Leopard Geckos eat a diet of insects. These include mealworms, crickets, superworms, black fly larvae and dubia roaches. Ensure you gut load and dust any insects you feed your leopard gecko.
Just like us, leopard geckos have specific dietary requirements that must be met to ensure their well-being.
In this comprehensive article, we will discuss the various food options suitable for leopard geckos, their nutritional values, and how often they should be offered to your pet.
We’ll also touch upon the importance of supplements to promote optimal health, as well as techniques for feeding and enticing even the pickiest of geckos.
Leopard Gecko Diet
Understanding the diet of a leopard gecko is crucial for their well-being. This section will discuss the primary foods, treats, and occasional foods that make up a healthy leopard gecko diet.
Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning their diet mainly consists of insects. The staples of their diet should include crickets and mealworms. Crickets provide essential protein, while mealworms offer both protein and fat.
Ensure the insects are gut-loaded and dusted with vitamin and mineral supplements to provide your gecko with the necessary nutrients.
Treats can be given to your leopard gecko in moderation. Waxworms and silkworms are popular options, offering additional nutritional benefits. However, limiting the intake of such high-fat treats is essential to avoid potential health issues.
While crickets and mealworms should be the main staple of your leopard gecko’s diet, providing variety is essential.
Other insects, such as dubia roaches, superworms, and small locusts, can be occasionally introduced to your gecko’s diet.
Besides being a great source of protein, they also help prevent boredom from a monotonous diet.
Here’s a summary of foods for your leopard gecko:
|Primary Foods||Treats||Occasional Foods|
Remember to pay attention to portion sizes and always provide a well-rounded diet to keep your leopard gecko healthy and thriving.
Feeding Schedule and Techniques
Feeding your leopard geckos the right food and on a proper schedule helps ensure their growth and overall health. While feeding them might seem daunting at first, don’t worry! We’ll guide you through the process for different life stages.
Your hatchling leopard geckos will need a diet consisting primarily of small insects. Feed them 5-7 small crickets and mealworms daily.
Gut-load your crickets and dust them with calcium and multivitamin supplements to increase their nutritional value.
Your leopard geckos will eat larger insects like crickets and mealworms as they grow into juveniles. You should continue feeding them every day.
Gut-load your crickets and occasionally include other insects such as waxworms and silkworms. Don’t forget to dust their food with calcium and multivitamins to support their growing needs.
Your juvenile geckos are still rapidly growing, and proper nutrition is essential during this stage.
Adult leopard geckos require a diet of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and occasional treats like wax and silkworms. You can reduce the feeding frequency to two to three times a week for adults, as they do not grow as rapidly as juveniles.
Remember to gut-load your crickets and dust the insects with calcium and vitamin supplements to ensure a balanced diet. Give them enough food to maintain a healthy body and tail width.
Leopard geckos are hunters, so make sure you present live, moving prey to encourage their natural hunting instincts.
This provides them with physical and mental stimulation and ensures they consume their food readily.
Proper Gut-Loaded and Dusting of Insects
Feeding your leopard gecko properly gut-loaded insects is crucial for their health. Gut-loading refers to providing the insects a nutritious diet before offering them to your gecko.
This ensures that your gecko receives vital nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D3, and other essential supplements when they consume the insects.
To gut-load feeder insects, offer them fresh vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens. This will make the insects more nutritious and increase their water content, which is beneficial for your gecko’s hydration.
You can also use commercially prepared insect food to gut-load them, ensuring a well-rounded diet for your gecko.
While gut-loading takes care of many nutrients, it’s still essential to dust feeder insects with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. Dusting refers to lightly coating the insects with a powder supplement, and it helps prevent health issues like metabolic bone disease.
To properly dust insects, place them in a plastic bag or container, add the supplement powder, and gently shake until the insects are evenly covered.
Follow these guidelines:
- Use a calcium supplement without vitamin D3 for most feedings.
- Use a calcium supplement with vitamin D3, at least once or twice a week.
- Dust insects with a multivitamin supplement once a week to ensure a balanced diet.
By implementing these practices and providing your leopard gecko with well-balanced, gut-loaded, and adequately dusted feeders, you’ll contribute to their overall health and well-being.
Hydration and Water
Leopard geckos need water and hydration to maintain their overall health. Although these reptiles are native to arid regions, they still require moderate water for survival.
Most of their hydration is obtained from their food, but it is crucial to provide them with a water dish in their enclosure to supplement their needs.
Leopard geckos get up to 60% of their hydration from their food, so live insects are preferred over pellets or processed feeds.
Live insects, such as mealworms and crickets, contain more water than other food options, helping your gecko meet its moisture requirements.
While leopard geckos may not drink as much water from their dish as other pets, providing a water dish is still beneficial to increase their hydration, prevent shedding issues, and ensure their overall well-being.
Regularly clean and refill the water dish with fresh water to prevent bacterial growth.
You can also manage humidity levels in their enclosure to further assist with your leopard gecko’s hydration. Maintain a humidity level of around 30% to 40%, which supports proper shedding and prevents dehydration.
Foods to Avoid and Dangers
As a leopard gecko owner, knowing which foods to avoid is essential.
This section will discuss the dangers of wild-caught insects, inappropriate foods, and overfeeding issues.
Feeding wild-caught insects to your leopard gecko might seem like a good idea, but it can pose serious risks.
Wild insects can carry parasites, bacteria, or pesticides that could harm your pet. To reduce the risk, provide your gecko with captive-bred insects from reputable sources, such as pet stores or online suppliers, to ensure their health and safety.
Even though leopard geckos are insectivores, not all insects suit them. Some examples of inappropriate foods that you should avoid feeding your gecko include:
- Lightning bugs or fireflies – these can be toxic to leopard geckos and cause serious health issues.
- Large insects – particularly insects with hard exoskeletons that are difficult to digest, such as large beetles or centipedes.
- Non-insect foods – leopard geckos are not equipped to digest fruits, vegetables, or any other plant-based foods.
Providing a variety of safe, nutritious insects will help maintain your pet’s overall health and well-being.
Overfeeding your leopard gecko can lead to obesity and related health issues. To avoid overfeeding, it is essential to establish a proper feeding schedule based on the gecko’s age and size, and carefully monitor their weight and overall health.
Keep in mind that some insects, like waxworms, are high in fat and should only be offered as occasional treats.
By being aware of the potential risks associated with improper feeding, you can help ensure your leopard gecko’s long-term health and happiness.
Special Considerations for Captive Leopard Geckos
When it comes to caring for captive leopard geckos, there are important factors to consider for their overall health and well-being.
Leopard geckos thrive in an environment that mimics their natural habitat. It’s crucial to maintain proper lighting, heating, and humidity levels. Unlike some other reptiles, leopard geckos do not require UVB lighting, but you should still provide a day/night cycle with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
Heating is also essential, as leopard geckos need a warm spot (about 88-92°F) on one end of their enclosure for basking and a cooler area on the opposite side (about 75-80°F). A heat mat under the tank or a low-wattage heat bulb can help maintain these temperatures.
Leopard geckos generally prefer a humidity level of around 30-40%. To avoid dehydration, provide a small dish of water for your gecko to drink and a moist hide box to aid in shedding.
Feeding captive leopard geckos a proper diet is key to their health. They exclusively eat live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches.
Make sure to supplement their diet with calcium powder to support bone health and growth. Juveniles should be fed daily, while adults can eat 2-3 times a week.
Gut-loading and dusting feeder insects with calcium and multivitamin supplements provide essential nutrients to your gecko.
It’s important to dust insects with calcium powder just before feeding them to your pet to help prevent metabolic bone disease.
Regularly observe your leopard gecko’s behavior and physical appearance for signs of illness or discomfort. Potential issues include lethargy, changes in eating habits, and difficulties shedding their skin. If you notice any concerns, consult a reptile veterinarian promptly for advice.
By considering these environmental and health factors, you can help ensure that your captive leopard gecko thrives and lives a healthy, happy life.