Discover The Gargoyle Gecko

Rhacodactylus auriculatus, or Gargoygle Gecko, was the first species of the genus to be produced in ample numbers by hobbyists. The common name Gargoyle Gecko is in respect to the bony knobs on the top of the head of adults. A very docile species for handling and easy to produce makes the Gargoyle Gecko a fascinating species to have.

Distribution
Southern region of New Caledonia (Grande Terre). This species is semi arboreal and found at ground level reaching ten to fifteen feet in the brush and tree trunks.

Description
Of the naturally occurring morphs there is banded, reticulated and striped. All of the morphs can have varying base color ranging from white to brown and even red.

Sexing
Mature males will have five rows of preanal pores, enlarged cloacal spurs and a postanal hemipenile bulge. Sexing females can be difficult due to femoral pores up to three rows that may be present and a postanal bulge similar, but not as large, as a male postanal hemipenile bulge.

Longevity
Potentially long lived with an estimated expectancy of fifteen years in captivity.

Temperature
Much the same as other geckos of the genus a temperature range of 70F to 80F is adequate. A hot spot is recommended for breeding females. Never exceed 85F, this extreme temperature is detrimental to the health of your gecko and may be fatal.

Humidity
Humidity should be between 60-80% with a proper humidity cycle. Allow the enclosure to dry out for a period during the day. Depending on the ventilation of the enclosure you may need to mist up to twice a day. With our partial screen enclosures we mist in the morning and once at night. In a rack system misting once a day is adequate. Also, the amount of misting is varied for geographic region. If you live in a region with low humidity then you will need to mist the enclosure more frequently than in a Mediterranean climate.

Diet
R. auriculatus is an frugivorous species. Gargoyles will prefer more fruit based food than live prey in comparison to their counterparts in the genus however. In my experience juveniles will accept live prey readily and slowly decline the offering as their age increases to adulthood. Offer a meal replacement puree three times a week (leaving the food in the enclosure for two nights) with one feeding of a robust live prey. Hatchlings can receive additional offerings of live prey.

Baby food is not a staple diet and leads to Metabolic Bone Disease. I highly recommend against feeding babyfood to any frugivorous species and instead using a formulated meal replacement powder such as Repashy Superfoods Crested Gecko Diet.

Housing
Since this is a semi-arboreal species a vertical rather than horizontal enclosure is recommended. Because of their solitary and aggressive behavior toward other geckos, Gargoyles are recommended to be housed separately, unless breeding. The enclosure should have ample hiding places, thick branches and sturdy foliage. The substrate can be organic soil, coconut fiber, or paper towel. Hatchlings to Juveniles are recommended to be on paper towel due to the potential of ingesting the substrate while hunting for live prey. Below are the recommended enclosures.

  • Hatchling: A five gallon enclosure.
  • Juvenile: A ten gallon enclosure.
  • Adult: A twenty gallon enclosure.

Breeding For breeding information and more detailed care we recommend reading Gargoyle Gecko Care Sheet from Reptile Specialty.

Incubation We only recommend SuperHatch as an incubation medium. Temperatures should be regulated between 72F and 80F. Temperature Sexed Determination is unknown at this time and requires further research. The greater the incubation temperature the shorter the incubation time, and lower the incubation temperature the longer the duration. The longer the duration the larger, healthier the hatchling will be.

Juvenile Care We house single hatchlings in a small Kritter Keeper until they reach 10 grams in weight and at that point move them into 10 gallon enclosures up until adult size. I keep the same feeding schedule for Hatchlings as I do Adults with the only difference being the amount of food offered is slightly less.

Note Gargoyle geckos can be very aggressive toward other geckos especially their own species. The signs below can help you spot aggression between tank mates early on. If the geckos are not separated then injury or possible death can occur.

  • Tail nip or loss of tail.

  • Long duration of hiding

  • Lack of appetite

  • Vocalization

  • Biting cage mates

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