The 5 Best Food for Leopard Geckos
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Leopard geckos make very interesting pets because of their unique colorations and friendly personalities. These little reptiles are easy to find in pet stores and reptile shows, and they do quite well in moderately sized habitats as long as their basic needs are met. On top of providing your gecko with a proper habitat, you also need to think about meeting its nutritional needs with a healthy, balanced diet.
In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of feeding leopard geckos and provide some tips for choosing the best leopard gecko food. You’ll also see our top 5 picks for the best leopard gecko food.
What To Look For In Food For Leopard Geckos?
Though leopard geckos are fairly small, they have big appetites and will eat just about any insect you put them in front of them. This being the case, it is your job as a responsible pet owner to make sure your gecko’s needs are met without overfeeding. You should plan to provide your leopard gecko with a varied diet of different insects to ensure nutritional balance.
Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In Leopard Gecko Food:
- All-natural. Natural, live insects should be the staple of your gecko’s diet. They should be fresh and alive, rather than freeze-dried or dehydrated.
- Properly sized. As your leopard gecko grows, you can feed it larger and larger insects. Baby geckos need insects about 3/8 inches, juvenile geckos up to ¼ inch, and adults larger insects.
- Gut-loaded. Before feeding your gecko any insects, they should be gut-loaded, either yourself or before you purchase them. This simply involves feeding the insects healthy foods so the nutrients will be transferred to your leopard gecko.
- Nutrient-enriched. In addition to feeding your gecko’s insects healthy food to gut-load them, you should also consider dusting them with a reptile nutrient powder to help ensure that your gecko gets the nutrients it needs in the proper amounts.
Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a leopard gecko food, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best leopard gecko foods.
Here Are Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Leopard Gecko Food:
When it comes to creating a staple diet for your leopard gecko, crickets are definitely an insect to include. These insects come in a wide range of sizes and they are one of the easiest insects to find and one of the most affordable. Crickets are very high in protein and low in fat, plus they are easy to gut-load so you can give your gecko all the nutrients it needs.
Mealworms are a staple insect for most reptiles, but you do need to be careful with them. They are very high in protein which is good news, but they also contain a significant amount of fat. Compared to other insects, however, they are much less messy and don’t tend to have an unpleasant odor. Meal worms are very affordable and easy to find as well, though they need to be dusted with mineral powder because they are trick to gut-load and they have a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Leopard geckos love wax worms, but that doesn’t mean you should feed them every day. These worms are very high in fat and fairly low in protein, so they shouldn’t make up a significant portion of your gecko’s daily diet. The good news is that they are easy to find and very cheap, so you can use them to jump-start feeding or to entice a sick or picky gecko to eat.
When you first look at these worms, you might assume that they have the same nutritional makeup of wax worms. In reality, however, butter worms are very high in protein and low in fat – they also have high calcium levels. Butter worms are very easy to store, as well, so you can purchase them in bulk to save money without worrying about the worms dying. They are a little challenging to gut-load, however, so be mindful of that and find other ways to balance your gecko’s daily diet.
If you’re looking for another option for your gecko leopard that isn’t too high in fat, consider Dubai roaches. These insects are very high in protein and low in fat, making them an excellent choice for daily feeding. You’ll also be glad to know that these beetles are very easy to gut-load, so they can be very nutritious for your gecko. They are also easy to breed at home, which is good news considering that they can be fairly expensive to purchase.
Tips For Feeding A Leopard Gecko
You may be surprised to learn that leopard geckos are insectivores, not omnivores like other reptiles. This means that they have a biological need for insects as the foundation of their diet. Leopard geckos don’t possess a functioning cecum, the part of the digestive tract that digests cellulose (plant fiber). This being the case, you should feed your gecko a variety of different insects.
Here Are Some Simple Tips For Feeding A Leopard Gecko Properly:
- Provide your leopard gecko with a variety of insects – crickets, mealworms, waxworms, butterworms, beetles, and cockroaches are great options.
- Choose your insects according to your leopard gecko’s size – baby geckos need much smaller insects than adult geckos.
- Reserve high-fat insects like butterworms and waxworms for occasional treats – too many of these high-fat insects can cause your gecko to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.
- Young geckos should be fed once a day while adults should be fed every other day – it is best to feed in the late afternoon or early evening when geckos tend to hunt in the wild.
- Feed your leopard gecko about two insects for every inch of length – remember to choose the right size insects and don’t overfeed your gecko.
- Never feed your leopard gecko fruit or vegetables – these reptiles are insectivores which means they can only digest insects.
Now that you have a better understanding of the nutritional needs for leopard geckos, you’re ready to start shopping for leopard gecko food. Take what you’ve learned here and put it to work in choosing the best food for your pet leopard gecko.
Leopard geckos may not be the biggest reptiles out there, but they have voracious appetites. These little lizards will eat just about any insect they can get, so it is your job to make sure your pet gets a balanced diet. Take what you’ve learned here about the nutritional needs of your leopard gecko and choose the right live foods to formulate its staple diet.
If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for a leopard gecko food, try out one of the top 5 best leopard gecko foods we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!