Do Gargoyle Geckos Make Good Pets?

 Gargoyle geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) are less popular as pets than some other species of gecko. You may be wondering if they make good pets.

Gargoyle geckos make great pets. They have easy care requirements and are fairly easy to handle for a beginner.

For a complete guide to enclosure setup, feeding, daily care and breeding,
check out my Gargoyle Gecko Care Sheet

Space Needs

tank size for a juvenile gargoyle gecko example

Gargoyle geckos are great since they only need a small amount of space.

They have similar space requirements to the slightly smaller crested gecko.

They do need much less space than other popular lizards like bearded dragons and leopard geckos. Since they are primarily arboreal, they need vertical enclosures that require less of a footprint than the long enclosure terrestrial species need. 

This is the terrarium size I recommend for gargoyle geckos:

REPTI ZOO 18″ x 18″ x 24″ Front Opening Terrarium 

  • Tough screen top provides ventilation and allows uvb and infrared penetration¬†
  • Raised, waterproof bottom frame in order to fit a substrate heater or a bioactive substrate
  • Front-opening doors make you feed your pet easily and prevent escape¬†

They do need heat and UVB to stay healthy, but this can easily be provided with a heat bulb and UVB bulb set in typical sockets.

They do not need very high heat or incredibly high humidity that a beginner may struggle to meet. So long as you mist at least daily and check the temperatures regularly, your pet should stay healthy and happy.

Overall, they are easy to keep for most people and are a good choice of pet for someone who doesn’t have a ton of space. 

They do need a cluttered enclosure to be happy, but they will be very visible once you have some good branches and basking areas set up.

They prefer their shelter to come from overhanging leaves, so it makes designing a safe enclosure easy. They prefer to eat at an elevated position, so food and water are offered on a ledge.

This means you do not need enough clear floor space for a water dish. 

This species does great in naturalistic and bioactive enclosures.

Their needs make choosing plants fairly easy and most guides for making a bioactive crested gecko enclosure will work for the species.

They are slightly heavier by around 15-20 grams on average, so you will want to make sure the plants can handle a heavier gecko.

Diet

gargoyle gecko eating

Gargoyle geckos eat a very similar diet to crested geckos, with the addition of more protein.

They can eat the same meal replacement powder as a crested gecko:

Zoo Med Crested Gecko Food

  • Can be served wet or dry to your scaly sidekick.¬†
  • Formulated using the latest nutritional information and techniques.¬†
  • May also be enjoyed by day geckos, gargoyle geckos and other omnivorous species.¬†
  • Contains probiotics for better digestion, stool consistency, weight management and development.

They just need insects offered regularly. They can be fed a number of common insects like dubia roaches and crickets.

The treats are easy to offer as well since they prefer waxworms, fruit, and either pinky mice or anoles. 

If you are offering insects, you do need to handle them. Roaches need to be placed in a cup to make sure they can’t hide from your gecko.

Crickets can be offered either on tongs or dropped in to allow your gecko to hunt.

They should not be left in the enclosure overnight since they can bite your gecko if you are not keeping an eye on any interaction.

Worms and larvae can be offered in cups or on tongs. You can place some in the enclosure, but you need to watch to make sure your gecko finds the food. 

The main things to worry about as far as diet are the ratios of calcium and phosphorus. They have similar needs to crested geckos, so most products meant for that species will work for a gargoyle gecko.

They do need all insects dusted with calcium to prevent metabolic bone disease. Adult females need to have their calcium sac checked.

This is because female gargoyle geckos will lay eggs even if the animal has never been bred. They should be given extra calcium if needed with the guidance of your vet.  

Personality and Handling as a pet

gargoyle gecko waiting for food

Gargoyle geckos are a bit slower and more relaxed once they are tamed. They can be skittish as babies or in a new home.

They are less likely to jump than smaller lizards and can be easy to care for.

They may drop their tail if stressed, but it will grow back.

The only real problem is that they are still fairly small. Like other small and medium geckos, they can be a bit skittish and delicate.

This means that they do not make a good pet for children who don’t know how to be gentle and calm with small animals.

If you want a lizard that is less delicate and skittish, you should look for a larger lizard like a bearded dragon or a skink. 

Gargoyle Geckos are Crepuscular pets

gargoyle gecko morphs

This is a crepuscular species. This means that they are most active at dusk and at night. You will likely not see your gecko awake that often since they are active once the lights go off.

If you want an animal to watch moving around during the day, you may prefer a diurnal animal.

Crepuscular and nocturnal animals should never have any kind of light at night since it will mess with their internal clock and can cause health problems such as poor appetite.

Gargoyle geckos may be seen most of the day, but they will likely be asleep. They also need to be fed at night, so you may not always see feeding. 

They will be happy to hang out on average, but some animals can be more or less willing to sit out of the enclosure with you.

So long as you are calm and have time at least once a week to handle them, they should stay tame once you put in the time to gain your gecko’s trust.

They are much less skittish than smaller lizards. They can be injured if they are dropped or squeezed due to their relatively small size and delicate bones compared. 

They rarely bite or hiss, but they can get scared like any other animal. Most will stay calm, but some animals may just be less friendly than others. It can take time and patience to learn about your pet and its personality.

If you have a preference for behavior, you should seek out an adult. While the animal may change a bit in a new home, it can give you a better idea of behavior.

Some breeders may also be able to point you towards an animal with a personality you may prefer.

Conclusion

We hope this helped you learn more about gargoyle geckos. They make great pets and are one of the best geckos for a beginner. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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