Do Day Geckos Need Insects?
Day Geckos must consume a species-appropriate diet even in captivity. Offering the right foods ensures your Day Gecko gets all the nutrients it needs, in the right amounts. These “right foods” we’re talking about include insects.
For optimal nutrition, insects should make up the bulk of your Day Gecko’s diet. This doesn’t sound good for those who are squeamish about bugs.
But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it seems! There are also simple alternatives to replace insect feeding.
In today’s article, I’ll go over everything you need to know about Geckos and insects. You’ll learn about the Gecko’s diet in the wild, as well as how to replicate it at home.
I’ll teach you where to get high-quality live insects, as well as nutritionally-complete alternatives. Let’s get started!
What Insects Do Day Geckos Eat?
In the wild, Day Geckos will hunt and consume whatever insects are available in their local habitat. There are an estimated 70 species or more of Day Geckos out there. Thus, you’ll encounter small variations in Day Gecko diets.
Most Day Gecko species inhabit the islands of the South-West Indian Ocean. These islands include Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Comoros.
The climate, flora, and fauna on these islands are mostly similar, but there are also some differences.
Overall, Day Geckos on these islands eat similar species of insects, including spiders, crickets, certain beetles, different types of roaches, mealworms, earthworms, termites, moths, flies, butterflies, and certain bee and wasp species.
Do Day Geckos Need Live Food?
Not necessarily! Day Geckos kept in captivity don’t need live insects. They just need the right nutrients and building blocks from their diet.
If you can provide your Day Gecko with all the macronutrients, minerals, and vitamins it needs, you won’t have to include live insects.
An easy way to do this is by purchasing a high-quality Day Gecko meal replacement powder. Some of the most popular products on the market include the Pangea and Repashy complete Gecko diet powders.
These come in a variety of flavors and with different insect-to-fruit ratios to suit most Gecko species.
That being said, live food can still be a good idea. Even if your Day Geckos won’t live off of live food exclusively, one serving here and there does their bodies good.
Offering live insects also contributes to much-needed enrichment (aka simulating the Gecko’s wild habitat in captivity).
If your Day Gecko has the chance to hunt its food, it will feel like home in the vivarium! Live insects keep things fun for your pet.
Your Gecko also fins live insects to be a delicious, crunchy snack. Hard to replace this feasting experience with a mushy, fruit-flavored meal!
Where Do You Get Live Food for Day Gecko?
There are a few places where you can find live food for your Day Gecko. These include local pet stores, online stores, as well as Amazon. The choice will depend on your preferences, availability, and range of options.
Pet shops have a large selection of products, depending on the company. You can find live crickets, superworms, mealworms, hornworms, waxworms, nightcrawlers, red wigglers, Dubia roaches, fruit flies, calciworms, and more!
Smaller stores will have less variety, while large chains will carry most of these. Stores like Petco and PetSmart are good places to start your search. You can buy live insects from a physical location, or straight off their websites.
Amazon is another good place to order live reptile food. Pretty much like other pet shops, Amazon has a huge range of products to choose from.
Worms, roaches, crickets, flies— you name it, you’ll find it. However, shipping might take a little longer, depending on your location.
Can Day Geckos Survive Without Eating Insects?
Day Geckos can’t survive without insects. Insects constitute a major component in their diet, providing energy, protein, fat, and vitamins.
Typically, a Day Gecko should consume insects around three times per week. However, these insects don’t have to be alive, or even whole.
Most Gecko meal replacement powders on the market already contain insects. If you check the ingredients list on most MRPs, you’ll find “insect meal” pretty high on the list.
These products contain enough powdered insects (typically crickets or grubs) for a species-appropriate diet.
These products are also specially formulated to combine the best of both worlds— insects and plant foods.
Your Gecko will get all the energy, protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins it needs to survive and thrive without a crawling insect in sight.
Can Day Geckos Eat Insects You Catch?
You shouldn’t feed your Day Gecko insects you caught yourself. If you plan to give your pet live insects, always get them from trusted sources. There are too many risks and disadvantages of feeding “wild” insects to your Gecko.
Some things to keep in mind include:
- Poor nutritional value
- Risk of poisoning
- Risk of bacterial infection
- Potential parasites
Starting with the obvious— wild insects offer poor nutritional value for your Gecko. You don’t know what the insect’s diet has been before you caught it. Also, you miss the chance to gut-load the insects before feeding your Day Gecko.
The risk of poisoning is also important. You might not recognize the type of bug you caught. Some species of bugs are poisonous. Ingesting these bugs might harm or even kill your pet.
Besides, even non-poisoning bugs can come into contact with dangerous pesticides or herbicides. A perfectly-innocent insect might still be contaminated and threaten your Gecko’s health.
Speaking of contamination, wild bugs often carry nasty bacteria and parasites. The pathogens depend on the type of insect and the area where you caught it.
However, considering that wild insects often consume decaying matter, the threat of infection is ever-present.
After the insect gets eaten, the pathogenic bacteria and parasites from the bug will move onto your Gecko. Stomach acid isn’t strong enough to kill them. So, the bacteria or parasites can grow, multiply, and wreak havoc in many ways.
Some of these ways include digestive distress, lack of appetite, rapid weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, organ damage, and even death.
Day Geckos consume a variety of live insects in the wild. Bugs should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet to ensure adequate energy and nutrient intake. Luckily, you can find a lot of bug species in large pet stores like PetSmart or Petco.
If you need live bugs for your Day Gecko, you can choose between crickets, roaches, flies, worms, and many more! There are also options for the people who would rather not handle bugs.
Many of the Gecko meal replacement powders contain ground insects as well as added protein, vitamins, and minerals.
You can find all the nutrition your pet needs in one single package. MRPs are certainly better than wild-caught bugs.
If you don’t have access to a certified distributor of live insects, I’d opt for MRPs. These are cleaner, safer, and more nutritious than wild-caught insects.