Gargoyle geckos are some of the most fun and interesting pets that a person can own. However, just like many other types of reptiles and amphibians, they require an extraordinary amount of attention-to-detail from their owners to live the happiest lives. In this guide, we'll go over gargoyle gecko food, housing and other things you should be aware of us when it comes to proper gargoyle gecko care.
Named for the horn-like bumps on their head, gargoyle geckos make great pets that are both fun to look at and also super easy for reptile beginners. Gargoyle gecko care is quite simple, and they are widely available to purchase because they're known to thrive in captivity. Gargoyle geckos have large, round captivating eyes and can be found in a variety of red, white, orange and yellow shades. You can find them in an assortment of different patterns and sizes. Gargoyle geckos are nocturnal, and once they wake up in the evening, they are very active and amusing to watch as they play around. If you have more than one, you may even hear your gargoyle geckos communicating with each other via a variety of squeaks, growls and barks.
Originally from New Caledonia, a semi-tropical island chain near Australia, gargoyle geckos in the wild live in dense forests and love to climb around in trees. Their claws have special branch-gripping abilities that make them excellent climbers, even though they cannot grip glass or other smooth surfaces. Working with their vertical tendencies, you can create a visually stimulating natural terrarium filled with branches, leaves, vines, hanging plants and bark for the best gargoyle gecko care.
Gargoyle Gecko Care: Fun Facts
- Gargoyle geckos got their name from the knob-like or horn-like bumps on their heads that make them resemble stone gargoyles.
- Tail loss is very common for gargoyle geckos when they are stressed, and you will regularly see them in stores with no tails.
- A gargoyle gecko bite can hurt and make you bleed – they have pretty long and sharp teeth
- The incubation temperature you use has an effect on the sex of the baby gargoyle geckos — males are produced at higher temperatures and females are produced at lower temperatures.
- The female gargoyle gecko diet commonly consists of tails from their male counterparts.
Average Size and Life Expectancy
Typically, gargoyle geckos can reach sizes of 7 to 10 inches and weigh up to 65 grams when fully grown. The babies are born about 1 inch long from snout to vent, weigh about 3 grams and can usually be bought once they measure around 5 inches. Gargoyle geckos mature between the age of 15 to 18 months of age and if they are taken good care of can live up to 20 years.
Once they get acclimated to being handled and having regular interactions with people, the gargoyle geckos will act tame and be easy to handle. While they are still young, you might notice the geckos opening their mouths widely. However, they shouldn't bite you if you are gentle with them, making gargoyle gecko care all the more stress-free. They may also voluntarily lose their tails when they are feeling threatened but will eventually regrow them.
Housing for Optimal Gargoyle Gecko Care
Though a 10-gallon terrarium is sufficient for juvenile gargoyle geckos, it's best that you purchase a 20-gallon terrarium to fit adults, especially if you have more than one gecko. Once these geckos are full grown, they enjoy having a significant amount of vertical room to hunt and exercise, so be sure to go with a tall terrarium instead of a short one. If you live in a humid location, you can even use a wire mesh reptile cage.
Male gargoyle geckos care about their territory and can be aggressive.. They should not live with other males – instead, it's best to house a male-female pair together. You'll want to collect a variety of different materials for the gargoyle geckos to climb on and rest inside. Branches, bamboo, vines, driftwood and vertical cork flats are all great materials to use. Providing your gargoyle geckos with a variety of weight-supporting live and artificial plants to mimic a natural habitat will give them sufficient hiding places and will keep them more relaxed and healthier.
Substrate in Terrarium
For the floor of your terrarium, it is best to use a substrate that will hold humidity and achieve a more natural look for the best gargoyle gecko care. For example, peat moss, coconut fiber or cypress mulch are all great options. These are also excellent choices if you plan on housing live plants in the terrarium as well. If you want to ensure the terrarium is super easy to maintain, reptile carpet is a great choice.
If you have baby or juvenile geckos in your terrarium, avoid particulate substrates. The young geckos might try to eat the substrates and they will get sick. Instead, paper towels are a cheap and very easy to clean option. If using paper towels, make sure to replace them weekly.
Temperature Inside Terrarium
Geckos are ectotherms, meaning their body temperature is dependent on external sources to stay regulated. Therefore, it is crucial for you to make sure the terrarium maintains proper temperatures. Gargoyle geckos prefer temperatures that are in the mid-70s. During the day, temperatures of between 75 to 83 are sufficient and, at night, low 70s are good. You will want to purchase a digital thermometer for your gecko's terrarium to ensure the temperature is not getting too hot or too cold. If the terrarium is getting too hot in the summer months (over 87 degrees), be sure to place the geckos in a colder room. Temperatures that are too dramatic can be harmful to the gecko's health.
To create a basking spot for your gargoyle geckos to lay in, purchase a low-wattage incandescent bulb (around 40-50 watts) and keep it in a back corner of the tank near some branches. However, do not let the temperatures rise over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A reptile heat pad is another option for a basking spot. And, make sure to keep one side of the terrarium unheated so the geckos can cool down if they get too hot.
Lighting for Gargoyle Gecko Care
Even though gargoyle geckos are nocturnal reptiles and therefore spend most of the day sleeping in plants, some light during the day can be beneficial for their optimal health. For example, it can help regulate their circadian cycles. A small wattage basking lamp will provide adequate lighting for this, but you will want to make sure the geckos also have a dark corner to escape the light if they find it necessary.
If your gargoyle gecko diet is sufficient in vitamin D3, it's not entirely necessary for you to purchase a UVB light, though you can if you want. Otherwise, a fluorescent bulb is also adequate.
To keep your gargoyle geckos healthy, you need to keep the humidity level of the terrarium at 50 to 60 percent on average. But, be sure to also provide periods of higher humidity at levels of 80 to 90 percent. Heavily mist the terrarium with safe drinking water in the evening and then let the terrarium dry to approximately 50 percent humidity before misting lightly again during the day. Having a variety of living plants will also help to maintain a sufficient level of humidity in the terrarium. Maintaining proper levels of moisture is essential in ensuring the best gargoyle gecko care and giving them the chance to shed their skins easily
Gargoyle geckos like to hydrate themselves by licking droplets of water off the walls and plants in the terrarium. Even so, you should also provide them with a clean water bowl filled with filtered water. Some geckos will prefer to use the dish, and some will prefer to drink the water droplets off the walls – just try both and see which your gecko prefers.
Gargoyle Gecko Food
What do gargoyle geckos eat? In the wild, these creatures eat mostly fruit, nectars, insects and the occasional small mammals. To maintain good health, try to incorporate a variety of foods into your pet gecko's diet. There is a variety of pre-mixed powdered food options that you can purchase for your gecko at pet stores and online. You will mix the powder with water to create a paste for the gecko to eat.
In addition, you can purchase mealworms, waxworms and dubia roaches for sale to use as gargoyle gecko food once or twice a week. Dubia roaches are perfect for gargoyle geckos because they are about the size of the gecko's head. Gargoyle geckos prefer bigger insects over smaller ones. Sometimes, they can even be finicky about crickets and worms.
Before feeding, gut load – dust the insects with a calcium powder supplement that contains vitamin D3 – to ensure your gargoyle gecko diet is full of the essential minerals and vitamins. You can even try feeding your gargoyle gecko a frozen and thawed pinky mouse every now and then.
Gargoyle Gecko Care: Conclusion
Gargoyle geckos are striking to observe, simple to take care of and perfect for beginner reptile owners. With minimal requirements, you can get their terrarium set up with ease. As long as you give your gargoyle geckos the proper care and diet, they will live long and prosperous lives, while providing you much entertainment along the way.
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