When housing a gargoyle, choose a tank that is taller than wide and provide vertical branches rather than just horizontal areas. If you have a tank with a foam or cork background, gargoyles will readily climb and perch there too. The minimum tank size for one adult should be 12x12x18" but if you can go larger, they will appreciate it. Glass tanks with a screen lid work well. Make sure to provide areas for your gargoyle to hide and feel safe, which is especially important when you put them into any new enclosure.
There are a variety of substrates you can buy for reptiles but the most common product used for gargoyles and crested geckos is probably coconut fiber (or husk). You can purchase it dry in a brick form or bagged and loose, but both should be soaked in water first. Squeeze out any excess moisture and then place the desired amount on the bottom of your tank. This substrate will help hold the humidity and reptile-friendly plants can be grown in it. Do your research if you plan to use other substrates or are creating a bio-active tank.
Heating / Lighting
If gargoyles are provided a quality diet with proper nutrients then artificial lighting is not a requirement, but it may be appreciated and is necessary to grow terrarium plants. Look for UV bulbs that do not produce much heat. Often, our households are already in the correct temperature range for gargoyles, which prefer the upper 70's to low 80's F but this can drop at night down to the 60's during winter. High temperatures are far more dangerous so during the hot summer months, check your temperatures regularly and turn off lights if necessary.
Gut content in wild populations usually consists of about half fruit and half protein (yes bugs and such). The most common products on the market are powders that you mix with water to make a wet food. Pangea and Repashy brands are high quality, come in a variety of flavors, and can be fed to gargoyles and crested geckos. Some people feed their geckos up high on platforms but since they aren't way up in the rainforest, I feed mine in small dishes on the bottom, which works just fine. Some powders include extra insect protein but you can also supplement your gargoyle's diet with live insects. Make sure the insects are dusted in a calcium and mineral powder and never feed outdoor bugs to your pets... they can transmit parasites! Except for hatchlings I feed mine at night three times a week but I leave the food dish in the cage the following day and spritz it with water. I feed mine some weekends and skip others but this is a good time to offer insects. Make sure the insects aren't larger than the space between your gargoyles eyes so they can swallow it. For wet food, provide an amount about the size of their head. Over feeding may cause health issues such as fatty liver.
All things need water right? Gargoyles are no exception and since they live in tropical conditions, they can drink rainwater from leaves and puddles, but also get moisture from their diet. In addition, humidity plays an important role in healthy shedding. As gargoyles grow, they will shed their skin (and often mine eat it!) so if there is not enough humidity, sometimes they cannot shed properly. Because they have small toes with even smaller, curved toenails at the ends, sheds can sometimes get stuck here and if too much builds up, it can actually cut off the circulation. Moisture helps to soften the dead skin so it can come off more easily. For both gargoyles and crested geckos, the rule of thumb is you should spray their enclosure with water once or twice a day. Glass terrariums with a damp substrate are perfect for gargoyles and mine are sprayed once daily. I use distilled water because I have misting systems so it keeps the nozzles from clogging and you won't get spots on your glass, but a simple spray bottle filled with water is fine too. In addition to that, provide a small water dish on the bottom of the tank because gargoyles will go down and actively drink more if needed.
Okay does anyone read actual books or know what a library is anymore? Well luckily I am a nerd and have done a bit of research in my day. My biggest recommendation is to never go by just one source!! There is a LOT of information out there, which can be confusing and contradictory. Let's face it, searching for a topic on the internet can lead you to all kinds of false information. Also pay attention to what year something was written or posted because the more these animals are being kept, the more we are learning about them. Occasionally do more research even after you've had your pet a while... you can always learn something new. Now in addition to that, if you have questions about gargoyles or maybe even just a general reptile question, please feel free to email me. I am more than happy to share what I know and try and point you in the right direction. Whether you are looking for a book, care information, how to videos, or a product, I may be able to help. And if not, there are some companies out there that I trust who are great about offering help even when I wasn't a customer yet. I'm not an expert but I've kept reptiles for a long time so give me a shout and I'll do my best.
When you first bring a pet reptile home, you need to give them time to adjust. Make sure your tank has plenty of hiding spots and don't try to handle them for at least a week or two. This will reduce their stress levels and allow them to get used to new noises and movements. Constant stress can kill a reptile by weakening its immune system, making it prone to illness. When you do start handling, start small with only a few minutes per session and work your way up. Keep in mind that very young geckos will try to flee and stress more easily. Pangea has a good handling video or you can find many others online. Older or larger animals are calmer in general. Enjoy!