Are Gargoyle Geckos Good Pets?
Gargoyle geckos are one of the coolest and distinctive looking geckos that can be kept as a pet. They get the name from the little horn-like bumps on their skull. Also known as the New Caledonian bumpy gecko, it comes from the south side of New Caledonia, a group of Islands on the east of Australia.
Gargoyle geckos make a good beginner lizard since they are relatively forgiving towards beginners’ mistakes and are relatively easy to care for than most other geckos. A full-grown gargoyle gecko can reach a length of 8 inches (from snout to tail), which is a great size for handling. With good care, they can live up to 20 years making them a part of your family. They also have captivating colors and come with a range of morphs which make them perfect display geckos in naturalistic terrariums.
Being said that, gargoyle geckos are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active during the night. It might be a deal-breaker if you expect to see lots of activity during the daytime. Also, they are relatively difficult to find and expensive to buy compared to other geckos.
To find out if gargoyle gecko is a good fit for you, you need to consider it’s care requirement, handleability, hardiness, availability, and general cost.
Gargoyle Gecko Care Requirement
Gargoyle geckos need daily care, unlike some reptiles (most snakes) that you can leave alone for a week. There are a few basic things that you need to know when it comes to their care.
Terrarium or Tank Setup
For an adult gargoyle gecko, you need a 20+ gallon terrarium (a larger enclosure is always better for exercise and general happiness). Since gargoyle geckos are good climbers, they will appreciate a taller tank than a longer tank. Provide live or artificial plants and thick dry branches that they can climb and rest on. Also, adding cork barks give them a sense of security.
Their natural habitat is warm and humid, and you need to provide a similar environment in captivity. You can do this by spraying the tank daily to maintain a humidity level of 50-70%. Avoid soaking the tank, a little moisture is enough to maintain the humidity.
Expert Tip: Spray heavily in the evening and then spray lightly in the morning to maintain the humidity level.
Gargoyle geckos need feeding every other day. They are omnivorous and can eat a variety of food. Unlike other geckos, you can use prepared diets to feed gargoyle gecko to provide a nutritionally complete and balanced diet. Prepared gecko food is available as a special blend of fruits and minerals, that comes in powder form. You can mix it with water to feed your gargoyle gecko thereby making the feeding routine very easy. The recommended diet is the Crested gecko diet, but they also eat mashed fruit and live insects. You can give water in a shallow dish but it's not necessary if you spray the tank regularly.
Gargoyle geckos adapt well to room temperature. In cold weather, you can provide heating but it should not exceed 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gargoyle Gecko Handleability
Gargoyle geckos are easy to handle and are mellow than most geckos. When you bring in a new gargoyle gecko, you shouldn't handle them until they have adjusted to their new home. This can take anywhere between 2 weeks to a month.
Once settled, start to interact with them for a short period (typically 5 mins) daily. Although gargoyle geckos are not inclined to jump, it’s recommended to use a soft surface below to avoid any accidental fall damage. If your gecko is getting stressed or nervous, place them back in the enclosure and let them calm down.
Once your gecko is calm around you, increase the handling time gradually. However, try not to handle your gecko for more than 20 mins a day to avoid putting any stress on them.
Gargoyle geckos do bite when young. However, their teeth can rarely break the skin to cause bleeding. They get calmer as they mature. A bite from an adult gecko can draw blood, but it’s very unlikely for a gargoyle gecko to bite.
Gargoyle Gecko Hardiness
Gargoyle geckos are delicate and you need to be gentle when handling them as being rough can kill them. They’re small in size and are easily injured when they fall. You should not give a gargoyle gecko to a child under 5 to avoid rough handling.
They can lose their tails, especially when kept in groups. Males are aggressive and tend to bite each other’s tails off. It’s advisable to keep one male with multiple females. However, they’re able to regrow their tails which may look the same as the original.
They are sensitive to humidity and temperature. They get dehydrated and do not like high temperatures. When providing heat during winter, you're advised to leave one side of the tank cold so that they can have a spot to cool off.
Gargoyle Gecko Availability
Gargoyle geckos are not very common and you would not easily find them in a pet shop, this makes them unique pets. They’re hard to find but are sometimes available from breeders or online.
Gargoyle geckos are more expensive than other geckos since they’re rare, and the cost also depends on their color. However, their tanks are affordable and only need heating in cold weather. Their diet requirements are also very affordable.
Gargoyle geckos are great pets as they are easy-to-care-for, easy-to-feed, fun to handle, and awesome to look at. The cost of maintenance is also relatively cheap. So, if you are ready to pay the initial procurement cost for the gecko, they are one of the most unique looking pet geckos that you can have as a beginner.