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The gargoyle gecko or New Caledonian bumpy gecko, Rhacodactylus auriculatus, is a species of gecko found only on the southern end of the island of New Caledonia. Its habitat is threatened by deforestation on the island. This gecko, along with several other Rhacodactylus species are being considered for protective measures by CITES, which would put restrictions on their exportation. This gecko was first described by Bavay in 1869.
This reptile gets its common name from the cranial bumps that give the appearance of horns or ears. Other characteristics of this gecko include thin toe pads and a thin prehensile tail which will regenerate if it drops off. As small as one inch long (from snout to vent) and weighing 3 grams at hatching, it reaches an average length of 8 to 9 inches and 60 to 70 grams in weight. They are considered a small to medium size gecko.
They occur in many colors, including varying shades of greys, browns, white, yellow, orange, green, and red, with varying patterns of blotches and striping. They are commonly captive bred for particular traits of pattern and color.
Gargoyle geckos are nocturnal and arboreal, making their home in scrub forests. The female lays two eggs per clutch which hatch 60 to 90 days after they are laid. The female can lay 8 to 9 clutches per year.
Gargoyle geckos make interesting terrarium inhabitants. In captivity, these geckos readily accept live foods such as crickets, feeder roaches, and waxworms. They also will accept fruit mashes, fruit and powdered gecko diet (mixed with water). Gecko food can be purchased from companies that specialize in it; these foods have the correct nutritional balance of vitamins and minerals, which is not found in basic fruit purees.
Rhacodactylus species are relatively new to being kept in homes and there is much still to be learned. An adult gargoyle should be housed in a twenty gallon tall tank. Gargoyle gecko males should always be housed separately or as a part of a breeding pair or trio with females. Males housed together will always fight. Juveniles are known to be very aggressive towards cage mates as well. Cannibalism of cage mates' tails, toes and other extremities is not uncommon. Except during the breeding season, they should be housed separately, no matter the gender, age, or size.
- Gargoyle Gecko Care Sheet Reptile Specialty