Decorating Your Gargoyle Gecko’s Terrarium

This page contains affiliate links.

Nightshift Exotics and ReptiFiles - Gargoyle Gecko Accessories & Decorations
Photo contributed by by Nightshift Exotics

Decorating your gargoyle gecko’s terrarium is more than just a means to waste your money and/or make your gecko’s space look prettier. While accessories can serve an aesthetic function, they also enhance a reptile’s quality of life by mimicking their natural habitat and providing mental stimulation. The best zoos do this all the time — it’s called environmental enrichment. A common misconception is that reptiles are stupid creatures that don’t need “toys” or decorations beyond their keeper’s fancy, but this is incredibly false. Read more in this article: Environmental Enrichment For Reptiles: What? Why? and How…?

Wild gargoyle geckos are primarily arboreal, which means that they spend most of their lives up off the ground. However, despite being labeled as “arboreal,” they actually don’t spend very much time in trees — they are more likely to be found within just a few meters of the ground (Snyder, 2007). They are also known to occasionally descend to the ground to hide or travel between plants.

Gargoyle geckos are a semi-tropical species, which means that their terrariums can be especially fun to design! As you select and arrange gargoyle gecko accessories, however, keep in mind that each item should meet at least 1 of 3 basic requirements:

  1. Hiding places
  2. Jumping/climbing opportunities
  3. Water accumulation

The best decorations perform 2 or more of these functions — but fortunately they’re not hard to find. Here are some ideas!

  • Branches
  • Vines (here’s a great tutorial for making your own)
  • Live plants
  • Artificial plants/flowers
  • Cork bark/tubes
  • PVC pipes
  • Small birdhouses
  • Bamboo (free from paint or dyes)
  • Moss
  • Food dish platform

Setting up your gargoyle gecko terrarium is a great opportunity to get creative, but if you find yourself stumped, check out these enclosures submitted by other keepers:

Gargoyle Gecko Terrarium Ideas

For more inspiration and live plant ideas, look at the photos on pages 13-14 of The Autecology of Rhacodactylus auriculatus: A Natural History Study of Gargoyle Geckos by Joshua P. Snyder (2007).

Live Plants vs Artificial Plants

When it comes to decorating your crested gecko terrarium, plants are a must. They’re attractive and provide great hiding and climbing opportunities for your pet. But does it matter whether you provide live or artificial plants?

Artificial plants are great because if you don’t have a green thumb or you don’t have the lighting necessary to keep a live plant, well, live, then you have an attractive terrarium decoration that requires no maintenance except an occasional wipedown. The best artificial plants for crested gecko enclosures are either outdoor-safe or manufactured specifically for reptile enclosures.

Live plants are great because they add to the realism of your crested gecko terrarium. They help keep humidity up and can even increase circulation and oxygen concentrations inside the enclosure. And like artificial plants, the foliage and stems provide hiding and climbing opportunities. Although they need full-spectrum 6500K lighting and specific amounts of water, they can be a great addition to your crested gecko terrarium. One of the biggest benefits is that live plants are fantastic at collecting water, which creates a natural source of water that your gecko can drink from. If you want to try live, here’s a list of gecko-safe options:

  • Aechmea fasciata (Urn plant)
  • Billbergia nutans (Queens Tears)
  • Cryptanthus zonatus (Earth Stars)
  • Guzmania lingulata
  • Nidularium
  • Tillandsia
  • Vrisea splendens (Sword Bromeliad)
  • Acalphya (Copperleaf)
  • Adiantum (Maidenhair fern)
  • Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
  • Alocasia (Elephant Ears)
  • Asplenium (Bird’s Nest fern)
  • Bamboo
  • Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm)
  • Calathea zebrine (Zebra Plant)
  • Ceropegia woodii (Rosary Vine)
  • Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)
  • Cissus 
  • Codiaeum variegatum
  • Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
  • Cyrtomium (Holly Fern)
  • Dracaena (Dragon Plant)
  • Ficus
  • Gynura aurantiaca
  • Maranta (Prayer Plant)
  • Monolina primuliflora (Monolena)
  • Pilea cadieri
  • Peperomia (Radiator Plant)
  • Radermachera sinica (China Doll)
  • Sanseveria (Snake Plant)
  • Scindapsus (Pothos)
  • Schefflera arboricola (Umbrella Plant)
  • Seemania sylvatica-
  • Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
  • Tradescantia zebrina (Wandering Jew/Spiderwort)
  • Pillow Moss