Proper Diet is possibly, what will make your Leopard Gecko healthy and happy every day – but they are crepuscular. Leopard Gecko are small and attractive insectivorous reptile that are easier to take care of. Improper food administration may adversely affect their health.
So, what do Leopard Gecko eat? The direct answer is, Leopard Gecko mainly eat insects such as cockroaches, superworms, mealworms or crickets.
Leopard Geckos can also feed on silkworms, tomato hornworms, waxworms, beetles, sow bugs and butterworms. Leopard Gecko do not feed on any vegetables or plant extracts.
What Does Leopard Gecko Eat?
Leopard Gecko is an insectivorous animal (reptile) that mainly feeds on insects such as mealworms, crickets, cockroaches, superworms or beetle. These insects provides strong nutrients that helps the Leopard Gecko in body building and energy provision – they are rich in proteins and carbohydrates.
Most of these insects are readily available in various climatic conditions (regions) and can be acquired commercially too. Normally, Leopard Gecko do not feed on vegetables or plants extracts.
Below is a detailed information on the best feed you can use for Leopard Gecko:
These are primary source of food for Leopard Gecko that have very high content of fat. They have low or poor calcium-to-phosphorous ratio. Mealworms are easier to raise at home since they multiply rapidly. Never feed your Leopard Gecko with mealworm beetle. They have shells that cause impaction due to indigestion problems.
Tropical Cockroaches are the best tropical insects to use when feeding your Leopard Gecko within tropics. The best cockroach species is Dubia roaches. These are easier raise – they multiply very fast as long as proper hideouts and temperature is provided. Moreover, it has excellent nutrients necessary for your Leopard Gecko.
Dubia roaches and Turkestan cockroaches move slowly and are unable to climb walls – this makes is easier to collect them as food when needed.
Do not feed your Leopard Gecko with cockroaches found in your shower/bathroom or damp areas – these are usually non-nutritious and poisonous.
Crickets are known to have a relatively good amount of proteins for your Leopard Gecko’s growth unlike the mealworms and roaches. They have low fat content and can easily be dusted with other artificial food supplements when feeding your Leopard Gecko.
Crickets are popular since their movement, behavior and biting gives Leopard Gecko a chance to acquire hunting skills.
These worms are suitable for the sick Leopard Gecko and young ones since they contain a lot of proteins and fat.
They should be fed to adult Leopard Gecko once after every two or three week to prevent it from being obese. Waxworms can really be addictive to your Leopard Gecko.
5. Silk Worm
This is a very nutritious feed that will heal wounds and boost immunity of your Leopard Gecko. They multiply very fast provided proper/optimum temperature is maintained. However, Silk worms only live a few weeks (you will need to order a few frequently).
Nevertheless, Crickets may be cumbersome to rare. They keep jumping out of the nest and often make a lot of noise. However, you can make a good breed if you instill proper care on crickets.
When collecting these insects from the fields, ensure that you do not pick them from places that are sprayed by any pesticide. It is also necessary that you may collect species that are recommended by vet.
You can also feed your Leopard Gecko on artificially made food. This act as decoy to Leopard Gecko that have less appetite for live insects.
In addition, they contain necessary vitamins (vitamin D3 supplement) and calcium that is vital for the growth of your Leopard Gecko.
Related: What Does a Garden Lizard Eat?
How Do You Feed Gecko?
Prepare a routine schedule that will be used while feeding your Leopard Gecko to ensure that it eats balance diet always. Do not feed Leopard Gecko with dead prey (they won’t eat) or any vegetable/plant extracts.
It is necessary to feed Leopard Gecko early in the morning or late evening. This is best time since most of them naturally hunts this time.
However, this may not be the only fixed time since change in climate may affects the feeding habit of your Leopard Gecko. Therefore, you will need to have a flexible routine for your Leopard Gecko’s feeding Schedule that may accommodate such changes.
Do not overfeed your Leopard Gecko. This may lead to weight accumulation at its tail section and stomach adipose tissues. The Leopard Gecko uses this fatty storage during its hibernation time. An overfed Leopard Gecko has broader tail than body and a large protruding stomach. It is sometime unable to move normally.
In case you note that, your Leopard Gecko is gaining weight abnormally, cut off the diet with fatty insects until it acquires the appropriate size.
When feeding the Leopard Gecko, place the insects in a shallow bowl or dish and push it as close as possible to Leopard Gecko. Place 2 or 3 insect at time.
Once the Leopard Gecko is fully fed, it will stop feeding. However, some tend to continue to feed though at slower pace – stop feeding it if you note such signs. A mature healthy Leopard Gecko would be full if fed for 5 to 25 minutes.
Feed young and sick Leopard Gecko 2 to 4 times in a day while healthy adults should be fed once or twice per day. Avoid leaving live insects such as cricket in the feeding bowl – they can crawl on the Leopard Gecko and bite it.
Which Size of Food Should be Fed to Leopard Gecko?
Do not feed Leopard Gecko with very large insects. It will have difficulties while digesting them. For young Leopard Gecko, select smallest insects available (around 3/8 inches).
Those Juvenile Leopard Geckos to be fed with medium size insects (1/4 inch) while the mature Leopard Gecko eat sizable adult insects.
How Often Do Leopard Gecko Feed?
Though Leopard Gecko has great appetite for insects, it does not eat every hour like most animals. Young Leopard Gecko needs a lot of energy for growth and movement.
It should be fed for 2 to 4 times per day. Two to seven small insects are enough to satisfy young Leopard Gecko in a single meal.
The sick Leopard Gecko should be fed according to instructions given by the vet. However, in normal cases, sick Leopard Gecko should be fed 2 to 6 times a day to improve its health status. The food can be mixed with medicine being administered. Give them approximate 18 insects per day.
For adult Leopard Gecko, feed it one time per day or thrice per week is enough. Adult Leopard Gecko can be satisfied when fed with 4 to 7 sizable insects.
Just in case Leopard Gecko has Problem with feeding habits, you can try to leave some of the harmless insects in a bowl (deep enough that insects can’t crawl out) for Leopard Gecko to feed on during its free time.
NB: Do not feed you Leopard with insects that is larger/longer than the space between its eyes (thumb rule).
Related: What Do Baby Lizards Eat?
Which Food Should You Avoid Giving Your Leopard Gecko?
Leopard Gecko is very sensitive to chemical and pesticide. Every food that is fed to Leopard Gecko should be vet recommended. You should not feed your Leopard Gecko with fireflies, fire lighting bugs or any insects that glow.
These insects or bug contains toxic chemical (the chemical that make them to glow) that makes your Leopard Gecko sick. The toxins from the glowing insects have no known treatment and therefore most Leopard Gecko die in minutes.
Avoid feeding your Leopard Gecko with insects caught away from your home or in the fields. These feeds may contain infections, parasites or pesticides that may be toxic to your Leopard Gecko.
How Long Can a Leopard Gecko Live Without Food?
As a reptile, Leopard Gecko is able to hibernated and live for 1 to 3 months without moving out to search for food.
However, before winter, the Leopard Gecko usually store enough food inform of fat that is used during hibernation.
In normal times, an adult Leopard Gecko can go without food for 10 to 20 days.
Leopard Gecko is a small attractive reptile that feeds on insects such as mealworms, crickets, cockroaches, silkworms, waxworms or super worms.
You can also feed your Leopard Gecko with artificial feeds that are dusted over the natural food to give it vitamin (D3) supplements. Avoid feeding your Leopard Gecko with feeds not approved by vet.