Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crested Gecko

Last week we took in a crested gecko donated by a family who felt they could no longer devote the time necessary for his care.
This is our first crested and we hope to add him to our presentations if he calms down a bit (he likes to jump).
The crested gecko, Rhacodactylus ciliatus, is an endangered species native to New Caledonia, an island near Australia in the South Pacific. For years it was thought to be extinct until it's rediscovery in 1994. While it's survival in the wild is being threatened by a species of fire ant, which attacks the geckos and the insects on which they feed, the thriving pet trade among captive bred crested geckos will help insure that the species does not become extinct. Crested geckos are no longer exported from New Caledonia.
Named for the short, soft spines over their eyes and along the sides of their heads, these nocturnal lizards eat insects and fruit and can climb glass walls with unbelievable speed. Like most geckos, they can drop their tails when attacked to distract predators. Unlike other geckos, however, their tails do not grow back. Crested geckos come in a variety of colors and patterns and their skin has a unique texture, feeling like extremely soft suede.
In captivity, crested geckos are easy to keep. They feed readily on crickets and baby food or a special commercially made crested gecko diet. The specimen I have is still flighty, preferring to jump out of the hand onto whatever surface is nearby, be it a table or a person or a wall. I don't know if he will calm down or remain flighty, but he is a fun little creature all the same.

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