Leos are probably the most loved reptile pets in the world. Not only are they adorable, they come in nearly an unlimited amount of morphs and are really friendly and easy-going. Also, caring for them is absolutely no hassle.
A good rule of thumb for pet leopard geckos is to ensure they have a balanced diet and that fresh water is always available.
They are easy to feed and care for. Once you feed them and care for them well, they can live up to 27 years. In this article, we will look at how to gut load their food as well as the best foods to feed them.
For both baby leopard geckos and adult geckos, a varied diet is essential. In their natural habitat, leopard geckos eat a variety of insects, and replicating this at home is a good idea.
Here are the 5 best foods you should feed your leopard geckos. These foods will surely give your gecko all the nutrients they need.
Best Leopard Gecko Food Comparison
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Best Foods for Leopard Geckos
Crickets are the most popular food fed leos. Crickets are easy to find, inexpensive, and nutritious. Also, they are easy to gut load. Many consider crickets the best leopard gecko food.
Feeding time is important for leopard geckos. Dusting live insects with calcium powder and vitamin D supplements mimics the nutritional value they would receive in the wild.
There are several ways to acquire the crickets for your gecko. Of course, you don’t need to catch them yourself. They are readily available in most pet shops and also online. You can buy them in bulk if you like.
You have to make sure that the crickets aren’t longer than the gecko’s head. You also need to gut load the crickets for a day or two before feeding them to the gecko.
Crickets have several advantages over other insect-fed geckos. For starters, the active movements of geckos stimulate the gecko to feed. Secondly, they gut load very well. Thirdly, they are comparatively high in protein and low in fat. Lastly, they are affordable and readily available.
Tips on feeding: Remove all crickets that aren’t eaten about 20 minutes after you offer them to the gecko. This is because the crickets that the gecko doesn’t eat may end up biting them.
Another popular leopard gecko food alternative is mealworms. They are not noisy as crickets are and they don’t bite geckos. They also live longer than crickets. You can further prolong their lifespan through refrigeration.
They also don’t move much. Just place them on a smooth bowl and they will be there until the gecko feeds. You won’t have a noise problem with mealworms which is one problem most people have with crickets.
Mealworms, being one of the most popular insect choices, are a staple feeder for pet leopard geckos and provide essential nutrients when dusted with a calcium supplement.
Especially, when they escape and chirp loudly. As with crickets, mealworms are readily available at most pet shops and online.
Mealworms are an advantageous choice because they are easy to find, affordable, high in protein, have a long lifespan that can be prolonged through refrigeration, and are easy to breed.
On the other hand, they move slowly which may not stimulate some geckos enough to feed. Additionally, they are high in fat. Lastly, they are tougher to digest when compared to crickets.
Geckos love waxworms because they are high in fat. While geckos love eating them, it can be a problem since feeding geckos primarily waxworms will leave them obese. This is unhealthy.
Waxworms should only be an occasional treat (about once a week) due to their high fat content, to maintain a healthy leopard gecko diet. Also, if your gecko isn’t eating, you can use waxworms to encourage them to eat more. Additionally, they are cheap and easy to find.
On the flip side, they cannot be gut-loaded and as such fail to provide many of the nutrients that the gecko needs. Additionally, they smell bad (to humans, not to leopard geckos obviously). And they have short lifespans. However, they are a must-have as geckos love eating them. Just keep them to a minimum.
4. Dubia Roaches
Although they are an excellent choice of food. Dubia roaches are both expensive and difficult to find. For this reason, many breeders who use it as the main source of food, breed these roaches themselves.
They are a healthy and tasty food option since they are high in protein and quite low in fat. Additionally, they can’t fly, climb smooth surfaces, and don’t make noise as crickets do. In addition, they live very long. They can live for as long as 2 years. Most importantly, they gut load excellently. This enables you to provide your gecko with all the nutrients it needs.
On the flip side, they are quite costly. About 50 of them can cost around $10. They are worth it though.
The last food we will look at is the superworm. Although called king worms, superworms are actually zophobas morio beetles during their larval stage. As such, they are also referred to as Zophobas.
Another name for these insects is morio worms. Superworms, or Tenebrio molitor, are good eaters for young geckos, providing much-needed fat and protein. Many people doing leopard gecko breeding have also taken to breeding their own feeder colony. Unlike waxworms and crickets, superworms don’t smell bad.
However, they can bite geckos if the gecko doesn’t feed on them. They also don’t gut load well.
6. Black soldier fly larvae
Black Soldier Fly Larvae, scientifically known as Hermetia illucens, are an increasingly popular food choice among reptile keepers, especially for leopard gecko owners. These little creatures are a powerhouse of nutrition, offering a rich blend of calcium, protein, and essential fats, which are crucial for a leopard gecko’s health.
One of the most appealing aspects of Black Soldier Fly Larvae is their high calcium content. This is particularly beneficial for leopard geckos, as they have a high calcium requirement to maintain healthy bones and prevent metabolic bone disease. What makes these larvae stand out is that they eliminate the need for additional calcium supplements, simplifying the feeding process.
Moreover, Black Soldier Fly Larvae are relatively easy to store and handle. They can be kept at room temperature and do not require refrigeration, making them a convenient option for many pet owners. Their size is also suitable for both young and adult leopard geckos, ensuring that geckos of all ages can safely consume them.
When feeding your leopard gecko Black Soldier Fly Larvae, it’s a good practice to offer them in small quantities, ensuring that your gecko can consume them easily. This helps in maintaining a balanced diet and preventing overfeeding, which is essential for the long-term health of your pet.
In conclusion, Black Soldier Fly Larvae are not just a nutritious food source for leopard geckos but also a practical and convenient option for their owners. Incorporating these larvae into your leopard gecko’s diet is a great way to provide a variety of feeders, contributing to the overall well-being and happiness of your pet.
What Is Gut Loading?
The term gut loading has been mentioned several times in the article. As such, you may be asking yourself, what is gut loading? Well, this simply refers to feeding the insects and worms with a nutritious diet before feeding them to the leopard geckos.
Leopard geckos are strictly carnivorous, in particular insectivorous, they don’t eat fruits or vegetation. In fact, in the wild, they eat small mammals such as mice and other small lizards but not plants.
They get all their nutrients from the insects and worms you will feed them and many insects you can buy are practically starving. Gut loading is, therefore, a must.
Additionally, you can dust the insects with supplement powder such as Zoo Med Reptile Calcium with Vitamin D3 before feeding them to the leopard gecko. Other important supplements include Zilla Vitamin Supplement Food Spray (multivitamin), and Repashy Calcium Plus.
If your leopard gecko isn’t eating, check this video out.
It’s important to remember that insectivorous lizards like leopard geckos thrive on a diet of insects, and a mineral supplement is often necessary to meet their high calcium requirement.
Caring for your gecko is not complicated. Just ensure that they are well-fed and well-hydrated. The water bowl has to be shallow so the gecko doesn’t accidentally drown in it.
Since they are indoor pets, provide them with the supplements they need. Never pour the supplement into their drinking water as this can cause the leopard gecko to absorb too much calcium.
Dust the insects with the supplement right before feeding them to the gecko. Similarly, you have to gut load the insects and the worms as already explained. Maintaining the right size and variety of insects in your leopard gecko’s enclosure is the best way to ensure they’re getting a proper diet.
Below you can learn about everything related to Leo’s and also the potential for serious health problems in leopard geckos when fed the wrong type of food and how to ensure a healthy diet for your pet.
More Leopard Gecko Stuff
Care & Overviews
- Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
- Best treats for leopard geckos
- Different types of leopard gecko morphs
- How to breed leopard geckos
- Leopard gecko vs Crested geckos
- All about leopard gecko eyes
- How Much Do Leopard Geckos Cost?
- Different types of crested geckos
Health & Anatomy
- Skin Infections in Leo’s
- Leopard Geckos and Parasites
- Prolapse in Leopard Geckos
- Leopard Gecko Shedding
- Is my leopard gecko fat?
- Identify & treat leopard gecko mouth rot
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