The gargoyle gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) is also known as the New Caledonian bumpy gecko or the knob-headed giant gecko.
They are considered small to medium in size and are found only in the south of New Caledonia. You may be wondering just how large these geckos tend to be.
On average, an adult gargoyle gecko will be 4-4.5 inches from snout to vent. Their tail adds a few more inches to make an average adult 7-9 inches long.
Like their close relatives the crested gecko, the gargoyle gecko is a great choice for a first-time gecko owner since they are on the smaller side!
If you are thinking about getting one as a pet, please have a look at my complete gargoyle gecko care sheet for enclosure setup, feeding, maintenance, etc…
They are typically between 7 and 9 inches long as adults. Many young gargoyle geckos are sold when they are between 4 and 5 inches long.
They can lose their tail if threatened, but this is not incredibly common in captivity so long as the gecko is cared for properly and is kept away from other pets and children who don’t know how to be gentle yet.
They will also grow their tail back if it falls off, setting them apart from the crested gecko. Neonates are typically only a few inches long weigh only 2-3 grams at hatching.
If you have a pair of gargoyle geckos that breed, take special care of the hatchlings since they are very fragile. It is best to wait until they grow to a few inches long before you try to find them a new home.
Males and females are a similar size as adults. However, any breeding pairs should be very close in size to help reduce possible injuries or attempts to eat the smaller animal.
Most breeders house their pairs or breeding colonies together, so all animals need to be healthy and the same size to prevent conflict and injury to the animals.
They grow fairly quickly and will reach sexual maturity by 18 months old, but some can be mature at 12 months old.
Females need to be at least 40 grams before they are bred. Females can produce eggs throughout the breeding season after one mating. This can mean that one pair can produce a large number of babies.
While they reach breeding age quickly, it takes about 2-3 years for gargoyle geckos to reach a healthy weight for breeding.
They will typically reach adult size within 2 years, but the growth rate heavily depends on the genetics of the animal and the temperatures they are kept in.
They grow fastest at around 74-76 degrees and are fed at least every 2 days with a standard crested gecko diet and weekly insects.
If you keep your animals happy and secure, they will grow more quickly. Stressed animals take longer to grow. This means you should be careful about altering the animal’s schedule and enclosure too often.
Their small size makes them fairly easy to house. They do require climbing branches to be happy since this species is arboreal.
They typically weigh under 60 grams, which makes finding proper climbing branches easy. Adults need a minimum of 20 gallons for a single gecko.
If you already have crested geckos, they can be housed in a similar size enclosure but gargoyle geckos appreciate more height since they are arboreal.
What is the recommended enclosure size for a Gargoyle Gecko?
The minimum enclosure size you should use for a single adult gargoyle gecko is an 18 by 18 by 24-inch enclosure. A 24″x24″x24″ enclosure offers more space and is a good option for the species as well.
Exo Terra Terrarium (24x18x18)
- Front access will stress your pet a lot less than enclosures opening from the top
- Completely escape-proof
- Well designed ventilation
- Convenient inlets for heating cables, without any visible wires.
Since the species needs around 60-80% humidity, the species does best in enclosures that hold humidity well like glass or PVC.
This is the absolute minimum. A larger enclosure is better since the species can be active once the lights go down. They are crepuscular which means they will be most active at dusk and night.
You can house an adult breeding pair together, but you will want a much larger enclosure.
Never house two males together since they are known to compete and fight if housed together.
You can also keep a colony of females, but you need plenty of space and visual barriers to allow animals to escape from each other if there is conflict.
You should only house male and female geckos together after both animals have reached a healthy breeding weight to help prevent any health problems from breeding too early. All the geckos should be around the same size or the smaller gecko will become a snack.
You also need to be prepared to take care of any hatchlings produced, so you may prefer to keep your geckos separate.
If you choose to house your animals together, you need another 5 gallons for each adult gecko at minimum, extra feeding platforms, and plenty of visual barriers to help reduce conflict and stress for your pets.
You should aim that any sticks or vines are safe for your pets to climb since they will climb anything in the enclosure.
You will also need another enclosure ready if you house multiple animals just in case of conflict or if a breeding female needs a break.
Producing eggs continuously will harm the female, so you need to separate breeding pairs to allow the female to recover.
Younger gargoyle geckos can get stressed out in an adult size enclosure. Using a grow-out enclosure that is a minimum of 5 gallons is a good idea for younger animals under 12 grams. You can use this time to create the adult enclosure.
Like other geckos, bio-active enclosures are great for gargoyle geckos. Since they are small, a clean-up crew of insects can handle most of the mess a gargoyle gecko creates. You should never house hatchling or juvenile gargoyle geckos together.
They have been known to engage in cannabilism. One of the recommended treats for the species is anole.
They will happily eat meat even if they are primarily frugivores. Always house hatchlings together. Do not house adults together until they reach sexual maturity at 12-18 months and make sure all the animals are the same size.
Any neonates that hatch in an enclosure should be removed immediately to keep the adults from eating them.
We hope this has taught you a bit about gargoyle gecko’s size. These are great animals that sadly aren’t as popular as the crested gecko. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.