What do Crested Gecko Eat?
Crested geckos are beloved reptile pets thanks to their ease of care and overcharged cuteness. While they are generally easy to maintain and keep in good health, they aren’t exactly beginner-friendly.
If you’ve never owned a reptile pet and a crested gecko, in particular, you need a lot of catch-ups to do.
Keeping geckos in optimal conditions requires understanding multiple metrics like lighting, humidity, temperature, environmental layout, etc.
But we won’t be discussing these today. Instead, we will look into an equally important aspect – the reptile’s diet.
So, let’s get to it!
Wild Crested Gecko Diet
Crested geckos have a wildly varied diet in the wild. These omnivorous reptiles consume a multitude of fruits, insects, and worms, depending on what’s available in their habitat.
In short, wild crested geckos won’t refuse any meals since nutrients are not that easy to find.
Studies have revealed that 50% of the New Caledonian geckos’ diet consists of insects like diptera, roaches, coleoptera, butterflies, crickets, locusts, caterpillars, etc.
Crickets and locusts make up for around 22% of the meals specifically because they are so widespread and tasty (from a gecko’s standpoint, of course.)
The rest of the 50% is occupied by food items like berries, pollen aggregates, fruit juices, etc. Crested geckos aren’t too fussy about their food and show incredible adaptability.
This leads many geckos also to consume smaller vertebrates like pink mice and smaller lizards, including crested gecko babies.
What to Feed Pet Crested Gecko?
Naturally, you won’t be able to replicate your gecko’s exact dietary requirements, but you won’t have to.
There are plenty of reptile food options to replace some of the more difficult-to-obtain food items that comprise the gecko’s wild diet.
Commercial gecko foods are highly optimized in this sense and recommended as a baseline for any crested gecko’s meal plan.
But we’ll discuss this shortly. Until then, consider the following feeding options that are absolutely necessary to your gecko’s diet:
Interestingly enough, captive geckos have adapted to consuming a variety of fruits, many of which are not even present in their natural habitat.
Fruits are critical in your gecko’s diet thanks to the added vitamins, minerals, and fibers that ease digestion and nourish the reptile.
Without fruits, geckos would have difficulties digesting their food, especially since the digestive process lasts quite a while.
Most mature geckos only have 3-4 meals per week at most.
Some of the best fruit options for your crested gecko include peaches, plums, blueberries, bananas, grapes, apricots, mangoes, pears, and the list goes on.
You should alternate the fruits from one meal to the next for a plus of variation and nutrient cycling.
Your gecko will also prefer some fruits over the others, which you should also account for. It’s easier to feed geckos fruits that the reptile loves.
Live insects are critical in your gecko’s diet both from a nutritional and a pragmatic perspective. Notice how I said live insects, not just insects.
Geckos are predators, so they need the hunting experience to remain healthy mentally and physically. You should always provide your gecko with as many insects as it can consume in one given session.
The top picks should include crickets, locusts, silkworms, stick insects, calcium worms, waxworms, etc.
When it comes to live insects, consider the following tips:
- Always remove the leftovers – You should never leave food residues in your gecko’s habitat, including dead insects or insect parts. These will immediately garner bacteria and fungi due to decaying in a humid and warm environment, causing your gecko to experience health problems as a result.
- Get your insects from safe sources – Don’t feed your captive gecko wild-caught insects. These can be filled with viruses, fungi, bacteria, or various chemical contaminants that could kill your gecko. I recommend setting up an insect feeder tank (preferably several for a basic insect variety pool) to provide your gecko with a healthy, nutritious, and safe food source.
- Gut-fill them with vitamin cocktails – Most gecko keepers gut-fill the insects with vitamin powders to complement their nutritional content. I advise you do the same.
- Mind the insects’ size – The insect’s or worm’s width should exceed the distance between the gecko’s eyes. It may sound like a weird metric, but it works. The insect’s length isn’t as important, although there are limits there too. But the width is critical, as geckos can’t appreciate the size of the insect themselves. So, they might try to swallow an insect that’s too large for the reptile’s esophagus.
Silkworms, calcium worms, and butterworms are some of the top picks for your crested geckos.
Fortunately, these are even easier to grow in a feeder tank. Have a steady supply and gut-fill the worms before feeding them to your gecko.
As with insects, never source your worms from the wild, and stay away from mealworms. These are the larval stage of the yellow mealworm beetle, and, just like the adult, they are covered in thick, plated skin.
This is so hard that it can actually withstand the gecko’s gastric juices, making it impossible to digest.
Best Commercial Foods for Crested Gecko
Besides live food, you can also give your crested gecko high-quality commercial food. I recommend the following brands and their products:
The Repashy superfood brand is among the most popular and perfectionist options today.
Depending on the food item you’re going for, you can get fruit or protein-oriented meals that provide your gecko with a lot of nutrient variation.
A quick search through the available options will highlight the following ingredients:
- Dried banana
- Whey protein
- Dried honey
- Coconut meal
- Dried kelp
- Calcium carbonate
- Vitamin complex (A, D3, E B-12, Biotin, beta carotene, etc.)
- Mineral complex (magnesium, iron, copper, methionine, zinc, etc.)
- Dried seaweed, and many more
Repashy specializes in reptile foods but also has some fish-oriented items you could use if you decide to get into the fish trade.
– Zoo Med
Zoo Med Laboratory is another high-profile food seller with a variety of products and several outstanding formulae.
Their available range of products aim to please a variety of gecko species, with crested geckos being only one of them. The core ingredients include organic fruits and probiotics for a plus of digestive assistance.
The core ingredients, depending on the product you’re getting, include:
- Dried banana
- Pea protein
- Dried mango
- Larvae meal
- Dried papaya
- Vitamin complexes
- Black soldier fly larva
- Probiotic blends (enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus casei)
- Dried fig, etc.
These are well-rounded gecko foods with at least 22% protein content and at least 5% crude fiber for ease of digestion.
Zoo Med are some of the leaders in the reptile food industry for their product quality and variation available.
Pangea specializes in fresh foods but offers a mix of both worlds. On one hand, the typical prepackaged gecko foods contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, fruit, and protein-related components.
On the other hand, you have the opportunity to purchase feeder insects and worms if you want to start an insect culture.
The prices are more than convenient, as you can pay around $25 for a batch of 1,000 crickets, for instance.
Or opt for packs of up to 250 silkworms, depending on availability (at the time of writing today’s article, the silkworm packs were sold out.)
Can Crested Geckos Eat Vegetables?
Yes, crested geckos can consume vegetables, but only in smaller portions. It’s not that vegetables aren’t healthy for them, but rather because geckos prefer fruits and insects if possible.
Even so, it doesn’t hurt to throw in some veggies into their regular diet, albeit in moderate portions.
You can add some broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, or any other sweet veggie that your gecko will definitely prefer over the rest. 1-2 small servings per week should be enough.
How to Feed a Crested Gecko?
When it comes to the actual gecko-feeding process, there’s nothing complicated about it. You simply place your gecko’s food in its food bowl and allow the reptile to eat to its heart’s content.
You should remove any food leftovers within the first 24 hours, preferably immediately.
When it comes to food portioning, go for 2 weekly commercial food meals and one live insect meal. You can also provide your gecko with one fruit meal every 2 weeks.
This dietary plan may vary depending on your gecko’s preferences and needs, as some specimens may require more insects or fruits in their diet.
Always adapt your gecko’s diet to your unique situation.
Best Treats for Crested Gecko
When it comes to treats, I say stick with fruits. Insects should be the main food source for geckos, but fruits are only beneficial in moderate amounts.
You don’t want to feed too many fruits to your geckos due to the high sugar content that could cause health issues along the way.
Some of the best fruit treats include bananas, kiwi, mango, watermelon, blueberries, etc.
What do Baby Crested Geckos Eat?
Baby crested geckos eat the same things that adults do. The only clear difference is that baby and juvenile geckos eat more often, around one meal per day, and demand smaller food items.
Look for smaller insects, worms, and fruit pieces to prevent the smaller geckos from choking.
You can use the same metric when it comes to measuring your baby geckos’ food that you use for adults. Measure the distance between the gecko’s eyes and make sure its food doesn’t exceed that value.
Crested geckos are quite easy to feed, given that they only eat around 3 times per week and they aren’t fussy about their meal options.
To feed your geckos properly and with minimal effort, I recommend setting up an insect feeder tank and relying on commercial gecko food as the base nutrition option.