Can Leopard Geckos Eat Fruit Flies? (Nutrition & Problems)

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Masses of fruit flies emerge every late summer or early fall. Could this be considered an inexpensive and uncomplicated food option for your Leopard Gecko? Are fruit flies nutritionally suitable and safe, or are there associated problems with feeding them to your gecko? Find the answers here. 

Leopard Geckos can and will enjoy eating fruit flies and their larvae. Despite this, fruit flies should remain a treat and not a staple due to the quantity required to satisfy their hunger and nutritional demands.  

Can Leopard Geckos eat fruit flies?

Fruit flies are a tasty treat for Leopard Geckos, and they will love eating them. They are only 0.1 to 0.2 inches (0.25 to 0.5 centimeters) in length, making it simple for geckos to swallow and will pose no choking risk.

However, the small size of the fruit flies makes it hard for Leopard Geckos to regard them as a satisfying meal. They would need to eat a mountain of fruit flies to gain any nutritional benefit. 

Juvenile Leopard Geckos can also not rely on fruit flies for their dietary needs.

Related: Should you feed fruit to your leopard gecko?  

Fruit fly nutritional value

Fruit flies have remarkable nutritional value. They are packed with iron, magnesium, and calcium and are high in protein. 

The fruit flies iron levels are considered relatively high compared to other insects. Their fat content also increases as they develop from larvae to fly, but this fat content drops when reaching adulthood. 

If it were not for the size of the flies and the quantity required to benefit from them, they would be a fantastic dietary option for numerous reptiles. In fact, some smaller geckos and frogs do eat them as a staple food. 

What is a fruit fly exactly?

A fruit fly (Drosphila melanogaster), otherwise known as vinegar fly or pomace fly, is a common fly found in Africa, Asia, Central, North and South America, Eurasia, and Oceania. 

There are over 4000 species of fruit fly, and they are known as year-round pests, becoming even more prevalent during the months of late summer or fall. 

Fruit flies are attracted to ripe or fermenting foods, and they typically lay their eggs on surfaces, foods, and moist organic materials. They can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, and these develop into flies in only a week. 

They can, unfortunately, contaminate foods with bacteria and other diseases, making them a common household pest. 

Can fruit flies cause enclosure problems?

A fruit fly is a familiar unwanted guest that many Leopard Gecko owners regrettably endure. 

The moist environment of your gecko terrarium can be an attractive space for many other species. Fruit flies thrive in a humid environment and can quickly grow out of control. 

By keeping moisture levels down for two weeks and adding a cup trap that is filled three-quarter way up with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap, you can help to eliminate these pests. 

The substrate can also be turned daily or replaced entirely to dry out or eliminate fruit fly eggs hidden in your tank substrate. Learn to remove leftover uneaten insects or broken or dead plant matter to avoid fruit flies being attracted to the dead or decaying matter. 

Rinse all new plants before adding them to avoid introducing fruit flies into your sensitive terrarium environment. Additionally, consider that if you add bioactive substrate, there is always a risk of fruit fly contamination. 

Never use pesticides to handle the fruit fly situation as this can be dangerous to the wellbeing of your Leopard Gecko. 

Source of anxiety and frustration 

Fruit flies can be hard to catch when they have wings. Not being able to catch the prey easily can set off unnecessary stress in your Leopard Gecko.

Too many fruit flies in your Leopard Geckos enclosure can agitate them and trigger unhealthy metabolic stress. 

Related: Can you feed slugs to your leopard gecko?

Final thoughts

Fruit flies, although highly nutritional, are too small to provide any value to your Leopard Geckos’ health and wellbeing. A treat rather than a staple food source, the fruit fly is enjoyed by most geckos. 

Remain watchful and ensure that fruit fly quantities in your enclosure do not grow out of control, as this may lead to health consequences or stress in your geckos. 

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