Crested Gecko Fact File

Correlophus ciliatus

Credit: Lennart Hudel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 15-20 years

Captive 15-20 years



Insects, Fruit, Nectar

Conservation Status



The crested gecko is a native of New Caledonia. First described in 1866 the species was then not seen again and presumed extinct until 1994 when a small population was discovered.

A small group of these lizards were collected and raised in captivity. They are now a popular pet which is bred in captivity and large numbers have been raised and studied in labs giving us an insight in to their life.

They are considered omnivores with a diet of fruit, nectar and insects.

Their name is taken from the crest which runs down their back from just behind the head and on to the tail.

Read on to learn more about these remarkable reptiles.


What does the crested gecko look like?

Their name is in reference to the crest which runs from just behind the head down the back to the tail. A set of hair-like projections poke up above the eye and are reminiscent of eyebrows. Their head is wedge-shaped.

These reptiles are not equipped with eyelids and as a result must lick their eyes to ensure they remain moist. A clear protective covering sits over the eye to protect it.

Their scales may be colored in various shads of orange, purple, pink, brown or gray. They are able to slightly modify their color to indicate if they are stressed.

At the end of the body is a semi-prehensile tail which is moderately thick.

The toes and the tail tip are covered by small hairs which are called setae. These divide in to hundreds of even smaller hairs. It is these structures which allow geckoes to scale almost any vertical structure including tree trunks, walls and glass.

An average crested gecko will measure between 20 and 25cm (8-10in) long with a weight of 35 to 55g (1.2-1.9oz).


What does the crested gecko eat?

Crested geckoes are omnivores. They feed on fruit, nectar and insects.

Crested Gecko

Credit: Lennart Hudel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Where can you find the crested gecko?

These animals are endemic to New Caledonia, an island in the Pacific ocean. They can be found on the islands of Grande Terre and Ile des Pins.


What kind of environment does the crested gecko live in?

These birds occur in a range of forest habitats including coastal, closed humid and montane forest.

During the day these animals will seek shelter in a tree crevice or hole.

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How does the crested gecko produce its young?

Few studies on the breeding of this species have been conducted in the wild but has been covered extensively in captivity.

Males bite the neck of females prior to mating.

Females will lay 2 eggs between 30 and 40 days after mating. She can retain sperm and use this to produce another clutch before needing to mate again. The eggs are deposited in a shallow hole.

The gender of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature at which they incubate. Eggs incubated at higher temperatures tend to hatch as females which develop faster than lower temperature eggs.

For the first 3-5 days of life these lizards will not eat instead living off stored yolk. Young receive no care from their parents after birth.

Males reach sexual maturity between 9 months and 1 year with females reaching this milestone at 1 year old.

In captivity females have shown an ability to breed year round but this often leads to calcium deficiencies.


What does the crested gecko do with its day?

These animals are active by night.

They are primarily arboreal and spend their night in the trees when they will forage for food.

Crested geckoes are considered solitary. Males have been observed to be aggressive with one another in captivity.

Vocalizations produced by this species include barks and squeaks.

Crested Gecko

Credit: Lennart Hudel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the crested gecko?

This species is threatened by snakes and larger lizards.

They share the ability to drop their tail if threatened like other geckoes. Unfortunately they do not have the ability to re-grow their tail if they lose it.

Populations of the crested gecko are currently in decline. During the 1990s this species was assumed extinct but a populations was rediscovered.

The largest threat faced by this species is predation by the rodents which have been introduced to the islands. They are also hunted by feral cats and are affected by introduced ant species.

This species is also collected to supply the pet trade. They are protected by law but smugglers continue to target them.

Their habitat is being impacted by habitat loss and degradation due to increases in forest fires.

Quick facts

They may also be known as the New Caledonian eyelash gecko.

The crested gecko was first described for western science in 1866. Following this they were not observed again for over a century.

Crested Gecko

Credit: Lennart Hudel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Sadlier, R.A., Bauer, A.M., Jourdan , H., Astrongatt, S., Deuss, M., Duval, T., Bourguet, E., McCoy, S., Bouteiller, A. & Lagrange, A. 2021. Correlophus ciliatusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T176173A123253756. Downloaded on 22 November 2021. 2021. Crested gecko - Amarillo Zoo. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 22 November 2021]. 2021. Crested Gecko | Utah's Hogle Zoo. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 22 November 2021]. 2021. Crested Gecko | Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc.. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 22 November 2021].

Frogs, J., 2021. Crested Geckos: A Great Beginner Lizard - Josh's Frogs How-To Guides. [online] Josh's Frogs How-To Guides. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 November 2021].

Seneca Park Zoo. 2021. New Caledonian Crested Gecko | Seneca Park Zoo. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 22 November 2021].

Brusso, K. 2013. "Rhacodactylus ciliatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 22, 2021 at

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