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Best Food For Crested Geckos

In this list are the 14 best foods for crested geckos. There is a variety of commercial and naturla options you can go with.

Wild crested geckos are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. These include fruits, flowers, nectar, pollen, insects, seeds, nuts, and on rare occasions smaller reptiles (sometimes their own unfertile eggs or young) or other small vertebrates.

In captivity, there are certainly plenty of options to feed your cresties, but some foods are better than others, and some foods that we can eat every day should be avoided. Crested gecko owners have the option of feeding their pets live insects alongside fresh fruits and vegetables, or they can go with premixed food options.

Some of the premixed foods contain complete nutrition for your geckos, including insects and vegetation as well as added calcium, while others are strictly fruit and vegetable matter. Which options you choose will depend on what you are willing to do.

You may not like the idea of having live insects in your house, or maybe you simply don’t have the time to cut and mash a complete blend of fruits and vegetables every other day for your crested gecko.

On the other hand, you may want to take on that responsibility and provide meals as close to nature as possible. It’s up to you and how involved you want to be, either way, is great for your pet.

Proper Crested Gecko Diets

Hungry crested gecko
Hungry crested gecko.

Believe it or not, adult cresties typically don’t need to be fed every day. Unless they are overweight, or gravid females (producing eggs), they don’t need to be fed every day.

Babies and juveniles should be fed every day and let them eat what their tiny little stomachs can hold. This is because they won’t be storing any calories, as all their energy goes into growing.

Healthy adult crested geckos only need to be fed four to five times a week, or every other day. They will need a properly balanced diet meaning they get a healthy mix of insects and fruits.

If you are feeding your geckos with fresh vegetation and live insects, then fruits and veggies need to be offered three to four times a week, with live insects offered in between, about one to two times in the same week. Fruits and vegetables should be the bulk of a crestie’s diet with fruit making up to 75% of the mix.

When you are feeding your pets a commercial crested gecko died (CGD) it usually comes in powder form. You will have to mix water in it to create a paste-like or smoothie thick consistency. When feeding CGD to your gecko, you don’t have to add anything in as it is usually a complete diet formulation.

You still need to offer this food to your gecko about four to five times a day. Alongside providing fresh food, you should offer fresh water every day.

While some geckos prefer to lick the moisture off leaves or the tank instead of climbing to the ground to get a drink, some owners like to use a Suction Cup Water/Feeder For Crested Gecko. This way you can put their food and water off the ground where some geckos feel more comfortable.

Best Food Mixes

Commercial crested gecko mixes are the easiest ways to feed your pets a balanced and complete nutritional diet. Most of them can be fed to your crested gecko every time you feed them, while other varieties should only be fed as a treat.

Many crested gecko owners swear by these mixes, and since all you have to do is mix them with water, the hardest thing you will have to do with these mixes is find a flavor your crestie likes the best.

1. Pangea Fruit Mix With Insects

The Pangea brand has six different flavors for you and your gecko to choose from. They are the highest-rated commercial mix and they use all-natural ingredients in all their mixes.

They use dried fruits, whey protein, eggs, bee pollen, and probiotics and most have ground insects in them as well in the form of crickets and black soldier fly larvae. Pangea does not use seeds, nuts, or grains in their foods, and they use fruits that are naturally very low in oxalates and phytates which can interfere with nutrient absorption, especially calcium. 

Their selection of flavors includes: With insects, Watermelon mango, Banana apricot, Banana papaya, Fig & insects, and Growth & breeding. Each one of these mixes is perfect for feeding on a regular basis.

2. Zoo Med Crested Gecko Food

Zoo Med is a big name in pets and it stands to reason they should have a great food option for crested geckos. The Crested Gecko Food by this company was created and tested by an animal nutritionist, so you feel good about your purchase.

The package states it can be fed wet or dry, but I feel it would be more palatable for most cresties as a wet mix.

Zoo Med crested gecko food is made with organic fruits and has a high level of calcium and protein in the form of pea protein and black soldier fly larvae. There are also probiotics for digestive health and paprika added in for vibrant crestie colors.

With Zoo Med crested gecko food you have four varieties to choose from. You can pick tropical fruit, plum, watermelon, or a blueberry breeder food for females that are developing eggs.

3. Repashy Crested Gecko MRP Diet

Repashy is another great quality, trusted, crested gecko meal option. They are called meal replacement powder (MRP) and they have to be mixed with water, but they are nutritionally complete foods for crested geckos.

The thing that sets Repashy apart from the others is they do not use crickets in their mixes because the founder states he is allergic to them. Some of their products do contain insects in them like the Grubs and Fruit variety, but for the most part, Repashy uses other types of protein to give cresties a balanced, fruity meal.

You can choose from these flavors; Mulberry Madness, Crested Gecko Complete, Grubs and Fruit, Mango Superblend, or Classic Banana Cream Pie Treat.

The last one shouldn’t be used as a meal or fed regularly because it contains 70% fruit. As the package states, this is a treat and should only be fed to your gecko about once a week because of the high sugar content.

The Bananas and Cream Treat can be mixed with water to create a paste, or it can be cooked to create a thicker gel. You’ll have to follow the directions on the package for that, but the option is there.

4. Fluker’s Premium Crested Gecko Diet

Another giant in reptile care is Fluker’s, but they only have one variety so far in crested gecko food. Fluker’s crested gecko diet is made with bananas, mangos, and blueberries, and for insect protein they include mealworms.

It is good for all crested gecko life stages and can be their main meal, but the package does state that you should still try to feed your crestie live insects about two times per week for mental stimulation and activity.

5. Gargeer Complete Crested Gecko Food

Gargeer complete is another powder that you mix with water that comes with several options for your crested gecko’s life stages.

This brand was formulated by a herpetologist that has over 25 years of experience in reptile nutrition. The mixes have nutrient-rich foods such as bee pollen, algae, kelp, spirulina, and marigolds, along with plenty of fruits and insect matter.

Gargeer has a few mixes without insects such as Gentle Geck Mango and Papaya varieties for those who feed live insects or are allergic. The other flavors of Gentle Geck are Breeder and Growth formula for juveniles and breeding females, Fig, Mulberry, and their most popular brand, Tropical.

Gargeer products are all developed and manufactured in the USA.

6. Exo Terra Crested Gecko Food Cups

While this is the only flavor or variety Exo Terra offers it does take away the guesswork. There is no mixing, and no measuring because these come in single-serving, pre-mixed cups. Just peel open and feed.

There are no insects in this mix, but they source protein from peas, lima beans, soy, and whey. The fruits included in this package include dates, figs, apples, and mangos.

Best Insects to Feed Crested Geckos

Being omnivores, or more accurately frugivores, as their main diet is fruit, crested geckos also need sources of protein. They get this in the wild by eating insects, and fortunately, there are plenty of options both online and through your local pet stores.

When feeding crested geckos, approximately 30% of their diet should include insect matter or live insects. You can get this through CDG, prepackaged dehydrated, or freeze-dried insects, or you can use live insects.

But what kinds of insects can cresties eat, and which should you avoid?

Many of the packaged foods for crested geckos include plenty of protein through vegetables, eggs, soy or whey protein, or ground-up insects. The packages will inform you of the ingredients, but if you’re feeding your cresties live insects, there are plenty of safe options for them.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to feed them insects that are too large for them to handle. It’s recommended that you don’t feed insects or fruit chunks for that matter that are wider than the distance between their eyes. This reduces the risk of choking, digestive issues, and impactions.

When feeding live insects, it’s recommended that you dust the insects with a calcium powder such as Fluker’s Calcium Reptile Supplement with added Vitamin D3 to make sure they are getting enough of the mineral.

1. Dubia Roaches

Dubia Roaches in cartons
Dubia Roaches in cartons.

These insects can often be found live in pet stores and are a great primary insect for cresties. They are easier to take care of than crickets, and they don’t make any sounds. Dubia roaches can’t hop like crickets and are slow-moving insects.

They are great nutrition for your cresties and probably the best alternative as far as insect prey for your reptile buddies.

2. Crickets

Crickets on box cartons
Crickets on box cartons.

Crickets are probably the most popular insect feeder and the easiest to come by. They also have great nutrition for cresties, but since they are so low in fat, they typically need to be gut loaded before feeding. 

This means you have to feed them with a nutritionally dense insect food like Fluker’s Orange Cube Complete Cricket Diet. Doing so assures that your pets are getting a nutritionally balanced diet.

3. Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly larvae on a human hand
Black Soldier Fly larvae on a human hand.

Also known as phoenix worms, these grubs typically come freeze-dried or dehydrated in some form in large bags so they are easy to store, and for those who don’t like the idea of living, crawling insects in their house, it’s a great option. These won’t accidentally escape and be found crawling across your floors or walls.

These insects are nutritionally dense and are high in calcium so you won’t have to add in the extra step of dusting them. The only downside is the freeze-dried worms may not be as enticing to your crested gecko as being able to chase live prey.

4. Silkworms

Silkworm hanging onto a leaf stem
Silkworm hanging onto a leaf stem.

Silkworms are a good protein, insect choice for you crested geckos. They have a high protein and low-fat content so they can be fed to your pets a few times per week if you choose.

5. Butterworms

Butterworms in a bag with feed
Butterworms in a bag waiting to become feed. – Source

These fat grubs live up to their name, as they look like they have existed on a diet of butter. They certainly have a high-fat content and should only be fed as an occasional treat.

Overfeeding these to your cresties could cause them to pack on the pounds.

6. Hornworms

Hornworm walking on a tomato plant
Hornworm walking on a tomato plant.

Hornworms are not grubs but hairless caterpillars. Depending on the variety and where you purchase them, they can grow pretty large. Before they go into the pupa stage, hornworms can grow to three or four inches long.

Full-size hornworms may be too big for cresties, so feed them these treats before they get too large. And only feed them as an occasional treat. Hornworms have a very high moisture content so too many of these could cause diarrhea in your gecko.

Hornworms also have a high phosphorus content, so make sure they are dusted with calcium powder before feeding your crested gecko. Too much phosphorus in their diet can negatively impact calcium absorption and damage bones.

7. Mealworms

Mealworms crowded together
Mealworms crowded together.

Mealworms are another type of grub that you can usually find in pet stores. They are good for occasional treats for your geckos, but not as an insect staple.

Unlike most other grubs, mealworms are covered in a hard, chitinous shell that can be difficult to digest if too many are eaten. If mealworms are fed to your gecko all the time, they could develop impaction because of the shell.

They are high in protein, so they can be a good treat, but they are also high in fat. Moderation is the key to mealworms.

8. Waxworms

Waxworms on honeycomb
Waxworms on honeycomb.

These are best as treats as well because of their high-fat content.

If you have a gecko that is underweight or an exceptionally picky eater, you can supplement these in their diet. Other than that, they should be used as a treat only.

Caution should be used when feeding your cresties waxworms because some owners report their pets to start to refuse food unless they offer waxworms. It seems that some get the taste of these fatty worms and don’t want anything else.

Insects You Should Avoid

A bunch of Superworms
A bunch of Superworms.

While crested geckos in the wild are typically opportunistic feeders and may eat things that aren’t so great for them, we as pet owners can limit the foods that might be bad for them. Some insects that you probably want to avoid include any wild insects either inside your house or found outside.

Wild insects can carry a host of parasites that could be transmitted to your gecko, causing ill health and an expensive trip to the vet. Or they could be bringing in pesticides that again can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

Superworms are another insect to be avoided, although they are often sold in stores and can be found at several online insect providers. Superworms are upgraded mealworms that are often twice the size.

The reasons to avoid feeding your crested gecko superworms is that since they are much bigger; they have even more chitin that has to be digested and can cause impaction easier, they are often too big for cresties to eat whole, and these worms are feisty.

Superworms have pincers that can hurt a little gecko, and they will flail around when handled or bitten. Though it may be tempting to feed them these big one-piece meals, it’s better to avoid superworms altogether.

The Best Fruits for Crested Geckos

Mixed Fruit and berry salad
Mixed Fruit and berry salad.

Fruit should be the bulk of your crested gecko’s diet. They should be eating 60% to 70% fruit for a complete diet.

Crested geckos can’t eat everything that we eat though, as some fruits are too acidic, or may have compounds that can be detrimental to their well-being like oxalic acid.

Many fruits crested geckos can eat need to be prepared for them. Pits and large seeds need to be removed. They can eat tiny seeds like the ones found in berries and bananas, but apple seeds and cherry pits need to be removed before feeding.

In the wild, crested geckos eat fruits that have fallen off the trees. These are usually very soft and nearly rotten. Cresties have weak jaws and tiny teeth so they will have a hard time biting pieces off most fruits.

Also be sure to wash any fruits you bring home, just like you would for yourself or your family. Most store-bought fruits and vegetables are covered with pesticides and wax to protect them from pests. 

Tough skins also have to be peeled off from fruits like peaches, mangos, nectarines, apples, kiwis, pears, and even grapes.

When feeding fresh fruits you should decide if you’re going to feed small chunks, if you’re going to mash them, or blend them into a smoothie-like consistency. Hard fruit like apples and pears need to be either mashed or blended because they could be too hard for them to chew.

When blending up fruit, or fruit and veggie diet mix for your crested gecko, don’t forget to add in some calcium powder. Metabolic bone disease is a big problem for most reptiles, and a calcium supplement is the best way to prevent it.

Here are the best fruits for crested geckos:

  • Blueberries–can be fed whole if they are small enough, bigger pieces need to be mashed or cut smaller.
  • Mango–peel first and mash or cut into very small pieces.
  • Strawberries–cut, blend, or mash.
  • Raspberries–often soft enough for your crestie to bite pieces off.
  • Pears–peel first, then mash or blend.
  • Bananas–as a treat mainly because of the high sugar and potassium content.
  • Peaches–peel and feed as a treat.
  • Papaya–peel and only feed the flesh. The seeds are edible for humans but may present an impaction risk for crested geckos.
  • Kiwi–peel the hairy husk off and only feed as a treat because they are high in vitamin C. Too much vitamin C might cause diarrhea.
  • Watermelon–mash, but be aware of how juicy it can be.
  • Fig–if they are dried they will need to be reconstituted and blended. Fresh figs need to be peeled and mashed for cresties to eat them.
  • Pomegranates–these should only be given as an occasional treat because of the high phosphorus content.
  • Dates–remove the pits first.
  • Cherries–an occasional treat, cut or mashed with the pits removed.
  • Passionfruit–an occasional treat.
  • Guava–is high in vitamin C and phosphorus so feed sparingly.
  • Cantaloupe–scoop out the seeds and feed the mashed flesh on occasion.
  • Persimmon–wait until they are soft to the touch, peel, remove any seeds and serve.
  • Plums–peel, cut, blend, or mash.
  • Apricots–peel and cut, mash, or blend but use as an occasional treat
  • Grapes–mash them, and remove any seeds if they are not the seedless kind, some skins may need to be removed.

You may want to blend a few fruits together to make sure your gecko is getting a balanced nutritional mix instead of feeding just one type of fruit all the time. Of course, since cresties can be a bit picky, you may need to experiment to find out what they like the most.

Fruits To Avoid Feeding Your Crested Gecko

Citrus Fruit in a wooden box
Citrus Fruit in a wooden box.
  1. Any citrus–citrus fruits are too acidic for cresties to eat, and most won’t even try to eat them anyway. Citrus also is high in oxalic acid which is detrimental to their health in large quantities. Stay away from all oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruits.
  2. Rhubarb–While many of us enjoy the tart sweetness of a homemade rhubarb strawberry pie, this plant is actually poisonous to reptiles. This includes the leaves, the stalks—which people eat—and the root.
  3. Pineapple–there seems to be some debate about pineapple, but they are very acidic, high in vitamin C, and have a lot of oxalic acids, so it’s best just to avoid this fruit. There are plenty of other, less debated fruits cresties can eat.
  4. Star fruit–again this fruit has a high oxalic acid content so they should not be fed to cresties.
  5. Avocado–while the green, bulbous Mexican native has gained massive popularity over the years, these should not be fed to any pets. Avocados contain small amounts of persin, a compound that is poisonous to birds, reptiles, and some other mammals. While it makes great guacamole and is a scrumptious spread on toast, go ahead and be greedy, and just keep it to yourself.

Best Vegetables for Crested Geckos

Colorful bell peppers close together
Colorful bell peppers close together.
  1. Alfalfa
  2. Dandelion greens
  3. Escarole
  4. Endive
  5. Collard, mustard, or turnip greens
  6. Watercress
  7. Acorn and butternut squash
  8. Yellow squash
  9. Zucchini
  10. Bell peppers
  11. Okra
  12. Pumpkin
  13. Prickly pear
  14. Button and cremini mushrooms
  15. Green beans
  16. Snap peas
  17. Asparagus

Vegetables should be blended with fruits when given to your crested gecko, and some should be cooked—preferably steamed or boiled—before being mixed in. This is particularly important with hard vegetables like winter squashes, green beans, snap peas, and asparagus.

Remove any seeds when preparing vegetables in their food as well. Some seeds can have hard, sharp edges that can damage soft tissue when ingested.

The following are vegetables that should be avoided from feeding your cresties. They either have too much phosphorus, and potassium can be toxic or have high levels of oxalates or goitrogens.

Goitrogens will deplete iodine in the body which can lead to hypothyroidism. Others like cucumbers, celery, and iceberg lettuce have almost no nutritional value and are best avoided.

Vegetables to Avoid

Basket of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage
Basket of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.
  1. Cabbage
  2. Brussels sprouts
  3. Bok choy
  4. Anything from the nightshade family such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant
  5. Corn
  6. Soybeans
  7. Root vegetables like beets, parsnips, and turnips
  8. Anything from the Allium family such as onions, garlic, leeks, etc.
  9. Spinach
  10. Broccoli
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cucumber
  13. Spinach
  14. Celery
  15. Iceberg and romaine lettuce

Don’t feed your gecko foods that it wouldn’t eat normally in the wild. Stick to fruits, vegetables, and insects. On their own, they would not eat dairy products, meat products, or things of that nature. 

Vegetables: Cresties do benefit from vegetables on occasion, but they will probably prefer to eat them when they are blended in a fruit smoothie mix.

A Word on Pinkies, Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Chicken and Quail eggs in a nest
Chicken and Quail eggs in a nest.

Some owners report they feed their crested geckos pinkies (baby mice), dairy, meat, and/or eggs as a protein source.

You might even find videos online of pet owners feeding these items to their cresties. While this may be commonplace to these owners and others, I wouldn’t recommend it.

In the wild, crested geckos would very rarely, if ever, come across any of these food choices. Besides that, reptile digestive systems tend to be slower than mammals.

This means that tough-to-digest foods like meat and bones (from pinkies) could cause problems. The meat they consume could become rancid before it’s fully digested, causing an ill crestie.

When you think that even some insects could cause impaction because of their hard, outer shells, I think (in my humble opinion) that pinkies would be even harder to digest, because bones are thicker and harder.

Dairy has lactose, which can only be digested by mammals, which have lactase in their digestive systems. Mammals provide milk for their young so they have to be able to digest it, reptiles do not have anything to digest the lactose so it can cause bloating, diarrhea, and other intestinal problems.

Eggs might be the least problematic of these meat choices, but they should be cooked fully, without adding any salt or seasonings. And honestly, with all the other proven protein sources in the form of prepackaged foods and insects, there are easier, safer choices.

FAQ

Can crested geckos eat vegetables?

Yes, crested geckos can and should eat some vegetables on occasion because some are packed with nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and protein. Just like with fruits, crested geckos can have some vegetables, but need to stay away from others.

Vegetables also should not account for more than 10% of their diet, so while it’s certainly beneficial to add some veggies to their diet, they don’t need much.

Can my crested gecko eat baby food? Is baby food safe for my crested gecko?

While baby food might be an attractive alternative to feed your crested gecko, baby food should be avoided unless you just need something in a pinch. Baby food is packed with added sugar and preservatives that are not healthy for little reptiles.

Many baby foods are packed with vegetables like spinach and oftentimes meats that have high levels of iron. That’s great for growing human babies, but these ingredients aren’t great for cresties.

While you might be able to find organic and all-natural options, it’s best to avoid all baby foods and just go with a commercial gecko diet if you’re looking for something simple to feed your pets. Gecko diets have all the nutrition they need, as well as added protein in the form of insects or other non-meat choices.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know what to safely feed your crested gecko, you need to decide how to feed them. CGD powders and mixes offer simple, nutritionally balanced options that can be fed during all meals. Live insects should be fed occasionally for stimulation and added protein.

You can also mix up your own fruit and vegetable blends if that is the route you want to take. Whichever way you decide to feed your pet, following the lists above will ensure you have a crestie that looks forward to mealtime for many years to come.

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