Beyond The Care Sheets with Tyler Rugge & Emzotic | Crested Geckos | S1E2
Hey Zen Friends. And welcome back to the second episode of the very first season of Beyond the Care Sheets. This is a series that is so special. A lot of love and heart has been poured into it. It's a series where we take a look beyond the care sheets at all of the different questions, which you often don't find in a care sheet pertaining to a bunch of different species. This is brought to you by Zen Habitats. I am Em from Emzotic. I'm also the VP of Sales and Marketing for the UK Territory for Zen Habitats. I see a whole bunch of you already coming in to join us. Hello everybody! Tyler Rugge has joined us. Tyler, I am pulling you in right now.
Hello. Oh, my goodness. Look at this. Look at this dude. Oh, my God. Look at those floppy crests. I love it. Who is this Tyler?
This is Oracle, the crested gecko!
Oracle. Hi, Oracle. Is this a male or a female crested gecko that you're showing off for us today?
Oracle’s a female.
Oh, she's a female. She's absolutely stunning. I love those floppy crests. And for everybody who is joining. Welcome. This is Tyler Rugge. Tyler Rugge is being so generous with his time this evening, even though he is on the road and joining us remotely instead of from being at home. And we're going to be talking today all about the crested gecko, a.k.a. Correlophus ciliates. Tyler, can you first of all, welcome. Can you tell us a little bit about you and your background with Crested Geckos?
Yeah. So I make YouTube videos about all my pets. I have a bunch of different stuff, mostly reptiles. And then a couple of years ago, Maddy and I started breeding crested geckos. And then just in the past year, we kind of got more serious about it and invested in a lot of much higher quality crested geckos and started our own business called Celestial Exotics.
I totally know what just happened that I think that the Crested Gecko decided to yeet itself at the camera and might have disrupted the flow. But it's all good. I'm sure Tyler will be back with us momentarily. What Tyler was talking about just then is he invested in a whole bunch of higher end crested geckos. And he did start with his amazing partner, Maddy Smith, Celestial Exotics. So with Celestial Exotics, if you want to check them out, you can do that by going to Tyler's profile, you'll be able to find them there. We just heard all about your amazing success with celestial exotics. I've been following. Your progress is absolutely fantastic. Tell me, what do you love most about Crested Geckos? What drew you to them?
I just love just they're very stupid, like in a good way if they look very funny, like their faces and they're just like such cool little lizards, and they're also like their care is just very simple. As far as a lot of reptiles go. So just really cool that they're so easy, but they're also just very cool, unique. They have little fun personalities, just overall, they're perfect.
And they also like to cause impromptu “gechnical” difficulties. Puns for the win for me. Now, I have to ask you, in terms of crested geckos, we see them everywhere. How difficult exactly is it to keep a crested gecko?
In my opinion. They're honestly probably like one of the easiest reptiles. Just because they're fairly small, they don't need a really huge enclosure. They're also good at pretty much at room temperature. So they don't need a heat source. And like their diets, really simple. Everything's just very straightforward for the most part. Yeah, they're so easy.
That is wonderful to hear. And what are some of the common ailments that one can expect to encounter with Crested Geckos?
So there aren't really that many things that could go wrong. I think one big thing, not big thing, but the most common thing is they drop their tails as a defense mechanism, which really isn't a big deal. Like it doesn't hurt them or anything, but they'll drop their tail. Some people will like freak out or whatever, but the wound closes like immediately. So you don't have to worry about anything and it doesn't grow back, so you don't have to worry about it happening again, luckily. But I prefer usually just getting a gecko that doesn't have a tail because I don't have to worry about it. Then I can just handle them and not worry about freaking them out too much. But yeah, there's that. They can get respiratory infections if the humidity isn't correct, but again, that's just something where you might want to just take them to the vet if you think anything like that's happening. And then they can become egg bound. And again, that's something where you can't really tell super easily because I feel like a lot of the different issues they have, the symptoms are like they stop eating, they become kind of lethargic, things like that. So you really just need to take them to the vet to kind of see for sure what it is, but it's like the egg bound or maybe like a respiratory infection are the most common issues people might run into.
That's fascinating. You mentioned a little bit about the humidity needs. Am I right in thinking that this is a tropical species of gecko? And if so, can you tell us a little bit about where that from?
Yeah, it's definitely more of a tropical species. They're from New Caledonia, which is like they are islands and the they live in the trees, but they need a kind of gradient humidity where it spikes at nighttime and then during the day it kind of dries out. So a few people run into a lot as they'll either have the humidity too high all the time or they don't give enough humidity. And there really needs to be a range so that they can properly shed. Yeah. So it just as long as you mist like at night give them a good misting and then let it dry out during the day and just make sure it kind of fluctuates like it would naturally.
That's actually a really interesting comment that you just made all about how they require that humidity in order to shed. And I think a lot of new keepers might be really very surprised to know that crested geckos do shed because when a snake sheds, you can see physically that shed, you can keep it. I have a whole wall of snake sheds. However with crested geckos, you don't find the shed. Can you shed some light on what happened to that shed?
Yeah. As they're pulling their shut off, they actually will eat their shed, which is some gecko. A lot of geckos do that actually, like leopard geckos and stuff. So if you're lucky, you'll see them starting to shed. You'll see the shed starting to like peel off of their face and you might even see them like pulling it off of themselves. But yeah, if you don't catch them in the act of shedding, then you don't even really notice it happening.
Wow. So if somebody doesn't necessarily see that crested gecko shedding, is this a warning sign or is this quite a common thing?
I wouldn't say it's a warning sign because they shed they usually can shed pretty quickly. So if they shed and eat it all in one night and you just didn't walk in on them, then you won't even see that it happened. So yeah, I mean, yeah, if you don't see it happen, like that's probably normal. Like a lot of our geckos, we're like, lucky if we see one that's shedding, you know.
Wow. So anybody watching, if you happen to routinely see your crested gecko shedding, it means you need to have an earlier bedtime. Yeah. And then I also see that Maddy is in the comment section. Thank you so much, Maddy. Maddy is the other half of the wonderful duo that makes up Celestial Exotics and just always speaking again about celestial exotics. You specialize in crested geckos. Where are you this weekend? Because it's super exciting.
Yes, we are attending an NARBC Tinley Park, which is a really big reptile expo. It's like the biggest I've ever been to. At least it's one of the biggest in the country. It's either the biggest or the second biggest. It's really cool. A lot of other people in the community come and YouTubers and stuff, so it's just such a cool expo. Definitely my favorite.
Wow. And are you vending at NARBC Tinley this time or are you visiting?
I'm just visiting this one, but we will be vending NARBC St Louis, which is in November.
Fantastic. So if anybody wants to see a really great example of healthy crested geckos and high end crested geckos, Tyler and Maddy of celestial exotics, are your people to go and visit? Well, Tyler, I think it's about time. We have a couple of questions from the viewers who were asked to ask their questions in the story of Zen Habitats on Instagram. Gianni asks, would you recommend Crested Geckos as a first gecko?
100%, as far as pretty much any first reptile you could get. I think a crested gecko's probably like the best one just because, like I said, everything is so simple. A lot of reptiles require like a really huge enclosure and the geckos, they just stay really small. They don't need a big enclosure. Like I said, they're good at room temperature. A lot of reptiles you have to worry about adding some sort of heat source and getting the temperature correct. And with crested geckos, if anything, you only have to really worry about them overheating, which is if the room starts to get more above like 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Yep. Just the fact they don't need a heat source and then also their diet, since you can get like a crested gecko diet that's already pre-made and formulated for them, you don't have to worry about like for a bearded dragon, for example. You need to worry about giving them like a variety of greens that you need to go pick yourself and make them a salad and then give them a variety of insects as well. And it just gets more complicated. So geckos are just so much easier. You just give them some pangea, throw some crickets in there once in a while, and you're all good.
Is there anything in particular that you have to do to the crickets before you feed them? Or is it similar in terms of feeding with other geckos? You give them like a light calcium dusting.
We dust our crickets with D-3 calcium pretty much just every time we do crickets because they only get crickets a couple of times a week. So we're not worried about them getting too much D-3. Why? Yeah. And also he was like hand signing me to mention that we also got load our insects so we normally feed it's the Repashy super load. So it's just like a gel mix that you mix and you give it to your crickets or your roaches or whatever you're feeding and it got loads. Then they're nice and healthy, but we also do dust them with calcium.
Fantastic. And thank you also Maddy for jumping in just then. In terms also of their diet, I have seen a couple of times that people will stress that it's very important to have insects in the diet of a crested gecko. But there are others who will say that simply a Pangea mix or a Repashy diet is a complete a complete diet. What are your thoughts on that?
So insects are definitely an important part of their diet because that's something that they would eat in the wild. In the wild, they eat a wide variety of things, a lot of things that we can even give them in captivity. So it's definitely important. Now, you don't necessarily need to give them live insects, although it's ideal if you can give them live insects and they’ll eat them, because it's obviously natural for them to hunt. It's good enrichment and just live insects are better. But not all geckos will necessarily want to eat live insects. So in that case, it is fine as long as you're giving them Pangea with insects or any other crested gecko diet with insects included in it. And you can also purchase like a cricket powder, which you can mix into their food as well. And then that's just another way of getting that insect in their diet without actually having to feed them to live insect.
Sure. And then in terms of the insect size, obviously, it varies with the size of the gecko. But is there a kind of rough guide as to what kind of size is appropriate for each gecko?
Yeah, you obviously don't want to give them anything too big because then you worry about them like potentially choking on it or something. I think people usually recommend kind of like the space in between their eyes, like if you can kind of visualize like the size and if it fits in between their eyes and kind of assume it would go down their throat pretty okay as well.
That's a that's a good rule and it's a really great one that people can very easily remember. So if you are having difficulty with getting your crested gecko to eat something you can look at is the size of the prey if you are giving them live food because it can be very intimidating to swallow something that is larger than the width of your head, naturally. And then going on to the next question, this was asked by MattD755 is UVB essential for Crested Geckos?
That's a really good one. And it's definitely something that's heavily debated with geckos and also a lot of other things like snakes and different things. So technically, is it essential technically? Most people would say no because people have been keeping these animals without giving them UVB and they don't end up getting like MBD necessarily because of it. And they can live pretty much like a full lifespan. However, as husbandry standards are, you know, getting more strict and people are trying to do better for their animals, which is a good thing. People are starting to recommend giving UVB anyway because obviously in the wild, although they're not coming out during the day and basking necessarily, they're still getting a small amount of exposure of UVB. So it's just good to give them that in captivity as well because it's natural they do benefit from it. So I would recommend giving your gecko UVB if you can, because it's just natural for them and they benefit and it's just something that you can do to give them like the top tier quality of care, basically. But yeah, really long winded answer, but they don’t technically need it, but I think they should have it.
Mm hmm. Yeah. No, that's definitely my thoughts on it. I think if an animal comes from anywhere in the world where there is some sun that they can enjoy and certainly to provide it, which is honestly for most reptiles, in my humble opinion, and then heading on to the next question, this is aries.animals and they ask, is breeding as a newbie considered irresponsible?
I mean, it depends how you look at it, because technically everyone at some point is a newbie, but you don't want to like go into breeding without knowing anything. Like you definitely want to kind of like know what you're breeding and you know what different things are going to make and what is considered like a good quality gecko. Because you just go into breeding and you don't know anything and you're just throwing random geckos together then, yes it's definitely something that's going to be frowned upon.
Well, that's actually very interesting because as I have acquired my own little collection of crested geckos, the terms high end and pet quality often are brought to my attention. What is the difference and how can someone tell what is a pet quality gecko and what is a high quality gecko and are one supposed to be bred more than the other? Let's talk a bit about that.
Yeah. So what's considered like a high end Gecko or what breeders look for when they're looking for geckos to breed? The biggest thing I would say is like the structure of the gecko. So the structure would be like the shape of their head, how prominent their crests are. And then people also look for their pattern and their coloration and as far as like which ones are more desirable, I would say that the structure is pretty universal, like everyone wants a gecko with good structure, but as far as the different traits go that the geckos have and their pattern and stuff, it's really just personal preference. Like some people really like tri-colors, some people are really into lily white specifically or like Dalmatians, you know. So there's just so many different types and traits that people are into and it's a lot of it's opinion based, but I'd say structure is like the biggest thing people would look at and then like a gecko that's just really crappy, I would say that no one would really want like, like it'd be like if you went to PetSmart, basically like a lot of the geckos, if you're just going to PetSmart or Petco, they'll be like pretty much like bald. They'll have like barely any crests, barely any pattern. They're just flames and they're like brown, like just like not great looking geckos, you know? And if you just want a pet and you don't care about breeding, then it doesn't really matter. Technically, probably not. But if you're going to get into breeding and you want to be like someone who's like a pretty respectable breeder, you don't breed want something that like looks like that, right?
No, that totally makes sense. So I suppose if one was looking to get into the breeding aspect, which is a very popular part of the crested gecko hobby right now, and of the reptile hobby of the wider reptile hobby, I suppose one would want to look probably for a mentor, and if that were the case, where would one try and find a crested gecko mentor?
I'd say a really good place to go. And I say this, it just depends. But you want to try to find Facebook groups, but you don't want to go to Facebook groups that have a lot of people who don't know what they're doing, like the big Facebook groups. Because if you get into one, they're like really big and there's just like a lot of random people posting. You'll get people who post things that are very not true, but they say it with a lot of confidence and it just confuses people because, you know, they're spreading misinformation. But there's a lot of really good groups that breeders go to. And if you can just get into the breeding groups where people post pictures of their breeding geckos and pairing together, and even just going and looking at really good breeders and their pages and just like looking at lineage and stuff like that, you can get really good feel. And obviously like if you message a breeder, if you see someone who is really nice, that goes for most people, are very willing to talk to you about them and you because everyone wants to like breed to get information.
Oh, amazing. Well, thank you so much for that, Tyler. Actually, Eliza, Skylar1754 asks can crested geckos close their eyes?
So no. And because they do not have eyelids, so their eyes are just open. And that's why you'll see that often lick their eyes to keep them clean and hydrated because they can’t close them.
That's really interesting. And I think a lot of us know that snakes cannot blink, but we see a lot of lizards which can blink. So if that was confusing anybody crested geckos cannot blink and they actually have a little scale over their eye, which actually comes off when they are shedding their skin, which we spoke about earlier on in this live. And also just say hi to everybody down in the comments. And I've had tons of people join in a little bit later on. So everybody who is currently in the comments, thank you so much for giving us a bit of your time this evening. We really appreciate it. And this is Tyler Rugge of the YouTube channel, Tyler Rugge, as well as part owner of the duo who own Celestial Exotics. And then moving on to the next question, how can I help a baby crested gecko with Stuck Shed?
This is a really good one because this is an issue, even if you have good husbandry and all that stuff, sometimes babies just struggle with getting their shed off and especially on their feet. Sometimes you get some shad stuck. So what we will typically do is create like a sauna for them where we put them in a little deli cup with a paper towel down and mist it really good. So it's nice and moist in there, put them in there with the lid on and just let them sit in there for like 20-30 minutes and then you just take them out and we get like a Q-Tip and we wet it and just kind of use the Q-Tip to gently, wherever the shed needs to come off, just kind of rub it off for them.
Perfect. Thank you so much for that. And I think that's actually a very important question because with many other species of gecko, we soak them in water, for example, a bearded dragon to help them get rid of their stuck shed. But that would be terrible for a baby crested gecko. They're not natural, so please don't do that. It's far better to follow Tyler's advice. If you need to hear that segment again, this live will be up on the Zen Habitats page for you to go back and enjoy at your leisure as well as on the Zen Habitats YouTube channel. So if you haven't subscribed yet, make sure you go over to YouTube and subscribe. Now, next up, the next question we have are it's from PokieCats108. What are overlooked screening questions when rehoming your gecko or placing a gecko in a new home?
Um, just in general I would say. I mean just general basic crested gecko husbandry is what you want or that the person you're giving your gecko to knows. And I'd say it's often overlooked because I often see people who acquire geckos and they just don't know anything at all about their care. Like, I've seen people get crested gecko and put a heat lamp on it because they're like, Oh, this is a cold blooded reptile and I need to give it a heat source and they end up frying their gecko. So, I mean, you mainly want to ask like probably about the enclosure. Like, what do you plan on keeping your gecko in like, like what just wants your set up to look like and make sure they know the basic care. Because again, it's not very hard, but it's also easy to mess up if you're not doing any research and you're just guessing, you know?
Oh, absolutely no. That makes a ton of sense. And then I have another question down here. When one is looking to acquire a crested gecko, how do you choose a healthy specimen either in a pet store or online or at a trade show?
That's a really good question. So you mainly just want to take a really good look at them, maybe take them out and just look at them really quick. And first of all, this one might be kind of obvious, but you want to make sure the geckos not like super skinny in there. Just make sure they look like they're healthy babies, that they're not skinny. It could either mean that whoever is keeping them currently just isn't taking great care of them. But it also could mean that there's something wrong, like it could be sick, or for some reason it's just choosing to not eat. And you obviously don’t probably want to bring something like that in. And then you also want to make sure it looks hydrated and you can tell if a gecko is really badly dehydrated, if its skin looks slightly wrinkly, and if you like, gently, like kind of like squeeze an area of their skin if it doesn't like sink back down right away and it kind of stays in the spot that you pinched it, then it's like really dehydrated and then their eyes also get sunken in kind of looking. You just want to look for the stuff and then also look around their eyes and like their mouth area and make sure you don't see any like mucous or discharge stuff because that can be a sign of like a respiratory infection and then I feel like mites aren't really a big issue with crested geckos, but you might just want to make sure that they don't have mites potentially. But again, I haven't seen that really. But yeah.
Of course. And definitely to quarantine your new Crested Geckos and another room for at least three months before introducing them to the rest of your animals. Because as we spoke about with Mariah from Reptifiles in the first episode of Beyond the Care Sheets, which you can also check out on the YouTube channel, she really goes into a little bit about cryptosporidium and the spread of different kinds of diseases. So that's also, again, a really, really important point and I can definitely see some people really excited that you're on our live. I can see “guest”, I'm sorry I butchered that but they say, oh my god Tyler. Ruggie. And that's definitely how I feel after having these wonderful questions for you. Thank you so much. You also helped to remind me to hydrate. I have some Zen juice here. It's. It's Blue Gecko, that's all I'm saying. But Tyler, thank you so much for your time this evening. I'm sure that everyone is going to be very happy to wish you thank you for coming on and also a really great weekend ahead of you at NARBC Tinely. If you happen to see Maddy or Tyler, feel free to go up and say hi because I know that they always love meeting all of you. Tyler, where can everybody find you on your socials?
You can find me just at Tyler Rugge on everything. Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube. And then you can find Celestial Exotics at Celestial Exotics on Instagram. And then we also have a Facebook page, the Facebook page is, Celestial Exotics.
Thank you so much for that, everybody. If you want to go and check out Tyler, which I highly recommend as well as Maddy, feel free to go over and check all of their socials. They are just such a wealth of knowledge on all things to do with crested geckos. And if I may say so, that's some of the most ethical breeders out there. I've personally seen a little bit via face time behind the scenes of that collection. Absolutely phenomenal. And I cannot wait to see what kind of juveniles you have lined up to show us in the very near future. Thank you all so much for joining, Tyler I'm going to let you go so you can go and grab some dinner with Maddy! Thank you so much for joining us. See you later.
Thanks for having me.
Thank you. And thank you all for jumping on. I really appreciate all of your comments and your questions. Also, remember, if you are looking for a great set up for your crested geckos, you can find the two by two by two PVC panel enclosure, which looks just a little bit like these ones over here. So you can definitely feel free to go onto the Zen Habitats website to check those out. Also, you can go and follow us over on Zen Habitats on Instagram as well as looking at all of our different videos. Be on the care sheets as well as a couple of awesome other series over on the YouTube channel for Zen Habitats as well. I've been Em, your host. I will see you next week on the next Beyond the Care Sheets. Until then I will see you again Zen friends. Bye!
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