Do Crested Geckos Need Live Insects?
Crested Geckos are adorable and fun. It’s nice having this gentle pet around. However, their dietary needs are less than cute.
As you may know, Geckos are insectivores, aka they eat primarily insects. Finding, growing, storing, and prepping the food for your Gecko can be a royal pain in the butt.
The annoyance and gross factor of insects are enough to deter many potential Gecko owners. But don’t give up yet!
There are also some solutions for those of us who aren’t bug enthusiasts. As it turns out, sometimes, you (or your Gecko) can have your cake and eat it too!
In this article, I’ll teach you all you need to know about a Crested Gecko’s natural diet, as well as some simple, nutritionally-complete alternatives.
What do Crested Geckos Eat in the Wild?
Crested Geckos, unlike other Gecko species, are omnivorous. Cresties have naturally varied diets and will eat both insects and fruits in the wild.
This sets them apart from the strict insectivore species such as Leopard Geckos.
Normally, a wild Crested Gecko’s diet will consist mostly of insects. These are easy to find almost year-round. They’re also rich in minerals, vitamins, and protein.
Cresties will hunt and eat these insects alive. They’ll consume any insect species as long as the prey is small enough.
The list is practically endless and includes crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, ants, spiders, grubs, roaches, flies, mealworms, silkworms, waxworms, butterworms, moths, and so on. Needless to say, they won’t turn down any type of insect.
Besides insects, wild Cresties will also feast on ripe juicy fruits and even nectar! However, these foods are harder to come by and they aren’t available year-round.
Some of the most common fruits growing in the Crestie’s natural habitat include mangoes, papaya, and bananas. Crested Geckos also eat a variety of wild fruits.
Can Crested Geckos Live Without Insects?
Many well-versed Gecko owners will talk on and on about the benefits of enrichment. Truth be told, feeding your pet live insects as they’d eat in the wild does have some benefits.
However, you don’t actually have to include insects in your Crestie’s diet. Your Gecko can live and thrive even without insects!
Insects contain all of the minerals, vitamins, protein, and even fiber that your pet needs. However, it’s never been easier to build a well-balanced Gecko diet without all the trouble of growing insects.
Nowadays, you can find everything that your pet needs, all wrapped in one tiny package. I’m talking about commercial Gecko food.
Commercially available Gecko food contains all the micro and macronutrients your Crestie requires to stay healthy.
No need to shop around for different kinds of live or dried bugs. Just take out some prepared food, mix the powder with water to form a paste, and voila!
This saves you a lot of time and energy. It’s also a great option for those squeamish about bugs.
Plus, you won’t have to bother with growing, gut-loading, dusting and prepping the bugs anymore.
The one downside is that you won’t stimulate your Gecko’s hunting instincts. Meal times will become tame and uneventful.
On the flip side, your pet will no longer be in danger of getting bitten or infected by feisty live insects.
3 Best Commercial Food for Crested Geckos
There are plenty of pre-made and packaged Gecko food blends out there. These come in handy if you hate bugs, or just have no time to bother with them.
One balanced and nutritionally-adequate blend is enough to meet all your pet’s nutritional needs quickly and effortlessly.
However, note that not all commercially-available products are equal. Some have incomplete nutritional profiles. Some contain mostly supplemental vitamins but have very little protein.
Don’t worry, I’ll save you the trouble of searching for the perfect product. I’ve already put together a list of the three best Crestie food available! Here are my top recommendations:
– Repashy Superfoods
Repashy offers a variety of powder and gel premixes. These products act as meal replacements.
They’re specially formulated to contain all the micronutrients and macronutrients needed for Geckos.
Their range includes products specifically aimed at Crested Geckos, but also reptiles and other amphibians.
They have MRPs (meal replacement powders) for fruit-only, as well as fruit and insect-consuming Cresties. Here are two of their insect-containing MRPs:
Grubs ‘N’ Fruit: This is a mix containing 30% insects and 50% fruit. It has a crude protein content of at least 24%, 6% fat, 5% fiber, and at least 1.2% calcium.
Some of the main ingredients include black soldier fly larvae meal, dried banana, dried dates, dried mango, coconut meal, pea protein, amino acids, and vitamins (including vitamin A, D3, and calcium).
Mango Superblend: This product is at least 20% protein, 5% fat, 10% fiber, and 1.3% calcium. It contains more fruit than insects by dry weight.
The main ingredients listed include dried mango, dried banana, whey protein, dried honey, insect meal, dried dates, dried egg, rice and pea protein, dried figs, and a variety of vitamins and minerals (including vitamin A, D3, and calcium).
You can purchase these products off their official page, various Amazon stores, and even local pet shops.
– Arcadia Sticky Foot Gold
Arcadia‘s Sticky Foot Gold is an all-natural and nutritionally complete meal replacement powder. It’s suitable for Crested Geckos and all other omnivorous amphibians and reptiles. The formula is based on whole, nutritious ingredients like insects, dried fruit, and pollen.
Not only this, but the product contains an equal mix of five different insect species for a balanced intake of vitamins and macronutrients. The product contains mealworms, beetles, silkworms, black soldier fly larvae, and crickets.
Other healthy ingredients include papaya, apple, honey, banana, bee pollen, whole eggs, and flowers (hibiscus, dandelion, marigold).
This product is also supplemented with B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. It even contains a probiotic to boost your pet’s digestive health!
Here’s a breakdown of the macronutrient profile— Sticky Foot Gold is 21% protein, 6% fat, 10% fiber, and ~8% moisture by weight. This meal powder is rich in B-vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and biotin.
You can find this product on the company’s official website, on Amazon, and on various online reptile food stores.
– Gargeer Gentle Geck (Fig+Insects Protein)
Last but not least, we have Gargeer’s amazing line of Crested Gecko food mixes. They offer various fortified mixes with different flavors, including mango, papaya, mulberry, and fig. I recommend the fig flavor because it also contains a hefty amount of insect protein.
Gargeer’s Gentle Geck Fig + Insect protein is the perfect formula for daily feeding. This powder is nutritionally complete. No need to supplement with live insects or any other food! It contains premium protein from clean locally-grown insects, dried fruit powders, bee pollen, algae, and even probiotics!
This powder is at least 22% protein, 6% fat, 2% fiber, and 10% moisture by weight. Its main ingredients include organic dried banana, organic dried fig, whey protein, black soldier fly larvae meal, dried egg, and supplemental minerals and vitamins.
This company prides itself on offering clean and safe products free of fillers, additives, or food coloring. The Fig + Insect protein blend, along with all others in this range, is formulated by a biologist with over 25 years of experience in reptile nutrition.
This product is also formulated, developed, manufactured, and tested in the USA, and respects all the safety standards. You can find the Fig + Insect Protein blend on Amazon.
Crested Geckos are omnivorous amphibians with a big appetite for insects. In the wild, they get most of their energy and nutrition from a variety of live insects, including worms, roaches, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and so on.
Feeding them a similar diet in captivity helps them maintain their hunting instincts. A high insect diet will also help your Crestie meet its nutritional needs. However, there are also other options available.
If working with insects isn’t your thing, you can also feed your Gecko a specially-formulated meal replacement powder.
These products cover your pet’s protein and micronutrient needs, so you don’t need to include live insects in the diet.
I highly recommend a well-balanced MRP such as those created by Repashy Superfoods, Arcadia, or Gargeer.