Are you looking for a new pet to add to your family? Check out the Gargoyle Gecko! They’re fun, interesting, and relatively easy to care for. Here are nine important facts about these little creatures that will help you decide if they’re the right pet for you.
1. Gargoyle Gecko babies are tiny
Gargoyle Gecko hatchlings weigh only about 2-3 grams – but already go from roughly 1 inch in length to reaching about 2 – 2.5 inches (5-6cm) in length within the first few weeks. They grow quickly, though: They reach full maturity within the first 18 months, grow to about 8-10 inches (20-25cm), and about 45-65 grams in weight.
2. They are named after their gargoyle-like appearance
The Gargoyle Gecko, like many geckos, is named after their appearance – the grey-brown skin with bumps and spikes reminds of a gargoyle on old cathedrals or churches. Their scientific name is Rhacodactylus auriculatus, and they are also known as New Caledonia Bumpy Gecko and Knob-Headed Gecko.
3. Gargoyle Geckos can lose and regrow their tails
Just like Leopard Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos use their tail as a defensive tactic. They can drop it as a distraction when chased by a predator, then regrow it later. This can also happen in captivity, which is why you should never overly stress a Gargoyle Gecko or handle it by its tail. Regrowing the tail is harmless, but does put additional strain on them, as it requires a lot of energy.
4. Gargoyle Geckos are great jumpers, but not climbers
In their natural habitat in the forests of New Caledonia, they are often seen jumping between branches. However, with clawed feet instead of sticky toe pads, they are not great at climbing vertical surfaces. They sometimes go to ground, but tend to stay a few feet above ground most of the time. They avoid high tree-tops, though.
5. Gargoyle Geckos lick their eyeballs for cleaning
As a species without eyelids (unlike Leopard Geckos, who do have eyelids), Gargoyle Geckos need to regularly lick their eyeballs to keep them clean. They do, however, have a clear membrane that can move over the eyes like an eyelid to keep them moist.
6. Gargoyle Geckos are omnivores that even eat other geckos
In the wild, Gargoyle Geckos have been found with gecko parts in their stomachs – they might even eat other Gargoyle Geckos when necessary. While many carnivorous geckos eat small rodents, Gargoyles are one of the few that eat small geckos, too. Some breeders actually use them to get rid of hatchlings that they don’t want to keep.
7. Gargoyle Geckos could easily go extinct in the wild
Since their natural habitat is limited to the rainforests on the small island of New Caledonia, off the coast of Australia, a change in local climate or fauna could severely threaten the wild survival of this gecko species. While there would still be Gargoyle Geckos in captivity, the wild population could die out rather easily if the island is not protected.
8. Gargoyle Geckos are good beginner pets
For new reptile owners, Gargoyle Geckos are quite a good choice. They live up to 20 years in captivity and have relatively simple requirements. Because they are gaining popularity and are somewhat easy to breed, they only cost around $200 – unless you are looking for a rarer morph. Their tanks and tank setup is also quite simple compared to other geckos.
9. Gargoyle Geckos are completely harmless to us
While Gargoyle Geckos do have teeth, since they are carnivorous predators, their bites are quite harmless to humans. Their teeth are mainly for catching prey like insects and not for digging into flesh. You will likely feel a gargoyle bite, but they will rarely be able to even pierce your skin.
If your Gargoyle Geckos bites you, it will not hurt – however, it’s a sign that they don’t feel safe and should be placed back into their tank and be left alone for a bit.