Gargoyle geckos are omnivores, which means that they eat both animal and plant matter on a routine basis. In the wild, they are known to eat invertebrates, other lizards, flowers, nectar, pollen, and tree sap (Snyder, 2007). Compared to other New Caledonian geckos, however, gargoyle geckos are unusually carnivorous, which means that their natural diet contains a high proportion of animal prey. The same paper also mentions that wild gargoyle geckos are also frequently found with empty stomachs.
As pets, gargoyle geckos should have the following feeding schedule:
- Hatchlings and juveniles — CGD daily, insects every other day
- Adults — CGD every other day, insects 2x/week
It’s perfectly fine to skip a feeding every 2-4x/month, especially for adults. This encourages the gecko to use its fat reserves, and helps prevent obesity!
Powdered Crested Gecko Diet (CGD)
Generally speaking, I don’t advise using prepared diets to feed reptiles. The most common products available on the market tend to be full of filler ingredients and fail to provide a balanced diet.
In the case of certain geckos, I make an exception. Thanks to the exhaustive efforts of some really smart people, there are nutritionally-complete prepared diets on the market that make feeding your gargoyle gecko easy. Who makes the cut?
- Arcadia StickyFootGold
- Black Panther Zoological (BPZ)
- Leapin’ Leachie
- Zoo Med
- Lugarti (read the ReptiFiles review here)
All of these brands offer top-quality nutrition and a range of palatable flavors to suit your gecko’s individual preference (or simply to provide a variety). My preferred online retailer is Bertopia Geckos (and they do free shipping!). However, if you live in the US, Arcadia is only available through ReptilesRuS.ca.
How to Prepare Powdered Diets
Mix the powdered diet with water to a ketchup or smoothie consistency (usually 2-3 parts water per 1 part powder) and offer in biodegradable gecko cups. Most gargoyle geckos prefer to eat up off of the ground, so you’ll need a wall-mounted feeding ledge as well. Offer fresh food every 24 hours for juveniles, and every other day for adults.
- Gargoyle geckos seem to especially like to “finger paint” with their food. When the gecko diet dries on their fingers, it can cause problems like retained shed and toe constriction. As you handle your gecko, check its toes and body for stuck food, and remove gently with a wet Q-tip as needed.
Which brand and/or flavor of crested gecko diet should you get?
Gargoyle geckos tend to prefer the same food that their breeder raised them with. This is not always the case, however — many gecko owners successfully keep several flavors of powdered diet on hand to use in rotation.
What’s so bad about other brands of crested gecko diet?
Developing a quality prepared diet requires generational testing, precise nutrient ratios, high quality ingredients, palatability, and popularity among experts. So far the abovementioned brands seem to have the best ingredients and ratios. Leave any other brands (National Geographic, Exo Terra, Fluker’s, etc.) on the shelf — they may do your gecko more harm than good.
Is baby food a good substitute for crested gecko diet?
No. Baby food typically contains lots of preservatives and artificial colors/flavors. Additionally, since it’s made for humans, the nutrient ratios are off, and can actually make your gecko sick.
Can gargoyle geckos eat fresh fruit?
Fresh fruit and fresh fruit smoothies are suitable as an occasional treat. Appropriate fruits include mango, apricots, papaya, and berries. (For details, visit Moon Valley Reptiles.) Keep in mind that if you offer fruit too often, the gecko may turn up its nose at prepared diet and risk malnutrition.
Feeder Insects for Gargoyle Geckos
Because of the higher protein content of a gargoyle gecko’s natural diet, offering insect prey on a regular basis isn’t optional — it’s a requirement! Offer insect prey 2x weekly to maintain a balanced diet.
Good feeder insects
- dubia roaches
- discoid roaches
- small hornworms (captive only; wild are toxic!)
- black soldier fly larvae
Waxworms can be offered occasionally as treats, especially for thin geckos. Take care not to offer anything too large. Worms may have soft bodies that are easy to chew and digest, but feeder roaches and crickets should not be larger than the space between the gecko’s eyes.
All insects should be dusted with a calcium supplement to correct the Ca:P (calcium to phosphorous) ratio.
Our favorite calcium supplements for gargoyle geckos are:
- Arcadia Earthpro CalciumPro Mg (no vitamin D)
- Repashy SuperCal NoD
- Repashy SuperCal HyD
- Miner-All Outdoor (no vitamin D)
If you are using UVB light in your gargoyle gecko’s enclosure, use a calcium powder without vitamin D. If you are not using UVB light in your gargoyle gecko’s enclosure, use a calcium powder with vitamin D.
ReptiFiles strongly recommends using UVB for all reptiles!
Note: All feeder insects should be gutloaded for at least 24 hours before feeding. Ideally, they should come pre-gutloaded from the breeder. If they weren’t, or you buy your feeder insects in bulk, the easiest way to keep them fed and gut-loaded is with reconstituted Repashy Bug Burger, Arcadia InsectFuel, and/or Dubia Diet.
Can gargoyle geckos eat animal prey?
Yes! This is actually one of the critical care differences between gargoyle geckos and crested geckos, which are often (mistakenly) considered virtually the same. In the wild, gargoyle geckos are known to hunt and consume young crested geckos as well as young rodents. Offering a pinky mouse every now and then will be a nutritious addition to your gecko’s diet. Some crested gecko breeders even use gargoyle geckos to help them cull malformed or stillborn hatchlings.
Take care not to offer animal prey more than twice per month, however — these are very nutrient-dense foods and can easily contribute to gargoyle gecko obesity.
Can gargoyle geckos drink water from a bowl?
Contrary to popular belief, YES — gargoyle geckos can see, recognize, and drink water from a bowl. Most feeding ledges have space for two condiment cups, so provide CGD in one of them, and fresh water (not distilled or reverse-osmosis) in the other. Your gecko will still drink after you mist the enclosure, but in case they get thirsty between mistings, they won’t have to wait.