The gargoyle gecko (also known as the Rhacodactylus auriculatus) are reptiles not only found within the wild but also accommodated as pets for humans. Home to the island of New Caledonia, these gargoyle geckos are easy-going reptiles that make as a great companion.
Gargoyle gecko colors can vary from brown, red, pink, yellow and orange with blotchy “patches” covering their bodies. These geckos can also change colors, depending on their environment. This makes the gargoyle gecko unique and astonishingly beautiful to look at.
If you’re thinking about keeping a gargoyle gecko in captivity, make sure you consider the time, cost, and effort required beforehand. This way, you can ensure your gargoyle gecko will live a long, healthy and joyous life.
Prey and Predators | Gargoyle Geckos
Wild gargoyle geckos will usually scavenge food supplies such as vegetation and fruits within their environment. If, however, the food supply is scarce, they’ll prey on insects such as…
Prey of Gargoyle Geckos:
Unfortunately, gargoyle geckos are no exception when it comes to predators. If in the wild, gargoyle geckos need to use their incredible jumping and skittish nature to defend themselves from predators. They’ll also drop their tail to help assist them in hiding from any large, scary creatures.
Predators of Gargoyle Geckos:
- Fire Ants
Male Domination | Gargoyle Geckos
Similar to many wild reptiles, the male dominance within gargoyle geckos is very much obvious.
Unlike some reptiles, multiple gargoyle geckos can not live together (both in the wild and in captivity) due to their naturally aggressive, dominant nature.
Male gargoyle geckos are very strong, fearless and presiding creatures even within their species, often fighting other male geckos to prove worthiness or power.
You’ll notice this behavior as early as juvenile stages, however, it becomes more apparent once they hit maturity. On most occasions, male gargoyle geckos release this fiery nature when trying to impress female gargoyle geckos for mating purposes.
They will also release this fiery nature if they’re trying to protect themselves or are fighting another male for territory reasons. Male gargoyle geckos will fight other male gargoyle geckos until death, which is why it’s important to never keep more than one male inside a tank at one time.
How Long Do Gargoyle Geckos Live?
If you’re hoping to become a gargoyle gecko owner, you may be curious to know exactly how long they can live for?
Well, considering you’re providing the proper care required for this particular reptile, the gargoyle gecko can live anywhere between 10 – 20 years in captivity!
A wild gargoyle gecko, however, may only be able to live up to 10 – 15 years in the wild, depending on the circumstances.
Of course, this may differ depending on the health of your little friend as well as the care you’re providing, age, sex and possibly their replicated habitat.
To ensure your gargoyle gecko can live a long and fruitful life; Ensure you’re keeping them well fed on a nutritional diet, provide adequate lighting and heating, give them lots of space to roam freely and check on their health regularly.
How Much Does a Gargoyle Geckos Cost?
Considering you’re located within the United States, the average price for a single gargoyle gecko will cost around $40 – $150 USD onwards.
Prices can vary depending on a few different factors, however, such as:
- Age of your desired gargoyle gecko
- Pattern or stripes on their bodies
- Where you purchase from (E.g; Breeder or Pet Store)
- Location within the United States
If you’re purchasing from a breeder, prices for a gargoyle gecko are usually higher and can start from $100 USD. Whereas purchasing from a commercial store such as a pet store may be cheaper, depending on the season and demand.
To save a bit of money on your gargoyle gecko purchase, check out classified Facebook groups or even shows where you can speak with the breeders in person and assess quality/price.
How Big Do Gargoyle Geckos Get?
When a gargoyle gecko has hatched from their eggs, they’re slightly bigger than the size of a common credit card (3 – 4 inches long).
As they reach adulthood, the average gargoyle gecko can reach a length of 8 – 10 inches long (20 – 25 cms).
Gargoyle Geckos Color
The gargoyle gecko (Scientific name; Rhacodactylus auriculatus) is home to the island of New Caledonia. These geckos have a distinct yet beautiful color that can change depending on different factors, such as:
- Environmental conditions; Rain, Sun, Dry, Damp
- Stress levels
- Time of the day
- Mating season
More often than not, you’ll find the gargoyle gecko to be a patchy red – and orange-colored reptile that may turn a blotchy white or brown at times.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Lose Their Tails?
The gargoyle gecko can indeed lose their tails. Why? You may be asking yourself… let me explain.
There are a few reasons why your gecko may lose their tail, however, fear plays a huge part in the loss. Other reasons why a gargoyle gecko may lose their tail will be either:
- Something/someone has frightened them
- Poor handling/Too much
- Loud/distracting outside commotion
It’s important to remember that a big part of a gargoyle gecko losing their tale has to do with their safety and protecting themselves. If however, your gecko does lose their tale… rest assured it will grow back eventually.
To eliminate or reduce this natural threat, limit loud noises or commotion outside of their cage. Avoid handling them for a long period and keep separate tanks if you have more than more.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Have Eyelids?
Did you know, gargoyle geckos do NOT have eyelids?!? I know… crazy right.
Instead of eyelids, the gargoyle has what is called a clear scale that covers their eyes. They then use their tongue to clean their eyes or these “clear scales” to rid any dust or particles as well as keeping them moist.
Can Gargoyle Geckos Climb Glass?
When deciding on what tank to purchase your gargoyle gecko, you’ll need to make sure it’s suitable and considerate of their climbing habits, especially if yours like to climb glass.
Gargoyle geckos can climb glass or smooth surfaces as their feet are usually able to stick to most exteriors. You’ll usually notice this with a baby or juvenile gargoyles though.
In saying this, however, not many adult gargoyle geckos will climb glass (compared to other species of geckos) either because of their chunky frame or lack of ability to grip.
All in all, remember that gargoyle geckos can climb and yes they can climb glass, but they’re not necessarily the best at it.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Tails Grow Back?
When a gargoyle gecko loses its tail, rest assured that it can grow back eventually.
It is always unfortunate when your gargoyle loses their beautiful tail, however, depending on the age of your gecko, they may grow their tail back quicker than expected.
Usually, for younger gargoyle geckos it’s easier and quicker for them to grow their tail back whereas an adult or a much older gecko has a decreased or low chance of growing their tail back at all.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Like To Be Handled?
When you first purchase your gargoyle gecko, the keeper or breeder should have explained to you that you should avoid handling them for some-time (at least until they’re used to their environment).
This is because gargoyle geckos usually do not like to be handled and can cause them extreme stress if you try to do this too early on.
Whether you’ve purchased a baby, juvenile or adult gargoyle; Avoid any kind of handling what-so-ever for the next few weeks.
Unlike domesticated pets such as cats or dogs, you should remember that gargoyle geckos are exotic reptiles that do not form emotional relationships with their owners. Thus, if you try to pick them up too early, they’ll either;
- Be agitated and difficult to control
- Become stressed and possibly lose their tail
- See you as a threat/dangerous
- Become extremely frightened
Let them get used to their new environment first, while slowly introducing gentle touches and light handling for a few weeks.
A few minutes a day while slowly building your way up is the best way to go when trying to get your gargoyle geckos to get used to you.
In my opinion, I think it’s useless trying to tame a reptile considering they are nothing like domesticated animals. With that being said, slowly introducing handling will not “tame” your reptile, but will get them used to it.
Eventually, the more frequently you do something the easier your gecko will become to adjust and adapt to this change.
Why Is My Gargoyle Gecko Digging?
Maybe you’ve noticed your female gargoyle digging the soil inside of her tank, or your male gargoyle profusely digging for reasons you’re unaware of?
Try not to worry, it isn’t uncommon and there’s usually a reason why your gargoyle gecko is digging.
Female Gargoyle Gecko Digging
If you’re the owner of a female gargoyle gecko, you may want to consider the chances of your little friend being pregnant.
Did you know, when it’s time for a female gargoyle to hatch; She digs a nest underground (within the soil, far away from predators) to lay her eggs.
She will begin to do this a few weeks prior and you’ll notice her digging becoming more frequent over the weeks leading up.
If your female gecko has not been bred, however, rest assured that it isn’t extremely uncommon for her to still lay eggs. This time, however, they’re called infertile eggs. She will still attempt to dig forming a nest for her to lay.
Male Gargoyle Gecko Digging
Male gargoyles can still be caught digging for valid reasons too.
Often it’s cute to think they’re digging just to take the mickey out of us, they’re most likely digging for reasons such as temperature.
When a gargoyle is too hot inside of their tank, they’ll dig underground in an attempt to look for somewhere cool and damp.
If this is the case, you should check the temperature and humidity inside of your reptile’s tank, ensuring they’re not overheating.
You could also provide water or more vegetables to help keep dehydration levels at a minimum.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Make Noise?
Don’t worry if you’re suddenly hearing random sounding noises from your gecko’s tank, it’s more than likely your gargoyle gecko attempting to communicate!
Although some people have never heard their gecko making noises, it is indeed true that gargoyle geckos do make noises.
A few reasons why they’ll make noise are:
- They’re communicating with you
- Feeling happy/excited
- They are angry/frustrated or stressed
- Claiming territory (more than one)
- Communicating with each other (more than one)
It’s more common to hear a gargoyle making noises at night time, sometimes loud enough to make you up (specifically, if there are one or more geckos in a tank/room).
Otherwise, your gecko may make noises when you’re handling them or feeding them. The noises they make can range from growls, grunts, squeaks or barks.
Can a Gargoyle Geckos Live With a Crested Gecko?
A good rule of thumb to follow when cohabitating two reptiles is to only keep them of the same species. I.e. It is not a good idea to keep a gargoyle gecko and a crested gecko living together.
The chances of these two different species fighting each other to death are extremely high and it is never a good idea to keep different species in the same tank full-time.
This rule should also be applied with male and female gargoyle geckos. For example; Avoid keeping two or more male gargoyle geckos in the same tank. The outcome will still be the same as keeping different species in the same tank.
You can, however, keep a male and female of the same species (e.g Gargoyle Gecko) in the same tank.
Tip: Avoid keeping more than one male in a tank with multiple females as the male geckos will most likely fight each other to death in an attempt to impress the ladies… YIKES!
Also, avoid keeping baby and juvenile babies in the same tank as they’ll most likely eat the baby geckos.
How Often Do Gargoyle Geckos Shed?
The younger the gargoyle gecko, the quicker they shed. Thus, baby gargoyles will shed on average every 1 – 2 weeks due to their rapid growth rate, whereas an adult gargoyle gecko may shed once a month.
Growth rate, as well as a nutritional diet, can play a huge part in the process of gecko shedding, so if you’re worried… consider changing up their diet by adding more insects or fruits/veggies.
It is extremely common for gargoyle geckos to eat their own skin, so don’t worry if you never see your reptilians dead skin inside of their tank as they’ve most likely eaten it.
Can Gargoyle Geckos Change Color?
Yes, the gargoyle gecko can change color, depending on environmental factors, lighting or even stress levels.
You may have heard of the terminology we reptilian keepers use such as “fired up or fired down”. All this refers to is the color of the gecko and whether they are fired up (bright, vibrant colored body) or fired down (dull, light, reflective color).
Naturally, your gargoyle gecko can change from being “fired up” or “fired down” depending on the time of the day.
For example; If a gargoyle gecko spends the majority of their day out in the sun, somewhere that’s bright and vibrantly lit, then naturally the gecko will reflect that dull-toned color in their body.
If, however, your gargoyle gecko spends some time in the dark, with their tank glass covered to where no light is seeping through, then your gecko will completely change color… turning into a very vibrant red-brown toned color.
Other reasons why your gargoyle gecko changes color may be due to stress levels, environmental conditions, time of day, threat instincts, or mating season.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Have Sticky Feet?
Although not as sticky as other breeds of geckos, the gargoyle gecko still has a fairly sticky web underneath their feet.
This sticky web is made up of tiny little hairs located on their toes which allows these creatures to cohere to different structures like glass or wood.
More often than not, you’ll notice young geckos climbing and sticking to your glass tank versus adult gargoyle geckos.
Do Gargoyle Geckos Jump?
Just like the majority of gecko species, the gargoyle gecko is no exception when it comes to jumping from place to place.
Many wild gargoyles that quickly come into captivity are often thought to be more jumpy, skittish in nature creatures compared to tamed gargoyle geckos.
This may cause problems with newbie reptilian owners, as they find it difficult to tame their gecko due to their jumpy nature. If this is the case, you should attempt talking to it first (before opening up their tank, in case they try to escape).
Do Gargoyle Geckos Hibernate?
Captivated gargoyle geckos do not hibernate as the temperatures of their environment are controlled and adjusted accordingly.
Wild gargoyle geckos also do not hibernate, they brumate.
How Often Do Gargoyle Geckos Poop?
Considering you’ve recently purchased a gargoyle gecko and you’re curious to know how often are they meant to poop? The answer varies, depending on the age of your little creature.
For younger gargoyles, expect them to have their first poop anywhere from 2 weeks onwards after moving them into their new tank. After two weeks, you should expect to see them poop several times a week.
Small, dry pebble looking poop is what you should be looking for inside of their tank. It is normal to mistaken their poop for enclosure decor, so keep your eyes peeled.
For adult geckos, once settled into their new home/tank, expect them to begin pooping anywhere from 2 – 4 days onwards.
Remember: You mustn’t handle these creatures, especially baby geckos for as long as possible until they are settled into their new environment. Failing to do so can cause them a delay in pooping as well as other natural processes necessary for their well-being and growth.
How Many Gargoyle Geckos Can Live Together?
When figuring out how many gargoyle geckos can live together (peacefully and happily), you should avoid keeping more than one male gecko inside of a tank at one time!
Why is this? Well, male gargoyle geckos are naturally dominant and protective creatures, thus, they’ll often observe ANY male species as a natural threat to them (regardless if they’re family).
The limit of gargoyle geckos you can keep inside of the same tank, living together truly depends on you, however, generally speaking, you should avoid keeping more than 3 inside one tank.
- Keep a male and female gargoyle gecko together
- Keep multiple female gargoyle geckos together (no more than 3 and dependant on their behavior)
- Keep a female gargoyle and a baby/juvenile together
- Keep multiple baby gargoyles together
- Keep a male gargoyle and multiple female gargoyle geckos together
YOU CAN NOT:
- Keep various species of geckos together (E.g, Gargoyle, and Crested)
- Keep multiple male gargoyle geckos together
- Keep multiple male and female gargoyle geckos together
- Keep baby and juvenile gargoyle geckos together
It’s always safer to have separate tanks for your gargoyle geckos, although it’s understandable this may not always be affordable. Consider the risk your gargoyle geckos pose to one another and make an informed decision when the time comes.
Can Gargoyle Geckos See In The Dark?
YES! They are nocturnal creatures that have spectacular night vision, compared to humans.
If you’re worried about the lack of light inside the room your gargoyle geckos are located, don’t worry as they can most likely see perfectly fine!
You should also not worry about purchasing additional lighting for them, as they’d much rather prefer dim, dark lighting anyway.
How Long Does It Take For Gargoyle Geckos Eggs To Hatch?
After the female gargoyle gecko has laid her underground nest, expect to wait anywhere between 45 – 60 days for her eggs to hatch.
She’ll incubate her eggs every night until the day comes that her eggs begin to hatch. As soon as hatching starts, she’ll officially leave her eggs to fend for themselves from that day onwards (which is very common for reptiles).
How Can You Tell If a Gargoyle Gecko is Male or Female?
When distinguishing the difference between a male and female gargoyle gecko, there are a few traits you can learn to identify yourself.
The gargoyle gecko bulge will be your best friend when sexing your gecko and should be the first thing to look for.
What is the gargoyle gecko bulge? Good question! Once a male gargoyle gecko has hit maturity (usually around the age of 15 – 18 months), they’ll develop this round bulge located on the base of their tail.
As a young baby or juvenile, they’ll still have this bulge, however, it will not become apparent until they hit maturity.
Luckily for you, female gargoyle geckos do not have these bulges on their tails and this is one of the easiest ways to figure out if your gecko is indeed a male or female.
If you have younger gargoyle geckos that you need to identify (which have not hit maturity yet), you can invest in tools such as the Pangea LED Magnifier which will help you identify the sex of your little creature.
Care of Gargoyle Geckos
The care of a gargoyle gecko can serve as a unique experience and a life-changer for first-timers. Unless you’re a reptilian specialist, veterinary or a die-hard reptile fan, it’s probably never crossed your mind that they can serve as a household pet, despite possible misconceptions.
These gargoyle geckos are exotic reptiles that require detailed and specialized care to ensure they live a healthy and joyful life.
Whether you’re curious about purchasing a gargoyle gecko in the near future or you’re simply intrigued, I cover a few points below that you should consider before caring for one.
Continue scrolling or simply click on each title below:
- The temperament of Gargoyle Geckos
- Terrarium Size
- Food & Water (What to Eat, How Much to Feed, How Often to Feed)
The Temperament of Gargoyle Geckos
No matter what age your gargoyle gecko may be, you should always remember they’re reptiles and wild natured at heart (no matter how much you think you can tame them).
With young gargoyles, their temperament may consist of fiery, rapid movements, and skittish. It’s important new owners never attempt holding young until they’re at least:
- Use to their environment and surroundings…
- Adapted for at least 3 – 4 weeks
By doing this, you’ll avoid sporadic behavior and possibly frightening your gargoyle gecko which can be detrimental towards their well-being in the future.
The temperament of adult geckos, especially males, consisting of aggressive, dominant and feisty behavior.
Female gargoyles are usually timid, passive and solitary creatures, both in the wild and in captivity. Of course, however, this can vary depending on each individual gecko.
When choosing an adequate size terrarium for your gargoyle gecko, you should first consider how many geckos you’ll be owning before deciding on how many tanks to obtain.
For a single adult gargoyle gecko, an adequate size terrarium should be at least 10-gallons.
If you’re keeping a male and female adult gargoyle gecko within the same tank, the minimum size should be at least 20-gallons for the two. This ensures they have enough space to roam freely without causing the pair stress.
Considering it’s possible, they would also appreciate a bit of height within their tank as they love to climb and jump from place to place.
Food & Water (What to Eat, How Much to Feed, How Often to Feed)
Gargoyle geckos are omnivores, meaning they feed on both insects and vegetation. Replicating their wild food sources while in captivity is a great way to ensure they’re being fed a nutritious diet at all times.
What to Eat
Foods you can feed your little gargoyle gecko may be:
- Broccoli (small portions)
- Spinach (small portions)
- Bananas (small portions)
How Much to Eat & How Often to Feed
Look at feeding your gargoyle gecko once-twice a day with small portions of food. The times you decide to feed your gecko is entirely up to you, however, you should avoid over-feeding your gargoyle gecko.
If you want to feed your gargoyle gecko once over a period of a few days, you can offer them a large portion that will cover them for at least 3 days. After that, you should re-feed them again.
Don’t immediately do this with gargoyle geckos you aren’t familiar with or their eating habits, as they may still be adapting to the change of their environment and eating less/more due to stress.
The best temperature to keep your scaly creatures tank should be around 76°F – 85°F (24°C – 29°C). This is usually a replica of the temperatures they’re used to in the wild and is the typical temperature of a usual home in the summertime.
If you’re looking for a product to check the air temperature of your reptile’s tank regularly, you may want to consider investing in a Zoo Med Labs Thermometer.
During the night time, early mornings or colder seasons, most gargoyle geckos can withstand a temperature change of as low as 62°F or 16°C.
If you live in colder temperatures or you’re becoming worried about the chances of your reptile freezing their scaly skin off, you can invest in heating products that produce heat to the inside of your gecko’s tank.
Gargoyle geckos prefer humidity levels to reach around 50 – 70% as well as plenty of water to be provided daily.
You don’t need to worry too much about choosing the right lighting for your gargoyle gecko, as they’re nocturnal animals that can see in the dark anyway.
If, however, you would like to provide some sort of light for them, natural light is always the best.
Gargoyle geckos thrive in natural sunlight, similar to being in the wild. If you can situate their tank around natural sunlight, it’ll be better off for both yourself (not needing to invest in lighting) and them.
The reproduction process begins around December – August where breeding season is at its peak.
Pregnancy will last anywhere from 30 – 45 days, where the female gargoyle will be actively looking for an area to lay her eggs.
She’ll usually dig underneath the soil, somewhere far away from predators similar to being in the wild. This will take place during the weeks leading up to birth.
Once the eggs have been hatched, the female gargoyle will leave her babies to fend on their own from then on out.