Are you confused about exactly what your leopard gecko needs in its diet?
Do you want to make sure your leopard gecko is getting enough to eat?
Diet is key for all pets to live a long and healthy life, but leopard geckos have a different rule for eating than many other pets do.
It may be not very clear for new owners, but we’re here to help with this guide to how much to feed a leopard gecko.
Leopard geckos need to eat every other day as adults and every day as juveniles and babies. They need to eat two appropriately-sized insects for every inch they are long.
Check out the rest of the article for more details.
Table of Contents
The Golden Rule: How Much To Feed A Leopard Gecko
Leopard gecko diet is based on different elements than many other reptile pets.
The “Golden Rule” of the leopard gecko diet contains three essential elements.
- Appropriately-sized insects
- 2 for every inch they are long
- Every other day for adults (around 1-year-old and above) and every day for juveniles and babies
Let’s unpack this.
Appropriately-sized insects are ones that are close in size to the distance between the reptile’s eyes but never any larger.
The most common insects with leopard geckos are crickets and mealworms.
Learn more about what leopard geckos eat.
With young and small leopard geckos, not every common insect will work.
These are often too big.
Crickets are usually the best with this size of a gecko.
As they get bigger, the geckos can expand their diet into other areas, including the popular dubia roach.
How Many Insects
The rule of 2 insects per every inch is the hard and fast rule.
It’s not good to overfeed your pets (more on this later).
Measure the gecko from the nose to the base of the tail. Don’t measure the tail.
A leopard gecko’s tail stores extra calories and fat, sure, but they’re also intended to fall off and wiggle when they’re being hunted.
For this reason, we don’t include the tail in our measurements.
After this, it’s simple to double the number of inches and get to what you need to feed your pet.
Leopard geckos have two main numbers to look at when knowing how often to feed them.
For leopard geckos under 1-year-old (considered juvenile or baby geckos), feed them one meal every day.
At each meal, you feed them, as we discussed above.
For leopard geckos above 1-year-old (considered adults), feed them one meal every other day.
For more details, check out how often to feed a leopard gecko.
Age By Age: How Much To Feed A Leopard Gecko
With these ideas in mind, you’ll have a good idea of precisely what, when, and how much to feed your leopard gecko.
This chart covers frequency and amount based on age/size.
Remember, all insects must be close to but not larger than the distance between the leopard gecko’s eyes.
|Age/Size||Amount Of Insects||Frequency|
|Born/ 3″ inches||6 insects||Every day|
|1 month / 4″ inches||8 insects||Every day|
|3 months / 5″ inches||10 insects||Every day|
|6 months / 6″ inches||12 insects||Every day|
|9 months / 7″ inches||14 insects||Every day/every other day (let the gecko tell you how much it wants to eat)|
|1 year / 8″ inches||16 insects||Every other day|
|18 months/ 10″ inches||20 insects||Every other day|
Note: The growth rate differs much based on gender, diet, humidity, light exposure, etc.
This is a generalization.
Can You Overfeed a Leopard Gecko?
Remember the rule of 2 insects for every inch.
They shouldn’t be fed more than this unless you’re planning on breeding females OR after a female lays eggs.
Overfeeding makes the leopard gecko obese.
This puts pressure on the body’s functions and, just as with people, makes them more prone to health issues and shortens their lifespan.
This is extra dangerous if the gecko has lost its tail recently because there isn’t a place to store the extra fat and calories.
If you notice the gecko “pudging out,” lower the number of insects used by 3-5 (unless they’re under six months old) for a week.
On the other hand, if you notice the bones and ribs of the gecko showing through, but you’re still feeding them according to our recommended amount, you’ll need to check on the pet.
- Make sure the insects are close in size to the distance between their eyes.
- Look for changes in feces and get them checked for parasites.
How Should I Feed My Leopard Gecko?
Feeding a leopard gecko is easy!
These guys love live insects, so make sure you use live ones as much as possible.
Put 1-2 insects in the tank at a time and watch them hunt.
It’s OK and good for taming a leopard gecko to feed them by hand.
Keep your fingers on the end of the insect, and don’t jerk your hand away when the gecko bites at it.
Quick movements may startle the reptile, and in worst cases, make it drop its tail.
If your leopard gecko does drop its tail don’t panic and instead read our post on what to do when your leopard gecko drops its tail.
Continue adding 1-2 insects until you reach the recommended amount according to their size.
If they are reluctant to eat as you get close to the number, this is OK. Just let it be.
If they don’t eat much at all and are far from the recommended amount, it’s time to check your pet.
For those reptiles close to the 6-9 month mark in age, they may be transitioning to every other day feedings.
When you see signs of shedding, they won’t eat either. Look for paling skin and cloudy eyes.
When you see a consistent lack of appetite, they may be ill. A trip to the vet is in order.
We hope you found this guide for how much to feed a leopard gecko helpful.
It may seem like a lot, but two insects for every inch is the standard for leopard geckos.
In the wild, these geckos are great insect hunters at the twilight times (dawn and dusk), which is an active insect time as well.
But if you follow our recommendations, your pets are sure to live happy lives.