatively easy to care for.
Beardies grow to be much larger than crested geckos and require a larger tank.
They also are active during the day, while crested geckos are most active at night.
Crested geckos are likely to live longer than bearded dragons, and their dietary requirements often have lower costs.
If you are an animal lover who enjoys reptile keeping, you will be happy no matter your choice of lizard.