What’s better than one gargoyle gecko? Two, of course! Whether you want to get a pair of geckos or are considering getting a second gecko, you may be wondering if it’s safe to share an enclosure. After all, why shouldn’t both geckos benefit from your immaculately set up terrarium? Can gargoyle geckos be housed together?
Housing gargoyle geckos of different sizes is never a good idea, as they are known to cannibalize on one another. Although it is possible to house similarly-sized gargoyle geckos together for breeding purposes, doing so for any other reason will likely stress them out, cause competition, and may result in fighting.
We’ll cover in detail why housing gargoyle geckos together isn’t a good idea and answer a few common questions about the topic below.
Why Housing Gargoyle Geckos Together Is A Bad Idea
Housing gargoyle geckos together is a known practice that some breeders have engaged in, but this involves a very deliberate setup that we’ll cover below. Otherwise, housing geckos together is not a good idea due to the following.
It Will Stress Them Out
Although wild gargoyle geckos regularly occupy the same trees, putting two together in a small enclosure actually isn’t natural.
While they may be relaxed and easy to handle, gargoyle geckos are solitary creatures which typically only interact to breed or establish dominance. Ecological observations have shown that when wild gargoyle geckos share a tree, they will intentionally space themselves out in different layers of the tree.
This demonstrates a gargoyle gecko’s natural desire to have space from others, as the previously mentioned study notes that geckos presumably occupy different layers to avoid fighting.
Gargoyle Geckos Are Known Cannibals
Gargoyle geckos have an incredibly varied diet that consists of arthropods, fruits (which you can feed your gecko!), flowers, mollusks, nectar, small mammals, and reptiles. This includes other geckos!
So if wild geckos opportunistically feed on one another, it should come as no surprise that differently sized geckos in a small enclosure may try to take a bite.
It’s also worth noting that even if your geckos are the same size when placed in their enclosure, gargoyle geckos can demonstrate significantly different growth speeds due to minute differences in diet. In other words, two geckos that are initially similarly sized can wind up at an unfortunate size difference over time, and one of your geckos may decide the other is the perfect size for a snack.
They May Fight
For as docile and unlikely to bite as gargoyle geckos are toward humans, putting two of these otherwise meek critters in an undersized enclosure has been known to lead to fighting. With wild gargoyle geckos, smaller or weaker geckos intentionally occupy less ideal lower branches for the sake of being able to avoid or escape aggression from those they cannot fend off against.
Housing two male geckos together commonly results in fighting, but even housing females together has been shown to result in more subtle acts of aggression in similar species. Even if an injury doesn’t result, the stress and trauma from fighting is not worth it.
They Will Compete for Resources
I’ve been to more than one pet shop and seen a curious bystander saying, “Aww look! The lizards are cuddling!” But as we’ve established above, gargoyle geckos aren’t social and are certainly not cuddly. So why would they ever get so close?
As a nocturnal critter, gargoyle geckos are one of the few reptile species that do not need supplementary UVB lighting. That said, most enclosures have a natural humidity and/or temperature gradient and these ectotherms will seek them out to regulate their body temperature. If there are only a few prime hiding spots or perches, gargoyle geckos will also be drawn to these.
That means that either your geckos will have to be uncomfortably close, or one will inevitably miss out on the most comfortable conditions.
More immediately concerning is the possible competition over food. Even with various food sources, it is distinctly possible for one gecko to eat more than the other, leading to malnutrition.
Unwanted Breeding Activity May Occur
If you plan on breeding your geckos, temporarily housing them together is part of the recipe to make baby geckos. But if you do not have the time, resources, or desire to breed, incubate, and house baby geckos, then putting male and female geckos together can be a bad idea.
Male gargoyle geckos are known to mature at a quicker pace than females, and impatient males may court a female before she is ready to lay. Even mature females can easily be harassed by unwanted advances.
Laying eggs is a nutritionally taxing process for females, and plenty of supplementation is required for them to not become calcium deficient. And even for females who are properly fed, egg binding is a serious and potentially fatal issue.
What About Saving Space and Money?
The main reason cited for housing gargoyle geckos together is to save space and more often, to save money. Gargoyle geckos are relatively stationary reptiles that don’t require very large terrariums, so setting aside the space for one gecko isn’t that different than setting aside the space for two. In fact, many terrariums even stack!
It’s true that cage set-ups can cost you a pretty penny, but the most expensive part of keeping geckos isn’t actually the upfront costs or even food. Rather, it’s the expected and unexpected vet bills that are very costly, with procedures potentially surpassing the cost of another set up by hundreds of dollars.
Put bluntly, if you don’t want to shell out the cash for two set-ups, you probably won’t want the expense of two geckos.
What About For Breeding?
One of the only suggested reasons for housing gargoyle geckos together is for breeding purposes, but several rules must be followed to ensure safety. For one, a very large enclosure is required to allow all of the geckos to have space outside of breeding. This includes multiple sources of food and plenty of perching opportunities.
More importantly, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the geckos themselves. Every gecko placed in your breeding enclosure should be of breeding age and good health, and gender ratios are important to heed. Only one male should ever be placed in an enclosure to avoid fighting. On the other hand, two or even three females can be placed in the enclosure so that the male is less likely to bully an individual.
Truthfully, gargoyle gecko breeding isn’t for beginners or the faint of heart. The breeding process may involve biting and tail loss, and not every resulting baby is guaranteed to thrive. There are numerous other considerations involved when responsibly breeding, such as specialized diets or carefully selecting breeders.
There is plenty more to discuss when you want to breed your geckos, but for the purposes of this article it can be noted that housing geckos together for breeding is perfectly valid.
While housing multiple gargoyle geckos together is certainly not unheard of, it’s generally considered a bad idea, especially when there are size disparities between your geckos. This is true not only of gargoyle gecks but also of most reptiles including the commonly housed together leopard gecko.
Typically, the better option is either housing your gargoyle geckos separately or sticking with one gecko. It may not be as convenient, but securing the safety of your gecko is well worth the effort unless you plan on breeding.