If you’re looking for a new pet and settled nicely on getting yourself a lizard, you may have seen in a few guides detailing reptiles the perks of owning a Gargoyle Gecko. These small, tree-dwelling lizards are incredibly popular amongst reptile owners and are considered great for beginner pet owners.
About The Gargoyle Gecko (Rhacodactylus Auriculatus)
Native to the island of New Caledonia, the Rhacodactylus Auriculatus (the scientific term for the Gargoyle Gecko) is said to have been first discovered around 1869. This particular species used to be considered rare, however in recent decades the pet trade has seen a significant rise in Gargoyle Geckos popularity. This is due to a number of reasons, the most prominent being that they are significantly easy to care for, which is why they are favored by reptile rookies.
Gargoyle Gecko Appearance
The popular Gargoyle Gecko is easily recognizable by the protrusions or cranial bumps on their head that resemble horns hence why they are known as Gargoyles. These Geckos typically have a triangular-shaped head, rounded, small toe pads, large eyes, and a semi-prehensile tail.
Gargoyle Gecko Colors and Markings
These beautifully vibrant reptiles can come in an array of markings and colors, otherwise known as morphs. The most common and popular variations are listed below, however, these Geckos are known to come in other combinations also.
Gargoyle Gecko Morphs:
- Yellow striped
- Red striped
- Orange striped
- Red undertone with orange stripes/markings
- Pink/red undertone with orange spots/markings
These colorings are usually the most common shades however they will be mixed with others such as brown, yellow, and even green. The markings of a Gargoyle Gecko can vary from spots, stripes, or other interesting patterns.
How Big do Gargoyle Geckos Get?
Mature adult Gargoyle Geckos can grow to be anywhere between seven-ten inches in length, including their tail. A healthy adult will weigh between 60-80 grams.
Baby Gargoyle Geckos tend to only be a few inches long and will weigh around two-three grams when hatched.
Temperament and Personality
Gargoyle Geckos are a crepuscular species, meaning they are perfect for people who are night owls. When young, these Geckos can be skittish however as they mature they become more confident, especially once they are used to their new environment and human interaction.
Gargoyle Gecko Handling
When you bring your newly purchased Gargoyle Geckos home they should be allowed to settle comfortably in their new home without being handled. After around four weeks, your Gecko should be comfortable in its habitat and be ready for short handling sessions so that it can become accustomed to human contact.
Over time these short handling sessions will help your Gecko become more comfortable with contact although they have been known to nip when stressed. If baby Gargoyle Geckos are handled too much they are likely to bite, not hard, as a warning to put him down. Adults are less likely to bite although that doesn’t mean they can’t become stressed.
Throughout your time owning a Gargoyle Gecko you are likely to pick up on signals that your pet wants to go back into the comfort of the enclosure. The ideal time frame for a handling session tends to be around five minutes.
Sociability – Living With Other Geckos
Usually, this Gecko species is solitary and won’t mix well with others of its kind. This is because they can be particularly territorial, especially male Gargoyle Geckos. However, if you pay special time and attention to Geckos then you can house a male with female Gargoyle Geckos although it is not recommended that you home them with other males as they have been known to become aggressive.
Generally, if you’re a new pet owner and are hoping to bring a Gargoyle Gecko home, it’s recommended that you only house one at a time.
The tailless condition occurs when a full-grown Gargoyle Gecko feels threatened or anxious, meaning that under pressure, they can shed their tails as a response or escape method. This leaves them with a tiny pointed tail nub however, Geckos are able to readily regenerate tails meaning that they will eventually grow back.
Gargoyle Gecko Enclosure And Habitat
Housing your Gargoyle Gecko is important and will heavily impact their happiness and life span. Making sure they are at the right temperature, have enough space, plenty to eat, and lots of decoration to explore is crucial for their health and well-being.
Gargoyle Gecko Tank Size
A 10 gallon or less is an adequate size to home a juvenile or baby Gargoyle Gecko although as they mature they will need a larger tank. Adult Gargoyle Geckos will need a 20-gallon tank that has a significant amount of vertical room as these Geckos love to climb wood and explore. If you are thinking of homing more than one Gecko, you may need to consider a bigger tank.
These enclosures should be made from either glass or plastic with a screen top. The material will help to retain some humidity levels as well as allow sunlight to filter through. They are also significantly easier to clean.
It’s important that the inside of your Geckos enclosure mimic their natural environment. This is easily achievable by decorating the tank with live or artificial plants, cork bark, and dried wood branches angled across the tank. If you decide to opt for live plants it may also be beneficial to use a fluorescent bulb inside their tank.
Lighting and Temperature
Reptiles’ body temperature adjust depending on their environmental temperature, meaning that they are ectotherms. Gargoyle Geckos don’t need an extraordinary amount of heat in their tank however there are ideal temperatures to use to keep them healthy and comfortable. During the daytime hours, their tank will need to sit between 75 – 83 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, you should allow the temperature to drop to the lower end of the 70s.
Although Gargoyle Geckos thrive in heat, exceeding a certain temperature will cause anxiety and harm. Make sure the tank does not exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You will also need to make sure that the temperature doesn’t drop drastically too.
When buying your Gargoyle Gecko tank make sure you also purchase a digital thermometer so that you can keep a watchful eye on the temperature of the enclosure.
Ceramic heat emitters or a low-wattage incandescent bulb are perfectly suitable for your Geckos home and should be placed on one part of the enclosure. This will keep the other part of the tank unheated as Geckos often need an area to cool down in.
As Gargoyle Geckos are primarily tree-dwelling lizards it’s recommended that these items are placed around a spot heavily decorated with branches as your Gecko will need a basking spot to stretch out and relax on. Lizard owners can also get their hands on a heating pad if your particular Gecko prefers to feel the ground on its toe pads.
Note: Gargoyle Geckos will need a day/night schedule to keep them regulated so it’s recommended that you only keep the light on for around 12 hours then turn it off at night. Your Gecko’s overall well-being, activity levels, and appetite will benefit greatly from the lighting schedule.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Need UVB?
If your Gargoyle Gecko is getting a sufficient and nutritious diet, a UVB light may not be necessary as they assist the synthesis of vitamin D3.
Another important feature, and one that will help to recreate their native habitat, is the substrate used in their tank. Reptile carpet is an appealing choice for first-time owners as it is easy to maintain and clean however, to better mimic their natural habitat, it will beneficial to use peat moss. Not only is peat moss reminiscent of their usual home, but it also retains moisture, meaning that it will help the tank’s humidity levels.
A Gargoyle Geckos home should be kept humid at all times with levels sitting comfortably between 60-70%. Using a spray bottle or cool air humidifier will work perfectly when misting their enclosure. Reptile owners are also recommended to purchase relative humidity gauges so that they can keep a close eye on the levels in their Geckos tank.
Choosing the right tank will help humidity remain at a safe level however it is generally recommended that enclosures are lightly misted nightly. If your tank doesn’t hold humidity well, you can increase the number of times a day you mist it but always make sure to keep an eye on the gauge.
You will need to spot clean their tank daily for droppings as well as replace their water. Depending on their potty frequency, you will have to clean the tank more thoroughly one-three times a week.
Gargoyle Gecko Care
On top of maintaining a hygienic enclosure, you should also ensure that you feed your Gargoyle Gecko a nutritious diet to keep them happy and in good health.
Gargoyle Gecko Diet
These adorable reptiles tend to live off an omnivorous diet consisting of live insects and fruit. Occasionally, reptile owners can feed their adults Gargoyle Geckos a pinky mouse however these lizard pets primarily enjoy their fruits, crickets, waxworms, and dubia roaches.
The standard Gargoyle Gecko diet should consist of a healthy combination of vitamins and minerals to ensure they are looked after and happy. If you feel like your Gecko is being particularly picky and not getting a suitable amount of nutrients you can coat their insects with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.
It’s not mandatory that you feed live insects to Geckos as they can happily survive on fruit and they sometimes prefer to go without insects altogether. They should be fed a fruit mix at least three times a week. You can also find commercial feeds that are intended for a Crested Gecko diet but are also beneficial for your Gargoyle lizard.
Note: Gargoyle Geckos can also eat pureed baby foods if you struggled to find the Crested Gecko diet in reptile stores
Your reptile friend should have constant access to a shallow water bowl with clean drinking water. Typically, these Geckos don’t tend to drink an excessive amount however it’s still important to have the bowl around.
Note: Droplets of water found on the leaves (due to the humidity in their enclosure) act as an additional water source, so don’t stress too much if you notice that they barely touch their drinking bowl.
How Long do Gargoyle Geckos live?
With the proper care and attention, Gargoyle geckos can live anywhere between 15-20 years.
Where To Find A Gargoyle Gecko
If you’re looking to purchase one of these adorable Geckos you can find them in reptile stores or have a look online to find a reputable breeder.
Standard Gargoyle Gecko Cost
These docile, gentle, and interesting pets can cost anywhere between $50-$100. The reason why some can cost a little extra is that some colors and markings are very uncommon. Captive-bred Gecko reptiles with rare markings can sometimes be sold for a lot more than $100 so don’t be surprised if you find some that are more expensive than others.
When purchasing a reptile it’s important to consider the additional costs to cover your Gargoyle Geckos care needs. These include:
- Gargoyle Gecko food
- Enclosures (including initial large plastic terrariums for babies/juveniles)
- Pet Insurance
- Temperature and humidity gauge/thermometer
- Cleaning products
- Veterinarian care (if necessary)
Summary – Are Gargoyle Geckos Good Pets?
Gargoyle Geckos are great pets for rookie reptile owners and experienced lizard owners. Although they are a 15-20 year commitment they are considered low maintenance compared to other Gecko lizard species and are very entertaining to watch.