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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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Gargoyle Gecko?

A Gargoyle Gecko, scientifically known as Rhacodactylus auriculatus, is a species of gecko native to the southern end of New Caledonia. This nocturnal reptile is named for the horn-like structures on its head, reminiscent of the stone gargoyles found on Gothic architecture. They are popular in the pet trade due to their unique appearance and docile nature.

What do Gargoyle Geckos eat?

Gargoyle Geckos are omnivores, feeding on a variety of foods in captivity. Their diet can include commercial gecko food blends, which are nutritionally complete, as well as live insects like crickets and mealworms. Occasional treats may consist of soft fruits, but these should be given sparingly to prevent obesity and nutritional imbalances.

How long do Gargoyle Geckos live?

With proper care, Gargoyle Geckos can live a long and healthy life. In captivity, their lifespan typically ranges from 15 to 20 years. Factors such as diet, habitat, and overall care can influence their longevity. Providing a well-maintained environment and regular veterinary check-ups can help ensure they reach their full lifespan potential.

What kind of habitat do Gargoyle Geckos need?

Gargoyle Geckos thrive in a habitat that mimics their natural environment. They require a vertically oriented enclosure with plenty of climbing opportunities, as they are arboreal. The temperature should be maintained between 72-80°F with a slight drop at night, and humidity levels should be kept around 50-70%. Live or artificial plants can provide hiding spots and maintain humidity.

How do you handle a Gargoyle Gecko?

Handling a Gargoyle Gecko should be done gently and with care. Allow the gecko to approach and climb onto your hand to minimize stress. Avoid grabbing or holding them tightly, as this can cause injury or stress. Limit handling sessions to a few minutes, especially when they are new to your home, to allow them to acclimate.

Are Gargoyle Geckos good for beginners?

Gargoyle Geckos are considered one of the better choices for beginner reptile enthusiasts. Their care requirements are relatively straightforward, and they have a calm disposition, making them less intimidating to handle. However, like all pets, they require commitment to provide proper care, including creating a suitable habitat, maintaining a balanced diet, and regular health check-ups.

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