The crocodile gecko is also known as the T Maruitanica in the reptile world. While a lot of gecko can be found in mostly regions like South America, this unique species actually comes from areas like France, Greece and even Northern Africa. Also, in a more recent reporting and discovery, it’s been reported that the species has been actively breeding in California as well.
Unlike the name crocodile though, you more than likely won’t find one of these hanging around water or in the swamps because this particular gecko prefers to hang around rather dry areas or rocky areas in nature. They prefer areas that are usually like cliffs or boulders to rest on. Also, one of the reasons they seem to love Greece is because of all the stone walls and architecture there. Most gecko are nocturnal and you won’t catch them out and about during the day but the crocodile gecko can be seen out and about during the day a good majority of the time.
Under the alternate name, the crocodile gecko is also known as the Moorish gecko and what the good news for pet owners is, if they’re properly cared for, they will live for a long time compared to most gecko (a good 9 years). However, these are under ideal conditions and living conditions, so this shouldn’t be expected but you can achieve this longevity if you take good care of it. While the crocodile gecko isn’t necessarily large or intimidating by appearance, for the size of the animal, it actually comes with a relatively strong frame and it’s very heavy built when you take the size into consideration.
When you first notice a crocodile gecko, some of the first things you’re going to notice are that the tubercular scales along the back seem to have their own style that set them apart from other geckos. These scales also travel down the flanks and the tail as well and are pretty distinguishable. The head unlike some geckos which have round heads is a very pointy looking head and is rather large for the body size. Also, much like the crocodile the skin color doesn’t seem to change too much except that it can range to a drown with a little bit of darker mottling. However, a good majority of them are usually grey in appearance and nature.
You’ll also happen to notice that there’s a little flap of skin that doesn’t run for long but will go under the limps and the flanks. To help the gecko move quicker and to get around quicker, you’ll notice that the toes have some adhesive pads along the underside of their toes. You can easily tell apart a juvenile from an adult because the majority of juveniles will have a very distinct looking stripe that will fade over time while it grows into an adult. The adult however will only reach to about six inches.
When it comes to housing crocodile gecko or young reptiles of any sort, the general consensus seems to be that you can use a ten gallon enclosure or aquarium to keep them captive. Some would agree and some veteran owners would disagree because you’re going to have to keep upgrading your enclosure as they grow older and older. However, it’s recommended by some that you should acquire at least a 20 gallon tank to be fully prepared for when they’re an adult. The only argument against having a larger than normal enclosure is that they might have trouble finding their food when they’re young which isn’t much of a concern because they usually find it.
Also, you should make sure that whatever style of enclosure you obtain is higher than it is wide because you’ll need an ample amount of space to hang your bulbs. Not only that, but crocodile geckos have very unique adhesive on their feet which allow them to climb around the enclosure and they will do this quite frequently, so make sure they have enough space to hang and do that. While most geckos are nocturnal and crocodile geckos are as well, they will usually sleep during the day for the most part, however, it’s not uncommon to see them out and about during the day wandering around.
You ideally only need one hiding spot in the enclosure and to make sure it’s in the cool spot of the tank but some people like to give their crocodile gecko options and allow them to choose between two different hiding spots in the enclosure. More important, you want to make sure that you’re not grouping up two male crocodile geckos together, because they will fight each other. There’s no real reason for why they fight, because they’ll do it without a female present as well, so it’s best to just keep them separated from each other. However, if you have two female gecko and one male gecko, they will get along just fine and will even breed.
Now when it comes to substrate, you have a lot of options available but a lot of people don’t recommend sand type substrates because it may get some substrate caught in its throat and choke to death. For the new owner, I would highly recommend using paper towels so that it doesn’t swallow anything too hard or anything that can rip it apart internally. However, if you’d rather avoid the shady look of paper towels or paper in general, then you may want to look into obtaining peat moss. It gives off a more nature approach and realistic look.
It comes down to what you plan on feeding to your crocodile gecko as well because if you plan on feeding the gecko crickets, then you’re not going to be able to use bark. If you use bark and crickets in the same enclosure, you run a risk of the gecko eating up bark and choking on it. This is something that should more than likely be avoided at all costs. They may not choke and die on it like they would some sand, but it’s been known to make geckos sick which can be a costly veterinarian bill.
For new owners who still aren’t sure how to keep their gecko safe while feeding, you might want to have a brand new and second enclosure that you can isolate your gecko in so that you know for a fact feeding will go smooth and there will be no problems.
When keeping any kind of pet such as a reptile, the heating situation is going to be the most important thing you look at because if you don’t have proper heating, your pet could stop eating or it could die. If you’re looking for a quick reference on the heating and temperature that are ideal conditions for your enclosure, then you’ll want to make sure that you have an enclosure setup accordingly. The temperature during the day shouldn’t exceed 115 degrees for the basking and usually should be hovering around 85 degrees. However, for night time, it’s generally best to keep them cool so they can cool off from the heat all day, which is usually best done at a steady 70 degrees.
There are a few different methods for obtaining the perfect and most efficient temperature for the gecko enclosure. First, you can use spotlights that have some variable wattage that allow you to setup the enclosure how you want it and to control exactly which side is getting the heat and staying cool. You’ll want to use candescent bulbs on the outside of the enclosure and should never place a bulb inside of the cage. Second, you’ll have something known as under tanks or heathers that sit under your cage or aquarium. This is one of the most common options for people who own aquariums because under tanks are highly effective at spreading heat around those enclosed areas.
If you’re going to use spotlights or over head lights, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using some red bulbs because the bright light tends to bother crocodile gecko after a while with prolonged exposure. Some people prefer to use a combination of the different heating methods to keep their enclosure cool and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re maintaining the most efficient temperature. You’ll want to make sure you have a thermometer to ensure that temperatures stay at an efficient range and the best one to use is definitely a digitalized one. Digital thermometers are more accurate and will give you a better idea of which side you should place your shelter inside the enclosure.
The humidity should ideally be around a steady 65% to help give it ideal conditions for not only eating, but breeding and for shedding. When geckos are out in the jungle or out in the open in the case of the crocodile gecko, they’re usually in heat a good portion of the day. When they start to shed, you’ll need to make sure that there’s an ample amount of humidity or there’s a good chance that it will not go as planned. If you’re looking for a tool to measure the humidity, then you might want to look into getting a hygrometer. Also, misting the gecko by occasionally gently spraying some water on it from a water bottle will help it out as well.
Crocodile geckos are rather interesting when it comes to feeding because they’re not particularly a picky species. You see, geckos in general are very laid back when it pertains to what they’ll eat and much like the crocodile they’ll eat just about anything that moves. If it something has legs or it has movement inside of them, then the crocodile gecko will more than likely eat it. However, you should more than use caution because while they are enticed by anything moving, they’re not particularly large creatures.
If you’re looking for a quick guide or rule of thumb on what they should be fed, then just feed them some normal sized insects or bugs. However, most breeders prefer to feed them pink mice and this one you have to be careful with because you have to make sure they’re actually eating them due to their size. Mice are a bit larger than the typical insects or crickets that gecko will eat so you must make sure they’re actually eating them. However, with insects, you’ll more than likely want to throw in some supplements to make sure that your gecko is getting the nutriments that they need from them.
Another word for this is commonly known as gut loading, when you feed insects vitamins and then feed them to your gecko or pets. This is an effective way to feed your pet vitamins but however, it can be time consuming and a lot of those nutriments are already found in pink mice. If you raise them right and they’re eating at a healthy rate, you won’t have to worry about any kind of vitamin supplementation at all essentially. The main diets behind most geckos are mealworms and crickets but most prefer to feed crickets because of their low cost.
You want to make sure that the serving sizes are proportionate and you’re not causing your crocodile gecko too much stress by trying to feed it too much. A good judge would be by taking the size of the geckos head and not going over that limit, that’s usually how you can tell what a good size cricket is, don’t ever feed your gecko something that’s larger than its head. Now, while some people complain that the gecko doesn’t come out right away when you leave food out on the floor of their enclosure, you have to give it time because it’s common for them to stalk the prey first. Especially when it’s live, they’ll prefer to stalk it then come out for the meal.
Once a gecko realizes that it’s feeding time, that’s when you’ll see it poke its head out for the food and realize that there’s food outside of its shelter. While feeding, all crocodile gecko should have an adequate source of water to drink and a nice clean bowl to do it from. The water should be clean and look like something you wouldn’t mind drinking out of. Whether or not you ideally want to dust the crickets with calcium as some sources recommend will really be up to you but if you’re feeding them accordingly and they’re getting all the food they should be, then you really shouldn’t have to worry about it. You should also make sure to change your water every once a week at least or whenever it needs changed to keep the bowl clean of parasites and other nasty junk that could cause harm to your crocodile gecko.