Gargoyle Gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus)
Origin: Southern end of the island of New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific
Native habitat: Tropics, forest, scrub brush
Size: 8-9 inches
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Appearance: Stocky build; flat, triangular head; large eyes. The gargoyle gecko gets its name from knobs on top of its head (cranial bumps that give the appearance of horns or ears) and large teeth that are suggestive of those of stone gargoyles. Usually pale to dark brown with a striped, mottled, or banded pattern. Morphs exist that have orange blotches, red stripes, varying shades of gray, browns, white, and yellows in diverse patterns.
Diet: Insects, nectar, and fruit
Activities: Often vocal at night, making barks, squeaks, and growls.
Defense Mechanisms: Will drop their tale to escape danger
Misc characteristics: Semi-arboreal, nocturnal
Housing, Temperature and Lighting
A 10-gallon aquarium with a screen lid makes a good house. It should be tall rather than wide so it can hold good branches and such for climbing. They do well at room temperature, between 65 and 85 degrees F, with the median being the best. High humidity should be maintained through daily misting. Normal household lighting is adequate as long as there is a normal day/night cycle. A basking light is helpful for sunbathing.
Furnishings and Substrate
They need some good hides, which can be made of cardboard or bamboo tubes, PVC pipe, or commercial reptile shelters. They also need a variety of plants that are similar to the tropical brush in their natural habitat, and they need perches made from vines, driftwood, or cork bark. Good substrate is paper towels, peat moss, cypress mulch and coconut fiber.
They do well in groups as adults, but juveniles bite each other’s tails off. Only one male per group is recommended. There must be enough hides and perches for all of the geckos in a group.
Their diet in captivity consists of commercially prepared Gecko foods; insects such as crickets, locusts, cutworms, silkworms, and waxworms; and pure fruit baby food.
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