One of the strangest behaviors exhibited by leopard geckos is their tendency to eat their own poop. This may seem gross, but it’s actually not unique among reptiles. Other species have been observed eating feces both in captivity and in the wild.
The question then becomes, why do leopard geckos eat their own poop? There are a few different reasons that this behavior might be happening, and we’ll explore some of them here.
Do Leopard Geckos Eat Their Own Poop?
Leopard geckos sometimes eat their own poop. This behavior has been observed in both the wild and in captivity, and there are several theories as to why they do it. Some people believe that it provides them with nutritional benefits, while others believe that it helps keep their environment clean.
What is Coprophagia?
Coprophagia is the technical term for an animal eating its own poop. This behavior can be found in many different species, including certain birds, bugs, and mammals. While some people might find this behavior disgusting or believe it is related to poor health, it is actually a pretty normal habit of animals living in the wild.
Is Coprophagia common among geckos?
Yes, coprophagia is common among many species of geckos. This behavior has also been seen in captivity, so it is not limited to wild leopard geckos. However, coprophagia is rare among pet leopard geckos and should be considered abnormal behavior.
Why Do Leopard Geckos Eat Their Own Poop?
Leopard geckos eat their own poop for a number of different reasons. In the wild, it is believed that they do so to recover nutrients from the food that they have eaten and eliminate any potential sources of disease.
Captive leopard geckos may also do this as a result of stress or because they are not being fed a healthy diet. It is possible that they do so to keep their environment clean as well, but this has not been proven.
Below you can find some of the most common theories on why geckos might engage in coprophagia.
Keeping the Environment Clean by Eating Poop
One theory among researchers is that leopard geckos eat their own poop in order to keep the areas where they live clean and free from potential sources of disease. The idea is that if they eliminate their own waste and the remains of any prey animals, there will be less bacteria and other disease-causing organisms present in their environment.
The Nutritional Benefits of Eating Poop
There is also some evidence to suggest that leopard geckos eat their own poop out of nutritional necessity. In the wild, they are believed to eat their feces in order to recover any nutrients that may remain undigested. Domestic leopard geckos may also do this because they are not provided with a diet containing all of the micronutrients they need for good health.
One reason is that they may not have enough calcium in their diet, and so they will consume calcium-rich feces to meet their nutritional needs. Some people also believe that geckos eat their own feces because they are unable to properly digest it, not knowing that the food is already gone.
Nutritional Deficiencies from Inadequate Diets
In both the wild and in captivity, a lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet is a leading cause of poor health. In many cases, this can be resolved by providing supplements to the diet. If supplements or nutrient rich foods such as superworms are not provided, leopard geckos may try to obtain these nutrients from other sources.
One way for them to do that is by eating their own poop. Even if they do not get the full benefits of the nutrients in their own feces, it is believed that they can absorb a portion of the nutritional value.
One possible reason your Leo is eating its own waste is that it isn’t getting enough food from you. Make sure that you’re feeding your pet a healthy diet with plenty of moisture and proteins.
Stress as a Cause
Leopard geckos are likely to eat their own poop if they are kept in a cold, dry environment or lack proper nutrition. Captive leopard geckos are often kept in crowded conditions without access to enough space or the ability to climb. All of this can create a lot of stress for the leopard gecko.
Additionally, these reptiles are sometimes kept in tanks with very poor airflow, leading them to breathe in potentially harmful amounts of ammonia. This can contribute to poor health and problems that coprophagia can solve.
Is it Safe for Leopard Geckos to Eat poop?
Leopard geckos that eat their own poop do not appear to suffer any negative consequences as a result. However, they can become infected with bacteria or parasites if they eat feces from other animals.
Are there Parasites in Leopard Gecko Poop?
The feces of other animals can contain parasites that are not dangerous to that animal but can be deadly to leopard geckos. If they eat poop from another animal, they may develop problems with their digestive system as a result. This increases the risk of parasitic infections and other health problems.
Related: What to do with a dead leopard gecko
Can Leopard Geckos Get Sick from Eating Poop?
Leopard geckos will generally not become sick immediately after eating their own or another lizard’s poop. Still, if they do so for an extended period of time, it will put them at higher risk for health issues in the future. The best thing you can do is provide your leopard gecko with proper nutrition to ensure that it does not try to eat its own waste.
10 Ways to Prevent Your Leopard Gecko From Eating Its Own Poop
1. Make sure that your leopard gecko has a healthy diet that includes all of the nutrients it needs. If you are feeding it only dry food, consider adding insects such as mealworms or other healthy treats to its diet.
2. Maintain the temperature in your leopard gecko’s tank between 81 degrees Fahrenheit and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help make sure that your Leo does not feel cold or dehydrated.
3. Make sure that you have a good substrate, such as potting soil, in the bottom of your leopard gecko’s tank so that it can properly dig and burrow if it wants to. The amount of substrate should be at least three times deeper than your gecko is long.
4. If necessary, use vitamins and supplements to correct any nutritional deficiencies in your leopard gecko’s diet by using products made for reptiles.
Calcium is especially important for growing leopard geckos, so you should supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods at least twice weekly.
Speak with a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles before trying any supplements.
5. Make sure that you have enough space for your gecko to move around in its tank, as overcrowding can lead to stress and poor health. It needs plenty of space to exercise and explore.
6. Ensure that the leopard gecko’s tank has a constant source of fresh air so that it can breathe properly. If necessary, open a window or run an air purifier if you are unable to provide proper ventilation for your pet, but be sure to monitor the temperature carefully if you do.
7. Keep your leopard gecko’s environment clean and free from potential sources of disease. You can keep your leopard geckos tank clean by scooping up the waste every day. Washing out the tank with hot water at least once a month is also recommended.
8. Monitor the ammonia levels in your leopard gecko’s tank and make sure they are within safe limits. Safe levels of ammonia for a leopard gecko are between .50 to 1.0 parts per million. You can measure this using test kits. Dip the strip in the water source. The strip will change color to indicate ammonia levels.
9. Monitor the moisture content of the enclosure to make sure that it is correct. If your leopard gecko lives in an environment with too much humidity, it may feel like there are parasites on its body. This can lead them to try to remove the parasites by eating their own feces or even the skin around their rear end.
The correct humidity level for a leopard gecko is between 40 and 60 percent. You can measure this using a hygrometer.
10. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your leopard gecko’s health or its diet. A vet will be able to point you in the right direction to make sure your LEO is healthy and happy.
You can do many things to prevent your leopard gecko from eating its own poop. By providing a healthy diet, keeping its environment clean and free of disease, and monitoring the ammonia levels in its tank, you can help make sure that your Leo stays healthy and does not resort to this unsavory behavior. If you have any concerns about your leopard gecko’s health or diet, be sure to talk to your veterinarian.