Because of their friendly natures and attractive colors, leopard geckos make wonderful pets. You must learn how to feed your gecko properly if you want to keep it happy and healthy.
In the wild, leopard geckos consume insects, spiders, scorpions, and other lizards. You must provide it the proper food, add supplements to its diet, and monitor its health in order to make up for the difference in its nutrition in captivity.
What Do Leopard Geckos Eat?
Because they are opportunistic carnivores, leopard geckos will consume whatever they can. These lizards consume scorpions, crickets, beetles, and spiders in their natural habitat. They occasionally also eat young mice, tiny snakes, and several species of geckos.
Any animal that can fit in their mouth will be attempted to be eaten by them. Even reports of hungry geckos eating hatchlings exist, however this is quite uncommon.
Leopard geckos will actively pursue their prey rather than just waiting for it to pass by. They use sight to hunt and will intentionally and methodically follow insects. They frequently shake or rattle the tips of their tails while on the hunt but before striking. This aids in frightening their target into moving.
After striking, they swiftly shake their victim to kill it. Dead prey is mostly ignored, but occasionally a gecko may lick it to assess its palatability.
It might be a lot of fun to observe this lizard hunt. They have acute senses of smell and superb eyesight, making them little yet ferocious and competent predators. Additionally, they have strong jaws with 100 tiny, razor-sharp teeth that may be replaced every three to four months.
The more frequently they can, leopard geckos will eat. Wild creatures seldom ever get overweight or obese because of their high activity levels and lack of prey. In actuality, they frequently have little weight. While bigger pets can weigh up to 90 grams, wild people normally weigh approximately 27 grams.
Leopard geckos kept as pets are prone to gaining weight as a result of their decreased activity levels and premium diets. Maintain a regular feeding plan for your gecko and keep an eye on any weight increase to avoid obesity.
Juveniles and hatchlings should feed more often and grow more quickly than adults. Even if their prey size may be higher, species older than two years old should no longer acquire weight and should feed less frequently.
What should I feed my gecko?
Leopard geckos mostly consume live, moving insects as food. Commercially bred crickets together with lesser quantities of silkworms, roaches, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, and other live insects may make up a suitable diet. Adults should eat 2-3 times a week for adults, and every 1-2 days for children.
Before feeding, insects should be gently powdered with a calcium powder devoid of phosphorus. Additionally, prey should be provided to your gecko for at least 24 hours while being “gut-loaded” with a high-quality diet.
There are commercial cricket diets available, but you may also feed crickets and mealworms fresh greens (such as turnip greens, collard greens, parsley, carrot tops/slices, broccoli, and cauliflower) to increase their nutritional content when offered to your gecko.
Water that is clean and fresh should be available in a shallow container and changed every day. Additionally, a shallow dish with calcium powder should be given so that geckos may always reach this necessary element for healthy nutrition.
What size food should I feed my Leopard Gecko?
Baby Gecko: Feed crickets that are around 3/8 inches in size to your baby gecko.
Geckos in their juvenile stages should be fed crickets that are around 1/4 inch in size.
Adult geckos: You should feed your adult gecko insects that are between tiny adult and adult size.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t give your gecko any insects that are larger than his eye gap.
Where do I find live feeder insects?
The two most accessible feeding insects are mealworms and crickets, which are frequently available at pet stores. Waxworms are also rather simple to locate. Some of the alternative options may or may not work for you.
You may locate everything you need online if you are having problems obtaining insects close to home or simply prefer the convenience of having your feeders delivered right to your door.
It’s better if your leopard gecko only consumes insects from recognized sources rather than ones from your backyard. Below, we’ll go into more depth about this.
Can Leopard Geckos eat fruit and vegetables?
Since they are insectivores, leopard geckos cannot consume fruits or vegetables. Only meat, such as insects, can be digested by a leopard gecko’s body.
They are unable to consume fruit or vegetables since their systems are not built to handle or digest these foods.
They lack a functional cecum, which is the organ responsible for breaking down the material present in fruits and vegetables called cellulose.
Additionally, they have a shorter, alkaline digestive track compared to a herbivore’s much longer, acidic digestive tract.
They also have a smaller, weaker skull and jaw than herbivores, which have evolved to consume meat.
According to some study, leopard geckos can consume fruit and vegetables, but since they are unable to digest them, it is doubtful that this will be of any benefit to them.
If your leopard gecko does eat fruit and veggies, it’s probably because it’s “there” rather than because it’s in their nature to do so.
Insects are a meal they can naturally digest, thus we advise sticking with an insect-only diet.
The Northampton Reptile Centre and other reptile retailers both sell insects and worms.
Leopard Gecko Diet
A healthy leopard gecko requires a well-balanced diet.
A leopard gecko may consume nutritious things including cockroaches, mealworms, waxworms, and hornworms without any problems. However, not all of these items have the same nutritional value.
most prevalent leopard gecko House crickets are food because pet stores sell them in large quantities. However, these insects may be loud and have a strong odor. Choosing mealworms and Dubia roaches is significantly preferable.
Waxworms are also frequently given, however they contain less protein and much fat. As a result, they should only be used as treats and are not recommended for your leopard gecko’s diet.
These lizards hunt a wide variety of creatures in their native habitat. This natural diversity in their nutrition should be attempted to be mimicked. The nutritional value of the various insects you are feeding will also require your attention.
What food is toxic to Leopard Geckos?
Leopard geckos are poisonous to glow-in-the-dark bugs, which are also the most dangerous insects (like Lightning Bugs and Fireflies).
These insects should never be used as food for geckos since they contain compounds that are very poisonous to them.
Leopard geckos may be poisoned from wild collected insects: Whether you should give your geckos insects you’ve captured yourself is a topic of debate.
While some sources, like Thebeardeddragon.org, claim that you should never feed wild captured insects to your gecko because they may have parasites or have residues of pesticide that can be hazardous to your Leopard Gecko, others claim that they can be a good (and affordable) source of nourishment.
If you decide to feed your gecko insects you’ve captured yourself, be cautious of pesticide contamination and ensure you have a thorough understanding of the types of insects that are poisonous to geckos (so, preferably stick to your own garden).
To prevent your gecko from getting dependent on them and refusing to consume store-bought food, keep these as a treat.
Foods That Leopard Geckos Should Not Eat
Additionally, leopard geckos shouldn’t consume lizard-specific foods. They shouldn’t eat food intended for crested geckos or bearded dragons. Plant products that are not intended for them are present in these meals. They lack the proper digestive systems to digest them and are unable to break down cellulose, a key component of plants.
Although it may be alluring, it is not a good idea to capture wild insects. Never give your lizard insects that were collected in the wild.
Wild insects may be subjected to toxic substances, parasites, or diseases. They may have minute concentrations of pesticides and herbicides that are harmful to your lizard.
Fortunately, it’s simple to feed leopard geckos and to purchase farm-raised insects.
You can keep your lizard lot healthier by providing high-quality insects. It is not advisable to feed animals low-nutrient foods like earthworms, nightcrawlers, and weevils.
Although many people like freeze-dried insects as a treat, they shouldn’t make up the majority of their diet. Due to the drying process, these items lose a lot of their micronutrient content and do not stimulate your gecko’s hunting behavior.
Do Leopard Geckos eat freeze dried mealworms?
Our gecko used to consume freeze-dried insects as a hatchling and young animal; I would frequently keep some in the tank as a constant feeding source. This was a safer option than leaving live mealworms in a tip-proof bowl.
Live mealworms may drill through bark, branches, and even any items of décor you may place in the tank. They will try to eat just about anything. If they become desperate, they may consume your gecko’s droppings, which might harm your leopard gecko. Young geckos can potentially get bitten by mealworms. Gecko toes that are too small might be particularly weak.
Therefore, freeze-dried mealworms temporarily functioned as a backup food source that was always accessible and secure to leave in the habitat.
Our gecko hasn’t shown any interest in freeze-dried mealworms since it was around a year old. If it doesn’t move, he isn’t even the slightest bit interested.
Baby Feeding Schedule
Babies have a very high metabolism and are voracious eaters. In order to maintain their quick growth and development, children need eat more frequently than adults, ideally once daily.
Compared to adults, baby geckos are often more reticent and less eager to eat directly from your hand or with tongs. The best way to feed them is with a little plate. The prey can also wander around and draw their interest by using a little dish.
In general, as many tiny crickets or roaches as a newborn leopard gecko can consume in ten minutes should be provided. Any unfinished meal should be removed after 10 minutes. Young geckos may consume it every day without any risks to their health, and it supports their quick growth.
There is very little to no risk of overfeeding them as long as you are only offering them little food items. After your baby has consumed seven bugs, if they still appear hungry, give them a couple more. Generally speaking, you should satiate their appetite.
Baby geckos may lose their appetite upon shedding, much like adults do. But this should only be a short-term situation. A infant who hasn’t eaten in four days or longer should be worried.
Leopard geckos may consume larger prey less often as they get bigger.
You can introduce mealworms and bigger crickets or roaches after they reach four inches (often after around six months). Because species under four inches long have a hard time digesting chitin, mealworms shouldn’t be fed to them.
You can begin to progressively switch to medium-sized meals after 10 months. Geckos can be fed on an adult feeding regimen after one year because they are completely developed.
Can I catch my own insects to feed my leopard gecko?
Although it is normally not advised, you can. The health of your leopard gecko might be at danger if you catch insects in the outdoors since they could be carrying illnesses, parasites, or chemicals.
You must decide whether the danger of going to the vet to learn that the parasitic worms your gecko received from the cricket you discovered in the yard are worth it.
Store-bought insects are produced with reptile feeding in mind and are obtained from reputable breeders. They specialize in offering clean bugs. These are from healthy, sanitary surroundings.
As an alternative, mealworms and dubia roaches are simple to grow and are always in stock.
Zero Glow. Leopard geckos cannot eat some insects, such as firefly or other luminous insects, thus you should never give them to your gecko. If it glows, your pet will become sick from it.
Leopard Geckos and obesity
To help prevent obesity, it is your obligation to refrain from overfeeding your gecko.
The availability of food in the Leopard Geckos’ native environment (the arid areas of Southeast Asia) fluctuates greatly depending on the circumstances.
Because of this, Leopard Geckos have ingrained a behavior that efficiently processes and stores food, which is advantageous in the desert but might lead to overeating and obesity in captivity.
It is not always visible when they are acquiring too much weight since they conceal it in their narratives, but it may still have negative effects on their health.
A gecko’s tail is often broader than its body, and its stomach is typically flat (except for right after feeding).
Lethargy and food regurgitation might result from overfeeding your leopard gecko. Reduce the amount of food you feed your leopard gecko and avoid feeding it fatty insects if you observe any of these problems (like Waxworms and Butterworms).
My Leopard Gecko is not eating
Because its tank is too chilly, your leopard gecko could not be eating: The temperature in your gecko’s tank is the first thing to check here. Being reptiles, leopard geckos rely on outside factors to help them control their body temperature.
Your Leopard Gecko will stop eating if its tank is too chilly since it needs heat to digest its food. The cold may also have an impact on your gecko’s immune system if the issue persists.
It’s possible that your leopard gecko is stressed out and isn’t eating. Stress may also be the cause of your Leopard Gecko’s unwillingness to eat.
Geckos occasionally take some time to begin feeding when you first bring them home because of environmental changes, which may cause them to do so.
This problem may be solved by providing your gecko’s aquarium with lots of hiding places.
If your leopard gecko is thirsty, it could not be eating: Make sure your leopard gecko has access to adequate water in its tank since dehydration can also make it stop eating.
If you’ve done everything suggested above and your leopard gecko is still not eating, you should consult a veterinarian because this might be a sign of a major health problem.
For more information on the possible causes of your gecko’s lack of eating, see our page on reptile appetite loss.