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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Crocodile Gecko Setup Steps

Crocodile Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)

Experience Level: Intermediate

Crocodile Gecko looking around

Crocodile Gecko

Step 1Choosing a Terrarium

Crocodile Geckos are from the dry, rocky regions of the Mediterranean in North Africa. They are very territorial and are best housed individually.

(A) Use a 20-gallon (20-24" tall) or larger terrarium for your Crocodile Gecko. Crocodile Geckos do better in taller enclosures so they have ample space to climb.
(B) Screened lid, if not included with habitat.

Step 2Heating and Lighting

• Habitats require two (C) thermometers (one high and one low) and one (D) hygrometer to monitor humidity levels.
• The basking spot should be the warmest point in the habitat during the day. Heat is provided by a (E) high-wattage bulb placed directly above the basking spot. Turn the light off at night.
• Use a ceramic heat emitter or night heat lamp as needed to maintain nighttime temperatures.

Target Range
Humidity 40-60%
Day-Cool Area 75-80° F (24-27° C)
Day-Basking Spot 90-95° F (32-35° C)
Night 65-75° F (18-24° C)

Crocodile Geckos are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night but will come out during the day to bask. Use a daytime (F) UVA/UVB (ultraviolet) fluorescent bulb to provide 12 hours of light.
• For night viewing, use a night-specific bulb to minimize visible light provided to your reptile.

Step 3Substrate and Decor

• Use a 2-3" layer of bark bedding or calcium sand (based on your ambient humidity, bark will retain moisture where as sand creates a less humid environment).

• Clean out waste weekly. Completely change bedding once a month.

• Include decor to elevate your gecko closer to the heat source for basking.

• Provide branches (artificial or live) for hiding and climbing.

• Ensure decor is large and stable enough for the size of your gecko.

Habitat for Crocodile Gecko

New surroundings and environments can be stressful for pets. Prior to handling your Gecko, give him 3-4 days to adjust to his new surroundings while monitoring his behavior for any signs of stress or illness. Shortly after purchase, have a veterinarian familiar with reptiles examine your pet.

Things to Watch For
• Runny droppings for more than two days

• Eating or drinking less; weight loss

• Swollen joints

• Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

• Shedding problems; discolored skin

• Decreased basking; more time spent hiding

If you notice any of the above signs, speak with a PetSmart store associate or reptile veterinarian with questions about the health of your pet.

PetSmart Cares
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.

Other Reminders

Use caution when handling reptiles. All pets may bite or scratch especially when stressed. Always handle your turtle by the mid section and not by the limbs. Supervise children around pets.

Pets may transmit disease to humans; be sure to wash your hands before and after handling your pet, the aquarium water or cleaning its home.