- A-Z Animals
The Gargoyle Gecko, sometimes known as the ‘Bumpy Gecko’, is a species of good looking geckos that are commonly a captive bred. Like most other species of captive geckos, these lizards are sought after for their particular traits of colors and patterns, and are rapidly gaining popularity among the reptile lovers. With their simple, easy-to-meet requirements, these creatures are ideal reptile pets for the beginners. Since these lizards are primarily tree dwellers, they make spectacular displays in naturalistic vivariums.
Size: The average size of the adults is about 8 inches. The baby geckos are 1 inch long (from snout to vent).
Weight: While the adults are about 60 grams, the hatchlings weigh around 3 grams at hatching.
Skin/Colors: These lizards occur in varied colors, including dappled shades of white, yellow, grays, browns, orange, and red, very much like the crested geckos. They have motley patterns of stripes and blotches.
Feet: The claws of these geckos have the ability to grip branches, vines, and other surfaces, however, most specimens are not able to climb smooth surfaces such as glass.
Eyes: The eyes are large and round.
Nostrils: Like most other geckos, the nose is situated just at the top of their mouth.
Tail: The tail is long and has the ability to shed, when threatened.
Teeth: Both the adults and the babies have considerably sharp teeth.
The gargoyle geckos can live for 15-20 years in captivity.
In the wild, this species of geckos can be found only on the southern end of the island of New Caledonia, a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. There, they are specifically found in the Island called ‘Grande Terre’, also known as the “Mainland”.
These arboreal lizards have made their home in scrub forests. They live in the dense forests, primarily close to the forest floor. Their habitat has been threatened by deforestation on the island.
The Gargoyle Geckos come in two basic ‘morphs’ or color patterns: the ‘striped’ and the ‘blotched’.
The Gargoyle Gecko usually sleeps during the daytime, and is primarily a nocturnal species. They are active at night and would emit different kinds of sounds including growls, squeaks, barks and yips. In fact, this is their way of communicating with their fellows, especially when they have other geckos around them. In the wild, the gargoyles make their homes in the scrub forests. Even in captivity, you might be able to hear such calls. They wake up from their day’s slumber usually during evening, and it is always amusing watching them playing around inside their cage.
These reptiles are easy to handle, once they get used to the process of taming and interaction with humans. However, you must not begin handling your gecko during the first 2 or 3 weeks of bringing it home, especially for very young geckos. When you would handle them for the first time, you might find it gaping their mouth wide, but they are less flighty than the Crested Geckos, provided your way of handling is gentle. If you wouldn’t hold it too tightly, or make it feel threatened, or stress it too much, it will simply drop its tail. However, your gecko will sit calmly, if you would handle it gently.
These geckos are very aggressive. Especially, the adult male geckos would not tolerate each other easily. So, in captivity, it is wise to house not more than one male gecko in a single enclosure. As is evident by their heavier body and smaller toe pads, these geckos are not as expert in climbing, and hence, are not as arboreal as the other species. In the wild, these creatures are mostly found closer to the ground.
The gargoyle geckos are omnivores, and would consume insects, nectar, and fruit in the wild. In captivity, they will feed on fruits, mashed fruits, as also powdered gecko diet (mixed with water). It has hardly any difference with the crested gecko’s food habits. Brands like Repashy or Pangea are known for producing a few of the most perfect gecko foods, consisting of the correct nutritional balance of minerals and vitamins.
The gargoyle geckos would also accept live foods like feeder roaches, waxworms, crickets, etc. However, as an extra precaution, these treats should be gut loaded, or dusted with calcium and vitamins before serving. You must never feed your gecko a diet consisting of baby food, since that might very easily give illnesses including metabolic bone diseases to your pet.
It is quite easy to breed these lizards. In captivity, they can be made to breed by simply introducing an adult female with an adult male. Since they are aggressive creatures, it is safe to house them separately and introduce them to each other only for a few days, during the time of breeding. The act of mating is evidently very rough, most of the time leading to loss of tail and injuries. However, this is a part of their process of copulation, and is almost unavoidable.
After a successful intercourse, the female gargoyle geckos lay their eggs after around 20-35 days. It is advisable to put a container filled with moistened substrates like a mixture of vermiculite and peat moss for laying their eggs in captivity. The container should be at least 4-5 inches deep. The mother will lay its eggs toward the bottom of the provided container.
Once laid, place them into an air-tight container with moistened vermiculite, perlite, or SuperHatch. The medium where the eggs are to be laid should be moist, but not dripping with water. If your room temperature is something in between 70 and 79 degrees, it is the ideal and optimum temperature for the eggs of the geckos to be hatched out. The gestation period is same like most other Rhacodactylus species. The hatchlings take around 3 to 4 months to reach the prime of their adulthood. You must not house multiple baby gargoyle geckos together, too, since they would often end up biting each other’s necks, or strip each other off their tails. The juveniles also tend to bite more frequently than their adult counterparts.
The Gargoyle Gecko is not a threatened species. The IUCN 3.1 has categorized them under the ‘LC’ (Least Concern) species list.
As pets, the Rhacodactylus species of geckos are relatively new, and hence, there are a lot left to be learned. However, as an owner, you should heed a couple of warnings. Firstly, these geckos have an inborn ability of taking a leap. Hence, you must remember that, creatures that are not accustomed to being handled should be kept close to the ground unless they lose their desire for a flight. Secondly, remember that your gargoyle gecko would never look the same after losing its tail, even if its tail is regenerated. So make sure that you never stress your gecko, so that it can live retaining its caudal appendage.
Cage Setup: Adult gargoyle geckos are housed in a twenty gallon, tall tank, or something of similar size. As mentioned, males should be housed separately, else they would always be belligerent and aggressive, and constantly fight. You can also house a male as a trio with females.
Decoration Supplies: Things like branches, bamboo poles, vertically placed cork flats, or just anything hardy, live or fake, that would be able to hold its weight, will make them happy. These geckos are particularly fond of plants like the very hardy Pothos, the Mother-in-Law, etc. The more hiding places your gecko gets, less stressed will it be, and, eventually, healthier.
Humidity: Maintain a humidity level of approximately 50-60%. Keeping live plants inside the cage also help in maintaining a high level of humidity. Also, spray mist the environment every day.
Lighting: Using a small wattage basking heat lamp, ideally, a 50-watt bulb, placed at one far end of your lizard’s enclosure will benefit it. But make sure that the basking temperature does not exceed 85° F. You should also be aware that, the gecko might need a relatively cooler corner to retreat from time to time.
Drinking Water: Despite the fact that, your gecko will lick moisture from the leaves and the inner surfaces of the tank, do provide a separate dish of water since many gargoyles would actually drink water from the dish.