Can Crested Geckos Eat Mango?
Most of us are fans of juicy, ripe mango. But can you share the goodness with your Crested Gecko? The fruit has an important place in a balanced, nutritious Gecko diet. But not all fruits are created equal.
Some fruits like starfruit, avocado, and rhubarb are a hard “no” because they can be toxic to Geckos.
There’s a world of a difference between various fruits, as you can see.
So, where does mango fit in? Is it safe? Are there any dangers? Should you feed mango to your Crestie, and if so, how much? Find out all the answers in this article!
Is Mango Good for Crested Geckos?
Mangos are an excellent food for Crested Geckos. They’re low in fiber and fat, so they’re easy to chew and digest.
Contrary to popular belief, mango is also relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits. Approximately 83% of a mango’s weight is water, so this fruit is hydrating and not very energy-dense.
Mango is also high in antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C. These nutrients support skin and eye health.
They also boost the immune system and help with wound healing. This is very important, especially during shedding.
Mango also contains small amounts of B vitamins, folate, vitamin E, and copper. These are all important nutrients for your Crestie.
Given the low sugar, fat, and energy content, and the high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, mango can be both a healthy and beneficial addition to your Gecko’s diet.
And everything is wrapped up in a tasty package! The sweet and tart flavor of ripe mango makes this fruit hard to resist for your amphibian friend.
Benefits Of Feeding Mango to My Crested Gecko
Mango brings many health benefits thanks to its high macronutrient, micronutrient, and antioxidant levels. And a little bit goes a long way.
Here’s why the occasional serving of mango can help your Crestie’s health:
– Supports eye health
Mango contains a lot of vitamin A. Most of this vitamin A is in the form of carotenoid pigments like lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments play an important role in the health of the retina. They help against light sensitivity during the day and improve nighttime vision.
– Supports digestive health
Mango, especially if ripe, has a high concentration of digestive enzymes called “amylases”. Amylases help with the digestion of sugars and starches, preventing unpleasant effects of indigestion like bloating.
Mango is also very high in water and pretty low in fiber. The high water and low fiber content can help relieve both diarrhea and constipation.
Finally, the high vitamin C content in mango promotes the release of stomach acid, which helps your Gecko digest proteins and fats more efficiently.
– Supports skin health and wound healing
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the formation of new skin cells. It makes your Gecko’s skin more resilient and quicker to heal. This is very important during shedding. Your Gecko’s skin becomes highly sensitive during this process.
Any extra skin protection is welcome during this period. High vitamin C can also aid in wound healing when your Gecko gets scratched, cut, or when its tail drops.
– Increases hydration levels
Mango is up to 83% water. Not only is it sweet and tasty, but it also helps your pet quench its thirst! It might even be more hydrating than straight water. Unlike drinking water from a dish, Mango sits in the stomach longer. The water is absorbed more slowly.
Mango also contains trace minerals and electrolytes. These help your pet retain the water from mangoes better than it would regular plain water.
– Strengthens immune system
Mango contains lots of antioxidants and high concentrations of vitamin A and C. It also contains smaller amounts of other micronutrients, like vitamin E, folate, B vitamins, copper, and manganese. All of these components help your pet fight off diseases and infections. A strong immune system is the first line of defense your Gecko has against these threats.
– Good Calcium to Phosphorus ratio
The calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is very important for your pet’s health. Too much phosphorus and too little calcium can lead to excessive calcium excretion. This might result in weaker bones and stunted growth.
The ideal calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in your Gecko’s diet should be 2:1. Mango has a Ca:P ratio of 1:1. Not perfect, but easily manageable with the addition of calcium supplements. Other common fruits like blueberries, plums, pears, peaches, nectarines, and bananas have more unbalanced ratios of 0.5:1 or even 0.2:1.
– Low in oxalic acid
Oxalic acid is a natural component in fruits and vegetables. But too much oxalic acid, in the context of a deficient diet, can be hazardous. Oxalic acid binds to minerals like calcium and magnesium, rendering them unabsorbable.
Since your Gecko needs plenty of calcium to maintain healthy bones, oxalic acid should be kept to a minimum. Luckily, mango has a low oxalic acid content. This makes the fruit safe for your pet.
– May prevent weight-gain
Mango is mostly water and contains very little fat and protein. It’s also relatively low in sugar. Replacing more calorie-dense fruits like bananas, grapes, and figs with mango could be a wise choice.
Overall, mango is tasty and satisfies your Gecko’s appetite without contributing too much to its energy intake. But of course, you can overdo it with almost any food, mango included! Just because mango is low in calories, that doesn’t mean your pet can eat double the serving size!
Are There Any Risks Associated with Feeding Mango to My Crested Gecko?
Mango is safe for consumption, especially within the context of a balanced diet. However, there are also some risks to be aware of. Just note that most of these risks are not exclusive to mango.
These can apply to most other fruits:
– Calcium deficiency and weaker bones
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in mango is 1:1. This is close to the ideal ratio of 2:1, but not quite there. Mango might be better than most other fruits in this regard, but that doesn’t mean the same risk isn’t still there.
Overconsumption of mango, in the context of a low-calcium diet, will lead to calcium deficiency. If this issue goes untreated for too long, it might cause soft bones and an increased risk of injury.
– Surprise diarrhea
Mango is full of vitamin C and water. And this is great; your Crestie needs these things. But too much of a good thing can lead to some unpleasant (albeit non-threatening) side effects. Too much vitamin C, especially in combination with water and fiber, might lead to runny stools in your Gecko. Not fun for either of you!
– Pesticide exposure
Mangoes are treated with a lot of different pesticides before harvest. These pesticides are concentrated on the fruit skin, so most people don’t bother washing the mangoes before serving. After all, who eats mango skin? But remember— whatever’s on the skin can transfer to the fruit pulp as you cut into the fruit.
You might unknowingly end up exposing your Gecko to small concentrations of pesticides. There’s no telling how these will affect your pet’s health over the long run. I couldn’t find any concrete information about this. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, so always remember to wash the fruit before cutting!
– Bacterial infection
Mangoes go through a lot of hands during transportation and storage. Even if the fruit is washed after harvest, it’s never going to be 100% clean. Mango can easily get contaminated with salmonella and other harmful bacteria. In 2012 alone, 127 people were unlucky enough to get food poisoning from mangoes.
It’s the same situation as pesticide exposure. The bacteria sits on the fruit skin and can transfer to the pulp during cutting. Again, remember to always wash the mango, even if your Gecko doesn’t consume the skin!
– Your Gecko might become a picky eater
Sweet foods like mango, bananas, and apples are super tasty and easy to eat. It’s like junk food for lizards. Feeding your Crestie these goodies too often might make it develop a sweet tooth. Too much of a good thing, and your pet lizard will become addicted.
It might start turning down other foods. This works against your goals of maintaining a balanced diet for your Gecko. A picky Gecko might develop nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues.
How Much Mango Should I Give My Crested Gecko?
There’s no absolute rule for serving size. You should feed your Crested Gecko as much mango as you would any other serving of food.
As a general guideline, I recommend keeping the serving size down to one piece of mango per meal. You can serve the fruit cut up in little dice, or mashed into a puree.
Put the mango in a small dish and offer as much as you would when feeding meal replacement powder.
This is enough to fill your Gecko’s stomach without overstuffing it. Keep an eye on your pet’s cues.
If the Crestie stops eating before finishing all the mango, reduce the serving size in the future.
How Often Can I Give My Crested Gecko Mango?
Mango should be used as an occasional treat. You should ideally feed your Crested Gecko fruit 2-4 times a month.
That would be one serving every week to every other week. It’s a good idea to diversify the fruits you include in the diet. So, mango should be fed less often than that.
It’s best to have a few different foods on rotation. In that case, you should feed your pet mango maybe once or twice a month.
You can also combine mango with other fruit in the same serving. In this case, you can feed your Gecko 1/2 or 1/3 of a serving every week or every other week.
Mango is a safe and nutritious fruit you can include in your Crestie’s diet. It’s high in water, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Mango’s nutrient profile provides many benefits, including eye health, skin health, improved digestion, a stronger immune system, hydration, and a balanced phosphorus intake.
You can feed your Gecko one piece of mango a few times a month. You can also offer smaller mango servings in combination with other fruits up to once a week.
Keep in mind that mango might also come with a few risks. Too much mango might trigger your Crestie’s sweet tooth, cause diarrhea, and lead to excessive calcium excretion.