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What Is a Gargoyle Gecko?

Christina Whyte
Christina Whyte

The gargoyle gecko, scientific name Rhacodactylus auriculatus, is a nocturnal gecko which is often kept as a pet. It can live more than 15 years if well cared for, and is often around eight inches (20.32 cm) long as an adult. While it is generally easy to care for, there are some considerations that need to be kept in mind for a healthy, happy gecko.

A gargoyle gecko derives its name from its characteristic knobby head shape. These geckos tend to be heavy bodied and can come in a variety of colors and patterns, ranging from ruddy brown to white and including mottled, striped, and reticulated or granite patterning. Their tails can come off if roughly handled or attacked by another gecko, and while the tail will regrow it will not look the same.

Pet gargoyle geckos are often fed crickets.
Pet gargoyle geckos are often fed crickets.

Both insects and fruit should be included in the diet of a gargoyle gecko. Crickets are usually fed to pet geckos, although in the wild their diet is more varied and can even include birds and other reptiles. They should not be fed household insects. Commercial meals are available for gargoyles, which can replace live prey, although the geckos may grow better if fed live prey.

In the wild, this type of gecko is arboreal, meaning it lives in trees. It does come to ground level more often than some other species of gecko, but a good enclosure will be relatively tall and include lots of climbing material that is strong enough to take the gecko's weight. A good enclosure will also have plenty of hiding places, since a gargoyle gecko will be happier and less stressed if it can easily hide.

This type of gecko needs a room temperature, relatively high humidity environment. Basking lights are not strictly necessary, but the gargoyle gecko will probably enjoy basking sometimes. They will usually be inactive and sleepy during the day, and become active at dusk and overnight.

Gargoyle geckos are a good choice for someone who is new to keeping geckos as pets, since they are relatively easy to care for and tend to be docile. One consideration is that gargoyle geckos tend to leap if frightened or startled, so it is important not to hold them up high when they are getting used to being handled or they may injure themselves falling to the floor. A single gargoyle gecko per tank is often best, but juvenile geckos or multiple males should definitely not be housed together because juveniles tend to eat each other's tails and males tend to fight.

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    • Pet gargoyle geckos are often fed crickets.
      By: viter
      Pet gargoyle geckos are often fed crickets.