How To Breed Crested Geckos

Crested geckos are popular among reptile keepers because they do not require special heating or lighting needs like some other species of reptiles.

Because of their easy care requirements, many crested gecko owners decide to breed them.

Breeding crested geckos are not complicated, and the initial cost is very low. 

You do not need any fancy equipment to begin the process, but you will need a few things before you get started.

To breed crested geckos, you will need a healthy male and female, a nesting box, an incubator, and separate enclosures for the hatchlings. It is best to have a nesting box and incubator ahead of time so you will be ready when the female crested gecko lays her eggs.

Commercial incubators are available, but it is inexpensive and easy to make your own using a plastic container for a small-scale breeding operation.

If you plan on breeding crested geckos to sell them, you will need to have plenty of extra space for separate hatchling enclosures or a breeding rack.

Keep reading to learn more about breeding crested geckos, including how to ensure your breeding pair is in optimal health, how old your geckos need to be before breeding, and how to properly pair your geckos. 

We also provide information on how to prepare your female crested gecko for laying eggs, the steps to take once she has laid the eggs, and what to do if any complications occur.

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Reasons For Breeding Crested Geckos

The main two reasons to breed crested geckos are because you want more as your own pets or to sell them as a breeder. 

Before you begin to breed your crested gecko, it is important to consider the reasons for doing so.

Whether you are breeding your crested geckos to keep the babies for yourself, or you plan on selling the baby geckos, there are a few important things to consider.

Breeding crested geckos is not a very profitable venture unless you are breeding very rare morphs.

While the initial expense of breeding crested geckos is relatively low, feeding and housing multiple geckos will become more costly as new babies are hatched.

If any of your cresties gets sick, you’ll find yourself paying expensive vet bills as well.

You will also need to consider how much time you will need to spend caring for all of your geckos.

There are daily tasks such as spot cleaning the enclosures and feeding times. 

Each enclosure will also need to be deep cleaned at least once per month.

If you are planning to sell your crested gecko babies, you will have to spend some time handling them each day, so they become used to it. 

People looking to purchase a crested gecko usually prefer it if their new pet is already tame and used to being handled.

Breeding For Your Own Enjoyment

If you are breeding crested geckos because you would like more of them in your home, the main thing to consider is the expense of owning multiple geckos.

There are rules you must follow when keeping more than one crested gecko in an enclosure. 

Two female cresties may be safely housed in the same tank as long as they are close to the same size.

While female geckos are less aggressive than males, the larger female is more likely to bully a smaller female into asserting her dominance in the enclosure. 

As long as you provide them with a large enclosure, two similarly-sized female geckos will get along well.

When it comes to males, however, it is a different story. 

It doesn’t matter how large the enclosure is or what size the geckos are, but two males should never be kept in the same tank. 

Male cresties are extremely territorial, and they will display aggressive behavior towards each other to the point of serious injury.

If a single male and female crested gecko are kept in the same enclosure, the male may cause injury to the female through aggressive mating. 

For this reason, it is better to house the male with up to five females to avoid any type of injury.

Having multiple females in the enclosure will also increase the likelihood of having more viable eggs.

In addition to the proper cohabitation of crestie adults, you will also need separate, smaller enclosures for the hatchlings. 

It is best to keep the hatchlings separate until they are old enough to join the adult geckos.

The costs of maintaining multiple enclosures and providing a proper diet and habitat for your cresties will add up over time. 

Be sure you are prepared for these expenses so you do not end up with more than you are able to handle.

Breeding to Sell the Baby Crested Geckos

If you are breeding crested geckos to sell them, your main concern will be breeding different morphs. While normal crested geckos make great pets, they are very common, and selling them might be difficult.

When someone chooses a crested gecko breeder to buy from, they usually look for interesting color and pattern variations.

See crested gecko buying guide.

If you only breed normal crested geckos, you are more likely to end up with more geckos than you intended to have because they may not sell quickly.

Breeding different morphs are also more profitable because unique morphs sell for much more than normal crested geckos. 

Normal cresties sell for anywhere between $35-$100, while the price for rare morphs ranges from $500-$1,000 or more.

Choosing to breed and sell crested geckos is more than just a hobby, and it will require a lot of work, time, and money to maintain. 

Customers expect healthy, well-adjusted geckos, especially if they spend a lot of money on a rare morph. 

This will require you to provide your cresties with top-notch care, and it will not be easy.

Even when breeding expensive morphs, you are not likely to see huge profits because a lot of the money you make will need to go back into your business.

Check our massive guide (with pictures) on crested gecko morphs.

It is important to be aware of these potential downsides before you ever begin breeding your geckos.

Most crested gecko breeders do not start breeding with the expectation of becoming rich. 

They do it because they simply love their animals and want to share them with everyone.

What Is the Proper Age for Breeding Crested Geckos?

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Female crested geckos should be 15-18 months old and weigh 40 grams or more before breeding for the first time. Male crested geckos will not be ready to breed until they are at least two years old and weighing between 35-40 grams.

Crested geckos reach sexual maturity between 9-12 months of age, but it is best to wait until they are older than this to begin breeding them.

Bodyweight is also a factor in breeding, especially for females who will need a healthy reserve of calcium and fat stores before she begins egg production.

It is wise to invest in a small kitchen scale so you will be able to monitor the weight of your cresties. 

Weigh your geckos weekly to ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight.

When a female becomes gravid, she may not eat as much when almost ready to lay her eggs. 

This is a very dangerous time for an underweight female because she may lose too much weight and become ill.

Female crested geckos can reproduce until they are 10 years old, but it is best to stop breeding them when they are 6-7 years old. 

Producing and laying eggs takes a huge toll on a female crested gecko’s body, and it will even shorten her lifespan.

Male crested geckos are usually bred for a longer period than females since the breeding process does not affect their bodies in the same ways.

As the males get older, they may have difficulties retracting their hemipenes. 

At this point, they should be retired from breeding.

When Is Crested Gecko Breeding Season?

As a general rule, crested gecko breeding season starts in February and lasts until October. If temperatures and lighting remain, the same, crested geckos will breed during any time of year.

In the wild, crested geckos will mate during the spring and summer months. 

Warmer temperatures and longer days trigger this breeding instinct.

If you are planning to breed crested geckos for an entire breeding season, it is best to adjust the temperatures and lighting in the winter to give the geckos a chance to rest and recover.

To simulate the winter season, you will need to lower the tank temperatures to around 60-65° degrees (18° C). 

However, this may not always be ideal because crested geckos will enter brumation if temperatures are low for prolonged periods. 

They may not eat enough to prepare them for the next breeding season.

Another option is to simply keep the geckos in their separate tanks away from each other, so they are both able to continue eating as normal while still getting some rest.

Female crested geckos need this resting period to build up their fat stores before breeding season begins.

If the female crestie can see the male from her enclosure, it may trigger her to ovulate. When this happens, she may lay eggs even though she has not mated.

Even though the eggs will be infertile, the entire process of producing and laying eggs will once again deplete her calcium and fat reserves. 

This defeats the purpose of giving her a resting period, and you will have to work on building up her calcium and fat reserves all over again.

You may also want to learn why your crested geckos eggs are dented.

Preparing Crested Geckos For Breeding

It is vital to provide your crested geckos with plenty of nutrient-rich food and calcium supplements in the time leading up to the breeding season. Their feeding schedule may even be increased to every other day instead of three days before breeding.

The diet for your crested gecko breeding pair should include a variety of gut-loaded insects dusted with a calcium powder supplement along with a nutrient-dense prepackaged crested gecko food.

Calcium is vital for female cresties not only for producing eggs but for laying them as well. 

If an egg-laying female suffers from a calcium deficiency, she will not have the necessary muscle contractions for laying the eggs.

When a female crestie cannot lay her eggs, she becomes egg-bound, also known as dystocia.

Egg binding may have serious consequences for the female crestie, as she will likely suffer from a cloacal prolapse. 

A cloacal prolapse occurs when part of a reptile’s organs protrude from its cloaca.

Cloacal prolapse is a very serious condition, and it requires immediate veterinary care. 

Without prompt treatment, the organs will become necrotic, and the reptile will die.

Never attempt to treat egg binding on your own, as you will likely cause your gecko more harm than good.

Proper Pairing Of Your Crested Geckos

To properly pair your crested geckos, place the male in the female’s enclosure and monitor them. An ovulating female will lift her tail, and the male will bite her neck before copulating. If the female is not receptive, it is best to remove the male and attempt again in a week or two.

Once your crested geckos have reached full sexual maturity and have gained the right amount of weight, it is time to pair them.

If a female crestie is not ovulating, she will not be receptive to the male’s advances and fight back.

Once the geckos have started copulation, it will last for several minutes. 

You will know they are finished when they separate themselves.

After copulation has finished, remove the male and place him back in his enclosure.

At this point, there is nothing to do but wait.

Related: How to tell the gender of crested geckos

Preparing a Female Crested Gecko for Laying Eggs

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To prepare your female crested gecko for laying eggs, provide her with calcium supplementation at every meal, and allow her to eat as much as she wants. She will need the extra calcium and nutrition to produce healthy eggs.

If the female becomes gravid, you will start to see small lumps on her lower abdomen. 

She will also begin eating more until she is ready to lay her eggs.

The gravid female crestie will also spend more time in the warmer areas of the enclosure, hiding more often.

Create an egg-laying box for her with a small plastic container, and fill it with a substrate mixture of damp vermiculite and peat moss. 

The substrate should be damp but not completely wet.

Moisture is important to keep the eggs from drying out, but too much moisture will cause mold and bacteria growth.

Place a lid on the egg-laying box and cut a small hole in the top for the crestie to climb in and out of.

Check the substrate regularly, and mist it when it starts to dry out.

After about one month, the female will be ready to lay her eggs. 

You will notice her digging furiously in her nesting box, and she may start to eat less.

Since this is stressful for the female crestie, disturb her as little as possible until she is done laying her eggs.

If you notice your crestie straining to lay her eggs, she may be egg-bound, and you will need to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Crested geckos will typically lay 1-2 eggs per clutch, and they are capable of producing 6-7 clutches per season. 

If this is the first time your female crestie has mated, she will usually only lay one egg in her first clutch.

How To Incubate Crested Gecko Eggs

To incubate the eggs, use a clear plastic box and fill 2/3 full with damp vermiculite and peat moss. Poke several small holes in the lid for ventilation, place the eggs in the substrate, and cover them with the lid.

Once your crestie has finished laying her eggs, you will need to carefully transfer them to an incubator. 

Be careful not to roll the eggs during the transfer, as this will cause the embryo to drown.

Most breeders lightly mark the top of the eggs with a marker to avoid any accidents.

The outside of the eggs should be a uniform chalky white color with a pink center. 

If the eggs are yellow and misshapen, they are probably not viable, but it is best to incubate them for a while and see what happens to be sure.

You do not need special heating devices to incubate the eggs because the optimal temperature range for incubation is between 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C). 

This temperature range will result in the eggs hatching in 60-70 days during warmer months.

If temperatures are cooler, the eggs may take up to 120 days to hatch.

Keep the substrate damp by misting it, but avoid directly spraying the eggs. 

If the substrate is too wet, mold may grow on the eggs.

If you see any mold on the eggs, gently wipe it off with a paper towel and place the egg back in the incubator.

Candling the Eggs

Candling involves shining a bright light on the eggs while in a darkened room. If the eggs are fertile, you will be able to see a red or pink dot in the center, and you may even be able to see tiny blood vessels.

To check the viability of the eggs, you will need to candle them.

If the eggs are infertile, they will appear yellow inside, and the outside of the egg may be discolored or misshapen. 

Infertile eggs will deflate and begin to mold within a couple of weeks, and at this point, they may be safely removed from the incubator and discarded.

Using a clear container for an incubator makes it easy to candle the eggs without disturbing them because you will be able to shine the light through the container and see the eggs.

What To Do When the Eggs Begin to Hatch

Do not disturb the hatchlings when they start to emerge from the eggs. They need to absorb the yolk sac because this is the only nutrition they will receive until they eat. Leave the hatchlings in the incubator until they have their first shed, usually within 12-24 hours.

When the eggs begin to hatch, the baby geckos will punch a hole through the egg. 

They may not fully emerge right away and choose to stay in the egg to absorb the yolk sac.

After the hatchlings have shed, move each of them into their small enclosures. 

A 5-gallon aquarium will work well as a hatchling’s first home, as the small space helps them feel more secure.

The small enclosure should be simple, with a simple paper towel substrate and a moist hide. 

It is easy to create a hide using a small plastic container filled with moist sphagnum moss and a small hole cut in the lid for easy access.

Mist the small enclosure twice per day to create enough humidity to avoid shedding problems.

Related: Learn more about crested gecko shedding behavior

Once you have moved the hatchlings to the small enclosure, offer them Crested Gecko Diet food. After one month, it is safe to start offering small crickets.

Hatchling geckos will need to eat every day to accommodate their rapid growth. 

Alternate the Crested Gecko Diet with the crickets to give the hatchlings a variety

Once the hatchling geckos reach a weight between 10-15 grams, moving them into a larger 20-gallon enclosure is safe.

Using a Breeding Rack

A breeding rack consists of rows of shelving lined with small plastic bins. Each bin should have a paper towel substrate for easy clean-up and shallow food and water dishes for the geckos.

If you are breeding crested geckos to sell, a breeding rack will allow you to house multiple hatchlings in a smaller area.

Other reptile species such as ball pythons or bearded dragons will require heat tape to keep the breed rack warm, but this is unnecessary for crested geckos.

The crested gecko hatchlings will do well as long as the ambient room temperature is between 72-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C).

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