Gargoyle Gecko Handling Tips & Tricks

The first thing you will want to do after bringing your new gargoyle gecko home is to pet and adore it. After all, how could you NOT, with those big eyes and such soft, suede-like skin? But moving is pretty stressful for humans, and even more stressful for geckos, so you need to resist until your new pet has settled in. This usually takes about 2 weeks, or however long until the gecko is eating regularly.

Tiki's Geckos and ReptiFiles - gargoyle gecko handling tips

Photo by Tiki’s Geckos

Taming Your Gargoyle Gecko

When you start handling your gargoyle gecko, do so over a cushioned surface like a bed or couch. Gargoyle geckos are not quite as jumpy as crested geckos, but they will leap if they get nervous. By having a soft landing pad ready, you can prevent injury in case of an unexpected leap.

Start handling sessions at just 5 minutes long, every other day. It’s not a lot of time, but it does give your gecko a chance to recover, and more importantly — realize that you’re not planning to eat them. Do not return your pet to its enclosure until it is calm, reinforcing the message that it has nothing to be afraid of.

Once your garg is consistently calm during handling, you can gradually extend the handling sessions to 15 minutes every day. Even when perfectly tamed, try not to have him/her out for more than 20 minutes/day.

My gecko won’t stop trying to run away!

If your gargoyle gecko is jumpy, try something called treadmilling. While the gecko is perched on one of your hands, place your other hand about one handspan in front of it. When the gecko leaps, switch hands. Eventually s/he should calm down.

Something else you can try with a jumpy gecko is to handle them during the day. They are sleepy at this time, so they will move slower and be less likely to jump around.

Gargoyle gecko handling - gaping - Gargoyle Queen Reptiles

Hatchling demonstrating defensive gaping behavior. Photo by Gargoyle Queen Reptiles

Do gargoyle geckos bite?

Any animal with a mouth can bite, but bites from gargoyle geckos are rare and almost always provoked. A bite from an adult garg may draw blood, but it’s nothing to run to the hospital for. Just wash the wound with soap and water and forgive the gecko.

My gargoyle gecko makes noises — is this normal?

Gargoyle geckos are known to be quite vocal at night, especially other gargs are around. They make a range of sounds, including barks, squeaks, and growls. Generally this is how they communicate with other gargoyle geckos, but sometimes they direct these noises at their keepers as well.

Nightshift Exotics and ReptiFiles - gargoyle gecko handling tips

Photo by Nightshift Exotics

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after each handling session to keep yourself and your gecko healthy. If a child is handling the gecko, supervise them closely!

Keep reading:

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