Do you worry your leopard gecko isn’t getting the best food possible?
Are you new to owning a leopard gecko and aren’t sure what it should be eating?
If you are concerned about your leopard gecko’s eating habits, you might wonder:
What is the best leopard gecko food?
While you should make sure your leopard gecko is given a varied diet of insects, the best insects to feed your leopard gecko are crickets and mealworms.
Making sure you are giving your leopard gecko the right food is a significant concern for most pet owners, but we are here to take the guesswork out of the equation.
Keep reading this post for everything you need to know about the best food for your leopard gecko.
Table of Contents
Best Leopard Gecko Food
Leopard geckos survive on a diet of insects.
When it comes to choosing food for your leopard gecko, you will notice there are many options to choose from, but what is best?
The best insects available to feed your leopard geckos are either crickets or mealworms.
Crickets are probably the most popular food to give to leopard geckos.
They are easily accessible, inexpensive, and they are very nutritious when fed to your pet.
The other good news is these insects are easy to gut load.
Gut loading is the process of feeding the insects all the proper nutrition you want your pet to take in, but can’t directly eat.
They don’t take it directly because they will not eat and cannot digest the veggies, fruits, and leafy greens you give to the insects.
Once the leopard gecko eats the insects, they absorb the nutrients fed to the insects shortly before they are eaten.
But besides the easy ability to gut load crickets, they are very high in protein and low in fat.
A winning combination for your Leo’s diet.
As an added benefit, their movements and active nature stimulate your leopard geckos desire to feed.
Keep in mind, with crickets, remove any leftover from your Leo’s meal about 20 minutes after you originally add them to the cage.
If left to roam about the cage after the gecko is full, the crickets could bite your pet.
Mealworms are another great option for feeding your leopard gecko.
They have the added benefit of not making any chirping noises like the crickets, and you also won’t have the risk of your gecko being bitten.
Mealworms, like crickets, are high in protein and are just as affordable and easy to find locally or online.
With the mealworms, you will be able to place them in a dish in the leopard gecko’s enclosure, and they will sit there, not getting away, waiting for your pet to get hungry.
But this lack of movement may not provide enough stimulation for some leopard geckos to want to eat.
Mealworms have a long lifespan, and it’s increased by refrigerating them.
They are also easy to breed, should you decide to start your own insect farm at home, reduce the costs, and have a constant supply of insects on hand.
Another thing to note is mealworms are higher in fat and are a bit tougher to digest than crickets, but the benefits of mealworms still put them as one of the two top choices for feeding your leopard gecko.
What Else Will My Leopard Gecko Eat?
We said above, leopard geckos do best on a varied diet of insects, but you can’t get there with just crickets and mealworms.
Also, feed them several other insects to round out their diet, give them treats, or help them fatten up if they have recently lost weight or have been sick.
Some of these insects include:
- Tomato Hornworms
We highly recommend saving waxworks, butterworms, and superworms as treats fed only so often.
These worms are very high in fat and can lead to obesity in a gecko if given too often.
Some leopard geckos have also been known to become addicted to them, and refuse to eat any other food.
This would be like if you were addicted to and would only eat cake or potato chips.
It just isn’t healthy.
They do have some benefits, though, so they should be included for a well-rounded diet.
Superworms, for example, are very high in calcium and are easy for your pet to digest.
A well-rounded diet with insects dusted for supplements or gut loaded will ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need to have a healthy life.
Tips For Proper Feeding
When you feed your leopard gecko, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure they are not overfed, or fed insects too large for them to digest.
Leopard geckos should be fed insects no larger than the space between their eyes.
This will reduce the risk of them choking or regurgitating the food.
Besides worrying about the size of the food, you will also need to consider the number of insects you give the gecko at each feeding.
A good rule of thumb is to give your leopard gecko two insects per inch of body length.
For example, if your leopard gecko is 3″ inches long, it would need to be fed six insects at each feeding, and if it is 5″ inches long, opt for ten insects at each meal.
These two rules regarding the size and number of insects apply to a leopard gecko no matter the age.
Whether you have a hatchling or a full-grown adult, use those two tips to feed your gecko.
There is a difference in the feeding schedule of your leopard geckos depending on their age.
When they are babies and juveniles, the leopard geckos will need to be fed insects daily.
As your juvenile Leo grows, it is a good idea to start skipping a day at least once a week, to help it wean off the daily schedule.
This is because adult leopard geckos are fed every other day, and skipping meals will help prepare the juvenile Leo for this.
Here’s another post of ours on how much to feed leopard geckos that gives you detailed information on feeding frequency.
What Should I Avoid Feeding My Leopard Gecko?
When it comes to understanding proper feeding habits, it is crucial to understand what your leopard gecko should not eat.
All of the insects you give to your leopard gecko should be live.
Never feed them dead or dried insects.
We also recommend avoiding feeding your leopard gecko any insects you catch running around your house or outside.
They may have picked up some parasites or been exposed to chemicals or pesticides.
This all, in turn, will be passed along to your pet and could cause sickness or even death.
While this is not always going to happen, we can’t see taking the added risk coming from feeding wild-caught insects.
There are some insects you absolutely cannot feed to your Leo.
Lightning bugs or fireflies are among the most harmful insects.
Bugs producing light like those, contain chemicals harmful to leopard geckos, and should never be used as food for them.
Additionally, leopard geckos cannot eat fruit and vegetables.
These animals are insectivores and actually can’t digest anything other than the meat insects provide.
Their bodies just aren’t made to digest things like veggies or fruits or even leafy greens.
It is best to stick to insects because this is what they naturally want to eat and can digest.
Why Isn’t My Leopard Gecko Eating?
If you have noticed your leopard gecko isn’t interested in eating when you feed it, there are a few things you should look at before you begin to panic.
The first thing you should check is the temperature of the tank.
Your Leo is cold-blooded, which means they need the exterior temperature to be warm to help their body function properly.
Ensure the temperature is just right with the basking or warm side in the 88° to 92° degrees Fahrenheit range (31° – 33° C).
Stress is another reason your Leo might not be interested in eating.
This is a common issue, especially when you first bring the leopard gecko into your home.
Be sure you equip the tank with plenty of hides to allow them to retreat to help with stress.
Dehydration may also be the culprit when your pet refuses to eat.
Make sure there is a constant supply of fresh water in the tank to avoid dehydration.
If you have checked these things and are still having issues with your Leo eating, contact your veterinarian for help.
They could identify an underlying issue you aren’t aware of.
Leopard gecko care and feeding is not extremely complicated, but it is a good idea to do some research to make sure you are doing everything right.
If you are looking for the ideal food to give your Leo, turn to crickets or mealworms, but don’t forget to add in the occasional other insects to provide them with some variety, a treat, or added nutrition.
After reading this, we hope you have a better idea of what you should be feeding your leopard gecko.