Zoo Buddy: Crested Geckos!

The Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe has many types of geckos, including crested geckos.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 11:16 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Meet Charlie, a crested gecko at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe!

“The reason they’re called crested geckos is because they have these nice crests that run pretty much all the way down their body starting at their eyes and moving down towards their toe,” explains zookeeper Garrett Cole.

He says they’re from New Caledonia.

“They were first discovered in 1866,” explains Cole. “But we’re quickly determined to be extinct. And in 1994, so 130 years later, almost, they were rediscovered, and actually rediscovered in fairly large numbers. So they’re what we call a Lazarus species, which means we thought they were extinct and they came back.”

Cole says they’re not super fast, so they jump to get away from predators. He says they can jump about six feet.

“They spend most of the day asleep in the trees up in the canopies at the tops. And then at nighttime, they venture kind of lower in the trees to look for food,” explains Cole. “They mostly like bugs and rotten plants - the fermented plants often like fermented fruit off of the floor in the rainforest where they come from. And unlike most lizards, or geckos in general, they’re omnivores, instead of being primarily one or the other.”

He says their tails don’t grow back once they fall off and they do use them to hold onto trees and to balance.

You can see him and their other geckos at the zoo’s reptile building. The zoo is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the splash pad is too. Visit their Facebook Page for the latest updates.