Wondering which is better: a Leopard Gecko or a Crested Gecko? This guide is for you!
Are you looking to add a lizard to your household? Deciding between a leopard gecko and a crested gecko can be confusing.
There’s so much in common between a leopard gecko and a crested gecko that deciding which lizard is best for your home can be daunting. They are both low maintenance, docile, and relatively inexpensive. However, they also have differences, such as space, temperature, and humidity requirements.
Each also requires a different number of weekly feeding sessions.
This post helps you to gain a clear overview of the similarities and differences between these two lizards.
This way, you can decide on the best reptile for your home or office.
Are Leopard Geckos Better Than Crested Geckos?
This depends on what you’re looking for in the lizard of choice. The leopard gecko and crested gecko have lots of similarities and differences.
However, the question of which is better than the other is in the eye of the beholder. It all depends on your intent as a lizard keeper.
It is generally agreed that leopard geckos are ideal for first-time owners. This is because they are low-maintenance compared to the crested geckos.
However, if you’re looking for an active lizard that keeps running around the enclosure, the crested gecko would make a better choice.
Crested geckos are also more open to handling. As a result, they come across as more people-friendly, and you won’t have any trouble making them get used to the comfort of your hands or lap.
Keepers who opt for leopard geckos contend that these animals are not sensitive to humidity changes.
A slight change in the level of humidity is enough to set the crested gecko off-course.
You must constantly keep your eyes on the hygrometer if you don’t want your crested gecko to fall ill or catch skin infections.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Characteristics
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Adult Size
These two lizards are more or less the same size as adults. While the leopard gecko grows to 7 to 10 inches, the crested gecko is 7 to 9 inches as an adult.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Adult Weight
The leopard gecko and the crested gecko compare favorably in the weight category.
The leopard gecko weighs about 7 to 13 ounces (199g to 369g), while the crested gecko weighs between 10 and 12 ounces (284g to 340g).
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Lifespan
This is another area where these two lizards go neck and neck. You can expect the leopard gecko to live for anything between 15 and 20 years.
On the other hand, a well-kept crested gecko has a lifespan of between 10 and 20 years.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Heating Requirements
The leopard gecko requires daytime heat between 240 C and 310 C (750 F and 880 F). The ideal nighttime heat requirements range between 210 C and 240 C (700 F and 750 F).
On the other hand, a crested gecko needs daytime heat temperature between 210 C and 270 C (700 F and 800 F).
For his nighttime cycle, the crested gecko will be comfortable in temperatures between 180 C and 240 C (650 F and 750 F).
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Lighting Requirements
Both lizards do well in low UVA and UVB lighting. However, while the leopard gecko needs between 2% and 7% lighting, the crested gecko is comfortable with UVB lighting of 5%.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Humidity Requirements
The leopard gecko requires a humidity level of 30% to 40%. On the other hand, the crested gecko does well in humidity levels of 65%% to 85%.
Crested geckos are more sensitive to humidity fluctuations than leopard geckos.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Socialization
Leopard geckos prefer to live alone unless for breeding purposes. Males are very territorial and will fight off any males they consider rivals.
Female leopard geckos get along just fine.
Crested geckos are equally territorial, especially if you combine the same genders. However, females are more cordial with each other than males.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Temperament
Both animals can be easily trained to be handled. However, the leopard gecko comes across as the quieter and more reserved of the two.
The crested gecko is more aggressive and skittish. However, he is more active than leo. Crested geckos are full of energy and keep running around the tank.
Similarities Between Leopard Geckos and Crested Geckos
As noted earlier, these two lizards have a number of similarities and an almost equal number of differences.
Many seasoned keepers consider both reptiles ideal for the beginner keeper. However, the leopard gecko is preferable because of its docile nature.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Which is Bigger?
While the leopard gecko averages about 8.5 inches in length, the crested gecko grows to an average of 8 inches.
So, the two are more or less the same in size, really.
The size of both geckos is ideal for handling as they can fit easily in the human hand.
Also, you don’t have to worry about either animal outgrowing its tank – so long as the tank is of the right size, to begin with.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Activity Level
Both animals are crepuscular. This means they are more active in twilight hours and at dawn. These lizards come out with the sun’s setting and use dusk hours to carry out their activities.
This is when they hunt, play, mate, and generally go about their business.
The leopard gecko becomes a bit docile in the dark hours of the night and becomes active again at dawn.
Modern research is proving that crested geckos are crepuscular as well as nocturnal. Apparently, they remain active throughout the night and only become docile during the day.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Handling
Both lizards are quite territorial and prefer to keep to themselves. The only time they become receptive to tank mates is during mating.
Even so, female leopard geckos and crested geckos come across as more social than their male counterparts.
It is fairly easy to train both lizards for handling. However, don’t be in a hurry to do this if either of the reptiles is new to your home or office.
You’d want to give them some time to acclimate and get the hang of things in the room. Allow them to get used to the new environment’s lights, sounds, and other stimuli.
Crested geckos are a bit feistier than leopard geckos.
Crested geckos keep running around the tank, and you have to be equally active to keep up with their bursts of energy.
The good news is that when both animals are appropriately trained for handling, you’re unlikely to get a hard time from either.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Initial Cost
The cost of either the leopard or crested gecko depends on the morph. A rare morph of either lizard can go for as much as $1000 – or even more.
Some of the rarest morphs (such as the Black Night) go for as much as $3000.
However, the regular morph of either reptile goes for about $50 from a reputable dealer. The initial cost of either lizard is more or less the same.
There could be significant differences in price with the tank setup. The crested gecko’s enclosure is pricier than that of the leopard gecko.
This is because crested geckos are more sensitive to humidity changes, and the tank has to be set up in a particular way to protect this lizard.
At the same time, you need to consider that leopard geckos survive on live feeder insects. Therefore, you must arrange to breed these insects and their larvae on your premises.
Alternatively, have a steady supply of live feeds to ensure your leopard gecko is well nourished from the word go.
You’ll incur similar costs with either lizard regarding supplement purchases and medical exams.
You’ll incur more or less the same amount of money caring for either animal.
Differences Between Leopard Geckos and Crested Geckos
Although the leopard and crested gecko have a lot in common, they are on opposite sides of the lizard spectrum.
This means their differences are glaring and would be hard to ignore. Here’s a look at some of the more prominent ones:
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Humidity Requirements
The leopard geckos require a humidity level of between 30% and 40%. Therefore, the emphasis in the enclosure is more on high temperatures than high humidity.
Actually, you don’t even have to furnish the tank floor with substrates that maintain high humidity.
All the same, the humidity level in the leopard gecko tank should not be allowed to drop too low as the reptile can be dehydrated.
The crested gecko needs a humidity level between 65% and 85%. Therefore, you need to regularly mist the enclosure to ensure the conditions do not become too dry.
The emphasis in the crested gecko tank should be on humidity as opposed to temperature. Crested geckos can survive better with slightly lower temperatures than leopard geckos.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Enclosure Cost
The bare minimum tank requirement for a leopard or a crested gecko is 10 gallons. However, it’s better if you can provide either of these pets with a 20-gallon tank.
Crested geckos are climbing lizards. They enjoy running around the tank and climbing onto branches and leaves of plants.
As such, the crested gecko’s tank should consider the vertical height of the tank.
While the leopard gecko would be comfortable in a tank with broader horizontal dimensions, crested geckos enjoy scaling heights.
Vertical tanks are more costly than a horizontal ones. So, although both animals need a 10-gallon tank, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets for the crested gecko enclosure.
Also, it’s absolutely necessary that you equip the crested gecko tank with a hygrometer. This is because crested geckos are adversely affected by the slightest changes in humidity.
A leopard gecko just needs a warm and cool zone, which is easier to accomplish. Therefore, you can expect setting up a leopard gecko enclosure to be straightforward.
However, setting up a crested gecko tank requires more ingenuity and financial resources.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Feeding Requirements
Another notable difference is in the feeding needs of these two lizards. Leopard geckos thrive on live, gut-loaded insects.
You also have to dust the insects with appropriate supplements to make the meal more wholesome for this critter.
Interestingly, leopard geckos are very particular about their food demands. They will make all sorts of noises if they are unhappy with the presentation.
It would help if you took the time to ensure the food is appropriate before presenting it to the leo. Any seasoned keeper will advise you to gut-load the insects for about two days before feeding them to your leo.
Also, dust the insects or insect larvae with supplements – calcium, vitamin D, etc. – about 5 minutes before feeding time.
On the other hand, feeding the crested gecko is a relatively easy, straightforward affair. Therefore, this lizard will thrive on the commercially available crested gecko food in online and live stores.
Occasionally, you can give the crested gecko a treat of insect larvae or gut-loaded insects. Some crested geckos actually thrive on bananas and other soft human foods.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Physiological Differences
The leopard gecko and crested gecko differ in a number of physiological differences. For example, they have different spots and crests.
However, two physiological differences stand out: tail regrowth and toe pads.
Are Leopard Geckos Better at Tail Regrowth?
Most lizards amputate their tails to distract predators and escape certain death. The lizard leaves the amputated tail on the ground, writhing to capture the attacker’s attention.
As the predator focuses on the tail, the lizard makes good his escape.
Most lizards regrow their tails after some time. For example, this is what happens with the leopard gecko.
Once its tail falls off in a fight or flight situation, you just need to give it a few weeks, and it will don a brand-new tail.
Unfortunately, the crested gecko does not enjoy the same benefit. When a crested gecko loses its tail for any reason, it remains tailless for the rest of its life.
The good news is that crested geckos are not drastically affected by the loss of its tail. It will have to adjust regarding hunting and climbing, but this lizard will otherwise be okay.
Also, the tail of a crested gecko does not come off as easily as that of a leopard gecko. Crested geckos lose their tail only in extreme trauma or when the tail is squeezed tightly.
Crested Gecko’s Specialized Toe Pads
Another notable difference between these two lizards is that while the crested gecko has specialized toe pads, the leopard gecko doesn’t.
The toe pads come in handy while climbing the leaves and branches. Also, being semi-arboreal, crested geckos use the toe pads to hold on firmly as they scale heights in the tank.
Since leopard geckos are not climbers, they have no use for toe pads – and they don’t have them. So instead, they just have toes they use to catch prey or move from one corner of the tank to the next.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Appearance, Colors, and Patterns
Wild crested geckos come in a selection of colors and patterns. Some are green, while others are brown and even black.
Selective breeding has made it possible to have many more colors and patterns of crested geckos.
Another distinct feature of the crested gecko is the ridges that run along both sides of his head. Although these ridges look rough, they are soft to the touch and feel suede-like.
Also, this lizard doesn’t have eyelids. Instead, it has transparent scales it uses to cover the eyes. For this reason, the crested gecko is constantly licking its eyes to clear them of dust and dirt.
As noted earlier, this reptile also has sticky toe pads with which it holds onto branches and leaves in the enclosure.
Leopard geckos, on the other hand, are primarily yellow in color. They have irregular black spots on their back and head, and a white underbelly.
Selective breeding has also made it possible to have various leopard gecko morphs. It is common to see brown, black, lavender, and orange leopard geckos.
Most leopard geckos have a wart-like texture. However, leos without scales have become more common with advancements in selective breeding.
Unlike crested geckos, leopard geckos have eyelids. As such, they sleep with their eyes shut.
Leopard geckos are not climbers; they are confined to the ground of the enclosure. This means they don’t need stick toe-pads like the crested gecko’s.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Personality
Both lizards have a docile personalities and generally take well to human training and handling. However, comparing the two shows the leopard gecko is the quieter of the pair.
Crested geckos are quite active and jumpy. Nonetheless, these reptiles soon get used to human handling with the proper training.
Crested geckos can also be assertive when they’ve had enough of handling. They nip at their handlers when they want to be put down.
The leopard gecko, on the other hand, will sit compliantly until you’re done with it. This lizard will only protest and resist being handled if it is hungry.
Leopard geckos do not make compromises when it comes to feeding time. They have to be fed at the right time and with the appropriate feeder insects.
Otherwise, the chirps and squeaks of protest will be loud and clear for all to hear.
Both lizards like to be left alone. They will be okay with minimal handling, but are not very happy when they are mishandled.
Leos show their distaste for anything unpalatable through screams, squeaks, barks, and chirps.
You’ll fair well with both lizards if you introduce them into your home when they are young. Then, they establish close contact with the keepers and other family members.
Leopard Geckos vs. Crested Geckos: Which One Suits You Best?
Now that you are well-versed in the similarities and differences between these two lizards, it’s decision time!
Which one would you go for? Which of the two do you think best complements your life? Let’s have a quick recap of both to put things in perspective.
Advantages of the Leopard Gecko
- Easy to handle with proper training
- Wide range of unique and exciting morphs
- It is a hardy creature
- Cheaper enclosure setup
- Doesn’t have many issues with humidity
- Communicate feelings through sounds and tail movements
- Cheaper enclosure maintenance
Disadvantages of the Leopard Gecko
- Are picky eaters
- Too vocal, especially when hungry
- Easily harmed by uneaten/leftover food items
- Has special heating requirements
- Tedious food preparation
- Males are territorial and highly aggressive against other geckos
- Susceptible to metabolic bone disease
Does the Leopard Gecko Suit You?
If you’re keeping a lizard for the first time, the leopard gecko would be better than the crested gecko.
Leopard geckos are hardy, and low maintenance, and will give you the space to learn as you go along.
Although this animal does not have special humidity requirements, you have to regularly check the tank’s temperature level.
At the same time, you should be ready and willing to feed this lizard live insects. Leopard geckos are picky feeders and make a lot of noise if you don’t meet their feeding demands.
Also, you have to be on the lookout for signs of metabolic bone disease. You can protect this pet from this and other infections by being vigilant.
You’ll enjoy keeping this animal if you’re interested in desert terrariums. Leopard geckos are originally from the desert lands of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Palestine.
They do very well in hot and arid conditions.
Because of their delicate tails, small children should not handle leopard geckos. A slight mishandling of this pet can see him lose his tail.
It’s best that you handle leopard geckos when they are most active in the twilight and dawn hours of the day.
This way, your pet will respond naturally to your affections.
Advantages of the Crested Gecko
- They are pretty docile and easy to handle
- Lots of beautiful patterns and morphs
- They are active in the tank and keep you occupied watching their various activities.
- Doesn’t have special heating requirements
- Can survive on commercial crested gecko food
- The affordable initial cost of purchase
Disadvantages of the Crested Gecko
- Males are highly territorial and hostile toward other males
- Easily affected by faulty humidity levels
- Prone to respiratory infections and mouth rot
- Expensive enclosure setup
- Not as hardy as leopard geckos
- Once lost, the tail cannot regrow
- High tank maintenance costs
Does the Crested Gecko Suit You?
The crested gecko is still considered low maintenance compared to most other lizards. As such, it is a good choice for a beginner keeper.
You need to keep a close eye on the humidity levels in the tank. Crested geckos are easily affected by the slightest deviation in humidity.
This animal has more daily check requirements than the leopard gecko. As such, it is best suited for someone with some gecko-keeping experience.
The crested gecko is not the best pet for children as they may lack the requisite knowledge and experience to take care of it.
If you love active lizards, the crested gecko may be the animal for you. You’ll enjoy seeing this lizard run around the tank and climb up and down the plants.
The crested gecko is also easy to handle once properly trained. However, avoid handling it when the pet is agitated, as it will protest with tiny bites.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When are leopard geckos and crested geckos most active?
Both leopard geckos and crested geckos are crepuscular. This means they are most active in the hours of dusk and dawn.
However, recent studies suggest that a good number of crested geckos are also nocturnal. They are awake and active at night and hide during the day.
For how long do leopard geckos and crested geckos live?
While leopard geckos live for about 15 to 20 years, the lifespan of crested geckos is between 10 and 20 years.
What are the ideal humidity levels for leopard geckos and crested geckos?
These two lizards have different humidity needs. The leopard gecko thrives in a humidity level of between 30% and 40%.
On the other hand, crested geckos do well in humidity levels between 65% and 85%. Notably, crested geckos are more sensitive to humidity fluctuations than leopard geckos.
What are the temperature needs of leopard geckos and crested geckos?
The two lizards have different temperature needs.
Leopard geckos thrive in temperatures between 240 C and 310 C (750 F and 880 F) during the day. However, at night, their temperature needs to drop to 210 C and 240 C (700 F and 750 F).
Crested geckos do well in cooler temperatures. They need between 210 C and 270 C (700 F and 800 F) during the day, and between 180 C and 240 C (650 F and 750 F) at night.
Can I house leopard geckos and crested geckos together?
This would not be a good idea considering the two species have different tank and feeding requirements.
Also, these animals are territorial and may turn hostile against each other.
Between a leopard gecko and a crested gecko, which is the best?
Both species of lizards are suitable, depending on your intention. However, you should evaluate their personalities and various requirements to make an informed decision about this.
Think in terms of maintenance, feeding, handling, and other parameters.
Leopard geckos and crested geckos are considered some of the friendliest lizards you can start your lizard-keeping hobby with.
We cannot say with certainty that one is better than the other. Your choice should be steered by your preference and ability to care for the animal’s needs.
By acquainting yourself with the natures of these two lizards and understanding their needs, you can decide which one is best for you.