Gargoyle Geckos

a close up of a Gargoyle Gecko's face

Gargoyle Geckos are lizards native to an island in the South Pacific called New Caledonia. They are very territorial and aggressive with other animals, including other Geckos. They are best kept in an enclosure by themselves.

Gargoyles are very fast and agile, and are great climbers. As good as they are at climbing, they’re unable to attach themselves to glass like other types of Geckos can. Gargoyle Geckos are not picky about their enclosure set up, as long as the basics are covered they should be happy.

Gargoyle Geckos are very easy to care for, and don’t need much other than food and water. As far as feeding them goes they love cut up pieces of fruit and small insects.

While Gargoyle Geckos are not affectionate, they don’t mind human contact. They are also fairly calm and don’t usually bite while being handled.

Geckos are very fun to watch, and will provide hours of entertainment for you and your family. They are very curious animals, and always enjoy exploring their enclosure.

A young Gargoyle Gecko will cost between $200 and $500 depending on their rarity. They’re fairly common at pet stores and with breeders.

Gargoyle Gecko Information

  • Average Length: 7 to 10 inches
  • Average Weight: 2.2 ounces
  • Skin Appearance: Has hair-like spines
  • Skin Colors: Yellow, Brown or Green
  • Grooming Needs: Low Need
  • Shedding: Once every few months
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Biting Tendency: Yes
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: They allow people to hand them, so yes! 
  • Safe with Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: No
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Pet Owners: Yes
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Respiratory Infections, Metabolic Bone Disease and Parasitic Infections
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 15 to 20 years


Gargoyle Geckos live in the southern parts of New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific Ocean east of Australia.

Physical Appearance of Gargoyle Geckos

a Gargoyle Gecko hiding against a piece of wood

Gargoyle Geckos are small lizards that grow up to 10 inches long. They have triangular-shaped heads with several bumps on them. These bumps and the color of their skin give them a look that some people would describe as evil looking, and that’s how they became Gargoyle Geckos.

They have large protruding eyes with narrow slit shaped pupils.

They have small rounded toe pads. Gargoyle Geckos have a semi-prehensile tail that lets them hold onto branches. They can drop their tails when they feel stressed and their tails can regrow in a few months.

Gargoyle Geckos can have skin with several colors like yellow, brown or green with different markings like spots, stripes or patterns on their body.

Temperament of Gargoyle Geckos

Gargoyle Geckos are docile lizards. They are active during dawn and dusk and that’s when they will bask and explore their enclosure. During the day they usually sleep.

They don’t mind being handled but handling should be gradual, otherwise they will get stressed. Once they get comfortable with you, they can be handled more regularly.

Gargoyle Geckos can bite if they get stressed or feel scared. It’s a good idea to make sure they’re comfortable before handling them. Their bites are not harmful and will only feel like a nip.

Gargoyle Geckos are solitary and territorial. Both males and females are aggressive, with males being more aggressive. They will fight if they are housed together.

Some owners have been successful keeping them as bonded pairs. If you want to keep them in pairs, make sure to see how they get along. If they start fighting, they should be separated and housed individually.

a Gargoyle Gecko climbing a tree

Their Compatibility with Children

Gargoyle Geckos are not aggressive towards people and can get along with children. These lizards are low-maintenance and children can take care of their enclosure. They make a great pet for families with children.

Living Space for Gargoyle Geckos

We recommend using glass or plastic enclosures for housing Gargoyle Geckos because they’re better at retaining humidity. Don’t use screen enclosures because it will become difficult to maintain the humidity. 

Having lots of hiding spots and creating climbing areas will make the enclosure look natural for your Gecko.

Enclosure/Cage Size

Young Gargoyle Geckos can be housed in a small 10-gallon tank but adults will need a 20-gallon enclosure. 

They like to climb and it is important to get an enclosure that has enough height. We recommend getting an enclosure that is at least 12 inches high.

Decorations

Branches and vines can be used to create climbing areas in your Gargoyle Gecko’s enclosure. Arrange the branches in a way to create places to climb at different heights. 

There should be a small hide box with some sphagnum moss inside the box. The sphagnum moss will keep the hide box humid and help your Gecko when they shed their skin.

a close up of a Gargoyle Gecko walking towards the camera

Living plants should be used inside your Gecko’s enclosure if possible. Gargoyle Geckos drink water from the droplets that collect on plant leaves. Plants also help with keeping their enclosure humid. Good plant options are Ficus benjamina, Devil’s Ivy and Philodendron scanden.

Substrate

Peat moss makes a substrate because these are good at holding moisture and will keep their tank humid. 

Best Climate for Gargoyle Geckos

Gargoyle Geckos don’t need a very hot climate. Some owners still prefer to add a heat source. An under-tank heat mat or low power basking lamp will make a good heating source. 

Temperature

The temperature in their basking spot should be around 80°F to 85°F. On the warm side the temperature should be around 74°F.   

Humidity

The humidity level should be between 50 to 70 percent. Misting the tank one or two times a day will keep their enclosure humid.

Lighting

a close up of a Gargoyle Gecko standing on a branch

Gargoyle Geckos will need a UVA/UVB light that they can bask in. They should have access to this light for 10 to 12 hours a day. The UV lights help their body absorb vitamin D, helping them avoid diseases like MBD.

Water Source

While Gargoyle Geckos usually don’t drink water from a water bowl, a shallow water bowl should still be kept in their enclosure. Your Gecko can use the water bowl to soak when they shed. The water bowl will also help keep their enclosure humid. 

The Attention a Gargoyle Gecko Needs

2 thermometers should be kept in the enclosure, one in the hot side and the other in the warm area. Add a hydrometer to check the humidity levels. Check the readings regularly and make changes if needed.

Wait for the humidity to fall below 50% before misting your Gargoyle Gecko’s enclosure. Too humid can be just as bad as not enough humidity for your Gecko. A spray bottle or humidifier can be used to mist the tank.

Gargoyle Geckos have moderate maintenance needs and are docile, making them a great pet for beginner reptile owners. Gargoyle Geckos are also receptive to human handling.

Health Issues

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic Bone Disease is the most common disease found in pet reptiles. The disease is caused by your reptile not having enough vitamin D to properly absorb calcium. Being exposed to UV lighting helps them create vitamin D that they can use to absorb calcium.

Symptoms include:

  • Lower jaw swelling 
  • Limb swelling
  • Facial bone softening
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy

An X-ray can help identify the extent of the disease. Sometimes MBD can lead to fractures, thin bone tissue or thickened bone shafts. The disease is more common in reptiles less than 2 years old.

If left untreated the disease can also lead to death. Consult your vet immediately if you find any of the above mentioned symptoms in your reptile.

Treatments can range from injecting your reptile with mineral supplements to medication and dietary modifications. To keep your reptiles from having MBD, they should be fed a diet rich in calcium (or calcium supplements) and have daily exposure to UV lighting.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are a common health issue in reptiles. Poor enclosure conditions like excessive cold or humidity as well as stress can lead to respiratory infections or pneumonia. 

Symptoms include:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Bubbles in mouth
  • Labored breathing
  • Lethargy

Take your reptile to your vet if they have any of the above symptoms. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat the disease. If the infection is severe, they may need to be hospitalized.

Respiratory symptoms can become serious if not attended to in the initial stages. Maintaining the right temperature gradient and humidity levels inside their living enclosures can prevent your reptile from getting respiratory diseases.

Parasitic Infections

Intestinal Parasites like roundworms, hookworms or pinworms can cause serious health issues in reptiles. In mild cases, the disease may not show symptoms but in severe cases it can result in:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Behavioral issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Loose Stool
  • Throwing up food

Captive lizards generally contract parasitic infections from other infected reptiles, contaminated food or objects. Regular cleanings to their enclosure can reduce the chances your reptile will be infected from parasites in their environment. Take your pet to your vet if they have the above symptoms.

Parasitic infections have the potential to destroy the digestive tracts of your turtles and must be treated as soon as signs are noticed.

Mites

Mites are tiny black insects that are parasites. They feed off the blood of your snakes, and they can be quite the pain in the butt to get rid of once you have them. Most times they will be caught and sold already having mites, or they’ll get them from another pet.

Symptoms of mites on your snake:

  • Long soaks in their water
  • Rubbing on objects in their enclosure
  • Tiny black specs on your snake or objects in their enclosure
  • Tiny black specs on you from handling your snake

We recommend contacting your vet to find out what treatment they recommend for killing mites. Keep in mind that mites don’t tend to stay in one place, and any other snakes or reptiles kept in the same room could be infested with mites as well. Distance between pets is key, just as washing up between handling pets is key to not spreading mites from pet to pet.

Ticks

Ticks are blood sucking parasites that are just as bad for your lizard as they are for people. They can pass on quite a number of terrible diseases to your reptile. Depending on what the ticks carry, or if left untreated, they can cause your reptile to die.

Symptoms of ticks on reptiles:

  • Rubbing on objects in their enclosure
  • Long soaks
  • Weight loss
  • Red spots or deformities on their skin

Usually with the above symptoms, especially red spots on their skin people will be suspicious of either ticks or mites. Ticks are a lot easier to see than mites are and with a close inspection of your snake you should be able to spot them pretty easily.

The treatment is fairly straightforward and can be done at home, or you can have your vet do it. Once you find a tick attached to your lizard, rub it with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, then use tweezers to pull the tick off. Using alcohol first should help the tick release their grip and make them easier to pull off. If you are at all worried about diseases your reptile might have gotten from the ticks you can have your vet take a look and they may prescribe medication based on what they find.

Grooming and Care

The substrate should be spot cleaned daily and replaced completely once a month. Clean the enclosure with a cloth once a week and perform a deep clean every 4 months. Make sure you remove your Gargoyle Gecko from the enclosure before you deep clean their enclosure.

Clean and replace the water bowl with fresh water every day.

If your Gargoyle Gecko is shedding, make sure to remove their shed skin from the enclosure.

mealworms are great food for Gargoyle Geckos

Feeding A Gargoyle Gecko

Gargoyle Geckos are omnivores and can be fed fruits and insects. Insects like dubia roaches, crickets, wax worms or mealworms should be given to your Gargoyle Geckos. Gut-load the insects before feeding them to your Gargoyle Gecko. Gut-loading involves giving nutritious food to insects. When your lizard consumes their prey, the nutrition passes on to them.

These lizards are selective about their food and may sometimes not eat live insects. If that’s the case with your Gecko, feed them a fruit mix or commercially available Crested Gecko food. These should give them all the nutrients they need to keep your Gecko healthy.

Young Gargoyle Geckos should be fed insects because it is important for their growth. They should be fed insects twice a week and fruits 4 times a week (6 feedings a week). For fruits, calcium-rich varieties like papaya, blackberries and figs are the best, but experiment and see what they like.

Adults usually don’t need insects and should be fed a fruit mix 2 to 3 times a week.

Related Questions:

What Sounds Can Gargoyle Geckos Make?

Gargoyle Geckos can bark, squeak or growl to communicate with other Geckos. They usually make these sounds when they are active at night or communicating with their family.

How Much Does a Gargoyle Gecko Cost?

The cost of Gargoyle Gecko varies depending upon the characteristics like color or patterns. While they usually cost around $200, some characteristics can have them cost more than $1,000. A Red Gargoyle Gecko can cost up to $1,300.