Crested Gecko Vs. Leopard Gecko – Which Is The Better Pet Lizard?


by Simon Griffiths


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Crested geckos and Leopard geckos are two very popular beginner lizards among reptile keepers. However, these lizards have a ton of differences between them. 

Let’s  jump straight into comparing everything about them to try and help you make a better decision as to which beginner lizard is perfect for you.



Leopard geckos are from much drier areas and they really just hang out on the ground. You’re not going to see them climbing very much. They like to hang out and hide under stuff, find their insects, sleep and that’s about it. They’re considered crepuscular, so they hang out mostly during dawn and dusk.

On the other hand, crested geckos are considered semi arboreal, so they’re going to be found a lot more in trees because that’s just where they feel comfortable. They’re from much more tropical and humid places and unlike the leopard geckos they are nocturnal.


Before we get to care, let’s talk how much it costs to keep each of these lizards. It is much easier to purchase both geckos because they have been in the pet trade for so long, and they’re just so popular now. Besides, they are quite cheap and you can find a normal leopard or crested gecko just around the $50 to $150 range. 

You can even find a leopard gecko for under $50. They do however come in a ton of different morphs, paint jobs, and variations. So pretty much think of any pattern or color and it probably exists now. Some special morphs are not necessarily in budget; they can get up into the thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, crested geckos are still available in a few variations. There aren’t as many right now, but I’m sure we’ll see more pop up in the future as they’re bred more. All in all, you can get some cresties that go up into the hundreds of dollars. But either way I’m pretty confident that you’ll be able to find a leopard or crested gecko with colors and patterns that really appeal to you.

Setup/ Enclosure

Now let’s get into the setups that they’re going to need. Leopard geckos are land dwelling species. They just like to hang out on the ground, hide in places, find their food and do their thing all down on the surface of the earth. Meanwhile, crested geckos are going to feel much more comfortable when they can be elevated up in trees because they are semi arboreal. 

Crested geckos have sticky padded feet that help them climb on trees perfectly. On the other hand, leopard geckos have little claws that should help them climb a bit if they need to. But overall that’s not something they’re interested in. This means that they’re going to want a bit more floor space compared to that of a crested gecko. Of course, you can manage the floor space even with a small enclosure. 

Crested geckos are semi arboreal, and they like a space that they can hang out up higher. For those reasons you’re going to want a more vertical enclosure for them. Now the actual enclosure sizes are pretty much alike with both species, but crested geckos are going to want more height while leopard geckos are going to want more length or width with their enclosure. 

Leopard geckos are from dry and arid places, so they’re going to want lower humidity to do their thing. Meanwhile, crested geckos are from much more tropical high humidity areas, so they’re going to require more moisture in the enclosure.

Depending on my experience, cresties need daily maintenance while leopard geckos can probably go a couple of days between eating certain things. For example, crested geckos do not like using water bowls. In fact, they prefer to lick water off the surface of leaves or their face or the side of the enclosure. So for that reason they’re going to need a lot more misting. You should mist your crestie’s enclosure twice a day to make sure that the moisture stays perfect.

Leopard geckos don’t need much moisture unless they are shedding. You won’t have to spray their enclosures as it’s the case with crested geckos. It is important that you replicate an arid environment when dealing with leos. This means that their enclosure should have low humidity and high temperatures.

Talking of temperature, crested geckos can do well at room temperature. They don’t need any special heating to survive. On the other hand, leopard geckos need higher temperatures to survive. It is for this reason that you have to keep their enclosures toasty. You can use different types of heating depending on just what your temperatures are like.


Next up, let’s talk about food, and we are going to start with leopard geckos. For your information, Leopard geckos eat bugs as they are insectivores. You’ve got lots of options with them whether it’s crickets or mealworms or dubia roaches. Just know that you are going to keep live insects if you choose to go with a leopard gecko. You can’t expect them to really eat dead or frozen insects because they are not going to have as much nutrition. 

In addition to this leopard geckos are going to need their supplements; we won’t go into the details here but different things like calcium, d3, and other vitamins are important to keep them healthy and growing properly.

When it comes to crested geckos, their diet is so straightforward. They rely on pre-made formulas that you can buy from online stores. In fact, cresties can get all the nutrition they need from Pangea and Repashy formulas. These brands come in powder form and all you have to do is mix them up with water to make it easy for your crested gecko to eat.

Temperament/ Handling

Both the crested gecko and leopard gecko are generally laid back. They are all about exploring and seeing what is going on around them. You won’t have any issues dealing with either of them. 

Both of them are easily manageable when it comes to handling. I am pretty sure you guys want a gecko that you can touch and play around with. Well, leos and cresties are super friendly and will rarely bite unless they are grumpy.

Also, you need to know that crested geckos tend to be a bit jumpy. As I mentioned earlier, they are semi arboreal, and they enjoy hopping from one branch to another. You need to keep an eye on them in case they decide to be jumpy. 

Leopard geckos tend to be a bit fast, and they will enjoy climbing on you with their little claws. All in all, you need to handle both geckos with care because they can drop their tails as a defense mechanism. If a crested gecko loses its tail, it cannot grow it back. Which is why you are likely to see crested geckos with dropped tails. Leopard geckos can also drop their tails, but they will grow them back with time. Unfortunately, it is not healthy for Leos to drop tails because it’s where they store nutrients.


There you have it! That’s my Crested Gecko vs Leopard Gecko comparison. Now it should be easier for you to choose which Lizard is best for you!

Simon Griffiths

Hi guys, my name is Simon, a fellow pet lover. I love everything about traditional and exotic pets so I am here to help you create a better home for your pets.

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