While Gargoyle Geckos food sources and eating habits are often compared to or equated with those of a Crested Gecko. Others recommend Gargoyle Gecko diets consisting almost exclusively of fruit and gecko mixes.
However, the natural diet of a Gargoyle Gecko is not omnivorous, but actually mainly carnivorous.
Their primary food sources are insects, arthropods, and even small rodents or geckos. In this article, you’ll learn the foundation of a healthy Gargoyle Gecko diet, a full food list, as well as all the common feeder insects and fruits they can, should, and shouldn’t eat.
A Healthy Gargoyle Gecko Diet
In a 2009 study by Snyder et al, wild Gargoyle Geckos were examined in their native habitat on New Caledonia. They found that the gecko’s natural diet is comprised of almost exclusively insects and small animals. Arthropods made up about 90% of the total volume of food – these are insects, beetles, larvae/worms, and even spiders.
However, just because it’s their natural diet doesn’t mean it’s ideal for them. Feeding them exclusively on insects doesn’t account for other environmental factors – which is why most geckos need some form of supplementation of things like calcium and vitamins. Gargoyle Geckos are no exception – they need supplements, as well as some natural sources of vitamins and other micronutrients.
In short, a healthy Gargoyle Gecko diet consists of mainly pre-made food mixes, store-bought and gut-loaded feeder insects, supplemented with calcium and vitamins and the occasional fruit.
You can also rely mostly on high-quality pre-made food mixes, but keep in mind that once they are used to mainly eating live insects and fruits, Gargoyle Geckos often don’t go back to mainly eating these mixes. Using them from the beginning as a main part of the diet if you plan on using it.
For fruits and veggies as well as pre-made mixes, use bio-degradable gecko cups:
If you are still unsure what to feed and how often to feed your Gargoyle Gecko, you can follow this example diet:
Feed an adult Gargoyle Gecko every other day, and every day for baby and juvenile geckos.
Offer a powdered Gargoyle or Crested Gecko food mix on every or most feeding days in a small, bio-degradable gecko cup.
Offer a few (3-5, depending on size and type) of staple feeder insects 2-3 times per week, in addition to the food mix.
Once or twice a week, offer a few pieces of any of the recommended fruits.
However, with that said, if your gecko doesn’t eat or like certain foods, switch them out with other options. If your gecko is gaining weight, reduce the amount of food offered, or increase it if they are losing weight.
And as always, if you visit your vet, their advice should be the most trusted, as only they have diagnosed your gecko and specific situation.
For feeding, gargoyle geckos prefer to have their food higher up, not on the ground. Use a reptile feeding ledge to make this easy!
Gargoyle Gecko Food Sources
Like many other omnivorous or carnivorous geckos, Gargoyle Geckos like to eat feeder insects. These are high in moisture and protein, and with some dusting, provide the calcium the geckos need. It is important to only feed store-bought feeder insects, as wild insects are a big risk – you never know what they have eaten, or what bacteria they carry.
Common feeder insects for Gargoyle Geckos include dubia roaches, discoid roaches, crickets, mealworms and black soldier fly larvae.
These are all “lean” insects with a relatively high protein to fat ratio. Other, more fatty choices include small hornworms, silkworms, and waxworms. Only feed these occasionally as a treat, as overfeeding on those can cause quick weight gain.
Don’t forget two things with these feeder insects:
- Feeder insects should be gut-loaded with appropriate diets. This mostly includes vegetables and greens, or special gut-loading mixes. This is to make sure that the insects themselves are full of healthy micronutrients and fiber, which the Gargoyle Gecko then absorbs.
- Feeder insects should be dusted with calcium powder. Geckos need a lot of calcium, more than those insects have to offer. Use either a pure calcium powder, or one with added vitamin D, to dust these insects immediately before feeding. Simply place them in a small container like a Ziplock bag, add a bit of powder (as instructed on the label), and give them a good shake before placing them in the gecko’s feeding dish.
Finally, make sure that nothing you feed is ever too big, or your gecko might get digestive problems such as impaction, which can be quite dangerous. No feeder insect should be wider than the space between the reptile’s eyes – which is about how wide its throat is.
Fruits & Vegetables
While some keepers feed their Gargoyle Geckos mainly fruits and vegetables, it is not an appropriate diet. Many of these geckos do enjoy these treats, but still need calcium and proteins to stay healthy and strong. Make sure to feed a solid base of feeder insects, and only add fruits as supplementation.
Good fruit choices with high calcium content include figs, dates, mango, apricots, papaya, or berries. These can also be offered in dried form.
Supplements are necessary for Gargoyle Geckos to make sure they have all the nutrients they need, from calcium (for growth and bone health) to vitamins (especially vitamins D and A), and many other micronutrients. A common choice is a powdered Crested Gecko Diet from a quality reptile brand. These food mixes contain all the necessary nutrients and micronutrients and can easily and quickly be mixed with water and offered to your Gargoyle Gecko.
Repashy, ZooMed, Arcadia, or Pangea are popular choices when buying such food mixes for your gecko. Make sure to buy either one for Gargoyle Geckos, or Crested Gecko mixes, as they are the closest to Gargoyle Geckos in terms of nutrient needs.
These mixes can be fed daily to baby and juvenile geckos, and every 2-3 days for adult Gargoyle Geckos.
However, they should not replace a regular diet of live feeder insects, but be used in combination. Feed live insects about 2-3 times per week.
Additionally, as mentioned before, you need to supplement calcium and vitamin D by dusting the feeder insects.
Full Food List
One important note before we get into the full food list: Variety is important for Gargoyle Geckos, so don’t just pick one or two items from this list and feed only those insects or fruit! It’s generally recommended to create a diet with pre-made mixes, 2-3 main feeder insects, and a few different fruits that you feed your gecko.
Dubia roaches are a staple food source for Gargoyle Geckos and can be fed 2-3 times per week. They have a high protein-to-fat ratio and are generally safe. Make sure to only buy commercially bred dubia roaches from a trustworthy store.
Discoid roaches are a staple food source for Gargoyle Geckos and can be fed 2-3 times per week. They have a high protein-to-fat ratio and are generally safe. Make sure to only buy commercially bred discoid roaches from a trustworthy store.
Crickets are another staple food source for Gargoyle Geckos and can be fed 2-3 times per week. They are also high in protein and safe, but are often less liked by gecko owners because of their noise. If that doesn’t bother you, crickets make for great gecko live food that is easily available at most pet stores.
Mealworms are a popular, easy, and cheap staple food source for geckos including Gargoyle Geckos. They should mainly be fed right after they have shed. After shedding, they are soft and light white to tan. Over time, their skin becomes harder and harder, which you can see by the darker color. These hard chitin shells are hard to digest for Gargoyle Geckos, which is why you should wait until after shedding.
Keep in mind that mealworms have a higher fat content than the other feeder insects on this list, and should be fed a little less regularly.
Black soldier fly larvae
Black soldier fly larvae are very similar to mealworms. Their nutritional profile is a bit better, but they tend to be a little harder to buy and keep. Still, black soldier fly larvae are a great feeder insect for Gargoyle Geckos.
Hornworms are good as treat for Gargoyle Geckos because of their high fat content and are easy to eat, but you have to be careful to feed them while they are still small. Hornworms quickly grow too big for a Gargoyle Gecko to eat safely. If your gecko is losing or has lost weight, hornworms are a good choice to quickly nurture them back to health.
Silkworms are quite the hassle to buy and keep, but can be safely fed to Gargoyle Geckos. Once they’ve turned into silk moths, they are still good as a food source, but a bit of a challenge for Gargoyle Geckos to catch. They might like this extra hunting stimulation, or might not.
Similar to hornworms, waxworms are high in fat and low in other important nutrients, and should only be fed to Gargoyle Geckos rarely. They also turn into moths which are safe to eat.
Fresh fruit is a great addition to a Gargoyle Gecko’s diet. Frozen fruit, thawed to room temperature, is also okay if you can’t get certain fruits fresh, but fresh local choices are generally better. Dried fruits are also okay, but make sure they aren’t filled with added sugar or anything.
You can feed them in small pieces or turn them into mush with a blender. If blended, you can also add powered supplements and pre-made mixes to them.
Common, safe food choices include:
- Grapes in small amounts
- Strawberry (without the seeds)
Make sure to offer them cut to smaller pieces, and only buy/feed them clean and fresh. Especially any dried fruit needs to be pure fruit without additives, as these can be harmful.
Foods to avoid
For insects, you mainly need to avoid anything that isn’t either commercially bred or bred at home. Wild insects can be a big health risk for your gecko. While you might think that it’s the most natural, wild insects here are not as “clean” as they are in New Caledonia, far from pesticides and toxic waste.
Additionally, most geckos live far longer in captivity than in the wild, which can be partly attributed to the healthy diet offered by their owners.
It’s also best to stick to common gecko insects, as these are well-known to provide the right nutrients and don’t pose any safety or health risk.
Finally, some high-fat feeder insects are safe, but should only be fed rarely. Otherwise, your gecko may over-indulge on them (to get enough protein) and gain excessive weight.
For fruit, there are a few important ones to strictly keep away from your gecko:
Fruits high in oxalate should be avoided – like starfruit or rhubarb. These can be deadly.
Avocado contains persin, which is a chemical that’s deadly to birds should also not be fed to reptiles.
While seemingly not dangerous, Gargoyle Geckos seem to avoid citrus fruit, so it’s best to not feed them any of these, either.
My Gargoyle Gecko is losing weight!
If your Gargoyle Gecko is losing weight, you should first check their eating – are they eating everything you’re offering, or do they ignore (some) food?
If they seem to be eating everything, try offering them more food – and make sure to give them a diverse-enough diet. Veggie mixes alone are not enough! (Even if they are the simplest option)
If your gargoyle is not eating, it can be a number of problems – including parasites. A vet can take a closer look at your little reptile and make sure they are healthy.
Finally, make sure that your gecko has enough clean water at all times, that the temperature and humidity are within the right range, and that they are not stressed out by their environment – frequent loud noises, excessive handling, and things like that.
Can Gargoyle Geckos eat crickets?
Yes, crickets are one of the most popular food items for Gargoyle Geckos. Crickets are a good source of protein and other nutrients, making them ideal for helping your gargoyle gecko grow and stay healthy. You can purchase crickets from most pet stores or online retailers that sell reptile supplies.
There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding your gargoyle gecko crickets. First, you’ll want to make sure the crickets are a suitable size for your gecko. Second, you’ll want to dust the crickets with a reptile calcium powder to help ensure your gecko gets the nutrients it needs.
Finally, you’ll want to offer the crickets to your gargoyle gecko in a shallow dish so they can easily find and eat them. A plastic food storage container with holes punched in the lid makes a good cricket feeder.
Do you have to feed Gargoyle Geckos insects?
The answer is yes, you do need to feed them insects. Insects are a very important part of their diet. You can feed them crickets, mealworms, and other small insects. It is important to dust the insects with calcium powder to help keep their bones healthy. You should also offer them a vitamin and mineral supplement every week or so.
Feeder insects should only be a part of their diet though – a Gargoyle Gecko or Crested Gecko pre-made food mix should be another major part, supplemented by some fresh fruit once a week or so.
Do Gargoyle Geckos need live food?
Gargoyle geckos are insectivores, so their diet consists mainly of live insects. In the wild, they eat a variety of insects, including crickets, cockroaches, and moths. These lizards are also known to eat the occasional slug or snail. In captivity, most gargoyle geckos will eat commercially available cricket diets supplemented with other live insects.
How long can Gargoyle Geckos go without food?
Gargoyle geckos can go without food for up to two months. This is because they are able to store fat in their tails. In the wild, they go with minimal food all winter, but also go into brumation during this time. Without brumation, they cannot go as long without food.
However, it’s best not to let your Gargoyle Gecko go without food for more than a week or two. They can survive it, but it is not good for their health. They should also have access to fresh water constantly.
How often do Gargoyle Geckos poop?
Gargoyle Geckos typically poop once a day, though this may vary depending on their individual diet and health.
Baby Gargoyle Geckos eat and poop daily, sometimes even more than once. As they grow older, they eat and poop less frequently. About 4-7 times per week as juveniles, and 3-4 times as adults.
If you notice your gargoyle gecko pooping more or less than usual, it could be a sign of illness and you should consult a veterinarian.
Do Gargoyle Geckos need a water dish?
Gargoyle Geckos need a water dish because they need to drink water. You can put the water dish in their tank or near it. Make sure to keep the water clean by changing it every day.
However, don’t be alarmed if you rarely ever see them drink from it. They get a lot of moisture from their food, and may only occasionally take a sip from the water.