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Latin name: Rhacodactylus auriculatus
This individual is an unsexed baby that hatched July 2021 and is about 3” in length. They are eating small crickets dusted with vitamin and calcium powder and tropical fruit mash.
Other names: New Caledonian bumpy gecko
General info and temperament: These curious and easy-going geckos make great pets because of their ease of handling and tame-ability. They are widely available captive bred, which our gargoyle geckos always are.
Habitat and lifestyle: They are native to only the southern region of the Island of New Caledonia and make their home in the tropical rain forests there. They are arboreal, nocturnal and eat a wide variety of prey including insects, arachnids and even smaller lizards.
Size and Lifespan: They are the smallest species of gecko in the genus Rhacodactylus and they reach an average size of 7"-9". Their lifespan in human care can reach up to 20 years.
Quick care stats:
Temperatures: No more than 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking area, 72 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool end. Two thermometers should be used: one attached to a branch in the tank closest to where the heat lamp is and one resting on the floor of the tank.
Humidity: 40%-70% Mist 2x daily or have an automatic misting system.
Tank size: 10-15 gallons for babies/juveniles, 20+ gallons for adults.
Tank type: Square tank to large vertical tank. Allow for lots of climbing structures but also some floor space.
Lighting: A dimmable heat lamp up to 100 watts will be needed for the basking area. Thermostats are also helpful. Full spectrum UVB lighting is not required for this species but is highly recommend to establish a natural day/night cycle.
Substrate and furniture: Soil or bark substrate 1"deep. Provide lots of climbing structures and false plants for hiding places. Habba-hut logs and cork bark rounds/half rounds on their sides make for ideal hiding places for most arboreal geckos.
A small water dish should be provided on the tank floor. This water dish should be rather shallow and have a small rock placed in the center so that your gecko can haul itself out if it accidentally slips into the dish.
Handling: Gargoyle geckos tolerate gentle handling well and can be handled several times per week. Just watch for signs of stress and try to limit sessions to 20-30 minutes. If your gecko starts jumping, be very careful not to grab it’s tail while you’re trying to catch it. Doing this can cause your gecko to drop their tail.
When not to handle: When you first bring your gecko home or move it to a new enclosure, wait at least 3 days before handling it to give it a chance to settle in to the new environment.
Diet and feeding: Offer live crickets/ 3-4 times per week. Gage the number of insects your gecko will eat based on the number they leave behind. We recommend starting with an offer of 5 feeder insects and then adjusting from there. Fattier food items like worms can be offered 1x weekly for variety and as a treat! Always remove uneaten feeder insects if they have not been consumed after a day.
Tropical fruit such as mangoes, papaya and banana as well as berries can also be offered 2-3 times per week in between insect offers. All fruit should be peeled and mashed up for your gecko.
*All food items must be dusted with both vitamin and calcium powder prior to feeding.*
Food size: The feeder insect should be able to fit width-wise between your gecko’s eyes. Fruit mash amounts can be 1 tsp-1 Tbsp depending on whether your gecko is a baby or an adult.
Alternatively, many gecko keepers opt for pre-made gecko diets such as Pangea and Repashy. These are complete diets meant to fully replace natural food items and are also a good option.