Leopard Geckos are one of the most popular pet reptiles, but many consider choosing another gecko instead because of that. Gargoyle Geckos are quite similar to Leopard Geckos, but they do have important differences!
The most obvious difference is the orientation: Leopard Gecko tanks are mostly wide and shallow, while Gargoyle Gecko tanks are more focused on height. Leopard Geckos are ground-dwelling and need floor space, while Gargoyle Geckos are climbers and need tree-like decoration to climb in.
Since both geckos reach around 8 to 10 inches in size, the tank size is quite similar: 20 gallons as the bare minimum. If you want to provide a decent home, a 30 to 40 gallon tank is a better choice, though. Don’t be afraid to go for a bigger one with either gecko – they will happily explore large tanks, too!
The substrate choices are surprisingly similar. While Leopard Geckos live in arid deserts, a bioactive substrate or blended soil is a good choice if you want to go the natural route. Gargoyle Geckos live in the rainforests of New Caledonia, but the same substrates work well for them. However, you can also use reptile mats or certain stone tiles in a Leopard Gecko’s vivarium, which would not be very fitting for Gargoyle Geckos.
Temperature & Humidity
As they live in very different climates, Leopard Geckos and Gargoyle Geckos need very different temperature and humidity settings.
Leopard Geckos need a warm side at around 88-92°F (31-33°C) and a cool side in the high 70s °F range (~23-25°C). Basking spots can reach up to 94°F.
Gargoyle Geckos only like temperatures up to 84°F (29°C), and instead of a warm side, the top of the tank should be where it’s the warmest. Toward the bottom, it should be around 77°F (25°C).
As they are both cold-blooded, both need heat sources and a temperature gradient to adjust their own temperature as needed by moving from one area to another.
The arid plains of the middle east also have much lower humidity than the rainforests in Oceania: While Leopard Geckos need around 30-40% humidity, Gargoyle Geckos like it at around 50-70%.
The main difference between the two species in terms of food is that Leopard Geckos are strictly insectivores, while Gargoyle Geckos also enjoy fruits and berries. These cannot be digested by a Leopard Gecko at all.
Additionally, Gargoyle Geckos are usually fed with a pre-made food mix, which is a powdered diet, turned into a gooey substance and fed in a reptile cup. This is only the foundation of their diet, though, and should be supplemented with feeder insects and the occasional fruit or veggie.
Leopard Geckos should receive only feeder insects – nothing else.
However, the selection of feeder insects is quite the same: crickets, dubia roaches, black soldier fly larvae, and a small selection of worms (such as mealworms, hornworms, waxworms, and others).
Both the Leopard Gecko and Gargoyle Gecko tend to be very calm and docile once they have acclimated to their new environment and owner. They should be handled only infrequently and for short times at first, but eventually, they feel very safe with their owners.
Both species have a detachable tail, though, which means that they should never be handled or grabbed by the tail.
Both geckos can bite, but will only do so when threatened – which should happen very rarely as adults. However, both their bites are quite harmless and you should not worry about it. If it ever comes to it, disinfecting the wound is usually enough. Make sure to put your gecko back in its enclosure, though, since they were clearly not feeling safe.