Cost Breakdown of Crested Geckos (Startup and Recurring)
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Caring for a crested gecko requires you to do a little bit of shopping and it’s important to know beforehand what the entire cost is of keeping a crested gecko. However, this cost can also play a big part in convincing your family or roommates to get a crested gecko.
The entire cost of keeping a crested gecko depends on the price of the crested gecko and the price of the supplies you’ll need. On average, the startup cost of keeping a crested gecko ranges from $400 to $600 (without the crested gecko). After that, the recurring costs are around $20 a month.
The cost of caring for a crested gecko can scare you a little bit, but you’ve got to understand that the terrarium (which will last for a long time) makes up a quarter of the entire cost. So if you’re on a budget, you can make some budget choices but always keep the wellbeing of your crested gecko in mind.
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The cost above also doesn’t include the price of your crested gecko. This price depends on a lot of different factors. If you’re interested in learning more about these factors, you should read our article about crested gecko pricing (with an extensive study).
In this article, you’ll learn about the cost of keeping a crested gecko and caring for it. You’ll get an insight into what the different products cost and in the end, you’ll know how you can avoid spending a lot of money.
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Crested Gecko Startup Cost
Before you get a crested gecko you’ll need to buy some essentials. This startup cost consists of buying the following products:
- transport cage
- digital thermometer/hygrometer
- lighting/heating equipment (if necessary)
- spray bottle
- feeding ledge
- feeding/drinking cups
- crested gecko diet
- digital scale
- reptile-safe disinfectant
For information on each of these products and the recommended ones, you should visit our extensive shopping list. Below I’ll give you the price range for each product and give you some budget options (if possible). Of course, this is just an indication of the price: prices may vary depending on factors like the availability in your region, discounts, brands, package sizes. Also, be aware of shipping costs which can be very high.
|Pressurized spray bottle||$15|
|Magnetic feeding ledge||$20|
|Crested gecko diet||$25|
|Total (without a cage for an adult)||$400|
|Total (with cage for an adult)||$600|
A crested gecko needs an enclosure and can’t be kept without one. Luckily crested geckos don’t need a lot of space.
Baby crested geckos (hatchlings and small juveniles) can be kept in small containers or 10-gallon terrariums. Larger juveniles and adult crested geckos should be kept in a terrarium of at least 20 gallons.
The cost of the enclosure will depend on the age of your crested gecko. Hatchlings and juveniles will need a smaller (and cheaper) terrarium but you will eventually need to buy a larger (and more expensive) terrarium.
The price of an enclosure depends on the size, the quality, and the materials. A faunarium (small container) costs around $20 but a real terrarium will cost a lot more. A small 12″x12″x18″ terrarium will cost around $100 while a large 18″x18″x24″ terrarium will cost around $200.
If you’re handy and have an old aquarium you can create your very own terrarium. Make sure that the aquarium is placed vertically since crested geckos are arboreal pets. It’s also very important to get enough ventilation in the self-made terrarium.
You can use the transport cage to transport your crested gecko to the vet or transport it from the shop to your house. When cleaning the terrarium, you can also place your crested gecko in it as temporary housing. A faunarium or critter keeper is perfect as a transport cage and, as I already mentioned, costs $20.
You should monitor the temperature and humidity in a crested gecko terrarium daily to ensure that your gecko stays healthy. So a good thermometer (to measure temperature) and hygrometer (to measure humidity) are necessary.
You can get gauges, but digital versions are more accurate. If you have to buy a thermometer and hygrometer separately, you can pay $35. There are also combometers that combine the two in one device. These will usually cost $25.
Crested geckos don’t need special UVB light or high heat to stay healthy. A normal day/night light cycle is necessary so you need to place the terrarium in a room that has this (without putting it in direct sunlight). The terrarium should be between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius), although crested geckos can also tolerate slightly lower temperatures.
Most people will not need lighting/heating equipment or only one of the two (mainly lighting). However, if you need both lighting and heating equipment, you can expect to pay $65 and a recurring cost of $20 to replace light and heat bulbs.
The humidity in a crested gecko terrarium should be between 70 and 80 percent on average with drops to 50 percent. This will require you to mist at least once a day. Misting requires water and a spray or misting bottle. A pressurized spray bottle will cost $15 while a normal spray bottle can cost $5.
For a small terrarium, a standard spray bottle is good enough. However, if you want a budget option, you can also use the spray bottle for watering plants from a dollar store.
If you got a baby crested gecko, you don’t need substrate right away and can use paper towels. But when your crestie becomes older, you need substrate. The substrate is the bedding of a terrarium and makes the terrarium look more natural.
Depending on the substrate you choose, the cost ranges from $5 to $20 per bag (product). This substrate is usually already included if you get a crested gecko kit. Substrate is a (bi)monthly recurring cost of $10 if you don’t set up a bioactive terrarium.
To get some foliage in your terrarium, you can use fake or live plants. Both have their benefits and drawbacks and the choice is ultimately up to you.
I would recommend getting fake plants for hatchlings and small juvenile crested geckos. The small terrarium or containers you keep them in isn’t large enough for live plants and it would only make it too difficult for your crestie to find its way.
You can go to a plant nursery or garden center if you want live plants. If you want convenience, you can also find plants online. Search for golden pothos, sansevieria, and bromeliads. Just make sure that you don’t get too many plants! Half of the terrarium should be free for your crested gecko to explore.
The price of the terrarium plants depends on what the plants are and if they’re live or fake plants. You can expect to pay between $20 and $50 for the terrarium plants.
Crested geckos are (semi-)arboreal and love to climb and jump. You can feed your crested gecko by placing a cup or dish on the ground, but putting the feeding and water cups up high is recommended. You can do this by using a so-called feeding ledge.
There are feeding ledges with plastic suction cups, magnets, or screws (for screen cages). If you get a glass terrarium, your only options are feeding ledges with suction cups or magnets. Feeding ledges with suction cups will cost less than ledges with magnets. Simple ledges are also cheaper than more naturalistic-looking ledges. A feeding ledge costs between $10 and $20.
You can go nuts with decorating your crested gecko terrarium. There are fake vines, branches, hides, waterfalls, backgrounds,… You can spend a lot of money on decoration and a lot will depend on your personal preference. A total package with bamboo bars, vines, and a hiding place will cost $45.
A crested gecko will eat and drink from cups and you can find all kinds of cups in pet stores and online. Most of these cups are made from plastic but there are also biodegradable cups. Both cost roughly the same price at $10 for 100 cups. Biodegradable cups are a recurring cost but plastic cups can be also rinsed and reused.
Crested gecko diet
There are some commercial crested gecko diets available. They consist of a meal replacement powder. You just add some water to these powders and you got dinner for your crestie. The price of a meal replacement powder depends on the brand and the content. A meal replacement powder price ranges from $10 to $25. It’s also a monthly recurring cost depending on the size of the package you get.
Caring for a crested gecko also means measuring and more importantly weighing. You want to stay on top and know when your crested gecko is losing weight. Weighing your crested gecko can be done with a simple digital kitchen scale that costs from $10 to $20.
To clean your crested gecko terrarium, you need disinfectant and this disinfectant should be safe for your crested gecko. This disinfectant costs around $15 and is a recurring cost since you’ll need to clean the terrarium regularly.
Crested Gecko Recurring Cost
Besides the startup cost, there are also recurring costs. This cost consists of buying and replacing:
- crested gecko diet: the recurring cost of the crested gecko diet depends on the amount you feed and the number of times you feed. For an adult crested gecko, an 8 oz bag will last up to three months. So, expect a recurring cost (about every three months) of $20.
- substrate: you need to clean the terrarium every month and this includes replacing the substrate. You can spot clean and replace the entire substrate after six months but for hygienic reasons, I would recommend doing this every month. The recurring cost (monthly) for the substrate is $10.
- feeding/drinking cups: if you get disposable cups and feed daily you need to get new cups after two months. If you feed every other day and replace the water each day you can last up to three months. So the recurring cost (about every two months) is $10.
- disinfectant: you shouldn’t expect a large recurring cost from disinfectant since a large bottle can last a long time and you’ll only need to clean once a month.
The total recurring cost (every three months) of caring for a crested gecko will be around $60.
Additional and Optional Cost
Crested geckos can live just fine without feeding worms and insects. However, if you choose to provide insects, worms, or roaches to your crested gecko, you’ll need to gut-load and dust them with supplements. The price of the insects, worms, and roaches depends on the amount you buy and their size. If you feed every month, you should expect a cost of $5 for the insects/worms and $5 for the supplements needed for dusting.
Crested geckos don’t need checkups or annual vaccinations like other pets do. The only veterinary costs you’ll encounter are when your crestie becomes ill or gets injured.
A typical veterinary visit with physical examination costs between $40 and $60. But going to a vet can become expensive very fast. If your crestie needs cultures, x-rays, or other tests the costs can be in the hundreds of dollars.
It’s possible that you don’t need to visit a vet for a long time but set a budget of $200 a year for vet visits just in case. If you don’t it that year you can spend it on other things or you can put it in a saving jar for your crested gecko.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about crested geckos as pets, please read the following articles.
If you’re interested in getting crested geckos as pets you should also definitely read our article about baby and juvenile crested gecko care or (adult) crested gecko care.