Crested Gecko vs. Leopard Gecko: How Are They Different?

three-leopard-geckos-different-sizes
© iStock.com/David Kenny

Written by Niccoy Walker

Updated: September 22, 2023

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Geckos come in all different varieties with specific temperaments and personalities. Which one is the best as a pet? Join us as we investigate crested gecko vs. leopard gecko. Crested geckos and leopard geckos are beginner-friendly pets with long life spans. Though they both require little maintenance, these two species differ quite a bit. Find out the significant differences between the crested gecko and the leopard gecko, including how to care for them and which one may be a better pet.

Comparing Crested Gecko vs. Leopard Gecko

Crested geckos come in many colors, while leopard geckos are yellow with black spots.
CharacteristicsCrested GeckoLeopard Gecko
Size7-9 inches; 10-11.5 ounces7-10 inches; 7-12.6 ounces
AppearanceVaried colors, crests on sides of a diamond shaped head, no eyelidsYellow with black spots, triangular head, have eyelids
PersonalityDocile, skittish, need to be adequately trained for handlingVocal, territorial, easy to train
Lifespan10-20 years15-20 years

Key Differences Between Crested Gecko vs. Leopard Gecko

crested gecko on leaf

Crested geckos require a more humid environment than leopard geckos.

©iStock.com/jamcgraw

These large geckos may have a few things in common like size and life span. Still, they look very different and have specific personalities. Each gecko requires particular maintenance and care. Crested geckos need to live in a much more humid environment than the leopard gecko and require slightly different heating and lighting for optimal health.

Let’s cover all the differences in appearance, personality, and maintenance.

Size

The average length for both geckos is around 8-inches, with the leopard gecko getting slightly bigger. However, these geckos can’t reach their max weight without outside influence. Owners will often bulk up these reptiles so they can belong to the giant gecko family. Leopard geckos can even reach 12-inches!

How large you want your gecko to get will depend on your preference. Most people can comfortably handle these geckos at their default 8-inch size. Whichever one you decide on, invest in at least a 20-gallon tank. These colorful lizards need plenty of room to move and explore. 

Appearance

Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) is a cathemeral, ground-dwelling lizard naturally found in the highlands of Asia and throughout Afghanistan, to parts of northern India.

Leopard geckos sleep with their eyes closed, while crested geckos have sticky toe pads that cling to walls.

©Milan Zygmunt/Shutterstock.com

Crested geckos are morphs, meaning they come in different colors and patterns. Its natural coloration in the wild consists of brown, green, and red earth tones. Due to selective breeding, you can find them in many more colors. The crested gecko gets its name from the distinct ridges that run along both sides of its head. Its diamond-shaped head looks rough, but it is soft and feels similar to a suede texture. 

This reptile has no eyelids, which is common in geckos. But it has a transparent layer of scale to protect its eyes. You will also find sticky toe pads that equip them for climbing vertical surfaces.

Leopard geckos commonly feature yellow coloring with irregular black spots and a white underbelly. However, these geckos also morph and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. You may see them in orange, lavender, black, and brown shades. The skin of a leopard gecko has a wart-like texture, but some may come scaleless with breeding. It has a triangular-shaped head, a long body, slender digits, and a segmented tail. 

Surprisingly, leopard geckos have eyelids! They can blink and will even sleep with their eyes closed. Leopard geckos are ground-dwelling lizards and do not have toe pads, meaning you won’t find them clinging to walls.

Personality

Crested Gecko - In Enclosure

Crested geckos are docile but skittish. Leopard geckos are calm and easy to handle.

©Logan Bush/Shutterstock.com

Crested geckos are generally docile reptiles, but they can be jumpy and nervous around humans. With proper training, you can hold these geckos in small increments. However, they prefer not to be handled and will nip when they’ve had enough.

Leopard geckos are calm with easy-going demeanors. They are easy to handle and train and are not known for being aggressive or skittish. You won’t have to worry about them getting scared and biting. Leopards also make various noises like chirps, barks, squeaks, and screams. 

Both prefer to be left alone in their worlds, but you can handle them with proper training and care. Geckos brought up with humans from a young age are friendlier and adapt naturally to close contact with their owners.

Health and Care

Crested geckos can be nocturnal, meaning they are often awake during the night and like to hide come daylight. Although, some may sleep at night. When cared for properly, crested geckos can live 10 to 20 years. They need to live in a very humid environment, around 60% during the day and 80% at night. The crested also thrives in temperatures between 72° and 80°. They also need climbing features in their tanks. 

Leopard geckos are crepuscular. They are most active in the twilight hours between dusk and dawn. These geckos have long life spans and can live between 15 and 20 years on average. They prefer moderate humidity, around 30% and 40%. During the day, their cages must be warm at 75° and as high as 85°. 

Both species can be territorial and should be kept in a separate tank if they are male. They also eat similar diets of crickets and mealworms. You can also feed geckos nutritional powdered food along with living insects.

Which One is Better for a Pet?

Leopard Gecko

Crested and leopard geckos are excellent as first-time reptilian pets.

©Dr.Pixel/Shutterstock.com

Crested and leopard geckos are excellent as first-time reptilian pets. Both are relatively low-maintenance and easy-going companions. Leopard geckos don’t require intense humidity, and they can be calmer and easier to hold. But crested geckos can also be excellent pets when trained early. The verdict: Both are wonderful, trouble-free pets. Which one you prefer depends on your personality and lifestyle.


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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