Gargoyle Gecko Care Guide

Gargoyle Gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus)

Difficulty: Easy

Published: September 28, 2017 

   Last Updated: January 11, 2021

New Caledonia - gargoyle gecko care guide

Gargoyle geckos (also known as the knob-headed giant gecko) are a nocturnal arboreal species of gecko native to New Caledonia, a group of islands between Australia and Fiji. They get their name from the bony horn-like protrusions found on their skulls.

Gargoyle geckos are omnivorous, consuming a varied diet of fruits, nectars, invertebrates, and young small mammals in the wild. Because they are nocturnal, most of this activity occurs at night.

These geckos reach maturity around 15-18 months old and measure between 8-10” (20-25.4 cm) from snout to tail, and weigh around 45-65g, depending on gender and genetics. Average lifespan is between 15-20 years with good care.

Gargoyle geckos are typically light to dark gray with patches of orange or red color arranged in varying patterns from mottled to striped. They have a limited ability to change color, known as “firing up/down.” This process increases or decreases the contrast between their colors, brightening reds and darkening grays.

Gargoyle gecko care guide - Nightshift Exotics and ReptiFiles

The same gecko, unfired (bottom) and fired (top). Photos by Nightshift Exotics

Additional facts:

  • Like most geckos, gargoyles do not have eyelids. Instead, they use their tongue to keep their eyes clean and moist.
  • Gargoyle geckos’ toes are covered with millions of tiny “hairs” called setae that enable them to adhere to and climb up vertical and smooth surfaces. However, gargoyles are not as “sticky” as other arboreal gecko species.
  • Gargoyle geckos have a prehensile tail that they use as a fifth foot while they climb. The same hairs found on their toes can be found on the tip of this tail. They can also voluntarily cut off their own tail to escape from predators like a biological “get out of jail free” card. Unlike crested geckos, they are able to regrow the tail over time.

Gargoyle geckos are mellow, very handleable pets with easy care requirements, which makes them excellent beginner-level reptiles.

orange blotched gargoyle gecko care guide

Orange blotched adult gargoyle gecko by Tiki’s Geckos

Gargoyle Gecko Care Guide — Table of Contents:

  1. The Gargoyle Gecko Shopping List
  2. Terrarium Size Guidelines
  3. Substrate Options
  4. Temperature & Humidity Requirements
  5. Decorating Your Gecko’s Terrarium
  6. Feeding Your Gargoyle Gecko
  7. Handling Tips
  8. Common Diseases & Health Questions
  9. Additional Resources


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Special thanks to Tiki’s GeckosNightshift Exotics, and Gargoyle Queen Reptiles for contributing photos and assisting with the creation of this gargoyle gecko care guide!