Bioactivity and Crested Geckos
From the desk of the Dude
I remember when I was about 16 years old (12 years ago) when I saw my first Crested Gecko. At that time, New Caledonia was opened up for exportation and the first Rhacodactylus (Correlophus) came into the county. I was completely blown away with these creatures. Their calm demeanor with the sticky feet blew my mind. I could not believe something this colorful could be this easy! My very first Crested Gecko, who lived for 8 years thrived in a planted 29 gallon vivarium that I created for him. Originally called 'eyelash' geckos these sought after creatures quickly became one of the most popular geckos in the pet trade. Many keepers of this species like to keep their geckos in plastic tubs with paper towels, a few branches, and a water bowl. While many breeders and hobbyists concur that this is the best way to keep these lizards, I could not disagree more, because many of you know that the Dude is not down with that, at all. In this article I will discuss why a natural, BioActive terrarium is the only way to keep these beautiful geckos.
In the wild, Crested Geckos has a tendency to stay on the forest floor and under canopy layer of the rain forest. These parts of the rain forest are typically cooler and have higher humidity ranges than the canopy or emergent layer. With these layers the foliage density high with plenty of places to source for fresh water, insects, nectar, and other food sources. Being mainly nocturnal, Crested Geckos will typically retreat into a tree hollow or even into the leaf litter to seek protection during the day and forage at night where they see perfectly to hunt and forage for food.
With their habits directly coinciding with their biome it is very important to replicate their home as close as possible. For a Crested Gecko the Dude utilizes the HydroGrow drainage layer, Terra Fauna BioDude substrate, microfauna, Biodegradeables, live plants, and climbing accents to make your Crested Gecko feel right at home. When replicating their environment closely small instinctual niches which your gecko possess will be displayed readily in the vivarium.
When constructing your BioDude Terra Fauna BioActive kit each level plays a significant role in the development of positive bacteria, water drainage, and the breakdown of organic matter to rejuvenate the substrate to keep your geckos environment healthy and clean. When setup properly the substrate will never need changed or pulled out. The extra water will go into the HydroGrow, preventing anaerobic bacteria growth which will cause a vivarium crash and potentially health issues to your gecko. The Terra Fauna will hold the perfect amount of moisture while shooting the excess into the drainage layer. This creates the necessary air pockets for proper root development in plants and for your clean up crews (springtails and isopods) to successfully breakdown organic matter. The Biodegradeables will not only provide organic nutrition for your substrate, but they will also make your gecko feel right at home. Many times during the day you will notice your Crested Gecko snuggle into the bottom of the forest floor encompassed by the leaves. With their unique coloration these lizards will blend in with the leaves to make them feel more secure in their environment, exactly as they do in the wild. Another benefit of this is the bottom layer of the vivarium has the highest moisture content - meaning, when your gecko is sleeping it aids is respiration, hydration, shedding, and overall health of your gecko. Many other substrates do not last enough or provide enough moisture content to achieve this properly.
When the sun starts to recede out of the sky your gecko will emerge from the leaves or tree hollow and start their nightly forage for food and water. At this point you will notice your gecko exploring all aspects of your cage. The Dude finds that they LOVE broader leaved plants because they drink the early morning dew and lick any fallen nectar or food that could have landed on the larger surface area. Plenty of cork bark is also generally utilized, especially the tubes. During the hunting period (especially at a younger age) these geckos lurk in the hollow shadows waiting for prey to cross its path. Providing cork tubes and flats is a great way to bring out that instinct.
Keeping geckos for many years the biggest pain for me was cleaning up their feces, especially for a Crestie since they tend to poop all over the place. With a BioDude setup the initial cleaning will only have to be done for a few weeks after setup. Within a month or two your bioactivity should be at a high enough level when routine cleaning is no longer needed, and you have a healthy, thriving, BioActive eco system. It is recommended to mist the enclosure daily to ensure the plants are getting enough water as well as your lizard. Having this type of setup eliminates the daily cleaning of paper towels, smell, and provides your gecko clean, natural environment.
One of the most common questions that I receive is "what if my gecko eats some of the substrate, will he be ok?" To answer this question simply, it depends. Impaction occurs when the animal is not able to process a foreign body. It then becomes stuck inside the abdomen causing septicemia and death. In 99% of cases, impaction is caused because of improper husbandry. Overall, a healthy reptile or amphibian ingests substrate every single day in their natural habitat. They have evolved to be able to handle things such as this. Think about it - in the wild, if a healthy lizard ate just a small amount of soil when catching a roach, do you really think that lizard would die? So to be frank, If your reptile is unhealthy or being kept improperly, their body starts to not function properly and basic homeostasis becomes affected. When this happens their immune system becomes compromised as well as their overall internal processes which is when the body is not able to deal with a foreign body and impaction occurs. If you are practicing proper husbandry and pay attention to your animal impaction should never be a concern.
The best part about keeping reptiles and amphibians as pets is to visually see how unique of an animal they are. It is about giving them the best care possible. It is about providing them with everything that they need to be happy. That is what the Dude is about. Offering a natural, BioActive BioDude setup not only makes your pets feel more at home, but it saves you money and time by providing the best reptile husbandry on the market. The Dude is happy to sell complete Crested Gecko BioActive Kits, live plants and BioActive substrates to give your Gecko the home they deserve!
- Josh Halter