As you probably know, a leopard geckos diet consists mainly of insects. So, can leopard geckos eat ants? Let’s take a closer look!
Leopard geckos can’t eat ants. Eating ants can sicken or poison a leopard gecko. Live ants can bite them and cause serious injuries. If you see ants in your leopard geckos terrarium, remove them immediately.
Leopard Geckos and Ants
Most gecko species, including leopard geckos, can’t and shouldn’t eat ants. Just a few can, like those in the Pristurus genus. These are called myrmecophagous geckos and have adapted to mostly eating ants. Also known as rock geckos, these geckos are primarily found in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
Other geckos will just get injured trying to eat ants. And even if this wasn’t the case, they would struggle to capture live ants since they are tiny and constantly moving. So if you have a leopard gecko, focus on giving them insects like wax worms, crickets, mealworms, butter worms, silkworms, cockroaches, and small locusts.
To keep them hydrated, remember to provide clean water and fresh vegetables. And don’t forget to incorporate some supplements into their diet – your vet can recommend the best. Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to feed young geckos daily and adult ones every other day.
What should you do if your leopard gecko eats an ant?
The first thing you should do when your leopard gecko eats an ant is to move them from where they are. So if they ate an ant while outside, take them back inside into their vivarium. But if they ate the ant while in the vivarium, take them out.
The second thing you need to do is check the area for more ants. This will not only help you confirm whether you have an infestation, but it may also help with treating your gecko when necessary. So always ensure you take a few of the ants to your vet.
Afterward, monitor your gecko for signs of sickness or poisoning. These include lack of appetite, stumbling, and lethargy. If you notice any of these, immediately take your leopard gecko to the vet.
Remember that these symptoms can present even when your gecko hasn’t eaten an ant. Ants may have infested their vivarium and started attacking them. Since this can cause serious illness, you should immediately remove them from your gecko’s vivarium.
How do you get rid of ants in your leopard gecko’s vivarium?
If you notice ants in your gecko’s vivarium, you should immediately clean it out.
First of all, you need to remove everything that’s inside it. This includes plants, hides, and substrates. Place them on a clean workspace and ensure there’s another one available for you to place the items once you’re done cleaning them.
Secondly, place the substrate in a bag and throw it away. It is almost impossible to remove all the ants from it, and even if you do, it will still smell like ants. Ultimately, keeping the substrate can attract another colony of ants in no time.
Once you get rid of it, wash the inside and outside of the vivarium using a disinfectant and vivarium cleaner. This will not only get rid of all ants and dirt, but it will also eliminate any smells. Ensure you do this for the mesh cover too.
Afterward, use a toothbrush and soapy water to clean hides, toys, dishes, and everything else in the vivarium. The toothbrush will help you reach all those cracks and crevices that could be hiding food particles and leftover ants. On the other hand, the soapy water will help eliminate any lingering smells.
Once you’re done with all the scrubbing, though, remember to rinse everything and leave it out to dry thoroughly. At this point, you can replace all your plants or try to get the ants off them. If you opt for the latter, you should first remove as much soil as possible from the roots of your plants – this is where ants like to hide.
Next, use clean, warm water to thoroughly wash the stems and leaves – ensure that they’re no ants hiding in any folds. You can mix the water with a teaspoon of liquid soap and a few drops of peppermint for more potency. Once you’re done with the plants, you can place a new substrate in the vivarium and return everything inside it.
Afterward, you can clean the area where you usually place your vivarium before returning it there – you can use vinegar for this. Also, implement techniques to keep ants from entering the vivarium again.
How to keep ants away from your leopard gecko’s vivarium
There are several ways to keep ants from your gecko’s habitat. These include:
- Apply double-sided tape along the bottom or top of the vivarium and around its outside. This will get any ants who try to get in stuck and generally keep off most of them. To maximize its effectiveness, use broad tape or several rounds of thin tape. You can even apply the tape to cables leading to the vivarium. Just ensure you don’t use it near heat elements.
- Apply petroleum jelly products like Vaseline on the outside of the vivarium, either at the bottom or top. This will make it slippery and prevent ants from getting in. It is a messy option though.
- Apply peppermint oil or cinnamon to the outside of the vivarium. These will repel ants and even get rid of their scent trails. A good way to use cinnamon on a carpeted area is to apply it where there are ants, leave it to sit for a couple of hours, and come back and vacuum the area.
- Wash floors and windows with scent trails using vinegar – this gets rid of them instantaneously.
- Using black or cayenne pepper, create a boundary around your gecko’s vivarium. Since ants hate these two types of peppers, they will turn around whenever they encounter them.
- Use traps or ant poison if all else fails. However, don’t use poison on ants inside your gecko’s vivarium. Your leopard gecko may interact with them and also get poisoned. Also, remember to keep traps and poison away from your other pets.
- Remove any leftover insects from your gecko’s vivarium. Ants love these and are attracted to them, especially crickets.
- Always ensure your gecko’s food doesn’t have any ants so that you don’t unwittingly bring them into the vivarium
No matter the situation, you should never feed your leopard gecko ants. It’s way too dangerous and has no known benefits. Instead, ensure that they are having a fill of their favorite and most nutritious insects and vegetables. Ultimately, this is what will keep them healthy and happy for years to come.