Crested Gecko Lifespan, How Long Do Crested Gecko Live (Captivity, Wild)

Crested Gecko Lifespan

Do you want to know how long do crested geckos live as pets or in the wild? Let’s find out the right answer for this.

The crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus) is a fascinating lizard that has become a popular pet in recent years. With their wide color variations, unique appearances, and generally docile personalities, many reptile enthusiasts have welcomed these tropical geckos into their homes. 

However, there has been some confusion surrounding exactly how long crested geckos live, both in captivity and in the wild. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of crested gecko lifespan and longevity.

Crested Gecko Lifespan

Crested Gecko Lifespan
Crested Gecko Lifespan

Crested geckos can live 15-20 years or more with proper care in captivity. In the wild, their lifespan is likely shorter, which is around 5-6 years.

Baby crested geckos under a year old are considered juveniles or subadults. They reach full maturity and breeding age around 18-24 months old.

With good nutrition, housing, lighting/heating, and general care, captive crested geckos can exceed 20 years, though 15-18 years is more typical. The oldest reported was over 28 years old.

Factors impacting lifespan include genetics/inbreeding, incubation temperatures, housing, diet quality, physical trauma or injury, illnesses/infectious diseases, and access to veterinary care. Lack of calcium/vitamins also shortens life.

Signs of aging include slowed movement, increased sleep/resting time, loss of appetite, weight/muscle loss, duller colors and skin elasticity, cataracts, and bone deformities like rubbery jaw. Geriatric care is important.

Proper husbandry and close monitoring of health is key to maximizing a pet crested gecko’s longevity and quality of life into its senior years. With attentive care, they can be long-lived pets.

How Long Do Crested Geckos Live in the Wild?

How Long Do Crested Geckos Live in the Wild
How Long Do Crested Geckos Live in the Wild

Average wild crested gecko lifespan caps out around only 5-6 years. On the other hand, pet crested geckos enjoy expanded longevity upwards of 10-15+ years. They inhabit humid forests and shrublands, where they feed on insects, fruits, and nectar. 

But with correct captive care in habitat design, nutrition, lighting, and veterinary medicine they can live more.

Additionally, crested geckos generally live longer in captivity than in the wild. Lack of compiled data on wild specimens has made determining max lifespan more difficult.

With cresties only recently becoming such a widespread pet reptile, many first-generation captive bred crested geckos are still reaching later life stages. This has resulted in some variation in age of the oldest specimens reported by private owners.

Crested Gecko Lifespan in Captivity

Crested Gecko Lifespan in Captivity
Crested Gecko Lifespan in Captivity

In captivity, the average crested gecko lifespan is generally 8-10 years or more when properly cared for. Some exceptions of crested geckos having lived over 15-20 years have been reported, though these are rare cases. Captive crested geckos are less prone to predators, accidents, and injuries, and have reliable access to food and appropriate housing. This allows them to frequently outlive their wild counterparts.

Male and female crested geckos have the same genetic disposition for longevity and ability to thrive under ideal captive conditions.

The oldest recorded crested gecko in captivity was a female named Tiger, who lived for 27 years and 4 months at the San Diego Zoo. She was hatched in 1992 and died in 2019, making her one of the longest-lived reptiles in the world. She was also a prolific breeder, producing over 800 offspring during her lifetime.

Average Life Cycle of Crested Geckos

Average Life Expectancy Scale for Crested Geckos

While crested gecko life expectancy can certainly vary, surveyed crestie owners and breeders report the following common age ranges:

  • Baby (Hatchlings to Juveniles) (<1 year): High mortality rate, many do not make it past 60-90 days. Vulnerable stage.
  • Yearlings/Subadults (1-2 years): Mortality rate drops. Still maturing and moderate threats.
  • Young Adults (3-5 years): Reach sexual maturity. Spike in lifespan potential.
  • Prime Adults (6-10+ years): Ideal captive lifespan range.
  • Geriatric Cresties (11-15+ years): Reaching later life stages, health often declines.
  • Exceptional Long-Lived Supercentenarians (16-20+ years): Rare old age crested geckos near max lifespan limits.

Of course many variables from genetics to environment to random chance influence where an individual crested gecko falls on this lifespan spectrum. But it provides a helpful guideline for crested gecko age categories and life stages in terms of aging.

Signs of Aging in Crested Geckos

Crested geckos entering those later geriatric life stages may demonstrate noticeable signs of advanced age and declining health, including:

  • Reduced Appetite/Weight Loss
  • Slower Movement & Activity Levels
  • Changes in Skin Texture & Elasticity
  • Increased Susceptibility to Disease
  • Loss of Coordination & Balance
  • Cloudy Eyes/Declining Vision
  • Behaviour Changes (Ex. Aggression)

While death is unfortunately inevitable for all living organisms, identifying these aging symptoms in senior crested geckos allows owners to adapt care to better meet needs as reptiles near end of life due to old age. Supportive care helps improve welfare for elder geckos.

What Factors Affect the Lifespan of Crested Geckos?

What Factors Affect the Lifespan of Crested Geckos
What Factors Affect the Lifespan of Crested Geckos

Several key factors influence overall crested gecko longevity both in captivity and in their natural habitat: Some of these factors are:


Some crested geckos may have inherited genes that make them more resistant to diseases, more adaptable to stress, or more efficient at metabolizing food. These genes can give them an edge over other individuals and increase their chances of survival and reproduction. However, genetics can also work against them, as some crested geckos may have inherited genes that make them more prone to health problems, deformities, or infertility. 


The diet of crested geckos is very important for their health and longevity. In the wild, they eat a variety of insects, fruits, and nectar, which provide them with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. In captivity, they should be fed a similar diet, consisting of a high-quality commercial crested gecko food (such as Repashy, Pangea, or Zoo Med), supplemented with live insects (such as crickets, roaches, or worms) and occasional fruits (such as banana, mango, or papaya).

The diet should be balanced, varied, and appropriate for their age and size. A poor diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies, obesity, metabolic bone disease, or other health issues that can shorten the lifespan of crested geckos.


Proper housing is vital to crested gecko health and longevity. As arboreal, nocturnal, tropical lizards, crested geckos have specific habitat needs that captive enclosures should mimic. Enclosures should be spacious, secure, and well-ventilated, with ample vertical climbing space. 

Numerous horizontal branches and hides provide opportunities to climb and feel secure. Substrates like coconut fiber or sphagnum moss hold humidity while allowing burrowing. Temperatures between 72-80°F along with 60-80% humidity meet tropical microclimate needs. A humid hide boosts shedding. 

Automatic misting systems maintain hydration and humidity between daily hand mistings. A day/night cycle with 12 hours light and 12 hours darkness respects their nocturnal instincts. Meeting these complex habitat parameters reduces stress and health issues like respiratory infections, dehydration, or skin infections that may otherwise lower captive lifespan. Proper housing allows expression of natural behaviors and supports overall wellbeing.


The health of crested geckos is obviously a major factor that affects their lifespan. Crested geckos are generally hardy and resilient animals, but they can still suffer from various health problems, such as parasites, infections, injuries, impactions, prolapses, egg-binding, or tumors. Some of these health problems can be prevented or treated with proper care and hygiene, while others may require veterinary intervention or medication. It is important to monitor the health of your crested gecko regularly, and to seek professional help if you notice any signs of illness or injury, such as lethargy, weight loss, appetite loss, abnormal stools, discharge, swelling, bleeding, or limping. A healthy crested gecko is more likely to live longer than a sick or injured one.


Stress affects the lifespan of crested geckos. Stress can be caused by various factors, such as overcrowding, improper handling, noise, vibration, temperature fluctuations, or predators. Stress can weaken the immune system, lower the appetite, increase the susceptibility to diseases, or trigger defensive behaviors, such as biting, dropping the tail, or hiding. It is important to minimize the stress of your crested gecko, by providing a comfortable, quiet, and safe environment, and by handling it gently, calmly, and infrequently. A stress-free crested gecko is more likely to live longer than a stressed one.

Environment & Threats in the Wild

For wild populations of crested geckos, environmental conditions and external threats greatly control overall lifespan. Harsh tropical storms, human encroachment and destruction of natural rainforest habitats, poor weather and limited food supply during certain seasons, and predation all play a role in higher death rates among wild crested geckos.

Age & Life Stage

Lifespan ranges can shift based on the age and life stage of crested geckos. Hatchings and juveniles often experience higher mortality rates in both wild and captive populations. Mature adults that make it to full maturity after a couple years may persist many years longer with proper care and maintaining robust health.

Can Proper Care Increase Crested Gecko Lifespan?

Can Proper Care & Husbandry Increase Crested Gecko Lifespan

Research overwhelmingly suggests yes, providing ideal captive care through correct crested gecko husbandry practices can maximize lifespan potential in pet geckos compared to wild or neglected specimens.

Meeting all housing, heating, humidity, UVB lighting, and dietary needs allows cresties to thrive free of many threats they would encounter in their native tropical forests. Removing these variables means more energy can be put towards overall health, growth, and longevity.

Additionally, regular veterinary care and checkups catch any potential medical issues early on before they can become severe, lifelong health problems. Being proactive with husbandry allows owners to establish optimal habits and prevent emergencies through environmental control and stability.

Proper captive crested gecko husbandry empowers owners to give their pets the best chances of reaching max lifespan estimates around 15-20 years or more. It takes commitment, but the reward of many happy, healthy years with cresties makes it worthwhile.


Verdict: Captive Care Promotes Long, Fulfilling Lives for Crested Geckos

Average wild crested gecko lifespan caps out around only 5-6 years. But with correct captive care in habitat design, nutrition, lighting, veterinary medicine and more, pet crested geckos enjoy expanded longevity upwards of 10-15+ years.

Genetics play a role, and some supercentenarian geckos defy odds to hit 20 years. But husbandry is the key driver amplifying lifespan. Environment and preventative healthcare remove threats, support good welfare, and allow crested geckos to thrive well into geriatric stages.

So while variability occurs, responsible crestie owners can feel confident investing in captive crested geckos. Our pets reward dedication with many happy, healthy years as they colorfully bounce through life in our homes. Proper care empowers crested geckos the best shot at reaching full lifespan potential.

Are crested geckos friendly?

Crested geckos can make good pets as they tend to have a docile temperament. When handled regularly from a young age, crested geckos generally become quite tame and accustomed to human interaction. They do not mind being held as long as it is done properly and gently. Crested geckos are not aggressive animals.

How often should I spray my crested gecko?

Crested geckos require a humid environment. Their enclosure should be lightly misted once or twice per day, depending on the ambient humidity. The goal is to maintain an enclosure humidity level around 50-60%. The gecko’s water dish can also be filled regularly to boost humidity. However, the enclosure should not be kept overly wet or damp. Any standing water should be dried up, as very high humidity can lead to health issues for a crested gecko. Monitoring humidity levels and making adjustments as needed is important.


How long do crested geckos live as pets?

On average, crested geckos live 8-10 years as pets when properly cared for. Some have even reached 15-20 years with exceptional captive care and genetics. Meeting their habitat, nutrition, and healthcare needs allows pet crested geckos to frequently outlive their wild cousins.

Do crested geckos like to be held?

Most crested geckos tolerate gentle handling or will sit calmly cupped in hands. While some personality and age differences exist, crested geckos are typically docile lizards. Once settled when held, many do not show significant signs of stress and will explore from their safe place in palm of a hand. Proper handling techniques help build trust through positive interactions.

Are crested geckos hard to take care of?

Compared to many exotic reptile pets, crested geckos are easier to care for, making them good starter lizards. Their small size, simple diet, lack of required special lighting, slower metabolism, and tolerant personalities allow novice owners to be successful with proper setup and care. Their care does still require some specialized husbandry knowledge but overall most find crested geckos accessible.

Is a crested gecko an easy pet?

For the reasons above regarding their manageable care needs and pleasant dispositions, crested geckos can make one of the best easy and enjoyable reptile pets for beginners. Even experienced herpers continue to appreciate cresties for their lively antics and friendly behaviors. So if seeking an agreeable, low-maintenance exotic companion animal, crested geckos often fit that bill with proper dedicated care from owners.

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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