Buying Guide for Crested Geckos: What’s Important and Where to Buy?
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At this point, you’ve prepared yourself for the arrival of a crested gecko and you’re probably eager to get your own little lizard. It’s really important to buy a healthy crested gecko so, in this part of the guide, you’ll be learning how you should choose a crested gecko, what the average price is of cresties and where you can buy them.
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Important Factors to Consider
Life is full of choices and buying a crested gecko is one of the more important ones you can make. You’re taking care of an animal and its life is in your hands. There are a lot of different factors to consider when buying a crested gecko. You’ll need to make sure that your future pet is healthy but you also have to choose the number of crested geckos you’ll get, their age and sex.
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Your number one priority should be to get a healthy animal. If you don’t get a healthy crested gecko you will end up with a lot of vet costs and might lose your crestie not long after you bought it. Make sure to check the following health indicators:
- the eyes should be bright and clear
- the nose and vent should be clear
- no jaw issues, the jaw should be solid and there shouldn’t be an under or overbite
- a full body and a healthy weight for its age
- an almost flat belly with no noticeable bumps
- intact toes, although missing a few toes won’t be a problem
- a healthy tail tip or healthy and clean frogbutt
- the limbs should have a full range of motion and the crestie should have a normal gait
- the spine, limbs, and tail should be kink-free and have no signs of swelling
- no stuck shedding
- alert and active behavior (not lethargic)
One or more crested geckos?
Crested geckos are animals that can live alone and in a small group. If you keep a crested gecko as a solitary pet it will be just fine and can still live a happy and full life. However, if you want to buy multiple crested geckos you’ll need to take into account that you’ll have to get female crested geckos or a male and several females. When you house male and female crested geckos together you’ll have to expect crested gecko babies sooner or later. Never house multiple male crested geckos in the same terrarium as this will lead to fighting and stress.
If you’re new to crested geckos, I would recommend starting with one crested gecko. If you have a bit more experience, time and can create enough living space for more cresties you can get a small group.
Do you get a hatchling, juvenile or adult crested gecko?
I would recommend buying a baby crested gecko that’s at least two months old. Before that age, there’s a risk that the crestie will refuse to eat and will eventually die. Generally caring for a baby crested gecko is also a bit harder than caring for an older crestie.
If you buy a baby crested gecko there’s one big downside: you won’t be able to tell the sex of it. At the age of six to eight months, you can generally tell what sex the crested gecko is. In addition to this, you won’t see the “final” color and pattern (the morphs) until it grows older.
It should be noted that a lot depends on your goals:
- are you looking for an adult crested gecko to breed?
- do you want to buy one or do you want to house multiple crested geckos?
- are you looking for a baby crested gecko to care of or are you looking for an adult that is easier to take care of?
Getting a male or female?
Most crested geckos – both male and female – are really friendly and calm creatures. If you’re only going to house one crested gecko the choice between a male and a female might not matter that much for you.
Male crested geckos obviously won’t become pregnant and lay eggs. They will usually come at a lower price and are a perfect pet if you intend to house only one crested gecko or one male with several females. A male can become a bit more territorial and aggressive during the breeding season. This means that they might bite you when you handle them (male crested geckos have a tendency to bite the female crested gecko when breeding).
Female crested geckos will lay eggs and you’ll need a special diet before, during and after the pregnancy. The pregnancy can cause a lot of stress, which may lead to a shorter lifespan and tail loss. It’s important to understand that females will lay eggs even if they haven’t mated. The eggs will be infertile and won’t hatch. Nevertheless, you will still have eggs and a stressed female. A big advantage of a female is that you can house multiple female crested geckos together.
Getting a captive-bred crested gecko
Almost all – if not all – crested geckos that are sold these days are captive-bred. This means that they have never been in the wild and that they weren’t taken from the wild because this is illegal. But if you want to be absolutely sure that the crested gecko is captive bred you just have to ask the seller. If the crested gecko isn’t captive-bred, don’t buy it!
Prices of Crested Geckos
Crested geckos don’t cost a lot of money. But as is the case with almost any pet, you can pay a lot of money for the most beautiful crested geckos. The price will depend on a lot of factors like the age, the gender, the rarity of the morph, the region and the season.
On average you can expect the price of a crested gecko to range from $30 to $300. More rare morphs can even cost $1000 or more.
Where to Buy a Crested Gecko?
Crested geckos are available in almost any place in the world. But since they’re more popular in the United States it might be easier for you to buy a crested gecko if you live there. If you’re looking for a crested gecko you can find them in one of the following places:
- pet stores
- private breeders
- reptile rescues
- reptile expos
A little heads up, not all breeders are good people and some will put profit over the health of the crested gecko. If you buy a crested gecko it’s best to check online for reviews or more information. Always ask for enough information about the crested gecko you want to buy. Last but not least, remember to look for signs that the crestie is healthy and doesn’t suffer from injuries or health issues.
Pet stores or pet shops sell a lot of different animals. A lot of them also have crested geckos for sale. Pet stores are probably the most popular place for buying your first crestie. They might be a bit more expensive than other options but they’re more accessible.
When you go to a pet store you can see the living conditions and look if they don’t live in terrible conditions in a small cage. It’s important to ask if you can handle the crested gecko to see if it’s active and healthy. One of the drawbacks of a pet store is that you won’t see the crested gecko’s parents and can’t talk to the breeder directly. You might also encounter pet stores that lack the necessary knowledge about crested geckos. You can test this by asking them enough questions.
Purchasing your new pet from a reputable store means you can see and handle the animal in-person, get care advice from the staff, and check that the crested gecko price is right for your budget!
Buying a Crested Gecko Online
You might not believe it but there’s a huge online business selling crested geckos. This might be perfect for you if you don’t have any pet stores or breeders selling crested geckos near you. You can also find a lot – if not all – available morphs and pick the one you like.
But, buying a crested gecko online also poses a lot of problems:
- you won’t be able to see the crested gecko before you buy it
- obviously, the living conditions will remain a mystery
- you won’t be able to tell if the crested gecko is healthy and eats/drinks well
- online sellers can be contacted with questions but it won’t be the same as when you buy it from a breeder or pet store
How do you buy a crested gecko online?
Choosing a reputable online seller
The most important step when you buy a crested gecko online is to find a reputable online seller. Check the name of the seller online to see if you can find reviews or ask the name of a good online seller on reptile groups on Facebook.
Check the details of the crested gecko on the website
Most online sellers use generic images of crested geckos because it’s almost impossible to make take a picture of every single crested gecko they sell. So don’t be tempted by the picture because the crestie you get might be very different. Some sellers do use pictures of the real crested geckos (and mention this), but it’s important to know that this is not always the case.Take a look at the detailed information. What age is it? Is it a male or female? What is its diet? If you can’t find this information, you should be able to verify with the seller by contacting him.
Pick your next pet
Choose your next crested gecko depending on the age, sex, morph, and price you’re willing to pay. The prices of crested geckos you find online may be a bit higher but you should be able to find cresties for $50.
Check the shipping policy
Shipping crested geckos will cost a lot – sometimes almost the same as the crested gecko itself. Most online sellers use FedEx overnight shipping to limit the time of the transport. You should always make sure to pick the fastest shipment method with guaranteed live delivery.
If you’re interested in buying a crested gecko online you can start your search with the following online sellers (that ship in the US):
Josh’s Frogs: a seller of crested geckos in the lower price range
Moon Valley Reptiles: a seller of crested geckos for each budget
Tiki’s Geckos: a seller of crested geckos in the higher price range
Morph Market: an online market place that brings buyers in contact with breeders
A lot of crested geckos are sold by private breeders. You can find these breeders by scanning the classifieds in your local newspaper, check out the “for sale” ads on buy-and-sell sites, or join reptile groups on Facebook to find crested gecko breeders in your area.
A private breeder will be a perfect choice for you if you’re a noob and don’t know a lot about crested geckos. You can arrange to visit and speak with the breeder and ask everything you want to know about the crested gecko. Private breeders also are able to provide unique morphs that you won’t find anywhere else.
Some questions you would want to ask:
- Was the gecko hatched here? If so, you’ll know the gecko’s lineage/parentage
- What was the hatch date? Your breeder should have this on record
- How old is the gecko? Ensure he’s at least 1 month old
- Can I see the parents? If not, ask to see photos
- What does the gecko weigh? He shouldn’t be underweight for his age
- What does he eat and how is he fed? This will tell you if he’s eating well
- How and where is he housed? Continuing the current care routine ensures a smooth transition to a new environment
Reptile rescues or shelters will give you a chance to re-home an abandoned little crested gecko. Of course, you won’t have the same choice and there might only be a limited number of crested geckos in the rescue. But they will often be free or the price will be a lot lower.
If you adopt a crested gecko from a reptile rescue you might have to fill in a form with all kinds of questions. These questions will determine if you’re able to take care of a crested gecko. The last thing a reptile rescue wants is to sell a crested gecko and have to take them back after a while. This can cause a lot of stress for the crested gecko.
Interested in buying from a reptile rescue? The Reptile Magazine has a really nice list of reptile rescues near you.
A reptile expo is one of the best ways to meet other reptile lovers and get to know different breeders and sellers. At the expo, you can ask all the questions you want to the breeders and they should be able to answer them without a problem. Handling a crested gecko at the expo also won’t be a problem. You can – at some expos – buy the necessary gear for your crested gecko or find books that can help you take care of your little pet.
The major problem with reptile expos is that they don’t happen that often and in some countries, there might not even be a reptile expo. So you might have to travel some distance. Since they don’t happen that often a lot of people might come to the expo and the building might be too crowded which isn’t that comfortable.
Going to an expo might also require an entrance fee but most entrance fees aren’t that high to begin with.
To get you started here are some links that will help you find a reptile expo near you if you live in the United States:
Reptile Expo in North East United States
Reptile Events Calendar
Bring Your Crested Gecko Safely to Its New Home
If you’ve prepared for your crested gecko, you have already set up the terrarium with the proper substrate and plants and you’ve already bought enough food. When you buy your crested gecko you also need to bring him home safely.
When you buy your crested gecko online the transport will be carried out overnight and you’ll need to be home to welcome your little crestie the next day. You’ll only need to take him out of the carrier and put him into his new home.
But if you buy your crested gecko from a physical place like a pet store or breeder you need to have something to bring him home yourself. There are a few ways of transporting a crestie: you can buy a plastic container or create your own lizard carrier. Obviously, the choice is up to you and it’s pretty easy to create your own carrier.
Do crested geckos change color?
Crested geckos come in all kinds of colors and patterns. When you choose a crested gecko it’s important to know that the color during the day might be different than the color it has at night. This is also called firing up. If you get your crested gecko it won’t always be possible to see the difference between the color during the day and during the night. Nevertheless, it’s important to know that there might be a difference.
Do crested geckos carry diseases?
Most crested geckos are free of diseases and parasites. When you buy a crested gecko look for signs that indicate that the crested gecko is healthy and parasite-free. If you already have other crested geckos – or other reptiles – at home, it’s recommended to house your new crested gecko in a quarantine tank for at least a week. This way you can make sure that the crested gecko eats and drinks well and that he won’t infect the new housemates.
Should you consider buying a crested gecko without a tail?
Crested geckos without a tail are perfectly normal and it doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy. There are a lot of reasons for a crested gecko to lose its tail. So if you like the crested gecko don’t be afraid to do so because he doesn’t have a tail. You can negotiate the price because crested geckos with a tail are more in demand.
Now that you know where you can buy a crested gecko and what to look for, you can continue to the next chapter in the guide: Crested Gecko Care.
Let me ask you a question
Where did you buy your crested gecko? I – and probably a lot of other people -want to know! So let us know in the comment section where you bought your crested gecko.