Gargoyle geckos are native to New Caledonia, a French territory east of Australia. They're small, often colorful lizards that are easy to care for and have become more popular to keep as pets.
Keep reading to learn about gargoyle geckos, including a few tips for keeping pet geckos healthy and fun facts about this fascinating lizard.
Gargoyle Gecko Size and Appearance
Adult geckos can grow to be 7-10 inches long and weigh between 40-60 grams. Newly hatched gargoyle geckos measure about 3 inches from head to tail.
Gargoyle geckos come in many different colors and patterns, called morphs. Some can be duller, more natural colors, while others are vibrant and striking.
A gargoyle gecko’s most dominant color is called its base color. Most wild gargoyle geckos have a brown base color, but they can also be red, orange, pink, gray, yellow, or white. They also have various other markings besides their base color that form patterns of stripes, spots, or patches.
Gargoyle Gecko Habitat and Enclosure Needs
New Caledonia has a sub-tropical climate that is quite warm and humid. Gargoyle geckos live in scrubby, forested areas, climbing and jumping between trees and shrubs.
When keeping a gargoyle gecko as a pet, their enclosure should mimic their native climate as much as possible. Here are a few of the major factors to consider when designing a gargoyle gecko enclosure or tank:
Enclosure Size. The tank should be large enough to comfortably and safely house your gargoyle gecko. Each adult will need a space at least 24 inches high, 16 inches wide, and 16 inches deep. A good rule of thumb is to start with a 10 gallon tank for a single gecko and size up 5 gallons for each additional gecko--a 15 gallon tank for a pair of geckos, and a 20 gallon tank for a trio. Choose tanks that are taller than they are long so your gecko will have plenty of height to climb. Use a mesh screen to cover the top of the tank for maximum circulation and air quality.
Humidity and Temperature. Gargoyle geckos need fairly warm and humid environments. Keep humidity levels between 50-70 percent and temperatures between 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use misters, water sources, and heating mats or bulbs to help maintain the humidity and temperature as needed. Make sure any heating source you use doesn’t get hotter than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Substrate Materials. Substrate, or bedding, should be placed along the bottom of your gargoyle gecko’s enclosure. Pine and cedar woods are toxic to reptiles, so avoid using them and other treated woods as substrate in your gecko’s enclosure. Paper towels can be an excellent and affordable substrate for gecko enclosures, as they help maintain humidity levels and are easy to clean and replace. For a more natural look, coco or orchid barks are also good choices.
Water. Gargoyle geckos will need a mister to keep their tanks in the humid. Gargoyle geckos won’t often drink from a water bowl, and get most of the water they need from the mist and humidity in the air. Even though they might not drink it regularly, always keep fresh water in your gecko’s enclosure. Use a small or medium size bowl and change the water frequently to keep it clean.
Climbing Needs. Gargoyle geckos are mostly arboreal, meaning they like to climb in bushes and trees. Keep plenty of real or imitation foliage and branches in their enclosure for them to climb, jump, and hide.
Lighting. Gargoyle geckos are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. (BGSU) Most gargoyle geckos won’t need any special lighting in their tanks, but they do need moderate time under UVB rays to keep them healthy. They can get the UVB rays they need from red or blue UVB bulbs, or directly from the sun, if their enclosure is near a window.
Gargoyle Gecko Diet and Feeding
Gargoyle geckos are omnivores, and they like to eat a wide variety of fruit and insects.
Pet gargoyle geckos can be fed specially-made gecko formulas mixed with water or fruit-flavored baby food. Avoid giving your gecko citrus fruit-flavored baby foods. Banana, apple, peach, and pear flavors are all safe options for your gecko.
Don't forget to give your gecko live insects like flies, mealworms, wax worms, and crickets or locusts. Before giving insects to your gecko, dust them with a calcium powder to keep your pet healthy.
A good feeding schedule for your gecko would include offering them mixes 2-3 times a week and insects once a week. Don’t leave formula mixes in your gecko’s tank for more than one or two days or they can go bad. Remove any uneaten insects after a few hours.
Gargoyle Gecko Lifespan
Gargoyle geckos live relatively long lives. They reach maturity when they are between 12 and 18 months. After maturity, females will lay 2 eggs every 4-6 weeks for about 6 years.
With proper care and nutrition, pet gargoyle geckos live an average of about 15 years.
Healthy Gargoyle Gecko Care Tips
If you have a pet gargoyle gecko or are thinking about getting one, here are a few tips to help your animal have a happy, healthy life:
- Keep your gecko’s enclosure clean and regularly disinfect water and food bowls to prevent salmonella and other harmful bacterial growth.
- Plastic water bottle lids can make good food bowls for gecko formulas.
- Make sure the enclosure has good ventilation to help maintain air quality.
- When your gargoyle gecko is shedding, increase the humidity and add moss boxes to help their old skin come off more easily.
- If you have a larger gecko enclosure, include hiding places for your gargoyle gecko to feel safe and secure.
- Be careful not to use prickly plants or branches with sharp twigs in your gargoyle gecko’s enclosure.
Gargoyle Gecko Facts
- Gargoyle geckos can lose their tails if they are stressed or frightened. They can regrow a missing tail, but the new tail will never be the same as the original.
- Gargoyle geckos often use their tails like an extra foot to help them climb through foliage.
- Geckos are famous for their ability to stick to almost any surface. The bottoms of their feet are covered in thousands of setae, which look like tiny hairs. The ends of the setae are further divided into spatulae, which look like spatulas. Molecules in the spatulae temporarily stick to molecules in tree bark, walls, glass, or other surfaces to help geckos climb.