Can Leopard Geckos Eat Fish? (What You Need to Know)

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Given that Leopard Geckos can eat meat and benefit from a high protein diet, would fish not be considered a suitable dietary alternative? Are there any complications or adverse effects of feeding fish to your geckos? Here are all the answers. 

Feeding fish to your Leopard Gecko is a bad idea and should be avoided at all costs. Fish is not natural prey for geckos, and consuming it can lead to damaging health consequences. 

Feeding Fish to Your Leopard Gecko

It is best not to feed your Leopard Gecko any variety of fish. Feeding your geckos fish can lead to several health problems, and some can be life-threatening. 

Here are some key reasons to avoid fish in your gecko’s diet. 

Fish is not a natural food source for Leo

Leopard Geckos originate from the arid, desert-like regions and rocky and dry grasslands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Iran. 

Vegetation and water availability in these areas are low, and there are most definitely no sizable water expanses that fish need to survive. 

Due to the absence of fish in leopard geckos’ natural environment, fish was not a potential dietary option for them. The Leopard Geckos’ build is also not suitably built to eat or digest fish effectively. 

Leopard Geckos are insectivores which implies that they thrive best on a diet rich in insects and other arthropods. 

Fish contain bones

Fish contain cartilage and bones that can be hard to spot or feel during feeding. This poses a risk of potential choking or impaction for your Leopard Gecko. And a leopard geckos teeth are not equipped to break up bones.

Fishbones could block your Leopard gecko’s throat or tiny bowls if swallowed. 

Choking is distressing for both you and your Leopard Gecko. It is possible to remove the obstruction yourself. Still, in the case of a bone, you would most likely require the assistance of an exotic veterinarian to increase Leo’s chances of survival. 

Bones can get lodged in the throat and cause suffocation or severe damage. 

Impaction is equally as dangerous as choking; if left untreated can lead to complete organ collapse and potential death. Surgical intervention may be required in the case of bone ingestion, especially if the obstruction is too large or sharp. 

Raw fish parasites

Any raw fish, especially pet store varieties, run the risk of passing on harmful parasites to your Leopard Gecko. 

Fish can be contaminated with worms such as tapeworms, pinworm eggs, and larvae or carry dangerous bacteria like salmonella

Your Leopard Gecko’s health can be adversely affected by these parasites or bacteria and can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, or other unpleasant digestive or health issues. Geckos all have a number of normal parasites, but it becomes a problem when the amount increases excessively. 

Suppose your Leopard Gecko has eaten fish, and you suspect they are unwell. In that case, an exotic vet can perform a fecal stain, smear, or flotation to confirm whether they are suffering from a parasite infestation.  

Nutritional issues

Even if fish happens to be a possible food option for Leopard Geckos, are the fat and protein levels appropriate for a Leopard Geckos diet?

The protein content in fish and worms such as mealworms is similar, with fish on the slightly higher side of the protein scale. The fat content of fish is significantly less than the average worm.

The low-fat content is a plus if you are concerned about weight gain or associated health issues but could also be on the low side for juvenile and egg-laying geckos. Fish does not have all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins required for a healthy Leopard Gecko. 

Fish mercury levels

Mercury is a naturally occurring heavy metal found naturally in the environment. Mercery is released into the environment through both natural and industrial events. 

Fish absorb low mercury concentrations in the polluted waters, and this mercury can build up in their bodies in the form of methylmercury (a toxic organomercury compound). This mercury build-up can be highly toxic when consumed by other animals. 

If Leopard Geckos ingest mercury-containing fish, they can suffer from mercury poisoning or other serious health complications. 

Even though mercury content is usually less in smaller fish than in larger fish that live lengthier lives, even a tiny amount of mercury would be hazardous to your Leopard Geckos’ health and wellbeing. 

Related: Can leopard geckos eat earwigs?

Final thoughts

Steer clear from feeding your Leopard Geckos fish. Not only is fish an unnatural food choice for your gecko, but it can lead to impaction issues or choking. 

The mercury levels in fish and the high probability of contracting harmful parasites and bacteria make it a less attractive food option for geckos. Safer and more nutritionally balanced insect options are available at your local or online exotic pet store. 

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