Crested gecko facts are limited, due to this unique reptile’s fairly recent rediscovery. The crested gecko was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994 to exist in New Caledonia, which is a group of islands off the east coast of Australia.
The crested gecko’s name is Rhacodactylus ciliatus. Rhacodactylus is of Greek origin and translated means “spine toes”. The name ciliatus is Latin for “fringe” or “eyelash”. The name was given because of the crest of skin over its eyes that resembles eyelashes and due to this, the crested gecko is often referred to as the eyelash gecko.
The crested gecko grows to be approximately 8” in length, including its tail. It has a wedge-shaped head with a crest that runs from each eye to the tail. The toes and tip of the tail are covered in small hairs that help facilitate the gecko’s climbing.
The crested gecko has a large variety of coloring and markings that make it very popular. It can be gray, brown, red, orange and yellow. The markings can include spots and stripes. During the day, the gecko’s color can be quite muted. It is at night when the more vibrant coloring comes out, which is referred to as being “fired up.”
The crested gecko has very unique characteristics. They have double-jointed toes, which allow them to remove their feet from surfaces while climbing by lifting their toes from the tip. They also have small claws on their toes to aid in climbing.
The crested gecko has no eyelids, only a transparent membrane that serves as a protective cover. They use their tongue to clean and moisten their eyes. Their eyes are large and the pupils are elliptical.
Their skin is very silky to the touch, as it is covered with very fine scales. The skin actually resembles the feel of suede and is very tough, providing the gecko with protection. They shed regularly, eating the outgrown skin as they remove it from their body.
The crested gecko will drop its tail in situations of stress, improper shed, excessive heat or attack from predators. The gecko’s tail will not grow back and loss of the tail is not a health issue.
One of the well-known crested gecko facts is that they are nocturnal, sleeping during the day and becoming active at night to hunt, feed and mate. The life span of the gecko is estimated to be 15-20 years. There is still much unknown about the species, since its rediscovery is recent.