Keeping Gargoyle Gecko – 11 Secrets For Success
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on June 27, 2021
Gargoyle geckos are unique both in their name and appearance. How can you best look after a Gargoyle gecko, however? Here are the key secrets for success.
If you’re looking for your first-time gecko, there are many great choices. Gargoyle geckos just might be the best ones, however, and for various reasons too. Easy to look after, gorgeous, and fun to handle, these little beauties are fantastic for rookie and experienced reptile owners alike.
How can you best look after a Gargoyle gecko, however? What are the secrets for success when keeping Gargoyle geckos at your home? Here’s everything you need to know.
The great things about owning a Gargoyle Gecko
Looking after a reptile is a tricky business, especially if it’s your first time. Before we get into the various tricks and secrets for successfully keeping gargoyle geckos, however, let's quickly go over why you’d want such a pet in the first place.
· Crested geckos are phenomenal climbers. Many geckos are arboreal and love to climb and spend most of their time on trees, rocks, and other high places. However, Gargoyle geckos are even more interesting than that thanks to their semi-prehensile tails which they can use as a fifth limb. This is very fun to observe as a gecko owner as your little reptile will often waltz around its enclosure’s decoration in a peculiar way, hang from tree branches or even sleep that way.
· These little gargoyles are polymorphic which means that they come in myriad gorgeous color and pattern variations. These little beauties can come in white, grey, orange, yellow, brown, and red, as well as in plenty of combinations of those and in many patterns – dots, stripes, waves, and many more. Here’s a good video on the various Gargoyle gecko morphs by TikisGeckos.
· Gargoyle geckos can live up to 20 years. This is a longer average lifespan than almost all cats and dogs, as well as most other geckos, reptiles, and other pets. This long lifespan is perfect for people who want a pet for longer than just a few years – either to grow old with it if you are in your middle ages or for a young kid to have a pet while growing up.
· These geckos are pretty affordable too. With many types of geckos costing in the high hundreds and some even hitting 4-digit price tags, Gargoyle geckos are much more affordable. Granted, the true price of looking after a reptile comes with the necessary inventory and maintenance but it’s nice to get a pet that really doesn’t cost anything too significant.
· Gargoyle geckos are one of the most friendly and docile types of geckos. Probably the biggest advantage of these reptiles is just how easy it is to get along with them. Some moderate amount of socialization will still be required, of course, as is the case with other reptiles. There are some tricks for handling a gecko you’ll have to learn too if this is your first reptile – here’s a good video guide:
However, once you get a hang of the basics, the rest is very easy and you’ll enjoy handling and playing with your little gargoyle much more than you would other geckos.
· These geckos come in a very nice size for in-home pets. With an average size of 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm), Gargoyle geckos are excellent home pets. They are larger than many other smaller geckos that just feel too tiny sometimes but they are not so gigantic as to require a huge terrarium. Instead, these peculiar gargoyles are just the right size for most pet owners to enjoy handling and looking after.
The 11 secrets for success when keeping Gargoyle geckos
Gargoyle geckos may be relatively easy to look after compared to other reptiles but there are still quite a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.
First, let’s start with the key items you’ll need to successfully look after this gecko:
Get the right terrarium. Gargoyle geckos are not overly large but they are not small either. Any tank that’s smaller than 20 gallons would be too little for them and we’d definitely urge you to use a 30-gallon or larger tank for an adult Gargoyle gecko.
Also, note that the design and construction of the tank are important too. As the gargoyles are arboreal geckos and love to climb, the height of the terrarium is actually more important than its width and depth. Now, the three dimensions can be equal too but the height is the priority.
As for the materials of the tank – glass is the obvious preferred choice. Thing, durable, sturdy, preserves humidity and temperature well, and allows for a full view over your gecko – it’s a no-brainer.
Maintaining the right temperature is very important. This goes for every reptile and Gargoyle geckos are no exception. The upper temperature limit you never want to reach is 85o Fahrenheit (29o Celsius). Instead, 70 o to 80 oF is usually the perfect range (24 o to 27 oC). It’s also a good idea to have to different temperature areas in the gecko’s terrarium – one cooler and one warmer. This will give your pet the freedom to choose their preference at any time without you having to guess and tinker with anything.
How to maintain such temperatures so perfectly?
It’s easier than it sounds – all you need is an incandescent basking light bulb and/or a ceramic heating pad on one side of the terrarium. Test the right power of the heat source until you find the right balance and that’s it. Obviously, it’s better if you do all that before getting your gecko.
The only other thing you’d need is a couple of thermometers – one for the warmer side of the tank and one for the cooler side.
A UVB light isn’t necessarily a must for Gargoyle geckos but it seems to be very beneficial. A lot of experts agree that Uv light is excellent for helping geckos maintain a strong immune system, to protect them from issues such as metabolic bone disease, and other problems.
Getting such a lamp is both easy and affordable – just make sure not to shine regular light over the gecko in the evenings as that would interfere with its standard day/night cycle.
Humidity is key too so get a hygrometer. Reptiles rely on a good and humid environment to thrive. This is relatively easy to achieve in a glass terrarium as all you need to do is spray the interior of the tank with a water bottle from time to time. Alternatively, you can set up an automatic spraying machine too, just make sure it’s not a loud one.
Either way, you are going to need a hygrometer to help you find the right humidity levels – for a Gargoyle gecko they should be somewhere between 60% and 70%.
Get a humidity hide/box too. This is a fantastic addition to any terrarium that will become one of our gecko’s favorite places in the enclosure. In essence, this is a box with high humidity that can act as another place for your gecko to rest. And the best part is that humidity boxes are very easy to make at home – here’s a cool instructional video from Jessica’s Animal Friends.
Terrarium substrates are easy to find as well as important. For an arboreal gecko with precise humidity needs like the Gargoyle gecko, you’ll need a substrate that’s very absorbent. We’d recommend a mixture of soil and moss, bark chips, or even something as simple as scrunched-up newspaper or paper towel pieces. The latter two aren’t very appealing visually but they are a good affordable alternative for when your gecko is shedding.
The decoration is much more vital than you might expect. The term “decoration” implies something extra but it’s actually essential. Remember that Gargoyle geckos are arboreal – they need to climb on things. These can be as simple as tree logs, piles of rock, or more complex structures – whatever strikes your fancy. Pet stores also offer a lot of good, affordable, and safe options.
Now that you’ve got the inventory, here are a few more things to keep in mind:
- Gargoyle geckos are crepuscular. This means that they are most active around dusk and down more so than during the day or the dead of the night. That’s important to keep in mind for a couple of reasons:
These reptiles shouldn’t be bothered during the day – it will mess up their day/night cycle and screw with their health. Plus, they’ll be extra irritable if you try to play with them during the day. Gargoyle geckos may be docile and friendly but even they can bite if you annoy them too much.
Munch time should be in the early evening so plan your day accordingly.
Gargoyle geckos can both detach and re-grow their tails. This is an awesome feature as some geckos can only remove their tails and can then never grow it back.
Of course, you still don’t want your gecko to lose its tail – it means that your gecko has been scared for its life, it can take some time for the tail to regrow, and there is a risk of infection in the first couple of days.
These geckos can still be a bit territorial. As friendly as they are, these geckos are still reptiles. So, if you want to house two of them in the same terrarium, you may run into some problems.
It’s not impossible, however – if both geckos are captive-bred, if both are friendly, and well-socialized, if the terrarium is large enough, and if you help them bond, even two males can get along. But that’s not generally recommended for novice reptile owners as it requires a bit of experience.
Gargoyle geckos are omnivores but they can be picky eaters too. Some like to eat live insects, others – don’t. Some prefer a more fruit-based diet and others go for commercial foods with enthusiasm. Some like their prey pre-killed or even frozen and others insist on live insects.
In short – you’re going to have to test things out for yourself. As far as insects are concerned, the most recommended types include dubia cockroaches, waxworms, crickets, and mealworms. As for fruits – soft, tropical fruits are usually the way to go. Ideally, you’ll give your gecko a mixture of both with a bit of commercial food on the side. Coating the insects with calcium powder is also a good idea to prevent metabolic bone disease.
As for water – Gargoyle geckos don’t drink much but a small bowl of water is still a must.