Gargoyle gecko, Rhacodactylus auriculatus
Gargoyle geckos are an unusual and exciting New Caledonian species
- Gargoyle geckos are a good option for beginner hobbyists
- Interesting and beautiful patterns, with easy care requirements
- Ideal candidates for a stunning display terrarium
Do Gargoyle geckos make good pets?
Gargoyle geckos are one of many popular gecko species endemic to New Caledonia, and like many other New Caledonian species, such as Crested geckos, they generally have docile temperaments, are easy to care for and will tolerate handling. They have stunning patterns along their body, a triangular-shaped head, cat-like eyes, long eyelashes and a semi prehensile tail making them extremely cute and beautiful to look at.
All of the Gargoyle geckos for sale at Swell Reptiles are captive bred in the UK, so you can rest assured that your new gecko came from a reliable source.
What enclosure do I need for my Gargoyle gecko?
Optimum Gargoyle gecko care is quite easy to achieve. Due to their arboreal habits and high humidity requirements, vertically orientated glass or PVC enclosures are the best for Gargoyle geckos. We recommend a minimum enclosure size of 45 x 45 x 90cm (18 x 18 x 36”) for an adult Gargoyle gecko, for example, the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 45x45x90cm, whereas, baby Gargoyle geckos tend to be ok in smaller enclosures.
Gargoyle geckos should always be housed alone, as male gargoyle geckos, in particular, are likely to become territorial which can lead to injuries or worse in male-male pairings. Although female gargoyle geckos are less likely to display such behaviour, this is still not unheard of, so female-female pairs should also still be avoided. Whereas, although male-female pairings are less likely to result in fighting, this can cause a lot of breeding stress on the female, and should be avoided as a permanent housing solution.
As their care requirements are very similar, our range of Crested Gecko Starter Kits is also suitable for juvenile and adult Gargoyle geckos.
Do Gargoyle geckos need to have heating?
Gargoyle geckos do not need particularly high temperatures, but they do still require a heat source in most instances. To properly thermoregulate they should be provided with a temperature gradient within their enclosure. This should sit at around 28°C (82°F) towards the top in their basking spot, and the lower areas dropping between 20-25°C (68-77°F).
The easiest way to achieve this thermogradient is by using an overhead heating system such as a basking lamp or a ceramic heater suspended above the mesh top of the terrarium. The heating element should be connected to a compatible thermostat with the probe placed near the highest basking area. For a basking lamp, you would require a dimming thermostat, whereas for a ceramic heater, you would require a pulse thermostat.
Overnight a natural drop in temperature should be allowed, usually to room temperature unless the room drops below 15°C (59°F). In these instances a non-light emitting heat source like a ceramic heater should be used, but this should still be set to a lower ambient temperature than during the day.
Do Gargoyle geckos need a UVB light?
Gargoyle geckos thrive with a UVI between 2-3 to allow them to metabolise vitamin D3 and prevent serious health issues. To achieve this, a T5 lighting system resting on the mesh top of the enclosure is the best option. If your geckos highest basking point is between 25-40cm (10-15”) lower than the light fixture, an Arcadia ShadeDweller ProT5 Kit should be used, whereas if this distance is between 40-45cm (15-18”) an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% should be used.
How do I decorate a Gargoyle gecko’s vivarium?
The first thing to consider when decorating your Gargoyle geckos enclosure is whether you want to go bioactive and use live or artificial plants in a non-bioactive setup. The requirements for this species are perfect for many tropical plants, which means you can get really creative and produce a beautiful display enclosure, and also helps to maintain higher humidity levels. If live plants are not for you, there is a vast range of artificial plants available which means you can still create that stunning display terrarium.
If you are going down the bioactive route, you will want to add a drainage layer of Hydro Rocks with a sheet of Hydro Matting laid on top before adding a good quality planting substrate such as Arcadia EarthMix or ProRep Bio Life Forest. If you are not going bioactive, your Gargoyle gecko will be happy enough with a good layer of loose, moisture-retaining substrate such as coco soil or ProRep Crestie Life.
To enable your Gargoyle gecko to make the most of their space, you should use plenty of branches and vines, ensuring your real or artificial plants are providing covered perches along the thermogradient. The Swell Natural Decor range is littered with mosses, botanicals and leaves that can really add the final touches to any terrarium.
What makes up a good Gargoyle gecko diet?
Gargoyle geckos are omnivorous and should be fed on formulated gecko diets (usually marketed as Crested gecko diet), live insects and fruit. Repashy and Pangea both offer a range of highly nutritious formulated gecko diets which should make up a large portion of your Gargoyle geckos diet. These formulas have been specifically crafted to be complete diets for these animals, but livefoods and fruits should still be provided to add variety to the diet and keep things more natural, despite some formulated diets containing insects already.
Any livefood or fruit offered to a Gargoyle gecko should be supplemented according to a schedule, we recommend using a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3.
Newly purchased gargoyle geckos can take a little time to settle in, and will often not eat for the first week, during this time it is best not to handle the gecko and allow them to get used to their surroundings, whilst continuing to offer fresh food until they are fully settled.
Gargoyle geckos will often not drink from a water dish, preferring to drink from running or temporary water sources. Large leafed plants in the canopy can provide areas for water to collect from a handheld spray bottle or from a fogger or rain system, which your gecko is likely to drink from. It is also worth consideration to add a dripper or reptile waterfall to your Gargoyle geckos terrarium, which will further help keep the humidity up whilst providing a consistent water source.
How do I buy a Gargoyle gecko?
We do not ship livestock, and to ensure all of the animals sold by us go to suitable homes, we request to see images of a suitable set-up, with the correct parameters and completely ready for the animal to go into before we will allow them to be taken.
If you are interested in one of the UK captive bred Gargoyle geckos we have for sale at Swell Reptiles, please come in and see us where you can either reserve the gecko and purchase your set-up, or if you bring photos of your enclosure and it’s suitable, take home your new Gargoyle gecko. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.
|Common names||Gargoyle gecko|
|Scientific name||Rhacodactylus auriculatus|
|Adult size||20cm (8")|
|Natural habitat||Forest habitats favouring dense foliage|
|Housing||45 x 45 x 90cm (18 x 18 x 36”)|
|Ideal temperature||28°C (82°F) (warm end); 20-25°C (68-77°F) (cool end)|
|Average lifespan||15-20 years|
|Personality||Docile, sometimes jumpy|
|Ease of handling||Easy|