Can Leopard Geckos Eat Cicadas?

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Leopard geckos are known for their ability to eat a variety of insects and bugs. But can they eat cicadas? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. 

Leopard geckos can eat cicadas. Not only are these insects nutritious, but they are also tasty. It’s common for leopard geckos and other reptiles in the wild to hunt them. Ultimately, cicadas are great treats for leopard geckos.

What are cicadas?

Cicadas are insects that fall under the superfamily Cicadoidea. They have big compound eyes, wide heads, stout bodies, and wings with clear membranes. 

These insects are best known for disappearing for long periods and then appearing at regular intervals. Some species show up during summer every year, while others show up once every one or two decades. 

Whichever species a cicada belongs to, though, its life stages are the same – eggs, nymphs, and adults. Generally, they spend 6 to 10 weeks in their eggs before hatching, becoming nymphs, and burrowing into the ground. 

Ultimately, they spend the majority of their development stage underground until they are ready to shed their exoskeleton and emerge overground as adults. 

Related: Feeding spiders to your leopard gecko

What nutrients can cicadas provide your leopard gecko?

The major nutrient that cicadas contain is protein. Some cicadas are even made of 50% protein. This can be beneficial for leopard geckos. 

How to feed cicadas to your leopard gecko

One of the most effective and fun ways to feed cicadas to your leopard gecko is by using live cricket feeders. These cages are easy to use and can accommodate many live cicadas at a go. 

So all you have to do is place your cicadas in there and then place the feeder in your leopard gecko’s tank. Once you do this, your leopard gecko will climb up the feeder and start eating the cicadas. 

Interestingly, you can even feed your leopard gecko dead cicadas in some cases. Many online reptile stores sell frozen cicadas – you can even freeze some of these insects yourself. 

Everything should be fine as long as you can completely thaw these cicadas before offering them to your gecko. 

What risks are associated with feeding cicadas to your leopard gecko?

The two major risks associated with feeding your leopard gecko cicadas. These are:


Since cicadas have a tough exoskeleton, they can contribute to impaction in leopard geckos. That’s why it’s always better to feed your leopard gecko cicadas that have already shed their exoskeletons.


On average, cicadas grow to 0.75 to 2.25 inches long. This means that they can get too big for your leopard gecko to swallow, making them choke.  

Can you feed your leopard gecko wild cicadas?

Since cicadas are seasonally available in all continents apart from Antarctica, it seems natural to catch them yourself and feed them to your leopard gecko. 

This is especially tempting if you’ve ever seen your leopard gecko catch a cicada and eat it. However, this is not always a good idea, particularly since cicadas are arboreal and can easily be exposed to insecticides.

This is common in areas that are frequently sprayed with insecticides because of certain disease outbreaks. For instance, in New York, insecticides are usually sprayed to deal with mosquitoes that were contributing to the spread of the West Nile Virus. 

This can lead to chemical exposure and even secondary poisoning when you feed the cicadas to your leopard gecko. But this isn’t as common as you may think – in many cases, it’s safe to feed your leopard gecko wild cicadas. 

So if you’re thinking of going this route, you can do this and then monitor your leopard gecko. Just collect these insects when they start dying on the ground when they come out – this is usually for 1 to 7 days in the summer. 

Alternatively, you could collect them when they are in their nymph stage and are emerging from the ground. Just ensure that you call your vet immediately when you notice symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.  

Which other reptiles can eat cicadas?

Apart from leopard geckos, other reptiles also eat cicadas. These include:

Bearded dragon

These reptiles love to eat cicadas and usually hunt them enthusiastically. While some cicadas can be too big for them to eat, this doesn’t happen often. Find out if leopard geckos can live with bearded dragons.

Common house geckos

Also known as Mediterranean geckos, these lizards are easy to care for and can eat cicadas and a lot of other bugs.  

Final thoughts

All things considered, cicadas are a great treat for your leopard gecko and can help you diversify your pet’s diet. Just choose those that aren’t wider than the space between your gecko’s eyes – this will prevent choking. 

Also, try to opt for those that have already shed their exoskeleton – this will make digestion much easier. Finally, always keep your vet in the loop when you feed your leopard gecko wild cicadas. And schedule an appointment with them immediately if you notice alarming symptoms. 

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