Feeding a leopard gecko can be monotonous, especially since they depend on insects for all their nourishment. But can these geckos eat freeze-dried crickets? Well, that’s what we are going to talk about today.
While leopard geckos can eat freeze-dried crickets, they shouldn’t. Freeze-dried insects can cause impaction and digestive issues for your gecko. Many leopard geckos won’t eat freeze-dried crickets when offered. This is because these geckos generally prefer live prey that they can hunt.
Why shouldn’t you feed freeze-dried crickets to your leopard gecko?
The main reason not to offer freeze-dried crickets to your leopard gecko is that this food doesn’t engage your leopard gecko. This is because hunting live prey is the natural way leopard geckos get their food in the wild. So if you offer freeze-dried crickets to your gecko, they may not even realize that you’re trying to feed them.
Another reason offering freeze-dried crickets is bad is because this food can lead to impaction. These crickets are usually dehydrated and have a higher percentage of chitin, making them more challenging to digest than live crickets.
Beyond that, freeze-dried crickets cannot be gut loaded, making them less nutritious than their live counterparts. Even when their labels say that the crickets have preloaded greens, sometimes they lie or exaggerate the extent of the preloading.
Also, keep in mind that the freeze-drying process removes a significant amount of nutrients from crickets.
Why do some leopard gecko keepers love offering freeze-dried crickets?
With all the things that make freeze-dried crickets unsuitable for leopard geckos, some people still like offering them. They do this for reasons like:
They are readily available
Many big online and offline pet stores across the world sell freeze-dried crickets for reptiles – they are even available on Amazon. While the price of these crickets may differ from place to place, they are always readily available.
They are good meal replacements
Freeze-dried crickets can be a good replacement if your leopard needs to eat, but you have run out of living crickets or other insects. However, you should be careful not to offer these types of crickets all the time.
They can’t bite your leopard gecko
Since live crickets can bite your leopard gecko, some keepers have become more comfortable with feeding their pets freeze-dried crickets.
They can’t escape
Unlike live crickets, freeze-dried ones can’t escape your leopard gecko’s tank and start breeding in other parts of your home. They are more popular among those who have suffered from a cricket infestation before. They are also popular among those who are trying to feed leopard geckos that are slow or weaker.
They can keep for long
One of the most convenient features of freeze-dried crickets is that you can store them for a long time, and they will still be edible. So you can buy them in bulk and slowly offer them to your leopard gecko. Just ensure that your gecko finishes them before their expiry date.
Can you get your leopard gecko to eat freeze-dried crickets?
If you’re hellbent on offering freeze-dried crickets to your leopard gecko, there are some ways you can trick your pet into eating them.
For instance, you can make them mobile by using a vibrating dish or moving them using soft plastic.
Whichever option you go for, remember that it’s not 100% guaranteed that your leopard gecko will be convinced to eat the freeze-dried crickets. Don’t use your hands, though – this can lead to injuries.
Can you offer freeze-dried crickets together with live ones?
You can feed your leopard gecko both freeze-dried and live crickets if you need to – sometimes, you can even offer them at the same time. However, it’s always better to provide more of the former than the latter.
Just remember to remove insects from your leopard gecko’s tank after feeding. They can start decaying in the tank and even attract pests.
Moreover, live crickets can start nibbling on your leopard gecko, causing wounds and even infections down the line. Also, the longer that these crickets roam around your leopard gecko’s tank, the more the supplement you dusted them with wears off.
Which other reptiles eat freeze-dried crickets?
Most lizards eat freeze-dried crickets. Bearded dragons and many others love when these crickets are mixed with their usual serving of greens. Interestingly, some birds and tropical fish also eat freeze-dried crickets.
What other freeze-dried insects are available for lizards or geckos?
Crickets are not the only feeder insects that are available in freeze-dried form. Other options that are available to lizard/gecko keepers include:
People who have leopard geckos or other reptiles can use freeze-dried grasshoppers to provide their pets with protein. Ultimately, these treats can help you diversify your reptile’s diet and protect them from life-threatening diseases.
Available in many online pet stores, freeze-dried mealworms contain fiber, fat, protein, and other nutrients that will promote your gecko’s development.
Just ensure that you don’t overfeed them to your reptile, though – they have little moisture and can lead to impaction. Ultimately, this is one thing that all freeze-dried insects have in common.
Ultimately, you can offer freeze-dried crickets to your leopard gecko if they like it. However, you still need to be careful not to overfeed them – this can lead to impaction.
And since this condition is life-threatening, it is better to prevent it than to treat it. So try only to offer it as a treat or an emergency meal. Otherwise, stick to live feeder insects – we all know your leopard gecko loves them best.