Crested Gecko vs Leopard Gecko (A Comprehensive Comparison)

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Deciding between a crested gecko and a leopard gecko as your new pet can be challenging, given their unique characteristics and care requirements.

Crested geckos are arboreal creatures that thrive in humid environments, while leopard geckos prefer a more terrestrial and drier habitat. Both species have specific housing and dietary needs that you will need to consider, as well as differences in size, lifespan, and temperament.

As you read on, you’ll discover more about each gecko’s appearance, behavior, and care, making it easier to choose the perfect pet that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Crested Geckos vs Leopard Geckos: An Overview

In this section, we’ll discuss the general characteristics of both crested geckos and leopard geckos, to help you better understand these two intriguing species of lizards.

Crested Gecko Characteristics

Crested geckos are arboreal geckos, meaning they thrive in tree-filled environments. Some notable features of crested geckos include:

  • Omnivorous diet: They consume both vegetation and insects.
  • Humidity requirement: They need a more humid environment to thrive.
  • Lifespan: Crested geckos can live up to 20 years.

As you plan for your crested gecko’s habitat, remember that they will require vertical space to climb, along with appropriate humidity levels and a varied diet.

Leopard Gecko Characteristics

Leopard geckos, on the other hand, are terrestrial geckos that prefer to keep their feet on the ground. Their main features are:

  • Insectivorous diet: They exclusively eat insects.
  • Simpler habitat requirements: Their habitat setup is typically less complicated than crested geckos.
  • Lifespan: Leopard geckos have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years.

When considering a leopard gecko, note that they require a more spacious horizontal environment focusing on ground-level hiding spots. Also, their diet consists solely of live insects.

In summary, crested and leopard geckos have unique characteristics, which will influence your decision on which species best suits your preferences and lifestyle when choosing a pet lizard.

Appearance Comparison

When comparing Crested geckos and Leopard geckos, you’ll notice some key differences in their appearance.


Crested geckos are relatively small lizards, with hatchlings measuring around 3-4 inches and adult sizes ranging from 7-9 inches. On the other hand, Leopard geckos’ hatchlings are around 3-3.5 inches long, with mature adults measuring between 7-10 inches.


In terms of weight, adult Crested geckos typically weigh between 55-65 grams. Adult Leopard geckos, however, are slightly heavier, ranging from 10-11.5 ounces or approximately 283-326 grams.


One of the striking differences between these two species lies in their tails. Crested geckos have prehensile tails that allow them to climb trees more easily. Unfortunately, if they lose their tail, it doesn’t grow back. On the other hand, Leopard geckos have thick, fatty tails used to store energy. Their tails have the ability to regrow if lost.

Head and Eyes

Crested geckos are known for their wedge-shaped heads adorned with the signature crest that looks like eyelashes. These ‘eyelashes’ are actually skin projections, as Crested geckos don’t have eyelids. Instead, they lick their eyes to keep them clean.

Leopard geckos have smaller heads and notably possess moveable eyelids. This helps to protect their eyes from dust and debris.

Now that you’ve learned about the key differences in appearance between the two species, you’ll be better equipped to make a choice if you’re considering one as a pet!

Temperament and Handling

When it comes to temperament and handling, both crested geckos and leopard geckos can make great pets for reptile enthusiasts. Let’s take a closer look at their personalities and how they handle human interactions.

Crested Gecko:

Crested geckos are known for their docile and calm nature, making them an excellent choice, especially for beginners.

They are pretty tolerant of handling, allowing you to create a bond with your new pet easily. However, it’s important to note that they can be a little more prone to dropping their tails when handled.

Don’t worry, though; this doesn’t harm the gecko. Just bear in mind their tail won’t grow back. Remember that crested geckos are also known to jump, so you should be extra careful while holding them to ensure they don’t escape.

Leopard Gecko:

Leopard geckos are also very accommodating when it comes to handling. They are hardy lizards with a mild temperaments, making them a great choice for those looking to have a more interactive relationship with their pet reptile.

Leopard geckos typically don’t mind being handled, but it’s essential to be gentle to avoid causing them stress. Their curious and friendly nature makes them great companions for reptile lovers of all ages.

Both crested geckos and leopard geckos offer unique qualities in terms of temperament and handling. Each has pros and cons, but both make fantastic pets.

Habitat and Care Requirements

Crested Gecko Habitat

Crested geckos are arboreal creatures, which means they love to climb and need a vertical space to thrive. You’ll want to provide your crested gecko with a tank that is at least 18 inches tall, with a width and depth of 12 inches each. These tanks should be well-ventilated and made of glass or plastic materials.

For a crested gecko, the ideal temperature range during the day is 72°-80° F, and at night, it should be between 65°-75° F. Regarding humidity, aim for around 60% during the day, and increase it to about 80% at night. This can be achieved by misting the terrarium with water every evening. Crested geckos also require low UVB (5%) lighting for optimal health.

To create a comfortable habitat, include some of the following items:

  • Plenty of artificial and/or live plants
  • Branches, cork bark, or vines for climbing
  • Hiding spots, such as caves or hollow logs
  • A substrate, like coconut fiber or reptile-safe soil

Leopard Gecko Habitat

Leopard geckos are terrestrial reptiles that are native to dry environments. As such, their tank should replicate those conditions. You will need a minimum of a 20-gallon long vivarium with a wooden or glass enclosure.

For leopard geckos, the ideal temperature range is 88°-92° F in the warmest area, and around 70°-75° F in the cooler area of the tank. Unlike crested geckos, leopard geckos don’t require specific humidity levels. Instead, you can provide a small humid hide (6″x6″ plastic container with coco fiber or paper towel inside).

Leopard geckos also benefit from low-intensity UVB light, but it’s not essential, as they are nocturnal creatures. What they do need, however, is a heating mat or under-tank heater to regulate their body temperature.

To create a comfortable habitat for your leopard gecko, include some of the following items:

  • Hiding spots on the cool and warm sides of the tank
  • A substrate, such as reptile carpet or newspaper (avoid sand)
  • Rocks or branches for basking
  • Water dish and calcium dish

Diet and Feeding

When it comes to the diet of your pet gecko, there are differences between crested and leopard geckos that you should consider.

Crested geckos are omnivores, meaning they can eat plant-based food and insects. Their diet typically consists of:

  • Fruits
  • Nectar
  • Pollen
  • Insects (such as roaches and crickets)

While they don’t eat vegetables, it’s important to provide insect feed to your crested gecko at least 1-2 times a week. Occasionally, they may eat smaller lizards or rodents, although this isn’t necessary for their diet.

Leopard geckos are primarily insectivorous, meaning they prefer eating live insects over fruits and vegetables. Some examples of live prey that you can feed your leopard gecko are:

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Roaches
  • Superworms

Leopard geckos don’t require fruits or vegetables in their diet but make sure to provide them with a variety of live prey to ensure proper nutrition. Due to their preference for live food, feeding leopard geckos requires more attention than crested geckos.

A key factor in the diet of both geckos is gut-loading their prey, ensuring that the live insects fed to your geckos are nourished with essential vitamins and minerals. This way, the insects will pass on the nutrients to your geckos.

Lifespan and Health

When considering a crested gecko or a leopard gecko as a pet, it’s essential to understand their lifespan and health needs. Both geckos have somewhat similar lifespans:

  • Crested geckos: 15-20 years
  • Leopard geckos: 10-20 years

It is worth noting that the lifespan of each lizard may vary depending on factors such as care, diet, and environmental conditions.

Both crested geckos and leopard geckos are considered relatively hardy lizards. They can adapt well to captivity and thrive in suitable living conditions. However, there are some health requirements you should be aware of for each type of gecko.

Crested geckos:

  • Humidity: Crested geckos come from a humid environment and require a habitat with 60-80% humidity. Misting their enclosure every evening will help maintain the humidity levels.
  • Diet: A balanced diet is crucial for their health. They enjoy a mix of insects, fruits, and specialized crested gecko food.
  • Lighting: Crested geckos only need low UVA and UVB lighting (2-7%) and can become stressed with too much exposure.

Leopard geckos:

  • Heat: Leopard geckos require a temperature gradient in their enclosure, with daytime temperatures between 75°-88°F and nighttime temperatures around 70°-75°F.
  • Humidity: Unlike crested geckos, leopard geckos come from a drier environment. They benefit from a small humid hide but do not require a high overall humidity level (30-40%).
  • Diet: Leopard geckos mainly eat insects, and their diet should be supplemented with vitamins and minerals to ensure optimum health.

By providing the appropriate habitat conditions and diet, you can help ensure your crested or leopard gecko lives a long, healthy life. Regular checkups with a reptile veterinarian can also aid in maintaining their health and detecting any potential issues early on.

Breeding and Reproduction

When it comes to breeding crested geckos and leopard geckos, there are some similarities and differences in their processes. Let’s dive into the details for each species.

Crested Geckos

Crested geckos are known to be prolific breeders and are relatively easy to breed. As a breeder, you’ll typically see breeding begin when they’re at the age of 18-24 months. Simply put, a mature male and a breeding female in the same enclosure, and copulation is almost guaranteed within a few hours.

During the breeding season, which usually spans from March to October, your female crested gecko may lay 6-7 clutches yearly. A clutch consists of 1-2 eggs each. Some key points to remember as a crested gecko breeder include:

  • Ensure you have a proper enclosure set up for breeding
  • Monitor their diet and calcium intake
  • Provide ample hiding places for the female to retreat

Leopard Geckos

Breeding leopard geckos requires a little more attention than their crested counterparts. First, you’ll need to have at least one mixed-sex pair and learn how to determine the sex of your geckos. The primary goal is distinguishing males from females based on their markings and physical characteristics.

When breeding leopard geckos, make sure to:

  • Properly sex your geckos before introducing them
  • Create a suitable breeding environment with adequate hiding places
  • Monitor their temperature and humidity levels carefully

As a leopard gecko breeder, it’s essential to pay attention to the needs of both males and females and watch for signs of stress or aggression. Maintaining a comfortable and nurturing environment will increase your chances of successful breeding.

While both crested and leopard geckos can be bred, crested geckos are generally easier for novice breeders to start with due to their prolific and straightforward breeding habits.

On the other hand, leopard geckos require more attention and care during the breeding process but can also be a rewarding experience for dedicated breeders.

Pros and Cons

Crested Gecko Pros and Cons

Crested Gecko Pros:

  • Docile and easy to handle: Crested geckos are generally calm and easy to handle, making them great for beginners or those who want a low-maintenance pet.
  • No live prey required: Unlike leopard geckos, crested geckos can thrive on a diet of commercial crested gecko food, which makes feeding easier and less expensive.
  • Long lifespan: Crested geckos have a lifespan of 15-20 years, giving you a long time to bond and enjoy their company.
  • Unique appearance with color morphs available: With various color morphs and patterns available, you can choose a crested gecko that suits your aesthetic preferences.

Crested Gecko Cons:

  • More expensive than leopard geckos: Crested geckos can cost more than leopard geckos, both initially and in terms of maintenance.
  • Higher humidity requirements: Crested geckos need higher humidity levels (50-70%) than leopard geckos, which means you’ll need additional equipment to maintain their environment properly.

Leopard Gecko Pros and Cons

Leopard Gecko Pros:

  • Regenerative tail: Leopard geckos can regrow their tail if it’s dropped, while crested geckos cannot. The new tail may look different, but it can help them live a comfortable life.
  • Lower humidity requirements: Leopard geckos thrive in 30%-40% humidity, which means you won’t need as much additional equipment to maintain their habitat.
  • Long lifespan: Leopard geckos can live up to 20 years, giving you plenty of time to bond with your pet.

Leopard Gecko Cons:

  • Requires live prey: Unlike crested geckos, leopard geckos need a diet of live insects like mealworms, waxworms, and crickets, which may be inconvenient and more expensive.
  • Less variety in appearance: While leopard geckos have various color morphs, they don’t have quite the same level of diversity as crested geckos.

By understanding these pros and cons, you’ll be better prepared to choose the right gecko for your preferences and lifestyle.

Price and Availability

When choosing between a crested gecko and a leopard gecko, you might want to consider the price and availability of each. Both species are relatively affordable and can often be found at local pet stores or through online breeders.

Crested geckos are typically priced between $50 and $200, depending on factors such as color, pattern, and genetics. Common morphs and juveniles are readily available at the lower price range, while rarer morphs and adult specimens can fetch higher prices. Here are some factors affecting the price of crested geckos:

  • Morph: rarer color patterns and morphs can increase the price
  • Age: older, more established geckos may cost more
  • Breeder reputation: purchasing from a reliable breeder may come at a premium

On the other hand, Leopard geckos have a slightly lower price range, usually from $30 up to $100. Much like their crested counterparts, leopard geckos’ prices can vary based on factors such as morph, age, and breeder reputation.

Both species are quite popular in the pet trade, so finding a suitable pet shouldn’t be too difficult. Crested and leopard geckos can often be found at local reptile expos, pet stores, and through online breeders.

Take your time to research the individual geckos’ background and health, and choose a reputable source whenever possible to ensure you’re bringing home a healthy, happy pet.

Remember to also factor in the costs of setting up the ideal habitat for your gecko and ongoing maintenance costs for food and care. By considering both price and availability, you can make an informed decision for your next reptile companion.

Terrestrial vs Arboreal Lifestyle

As you consider getting a pet gecko, it’s crucial to understand the differences between terrestrial and arboreal lifestyles. Each variety has unique characteristics and distinct habitat requirements.

Leopard geckos are terrestrial creatures, meaning they spend most of their time on the ground. They are not natural climbers and excel in a horizontal environment. When setting up an enclosure for leopard geckos, make sure it has:

  • A broader base to provide adequate horizontal space
  • A drier, desert-like environment
  • Hides for them to seek shelter and regulate their body temperature

Crested geckos, on the other hand, are arboreal, which means they prefer spending time above the ground, climbing and exploring vertical spaces. To accommodate their natural behavior, you’ll want to design an enclosure with:

  • Vertical space for climbing opportunities
  • Plenty of foliage to support their natural habitat
  • A humid environment that mimics their native rainforest ecosystem

Creating a Humid Environment

When it comes to setting up a humid environment for your gecko, the requirements vary between crested and leopard geckos.

Crested geckos originate from a more humid environment, so you’ll need to pay extra attention to maintaining the humidity in their habitat.

To create the right environment for a crested gecko, aim for a humidity level of around 60% during the day and 80% at night. You can achieve this by regularly misting their enclosure, especially in the evening. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels and adjust your misting routine accordingly.

Some ways to maintain humidity in your crested gecko’s enclosure include:

  • Using a substrate that retains moisture, such as coco fiber or sphagnum moss
  • Incorporating live plants, which can help maintain humidity naturally
  • Providing a water dish with clean water for your gecko to drink from and assist in maintaining humidity
  • Utilizing a humidifier or fogging system designed for reptile enclosures (use with caution and monitor closely to prevent excessive humidity)

Leopard geckos, on the other hand, come from a drier environment, so their humidity requirements are different.

They do still benefit from having a small humid hideaway, which can be created using a 6″x6″ plastic container filled with damp coco fiber or paper towels. This provides a moist area for them to retreat to when necessary, helping with shedding and hydration.

To sum it up, you must tailor the humidity in your gecko’s environment according to their specific needs. A more humid environment is essential for crested geckos, so be diligent about misting and monitoring humidity levels in their enclosure, while providing a moist hide for leopard geckos will suffice.

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