Guide to Keeping Gargoyle Geckos Care sheet: A 2024 Complete Guide

If you’re considering an exotic pet that’s both fascinating and relatively easy to care for, a gargoyle gecko might be the perfect choice. Native to the islands of New Caledonia, gargoyle geckos are known for their unique appearance and friendly demeanor. This guide will cover everything you need to know about keeping gargoyle geckos as pets, from their habitat requirements to their diet and health care.

Understanding the Gargoyle Gecko

The gargoyle gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) gets its name from the bony protrusions on its head that resemble the gargoyles seen on old buildings. These geckos are known for their distinctive, often vibrant coloration and patterns, which can vary widely. They are nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. Gargoyle geckos are generally docile and can become quite tame with regular, gentle handling, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced reptile enthusiasts.

Housing Your Gargoyle Gecko

Creating the right habitat for your gargoyle gecko is crucial for its well-being. Here’s what you need to consider:

1. Enclosure Size: A single adult gargoyle gecko requires at least a 20-gallon tank, though larger is always better to allow for more climbing and exploration. A vertical enclosure is preferred since they love to climb.

2. Temperature and Humidity: Gargoyle geckos thrive in temperatures between 72-78°F (22-25°C) during the day and can tolerate a slight drop at night. Humidity levels should be kept between 50-70%. Misting the enclosure daily helps maintain humidity, and a hygrometer can help you monitor the levels.

3. Substrate: Choose a substrate that retains moisture well, such as coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, or a mix of soil and peat. Avoid using sand or gravel, as these can cause impaction if ingested.

4. Lighting: While gargoyle geckos do not require UVB lighting, providing a low-output UVB light can be beneficial. Ensure that any light source does not significantly increase the temperature inside the enclosure.

5. Decor and Hiding Spots: Include plenty of branches, cork bark, and vines for climbing. Hiding spots are essential for your gecko to feel secure; use hollow logs, caves, or dense foliage to create these spaces.

Feeding Your Gargoyle Gecko

A balanced diet is vital for the health of your gargoyle gecko. Their diet can include a variety of food items:

1. Commercial Diets: Specialized gecko diets like Pangea or Repashy are formulated to provide complete nutrition and are widely available. These powdered diets are mixed with water to create a palatable paste.

2. Live Insects: Supplement their diet with live insects such as crickets, dubia roaches, and mealworms. Ensure the insects are gut-loaded (fed a nutritious diet) before being offered to your gecko.

3. Fruit and Baby Food: Gargoyle geckos enjoy fruit, and you can offer pureed fruits or fruit-flavored baby foods occasionally. Avoid citrus fruits, as these can be harmful.

4. Supplements: Dust live food with calcium and vitamin D3 powder to prevent deficiencies. A multivitamin supplement should also be provided weekly.

Handling and Interaction

Gargoyle geckos are generally easy to handle, but it’s important to approach them gently and with patience. Here are some tips for handling your gargoyle gecko:

1. Initial Handling: When you first get your gargoyle gecko, give it a few days to acclimate to its new environment before attempting to handle it.

2. Gentle Approach: Move slowly and avoid sudden movements that might startle your gecko. Support its body fully with your hands and allow it to explore.

3. Regular Interaction: Regular, gentle handling can help your gecko become more accustomed to human interaction. Aim for short handling sessions a few times a week.

4. Stress Signs: Be mindful of signs of stress, such as tail twitching, rapid breathing, or trying to escape your hands. If your gecko shows these signs, return it to its enclosure and try handling it another time.

Health and Well-Being

Keeping your gargoyle gecko healthy involves regular monitoring and proper care. Here are some common health issues and how to address them:

1. Shedding: Gargoyle geckos shed their skin regularly. Ensure that the humidity in the enclosure is adequate to prevent shedding problems. Provide rough surfaces like branches or rocks to help them remove old skin.

2. MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease): This is caused by calcium deficiency. Prevent it by providing a balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation.

3. Parasites: Regularly clean the enclosure and provide fresh water to prevent parasitic infections. If you notice signs of parasites, such as weight loss or lethargy, consult a reptile veterinarian.

4. Respiratory Infections: These can occur if the enclosure is too cold or damp. Ensure proper temperature and humidity levels to prevent respiratory issues. If you notice wheezing or nasal discharge, seek veterinary care.

Breeding Gargoyle Geckos

Breeding gargoyle geckos can be a rewarding experience for advanced keepers. To breed them, you need a healthy pair of mature geckos. Females should be at least two years old and weigh over 35 grams to ensure they are mature enough for breeding. Provide a lay box with a moist substrate where the female can deposit her eggs. After laying, the eggs should be incubated at a consistent temperature of 72-78°F (22-25°C). Incubation typically takes 60-90 days.

Summing It Up

Gargoyle geckos make fascinating and manageable pets for reptile enthusiasts. By understanding their needs and providing a proper habitat, balanced diet, and gentle handling, you can ensure your gargoyle gecko thrives in your care. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced keeper, these captivating creatures can bring joy and interest to your life. Remember, the key to a healthy and happy gargoyle gecko is consistent and attentive care. Happy herping!