In a bid to diversify your leopard gecko’s diet, it’s natural to want to feed it an array of insects. But can your leopard gecko eat ladybugs?
Leopard geckos can’t eat ladybugs. Ladybugs can be poisonous to leopard geckos. They can also contain pesticides, insecticides, and other chemicals that can make your leopard sick or even kill it.
Why You Shouldn’t Feed your Leopard Gecko Ladybugs
Generally, all lizards avoid eating ladybugs, even when they are in the same habitat. Even crested geckos and bearded dragons stay clear of them. Not only are these bugs toxic, but they also taste terrible and produce a variety of chemicals that make them smell repulsive.
Some even describe their smell like that of mold, potatoes, and green bell paper. The chemicals responsible for this smell include 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine (IPMP), 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine, 2,5-dimethyl-3-methoxypyrazine (DMMP), and 2-sec-butyl-3-methoxypyrazine
Keep in mind that wild ladybugs can contain parasites and diseases. In fact, studies show that some ladybugs carry a parasite called Dinocampus Coccinellidae and a disease called Microsporidia.
Ultimately, it is not surprising that ladybugs aren’t seen as suitable feeder insects for many reptiles and pets. They aren’t even sold as feeder insects. Even in the wild, only a few predators eat them – these include spiders, frogs, and dragonflies.
Do ladybugs and leopard geckos eat the same insects?
For the most part, leopard geckos and ladybugs eat different things. While you can offer some aphids to young leopard geckos, it’s not an ideal feeder insect.
However, both leopard geckos and ladybugs can eat fruit flies even though they are not usually part of their regular diets. Unlike ladybugs though, leopard geckos don’t eat pollen, nectar, insect eggs, plants, fungi, mildew, and mites.
On the other hand, ladybugs can’t eat leopard gecko staples like crickets and mealworms.
Can ladybugs be kept as pets like leopard geckos?
As strange as it may seem, ladybugs can be kept as pets. Like leopard geckos, they are cute and mostly quiet.
As long as you set up a suitable habitat for them, they will be fine. However, you need to keep in mind that ladybugs don’t have a long lifespan – they only live for a year. As such, they can only be short-term pets.
Leopard geckos live for up to 15 years. As such, they can grow up with your children and be a significant member of your family. Ultimately, ladybugs are best for people who are trying to teach their children about the cycle of life.
Can you place leopard geckos and ladybugs in the same habitat?
Interestingly, ladybugs and leopard geckos have a lot of the same habitat needs. These include rocks, sticks, hiding spots, and wet spots – these allow them to hide, hydrate and exercise.
Both of these animals also need heat and light to thrive – they will even hibernate when exposed to prolonged low temperatures. However, unlike leopard geckos, ladybugs don’t need to bask or have access to a temperature gradient.
Ultimately, these two animals can be placed in the same terrarium, although each will keep to themselves.
Even if you place them in the same outdoor garden, you will notice that they avoid each other like the plague. But we have to give them some credit – they can coexist. And in some gardens, they can even join forces and eat all the aphids. So placing both of these animals in your garden is a good move that requires little work from your end.
Housing them in the same terrarium will require you to feed them separately, monitor the amount of water available for your leopard gecko, and constantly look out for dying ladybugs. Since the latter die faster than the former, you need to be alert and remove their dead bodies from the shared tank as soon as possible.
What are ladybugs commonly used for?
Gardeners usually use ladybugs to get rid of pests like aphids. They are particularly good at this because they can eat their weight in aphids each day. It’s therefore not surprising that adult ladybugs and their larvae can eat up to 50 aphids a day, meaning each will eat around 5000 aphids in their lifetime.
It is this level of efficiency that has led to the rise of the lucrative business of selling ladybugs as natural pest control solutions.
Nowadays, you can easily buy ladybugs offline or online from professionals who have expertly gathered and bred them for your garden. These professionals even include directions for use when you buy from them. However, buying ladybugs is not the only way to get them into your garden.
You can attract them naturally by planting a large number of heavy-pollen producing plants like sunflowers. Since pollen is a major part of an adult ladybug’s diet, they will be attracted to gardens that have a lot of it. Also, they will be more comfortable in gardens that have little to no pesticides. These chemicals negatively affect them.
However, the major thing that attracts ladybugs is an abundance of aphids. So if you don’t have any of these pests in your garden, ladybugs won’t come near it, no matter what you do. These bugs have even been known to abandon gardens after depleting all their aphids.
No matter how tempting it is, you should never try to feed your leopard gecko ladybugs. These insects are better suited as predators than prey in the animal kingdom, and they have made themselves unattractive to many insectivores.
Because of their foul smell, repellent taste, and toxicity, they are not considered suitable feeder insects for any reptile. So if you want to get some use out of them, introduce them to your aphid-infested garden. Otherwise, all you can do with them is keep them as temporary pets!