Crocodile Gecko – The Ultimate Guide


Crocodile Gecko

Origin 

Crocodile gecko, commonly known as Moorish or European common gecko, originated from the western Mediterranean of North America and Europe. This species has been increasing, especially in inhabited places. This is also the reason why it is called common wall geckos. 

crocodile  geckos are nocturnal animals and hunt insects during the night. This species is a very flexible animal since it can easily adjust to different environmental conditions. In fact, crocodile geckos can be located in different parts of the world such as North Africa, Southern France, the Italian coast, Southwest Greece, Spain, Portugal and Argentina. They are armed to survive in different environments. 

Identifying Traits 

This species has also been named as crocodile gecko because of its appearance. It has a flat head and an elongated snout. The tail, legs and back also have notable tubercles which make it resemble a crocodile. Facial features include vertical pupils and big eyes without eyelids. 

Their color ranges from brown or brownish grey and is affected by sun exposure. Usually, crocodile geckos who have greater exposure to daylight tend to be darker during the night. 

Crocodile geckos are relatively moderate in size. Adult males reach the size of 6-7 inches long while females are smaller in size. 

Habitation

Crocodile geckos dwell in rocky areas as their natural habitat. It includes cliffs and vegetation with a lot of hides for security. They normally transfer to another place where insects or food sources are abundant. 

This species is also known for its ability to live together with humans. Hence, they are commonly found in buildings or inhabited places. 

In captivity, they are housed in terrariums or enclosures  of at least 10 gallons or more. This species is also arboreal and spends most of its time on trees or walls. Hence, the enclosures must be taller to cater for their interest in climbing. The suggested size of the enclosure is  20’’ x 10’’ x 12’’. This size can house a single adult gecko. 

Substrate

Crocodile geckos required proper humidity for their survival. To retain moisture, peat moss or coconut coir as substrate can be used in their enclosure. Aside from coco peat, a few inches of sand may also be used as a substrate. 

Maintaining the cleanliness of the substrate is essential to their growth and wellness. Keep their habitat clean by replacing the substrate at least once every three months to prevent bacteria and other harmful organisms from growing inside. 

Humidity and Temperature

Crocodile geckos need a relative humidity of 40 to 60%. In order to monitor the humidity inside the enclosure, you can use a hygrometer.

Placing a water dish and spraying it at least once or twice a day can also help in increasing the moisture content of the enclosure. In spraying, make sure the decoration is dripping with moisture. 

Since high humidity encourages the growth of bacteria, make sure the enclosure is well-ventilated to let the extra moisture evaporate. To promote better ventilation, use screen mesh as a covering or provide holes where the moisture can pass through. 

Light Requirement 

Crocodile geckos need at least 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime to keep them stress-free and healthy. This can be addressed by providing LED bulbs during the day and night bulbs to imitate the lighting during the night. This kind of setup will allow the enclosure to mimic the natural light cycle.  

Since crocodile geckos are nocturnal animals, there is no need to provide bright lights during the nighttime.

Decoration 

This species loves to climb on surfaces since they are arboreal. Hence, you can add rocks and branches to copy their natural habitat. Design the enclosure in a manner that they can climb and exercise their muscles. This will keep them healthy and active. 

You can also add live plants such as pothos, birds nest and snake plants for your bioactive terrarium. These plants are hardy and require minimal care.  In their absence, fake decorative plants can be used. 

The most important thing in choosing decoration is to make sure that it’s non-toxic and safe for your crocodile geckos. 

Diet and nutrition 

Crocodile geckos normally feed on insects such as flies, larvae or mosquitoes in their natural habitat. This is common since they are insectivores.

In captivity, they are fed a variety of insects in order to achieve a balanced diet. A variety of insect feeders is given in alternate to address their nutritional needs. Some of the common feed for crocodile geckos are crickets, mealworms and waxworms on an occasional basis.

For feeding requirements, they are fed at least once in a day. The number of insects should be enough for them to consume. Gut-loaded diet can also be done to ensure that they get enough nutrients to grow. 

Sexing

The common ways to identify the sex f your crocodile gecko is by their physical differences, hemipenal bulge or preanal pores. 

  1. Physical difference

Adult males are usually larger than females. Adult males also have protrusions at the back of their hind legs. These are cloacal spurs and males tend to have bigger spurs compared to females. 

One of the physical features of the female gecko is the appearance of femoral pores. This is located on the thigh.

  1. Hemipenal bulge

Crocodile geckos develop hemipenal bulges below their vent as they mature. These two nodules are located underneath their skin. The appearance of hemipenal bulges indicates that your pet is a male since female adults don’t develop this physical feature. 

  1. Preanal pores. 

Male has more noticeable and prominent preanal pores compared to their female counterpart.

Preanal pores can be located in the vent area. This is also responsible for secreting substances to mark their territory. The appearance of these tiny visible dots indicates that your gecko is a male. 

Breeding 

Breeding crocodile geckos start by keeping them in true pairs. Cool down period is important to encourage breeding activity. This normally occurs during the winter season when the temperature drops. 

When the female starts to lay eggs, they lay by pair and bury them in the substrate. This must be carefully incubated for higher chances of survival. The egg can be incubated in a substrate containing sand or coco peat at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Safekeeping for Hatchlings 

Normally, the eggs will hatch after 60 to 75 days if provided with the proper temperature. To take care of them, insects of appropriate size must be given one week after hatching. This species is also cannibalistic so you should separate the hatchling from the adult.

Supplement

Healthy geckos are characterized by their clear eyes, alertness, rounded body and tails, healthy skin and eagerness in eating. In order to maintain their healthy body,  supplements must be added to their diet.

Insect feeders must be sprinkled or dusted with vitamin and calcium supplements twice a week. But a female adult who is laying eggs must be supplemented with a higher concentration of calcium for egg development. 

These supplements are important in order to supply the lacking nutrients in their feed. For muti-vitamins, they can be added to the insects at least once every week for the optimal health of your crocodile geckos. 

Common Health issues 

Some of the most common health issues for crocodile geckos are the following: 

  1. Respiratory diseases 

These are characterized by difficulty in breathing, clogged nose and swollen eyes. This is normally caused by too much coldness in the enclosure. To avoid this, you can add a heating pad in order to increase the temperature inside the enclosure. 

  1. Vitamin deficiency 

Vitamin deficiency is characterized by the deformities of bones as well as the limbs of your gecko. This may also cause lethargy or weakness. To prevent vitamin deficiency, supply your geckos with the needed vitamins and minerals such as calcium and muti-vitamis. If the condition continues, consult your vet. 

  1. Gastrointestinal problems 

Gastrointestinal problems may cause watery stools. This will lead to a lack of appetite especially when it is caused by bacterial or parasitic infection. For immediate relief, bring your gecko to the nearest veterinarian.

FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions

Do crocodile geckos need UVB?

No, crocodile geckos are nocturnal animals so they don’t need UVB light. However, there are also some keepers who use UVB.

How long do crocodile geckos live? 

They are fun and beautiful animals to keep since they also have a long lifespan. In captivity, crocodile geckos normally reach 10 to 15 years when cared for properly while in their natural habitat, they tend to live longer.

Are crocodile geckos aggressive? 

No, crocodile geckos are not aggressive animals. However, this is very agile and has the ability to escape when they are handled or stressed. To keep them stress-free, avoid frequent handling. They are better kept as display animals.

Do crocodile geckos bite? 

Crocodile geckos don’t bite since they are non-aggressive animals. They would prefer to lose their tails or escape rather than attack you. 

Are crocodile geckos good pets?

Yes, crocodile geckos can be good pets. This is because they are peaceful and calm animals.  Just remember to avoid stressing them out as they get easily nervous. They also drop their tails when they are afraid or threatened. 

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