Can Crested Gecko Eat Baby Food?
Crested geckos are omnivorous animals, so they eat both animal protein and fruits. Wild geckos have an extremely varied diet because of the many food sources available, unlike captive-bred ones. Captive geckos rely on your assistance to vary their meals which led to the creation of gecko-specific commercial foods available today.
Most gecko keepers feed their geckos gut-loaded feeder insects, dusted with D3 or calcium powder, fruits, commercial food, and even the occasional veggies. There are a variety of insects and worms available for geckos that you can grow in your own feeder tank at home.
But can you improvise and offer geckos foods that they wouldn’t normally eat? Like, say, baby food? Let’s check that out!
Types of Baby Foods for Crested Geckos
Crested geckos can pretty much eat any type of baby food due to the high sugar content and intense flavors, making the product more palatable. Some of the best choices for geckos include baby foods with flavors like mango, blueberries, pears, peaches, etc.
The fruity types are the geckos’ favorites for good reasons. But should your crested geckos eat baby food, to begin with, and if so, how much and how often? Let’s look into that.
Benefits of Feeding Crested Geckos Baby Food
The only benefit I can think of is emergency nutrient intake. In short, baby food is only good for geckos on a short notice, in emergency situations when there’s nothing else available. Baby food has some nutrients to go around until you can get your gecko’s proper meal ready. But you shouldn’t rely on baby food as a main nutritional strategy because such products are made for humans, not reptiles.
Risk of Feeding Crested Gecko Baby Food
The most compelling danger is MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease.) The problem is that most crested geckos showcase an incorrect ratio of calcium and phosphorus in their system, which works against them. The presence of phosphorus reduces the amount of calcium in the gecko’s body, which predisposes the reptile to Metabolic Bone Disease.
This is an aggressive and deadly condition with very low recovery rates in the late stages. It’s also difficult to diagnose due to being almost asymptomatic at first. So, you will only notice its effects when it’s already too advanced for recovery to be feasible anymore. Baby food is generally low in calcium, or most names are, and high in phosphorus which is the perfect recipe for disaster.
I say limit or even avoid feeding baby food to your crested gecko. There are virtually next to no benefits.
Baby Foods to Avoid Feeding to Crested Geckos
Check the label if you want to provide geckos with a baby food treat occasionally. Stay away from products low in calcium and high in phosphorus. Furthermore, provide your gecko with a balanced diet comprising of foods that the gecko would normally eat in the wild. Substitutes are good, too, so long as they are nutritionally optimized, like most commercial gecko foods are.
Finally, you should always assess your gecko’s nutritional needs before setting up the reptile’s meal plan. Not all geckos are the same, and some may require more of a particular vitamin or mineral than others.
Provide Your Crested Gecko a Balanced Diet
Geckos require a diet that would meet their nutritional requirements. This is relatively easy on paper, but tricky in reality, as you need to cycle several food options to meet your gecko’s nutritional needs.
Here are the 3 basic foods that all captive-bred geckos should have:
– Live Insects
These are the number one option for good reasons. Live insects represent the geckos’ natural food source in the wild, as they contain many of the nutrients they need for proper growth. You have a variety of options here, including crickets and roaches, which are the geckos’ favorites. They also consume a multitude of worm types, including wax worms, silkworms, mealworms, etc.
In short, if it moves, your gecko will hunt and eat it. This raises an interesting point – the hunting behavior. Theoretically, you can replace live insects in terms of nutritional content. But you can’t replace the experience of hunting the little creatures, and geckos need that. They need to exercise hunting for both physical and mental health.
Since buying live insects constantly isn’t really a sustainable option, I recommend feeder tanks to have your own supply of ready-to-eat insects. Focus on 2-3 insect types and buy the worms occasionally since these are more resilient to transportation.
When it comes to the actual feeding, consider the following points:
- Juvenile geckos require more insects than adults because of the need for superior quantities of protein
- The insect/worm should be no larger than the distance between the gecko’s eyes; that’s how large the reptile’s esophagus is
- Stay away from mealworms and super worms when feeding juvenile geckos since these are more difficult to digest
- Purchase pre-made gut loads to feed your insects and boost their nutritional content
- If pre-made gut loads are not an option, feed insects leafy greens and whole grains and dust them with vitamin D3 and calcium
- Always remove uneaten insects from your gecko’s enclosure
- To feed the gecko live insects, simply let the insects free in the gecko’s enclosure, and the reptile will do the rest
– Commercial Gecko Food
Commercial foods contain a variety of nutrients, including insect protein, vitamins, and minerals. You should always check the label to identify the nutrients available, so you know if your gecko is missing anything. If that’s the case, you should adjust the reptile’s diet based on that.
Plus, you should always choose the seller carefully to make sure of the item’s quality. Many gecko foods contain unnecessary additives that could decrease their nutritional value. Avoid foods high in sugar or that your gecko may not like. The taste plays a major role in your gecko’s preferences, which is why not all geckos eat the same foods.
Fruits are quite important for geckos, thanks to the added fibers. These help with digestion and prevent constipation which is a standard health problem for geckos. Choose the fruits carefully, though, since they’re not all equally as tasty or beneficial. Prioritize fruits like mango, banana, watermelon, peaches, strawberries, grapes, pears, etc.
Crested geckos need a balanced diet to remain healthy and prevent food-related health issues like MBD. Always assess your gecko’s nutritional intake to prevent deficiencies and offer your reptile the sustenance it needs to support its growth and overall health.