Leopard Gecko Feeding – The Complete Guide
Leopard geckos are amazing little creatures. They are adorable and extremely easy to look after. All you need is the right food and everything else will fall in place for you. Keep in mind that these tiny reptiles are insectivores. Therefore, they feed mainly on live insects to survive.
Unlike other popular pet reptiles such as bearded dragons and iguanas, leopard geckos don’t eat fruits, vegetables, or any other type of plant.
As a matter of fact, leopard geckos cannot digest plant matter. They also don’t consume meat apart from bugs.
Read through this complete guide to learn more about what leopard geckos feed on.
What do Leopard Geckos Eat?
You may give your leopard geckos either live food or freeze-dried food depending on their feeding habits. Leopard geckos are somehow picky or likely to switch their preferences more often.
Try as much as possible to keep up with their changing feeding behavior.
– Live Food
Where can you obtain live feeder insects for your leopard geckos? You can get live food to feed your reptile pet at the pet stores.
You can also find the right live food for your leopard gecko online. Try Amazon if you want the food delivered to your doorsteps.
Make sure your pet eats live insects from a trusted source. Avoid looking for insects from your backyard because they can make your pet sick.
Examples of live food for your leopard gecko include:
- Hornworms (not the wild ones)
- Discoid roaches
- Dubia roaches
- Red runner roaches
- Black soldier fly larvae
Remember to always provide your leopard geckos with live insects when feeding them. Canned or dead insects will not help them trigger their hunting mode. Most likely they will not eat such insects.
Another important point to consider is the combination of live insects your leopard geckos should eat. In this regard, make sure to give them 1-2 types of insects during their feeding session.
Allowing the geckos to feed on a variety of insects is a great idea because they have varied nutrition. Use a soft-tipped pair of feeding tweezers to hand-feed your leopard geckos. This is a simple way to create a strong and lasting bond with your reptile pet
– Freeze-Dried Food
Your leopard geckos will also enjoy freeze-dried foods. This is a reliable option for juvenile and hatching leopard geckos. In this sense, you may place a few freeze-dried insects in the tank for your hatching and juvenile leopard geckos to eat in the course of the day.
Freeze-dried insects are safer and easier to eat than live insects such as mealworms. Live insects may try to eat almost anything around them including the geckos’ poop, which can cause your gecko to become sick.
Also, mealworms are likely to bite your young geckos, especially on their tiny toes, causing a lot of discomfort and infections. Instead of giving them live mealworms, supply them with freeze-dried mealworms.
Other examples of freeze-dried food for your leopard geckos include:
- Freeze-dried grasshoppers
- Freeze-dried crickets
- Medley treat food
- Vegetable and fruit mix
- Reptile munchies for pets
- Flower food topper
Besides live foods and freeze-dried foods, you can also feed your leopard gecko on treats such as wax worms, superworms, and butter worms.
Do Leopard Geckos Need Water?
Yes! Your leopard geckos need water as part of their basic needs to survive. Give them fresh, clean water in a clean dish.
The most appropriate type of dish is the heavy ceramic one since it cannot spill water easily. In case the dish splashes or spills water, clean it up as soon as possible to avoid water contamination.
Most importantly, don’t give your leopard geckos softened or distilled water. This type of water does not contain essential nutrients that your leopard geckos need to be healthy. Instead, supply them with enough quantity of spring, tap, or filtered water.
As long as water from these sources is fit for human consumption, you can rest assured that it will work best for your geckos.
Do Leopard Geckos Need Vitamins?
The answer is yes! You need to supplement your leopard geckos’ diet with vitamins. The main reason for doing so is to help them achieve a nutritionally balanced diet.
Apparently, the captive diet cannot replicate or replace the nutritional value of different vertebrates, invertebrates, and occasional plant species ingested by the leopard geckos in the wild.
For that reason, you should consider giving them commercial supplements designed to help them bridge the vitamin dietary gap. All you have to do is to place the feeder insects in a container or plastic bag full of supplement powder.
Then shake the container a little bit to make the powder form some coating on the feeder insects. Once you are sure that the insects in the container are all coated with the powder supplement, feed them to your geckos.
Alternatively, you can dust the supplement on each feeder insect during feeding time. You can also give your pet geckos some multivitamins to balance their diet. This should be done occasionally.
As usual, dust the feeder insects with some multivitamin powder during the feeding time. Do this on a weekly basis for young leopard geckos and once every other week for your adult leopard geckos.
You may not need an additional multivitamin if you are feeding your geckos on Repashy CalciumPlus. Anyway, the most recommended multivitamins for your pet gecks are Arcadia RevitalizeD3 and Respashy SuperVite.
Do Leopard Geckos Need Calcium?
Absolutely yes! Calcium is important for your leopard geckos given that it is a reliable supplement. Most significantly, calcium plays a critical role in feeding juvenile and hatchling geckos.
The mineral is also helpful to female leopard geckos during the breeding season. It helps females produce strong, healthy eggs.
Just like the vitamins or other supplements, you can also dust feed insects using calcium to feed your geckos. Place the insects in the bag with the calcium powder and shake it for a while to ensure that each insect is covered.
Feed your geckos straight away before the calcium powder is rubbed off or licked by your pet reptiles. The most recommended calcium supplement for pet geckos include:
– Calcium with UVB:
- Repashy Calcium Plus LoD
- Miner-All Indoor
- Arcadia CalciumPro Mg
– Calcium without UVB:
- Jurassic Natural Calcium with D3
- Repashy Calcium Plus HyD
- Zoo-Med Repti Calcium with D3
You may also keep a bowl of calcium powder (without D3) in your geckos’ enclosure for your pet to lick at will. While this is a good idea, you can just dust the feeder insects appropriately for better results.
As a matter of fact, allowing your geckos to lick the powder can lead to calcium overdose, which is detrimental to their health.
How Often to Feed a Leopard Gecko?
The feeding schedule for leopard geckos depends on their age. For instance, baby leopard geckos will have a different feeding schedule from that for adult ones. Usually, juvenile geckos diet consists of more calcium, more frequent meals, and small insects.
In this regard, you should feed your baby leopard geckos (aged from 0-6 months) daily. Give each baby gecko at least ⅜ inches of insect size to allow them to feed comfortably. The amount of food for these young geckos should be enough to enable them to finish it in a time of 15 minutes.
Juvenile leopard geckos (aged from 6-12 months) should be fed every other day. The most appropriate size of the insect for each juvenile gecko must be approximately ¼ inches. Their amount of food should be as much as they can eat in about 15 minutes.
Adult leopard geckos are considered to be 12 months (one year) and above. Therefore, their diet is a little bit different from the baby or juvenile leopard geckos. Their feeding schedule should be every 2-3 days.
Their ideal insect size should range ranges from ½ inches to ¾ inches. The amount should be based on two insects in relation to every inch of the adult gecko’s body length utmost.
Make sure to monitor your pet gecko’s weight closely using a postal or a kitchen scale. The weight should be determined in grams.
This step is very important since it helps prevent your pet geckos from becoming overweight or obese. Also, monitoring their diet ensures that no pet gecko loses too much weight.
How Long can a Leopard Gecko Go Without Food?
A leopard gecko can take several days, weeks, or even months without food. This is perfectly normal. In some cases, your pet gecko may stop eating due to the following problems:
- Stress for a newly acquired leopard gecko
- Temperature changes which may affect their digestion process
- Some days before, during, and after shedding
- During their mating season
- State of brumation
- Sickness, infection, or parasite infestation
- Gastrointestinal blockage
While it may look normal for your leopard geckos not to eat, you should monitor their body weight closely. If your gecko loses too much weight, make sure to seek help from an experienced reptile veterinarian.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Fruits and Vegetables?
Your leopard geckos may show interest in fruits or vegetables or even eat them. However, their anatomy cannot digest vegetables, fruits, or grains. These foods don’t provide any nutritional value to your leopard pets.
Another type of food that your geckos shouldn’t eat is meat. Most types of meat are considered unhealthy given that they contain high levels of fat and low calcium.
Uncooked meat is likely to carry harmful bacteria that can cause sickness to your leopard geckos. On the other hand, cooked meat lacks the essential nutrients that your pet geckos need to stay healthy.
That being said, you should always take into account the rule of thumb that only recommends feeder insects and vitamin supplements as the ultimate diet for your pet geckos.
Can Leopard Gecko Drink Tap Water?
Yes! Tap water has some mineral deposits that may be helpful to your leopard geckos. Ensure that the tap water is fresh and clean before allowing your geckos to drink. Use spill-proof, shallow bowls when providing water to your gecko in order to prevent drowning.
On the flip side, you may have to deal with numerous cases of build-up in the water bowls or dishes due to the accumulation of several minerals contained in tap water. Regular cleaning and sanitization can easily prevent this common problem.
Can Leopard Gecko Eat Bugs You Catch?
Not at all! You should never feed your pet leopard geckos bugs and insects you catch around your home because they can make your pet sick.
Insects caught in your backyard may carry parasites, pesticides, or diseases that could potentially put your pet leopard geckos’ health at risk. This means that you should always obtain feeder insects from a reliable and trusted source.
Your most ideal source could be store-bought insects. These insects come from clean, safe, and disease-free environments.
In addition to that, never feed your geckos on fireflies or any other luminescent type of insects. This is because most glow insects have toxic substances that might harm your leopard geckos.
If you decide to feed your leopard gecko bugs you have trapped yourself, ensure that you have better knowledge of the different insect species that are safe or not toxic to leopard geckos.
Also, stick to your own garden when catching insects for your pet geckos to avoid cases of pesticide contamination.
When is the Best Time to Feed Your Leopard Gecko?
As a pet owner, you need to know that leopard geckos are considered crepuscular. This should tell you that your geckos are most active around dusk and dawn or during twilight time.
As such, you need to feed your geckos early in the morning or early in the evening. These are actually the best time for geckos to hunt or feed naturally.
If you are planning to keep leopard geckos as pets, this complete feeding guide will be helpful to you. The guide gives you a clear insight into different types of insects that you can feed your pet geckos.
It also takes you through the dietary requirement of the leopard geckos to keep you well-informed about the needs of these little pet reptiles. On that apply the simple basics to keep your geckos well-fed and healthy.
The basics are bugs, water, and essential nutrients such as vitamins and calcium. You may combine that perfect diet with an ideal habitat to have a fulfilling time with your little pet leopard geckos.