Although gargoyle geckos are nocturnal, they can benefit from some kind of light during the day. Aside from improving viewing, providing a source of daylight helps regulate their day/night cycle, and can improve activity, appetite, and overall health.
Furthermore, gargoyle geckos benefit from a basking spot, which is most easily created with an incandescent bulb (more on that in the Temperatures section).
Some keepers like to install black/blue LEDs for night viewing. Gargoyle geckos’ eyes function perfectly in the dark, so the bulbs are really only for human benefit. My opinion? Don’t waste your money.
Gargoyle geckos do best between 72-82°F, or 22-28°C. This happens to be right around room temperature in most homes, so it’s easy to keep your gecko comfortable.
Incorporating a temperature gradient (zones of cool, medium, and warm temps) is ideal. You can expect cooler temps to settle in the lower levels of the terrarium and warmer temps closer to the basking bulb.
- Cool zone: 72-74°F (22-23°C)
- In-between: 75-77°F (24°C)
- Basking zone: 78-82°F (25-28°C)
Gargoyle geckos and crested geckos are frequently said to have near-identical care requirements, but one interesting difference I have noticed with gargs is that they seem to benefit more from a basking spot. This is difficult to pull off in young animals in small enclosures, but adults should be able to handle the warmth from a ~60 watt incandescent bulb with minimal issue for the rest of the terrarium.
The basking temperature should NEVER be higher than 84°F (29°C), and the terrarium should NEVER get cooler than 65°F (18°C). To make sure you don’t accidentally cook (or freeze) your gecko, experiment with terrarium temps before bringing it home.
Keep tabs on your temperature gradient with a quality digital temp gun like the Etekcity Lasergrip 774. Just point the laser where you want it, and boom, instant temperature readings. Avoid ribbon/stick thermometers or gauge-type thermometers — they’re cheap, but they also don’t work. At all.
Gargoyle geckos tolerate slightly lower humidity levels than crested geckos — roughly 50-70% on average. This can be well maintained with daily misting and a moisture-retentive substrate. Make sure to let it dry to 50% before misting again, as constant moisture encourages mold and mildew growth, subsequently making your gecko sick.
Misting is also a reliable method of making sure your garg stays hydrated, as they rarely drink out of water dishes. Depending on how well your terrarium holds humidity, I recommend misting heavily (up to 80-100%) in the evening and then again (lightly) in the morning. Your gecko will then drink the droplets off the terrarium walls and accessories.
Do not use distilled, softened, or even filtered water for misting! Tap water (assuming that it’s safe for humans to drink) contains minerals vital to your gecko’s health. Yes, this means you’ll have to clean up water spots, but it’s worth it. Here’s why.
Keep track of humidity levels with a quality hygrometer like the Zilla digital thermometer-hygrometer combo device. I use this with all my reptiles and I love it.
- If you want to save yourself some hand cramps, get a pressure sprayer like this. I love mine!
- Already have hard water deposits? No problem! They come off easily when you scrub with a lemon juice-soaked cotton ball.