Before we start I would like to say that crested geckos (Correlophus (Rhacodactylus) ciliatus) and gargoyle geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus) are like cousins. They are both from New Caledonia and in care perspective, they are nearly the same. As I talk about these remarkable geckos, if I talk about one, I’m talking about the other one as well.
Crested gecko and gargoyle geckos, as I said earlier, are very similar animals. They both come from New Caledonia and are nocturnal climbers. The crested gecko and gargoyle gecko, were thought to be extinct, until they were rediscovered a couple of years ago. Since then, there population has decreased, and are currently an endangered species. This is why it’s so important that we keep the ones that we have in captivity healthy and alive.
Both geckos like to climb and they are omnivores, which means they eat a variety of fruits and insects. They love to explore and most notably, are jumpers. They love to jump from branch to branch. If you want a gecko that is going to stay still in your lap, don’t get either of these geckos. They will be climbing, jumping, and hiding anywhere they can get there hands on. They love to explore.
There are two ways you can do a crested gecko tank. You can have a live terrarium or a fake one. Which ever one you choose, it needs to have plenty of hiding places. These geckos love to be high up. The higher the better. They’re use to being in high trees with thick leaves, so make sure your setup has plenty of plants (fake or live). Let’s talk about the two ways you can setup your tank.
- A Live Terrarium. A live terrarium means you’ll have living plants in your tank. There are plenty of ways to achieve this: You can put down an eco earth/organic soil mixture and plants the plants in the vivarium. Please note, that if you do this, you need a drainage layer. This means that when you water your plants, that the water isn’t just laying there. This is important for your plants health and the smell of the tank. A live terrarium also need insects, such as worms, to clean up certain parts of the tank. These worms will clean up the geckos poop and will help the soil. A live terrarium is a little expensive in the beginning. Buying all the supplies you need can get a little pricey, but in my opinion it’s healthier for the gecko. He’s living in a more natural environment and the plants will help with the geckos health as well. NOTE: RESEARCH PLANTS THAT ARE SAFE FOR YOUR GECKO! Getting toxic plants can kill your gecko. I personally enjoy a live terrarium more, but it’s all about what suits you.
- A Fake Terrarium. A fake terrarium means you have fake plants in your tank. This can be nice, because you don’t have to worry about watering the plants and keeping them alive. Plus, the plants won’t hurt your gecko. It’s cheaper as well, but there are cons. This means you’ll have to change out the substrate(Scroll down to the substrate section for more info). If not, it’ll begin to smell. You need to spot clean any poop that you see, and make sure its clean. Around once a month, you’ll want to take everything out, and sanitize it. These are regular procedures for a fake terrarium. Like I said, it’s all up to you.
Bonus: A Mix Terrarium. Some people do a little bit of both. They have some live plants and some fake ones. No matter what you do make sure your gecko is happy. If the gecko is “Fired Up” a lot, than that’s a good sign. If she’s “Fired Down” for almost all of the time and is hiding, than you can try to spice it up a little bit. By the way, these geckos hide a lot, so don’t be surprise if you don’t see them a lot.
With crested/gargoyle geckos, lighting isn’t that important. You can have UVB, but they don’t necessarily need it. Temperature is a huge benefit for these animals, because they can handle around room temperature! I know right! This means they need temperatures between 70 -78 Fahrenheit. Don’t want to get any hotter than 80-82 and not colder than 66-68. If you’re house gets cold, you can always get a ceramic bulb and a thermostat. To get that is like, $45 on Amazon. It’s not too bad.
Now, one of the most important things about crested and gargoyle geckos is the humidity. Humidity is very important. The humidity must be above 50. any lower than 30 can be dangerous. To keep the humidity up. Spray the tank with purified water at twice a day(once in the morning, once in the evening). Live terrariums have an easier job keeping the humidity because of the plants and the substrate. They hold humidity very well. My tank’s humidity averages around 65 for my gargoyle. Spraying is also important because these geckos don’t get their water from a sitting pool. They lick it off of plants and the walls. So spray the tank.
Substrate depends on if your going with a live terrarium or a fake. If your going fake, than something as simple as paper towels will be good. In fact, most people believe that a baby crested gecko should have paper towels as their substrate. Reason being is because a crested/gargoyle gecko may accidentally eat a loose substrate, such as eco earth. Paper towel is a good option, and you’ll want to replace it at least once a week. Paper towels don’t hold in humidity that well, so consider that too.
Substrates like eco earth, organic soil, coconut fiber, types of mulch, hold n humidity much better. The problem with these soils, is if you just got the gecko and you want to see how if they’re pooping, the soil makes it harder to tell. Any substrate you choose, make sure that you clean it often.
Crested geckos and gargoyle geckos, both are omnivores which means that they eat fruit and insects. In captivity, there’s a diet you can feed your gecko: a powder based diet. You buy this powder, mix it with water, and BAM! You’re all done. These geckos don’t need insects, but it’s good to offer them a variety of food options. Two popular brands for these geckos are Pangea and Repashi. If you buy a crested/gargoyle gecko, ask what they are feed to their geckos. If they’re feeding the gecko Repashi, it may not like Pangea. Also ask if they’ve ever fed the gecko insects before. These questions are good questions to ask before you get the gecko.
Handling, Temperament, and Availability
Now, this is where we get to see the difference between these two geckos. Their temperaments are a little different, and handling is pretty similar between them. Plus, the availability between these lizards is a crazy difference. Let’s start with Crested Gecko:
Crested gecko’s temperament are generally nice. Out of the two geckos, crested geckos are like the kid friendly version. They will never bite, and if they do, it won’t hurt…at all. Seriously, these guys can’t hurt you. Crested geckos aren’t going to be cranky as often as gargoyle geckos might be. They’re wonderful to handle. This is kinda of evident with the temperament, but they don’t mind being handle most of the time. They are jumping and until you tame them, they may run from you, but after you tame them, they’ll love you.
When it comes to availability, crested geckos are everywhere. I’ve PetSmart sell them and other stores as well. They’re very easy to breed and can be fairly cheap for a gecko. They come in a variety of morphs: Harlequin, dalmation, pinstripe, etc.
Gargoyle geckos, are amazing! They look a little bit different than a crested gecko. A crested gecko has more ridges, while a gargoyle gecko is more round shape and looks almost like a dinosaur. They have similar temperaments except gargoyles are know for throwing a small fit every now and then. It’s not as bad as Tokay Geckos, but every now and then, if they don’t want to be held, they just don’t. They don’t bite, and just like crested geckos, if they do it won’t hurt. They’re handling is around the same as crested geckos.
Their availability is a lot different than crested geckos. These geckos are a lot more money than a crested gecko. You can find a crested gecko anywhere for around $90-$130. A gargoyle gecko is at least $180. Most likely it’s $220. This is because they’re harder to breed and aren’t as popular.
Life Span and Gecko Size
These geckos both live to be around 15-20 years old. They both can get up to 8-9 inches long and average weight is about 35 grams. Gargoyle geckos get a tiny bit bigger, occasionally. Like 1 inch.
Differences Between a Crested Gecko and a Gargoyle Gecko
Besides the stuff I’ve already mentioned, there are some differences to these two animals. They both can drop there cute tails, but gargoyle geckos can grow them back. Gargoyle geckos also have a prehensile tail, while crested geckos have a semi-prehensile tail. They both don’t have eyelids. The differences of these two geckos aren’t huge, but are enough for people to debate over.