Species group: Geckos
Other common names: New Caledonian Bumpy Gecko; Knob-headed Giant Gecko
Scientific name: Rhacodactylus auriculatus
This unique lizard has gone from being a rarity even in zoos to an extremely popular pet. Gargoyle Gecko care parallels that of the Crested Gecko, and they are equally as hardy and easy to maintain.
Gargoyle Geckos are found only in the southern half of the New Caledonian island of Grand Terre. Nocturnal and arboreal, they inhabit lowland forests and brushy scrub habitats.
Appearance / health:
The Gargoyle Gecko’s stout body is 15 – 20.3 cm (6 – 8 in) in length. The “bumpy” head is triangular in shape and the tail is prehensile. Gargoyle Geckos are tan to brown in color and sport dark or reddish stripes, bars and/or spots.
Given proper care, Gargoyle Geckos are extremely hardy and may live for 15 - 20 years. Intestinal blockages caused by ingested substrate or by diets high in mealworms and are sometimes a concern. Metabolic bone disease may occur in animals that are not provided with ample Calcium and/or Vitamin D3.
Behavior / temperament:
Young Gargoyle Geckos can be skittish, and will quickly leap from one’s hand if frightened. Most accept gentle handling in time, but care must be taken to avoid unexpected leaps and falls. Like all lizards, they will use their sharp teeth to bite if threatened.
An adult or pair should be provided with a 20 gallon “high style” terrarium stocked with branches, plants, cork bark rolls and vines. The substrate may be a mix of top soil and sphagnum moss or a terrarium liner.
Gargoyle Geckos utilize dietary Vitamin D3, and so do not need a UVB light source. They require a temperature gradient of 78-82 F; a dip to 75 F at night is beneficial. Humidity should be kept at 50-75%, but there must be dry areas available as well. Males cannot be housed together. Females will establish a dominance hierarchy, so groups must be monitored carefully.
Commercial Crested or Rhacodactylus Gecko Diets have yielded excellent results used as 100% of the food intake. Pets can also be offered crickets, roaches, sow bugs, calci-worms and other commercially-available species. Mealworms, implicated in intestinal blockages, should be avoided. Insects should be powdered with a calcium/VitaminD3 supplement and provided with a nutritious diet.
Gargoyle Geckos often after a 4-8 week period of cooler temperatures (65 F by night, 68-70 F by day) and a reduced day length of 8-10 hours. The eggs, usually 2 in number, are often deposited just below the substrate or in a cave stocked with damp moss. Females may produce 3-10 clutches annually, and must receive ample supplies of Calcium. The eggs can be incubated in a mix of 2 parts vermiculite to 1 part water (by weight) at 72-80 F for 85-150 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
gargoyle gecko eyes, :)Activity level, great beginner lizards, wonderful display animal, hidden gem
little expensive upfront
prepared powdered diet, .Perfect midlevel gecko, knobby heads, big bellies, wondrous closeup images
Look at those knobby heads! They are so cool!!
It took me awhile to get into the gargoyles. I was not crazy about their big bellies and more of a hunched type back. I just loved their faces though!
Now, I find I like them even more than my crested geckos! They seem to be a bit more calm and easier to handle.
Care is pretty much the same as cresties. Very easy! Sometimes hard to find in a pet store...you might have to purchase online or at a reptile show.
From Gecko Haven Jul 26 2010 5:59PM
Just like the crested gecko.... but cooler! ;)
These geckos aren't as popular as they aren't as available - they are part of the Rhacodactylus group that originate from New Caledonia - such like their crested gecko counterparts.
Care-wise this species is exactly the same as a crested gecko. They feed on a fruit-based formula and can have additional insects if you so please, however they are able to get all of their nutritional requirements from the forumula (Repashy is in my opinion the best formula to feed).
These are an arboreal species, so a large tank is required. I would use a large Exo-Terra viv, these are just perfect for them. A daily spray-down of the viv is needed in order for them to drink the droplets that are formed and to keep the humidity up. These are however a very hardy species.
Gargoyle's have a great appearance, mine had very striking colours. I found that the colours became extremely vibrant after a spray-down of the viv - why? I'm not sure. Maybe this made him really happy!? Ha-ha.
Would recommend for a beginner keeper..
From lauren_lou Aug 10 2015 1:23PM
The name fits.
Jaken was my first experience with a reptile. Needless to say, reptiles are not for me. I did love Jaken, in her own way, but gargoyle geckos are less "fun" than other species. Or so I've been told. A big plus with her was that her environment was fairly easy to maintain, it was a jungle environment as opposed to a desert one for more regular geckos. So she liked sticks to climb and fake vines to hide under. She was also very small. Her body was no longer than 3 inches, excluding the tail. And I like my creatures small. She was fairly easy handling, liked jumping from hand to hand and wasn't aggressive.
The negative aspects were more personality issues. Gargoyles are not very social creatures, and when my boyfriend of the time said he wanted a gecko, the thought of having a huge tank with five geckos didn't appeal to me. So we went with the introverted breed of gecko. She hid during the day and was active at night. If we happened to catch her being "active", she would immediately freeze, like a ...gargoyle. Hence the name, I imagine. There was also a period of time where she decided she didn't like eating, so I had to hand feed her, which was quite the experience. My boyfriend quickly got bored of her, and when we parted ways, he gave her back to the pet store.
Definitely a better reptile for more of a reptile enthusiast I believe. And be forewarned, they have been known to eat the tails of other geckos that share the same habitat..
From Mychal Oct 30 2014 2:57PM