Leopard geckos are insectivores, and a steady diet of gut-loaded insects will keep them healthy.
Staple insect feeders such as crickets and dubia roaches are usually supplemented with fatty insects like superworms and waxworms as treats.
In addition to properly gut loading feeder insects for optimal nutrition, it is also important to maintain a steady feeding schedule.
So how often do you need to feed your leopard gecko?
Feed a baby leopard gecko 5-7 small crickets or mealworms every day until the lizard is 4” inches long. A juvenile leopard gecko needs to be fed larger insects every other day until 10-12 months of age. Adult leopard geckos will eat 6-7 larger insects up to three times per week.
Once the geckos become adults, their growth slows down, and 2-3 feeding sessions per week is all they need to maintain their health.
Read on to learn more about how often to feed your leopard gecko, as well as the importance of a nutritious diet to your reptile’s health.
How Often Do You Feed A Leopard Gecko?
If you consider taking a leopard gecko into your home, you will soon realize a food schedule is an essential part of properly taking care of your new pet.
An adult leopard gecko should be fed every other day.
They will need to be fed properly sized insects during each feeding to ensure they are getting the right amount of nutrition.
Juvenile and hatchling leopard geckos will need to have a meal every day, but for juveniles, skip a day at least once a week to start weaning them onto the every other day schedule they will have as an adult.
It is a great idea to create a feeding schedule according to these timelines to keep your leopard gecko at peak healthiness.
We all run into craziness sometimes, and keeping a schedule is just another reminder to you to stop and stay on track with your pet.
A written schedule will help you keep up with not only when you need to have feedings, but also what kind of a feeder insect you need to give the leopard gecko and precisely what they need to have a well-balanced and healthy diet.
A healthy gecko is a happy gecko, so keep feeding your pet along with the schedule of every other day for adults and every day for hatchlings and juveniles.
Learn about signs of a happy leopard gecko.
Leopard Gecko Feeding Table
As a general rule, your leopard gecko needs to eat two insects per inch of body length to maintain a healthy weight and encourage growth.
The following table shows how often and how much to feed your gecko according to its age and size.
|Age||Size||Amount of Food||Feeding Frequency|
|Hatchling/Baby Leopard Geckos||3” inches||6 insects||Every day|
|1 month||4” inches||8 insects||Every day|
|3 months/Juvenile Leopard Geckos||5” inches||10 insects||Every day|
|6 months||6” inches||12 insects||Every day|
|9 months||7” inches||14 insects||4-5 times per week|
|1 year||8” inches||16 insects||Every other day|
|18+ months||10”+ inches||20 insects||2-3 times per week|
Is It Possible To Overfeed Your Leopard Gecko?
Most leopard geckos will stop eating when they are no longer hungry, but it is still possible to overfeed them.
Feeding your leopard gecko too often or including too many fatty insects in its diet will cause your lizard to become overweight.
Overfeeding your leo may also lead to digestive issues and regurgitation.
The average weight for a leopard gecko is between 45-65 grams, with larger species, such as the giant leopard gecko, weighing 100-120 grams.
Anything higher than these average weight ranges is considered overweight.
Leopard geckos store excess body fat in their tails, so it is often difficult to know if you are overfeeding your lizard right away.
When a gecko is unable to store any more fat in its tail, it will begin to deposit fat in the organs and other parts of the body.
These fat deposits may cause a leopard gecko to develop fatty liver disease, which is a very serious and often fatal illness.
Signs of an overweight leopard gecko include fat rolls on the belly, chunky legs, and air bubbles in the armpits.
If you suspect your gecko is overweight, do not put your pet on a diet until you have consulted a veterinarian for a thorough examination and proper diet recommendation.
What Do I Feed A Leopard Gecko?
Leopard geckos survive on a diet of insects and nothing else.
They don’t like, want, or need the occasional vegetable, fruit, or leafy green.
Their bodies don’t digest it, and they don’t want those kinds of things.
Your gecko will go best with a varied diet of insects, including crickets and mealworms, the most common choices for leopard geckos.
Other staple insects your gecko might like include mealworms, silkworms, and hornworms.
There are some other insects to offer your leopard gecko as a special treat, but these shouldn’t be something you do every day.
Waxworms, butterworms, and superworms are high in fat, and your leopard gecko will find them especially tasty.
When fed these worms too often, some leopard geckos have been known to become addicted and refuse to eat anything else.
Because these insects are so high in fat content, they are not healthy for them to have every day, but again, they are a great treat or even a supplement if your leopard gecko is a little on the thin side.
When you are picking insects to feed to your leopard gecko, make sure you choose the appropriate size and number per feeding.
The insects should be no bigger than the space between the eyes of your leopard gecko.
As a helpful tip, the number of insects you give your gecko each feeding is directly related to the animal’s size.
Leopard geckos should be fed two insects per inch of their length.
This means, if you have a 4″ inch leopard gecko, they will be given eight insects per feeding.
And don’t worry about this trick applying only to adult members of this species, because this rule applies at any age.
Making The Most Of The Food
Though we mentioned a varied diet to get the leopard gecko the proper nutrition, you will also need to look at supplementing and gut loading the insects to pack even more nutrients into their meals.
Supplement each meal by applying a nutrient dusting to the insects just before feeding.
You might dust the food with calcium, vitamin D, or other multivitamin supplements.
Check out our leopard gecko calcium guide.
This dusting should be something else you add to your established feeding schedule as over supplementing can result in toxicity and other serious health issues.
Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.
In addition to dusting the insects with supplements, add more nutritional value to each insect by gut loading.
Gut loading the insects involves feeding the insects foods containing a high nutritional value just before they are added to your leopard gecko’s tank.
Those veggies, fruits, and leafy greens we talked about above, the ones your gecko won’t eat, well the insect will and all the good stuff those foods contain will now be in the insects’ system.
Find out other reasons your leopard gecko won’t eat in our article at the link.
Once the leopard gecko consumes the insect, it will absorb all of the high nutrients the insects carry.
This ability to pass on nutrients and other things to the gecko can backfire.
We highly recommend never feeding your leopard gecko any insects you happen to catch in the wild.
They can carry parasites, pesticides, and other chemicals picked up along the way.
This puts your leopard gecko at risk of getting sick or even dying if they absorb too much of a harmful chemical.
Learn more about the most common leopard gecko parasites in our other article if you believe your pet may have one.
Feeder insects are readily available, so to reduce the risk, use them.
Leopard geckos are not tricky pets to care for, but a regular feeding schedule will ensure they stay at top health.
Daily feedings for hatchlings and juveniles, with the occasional skipped day to wean those juveniles off of daily feedings, and every other day feedings for adults will help you keep your leopard gecko around happy and healthy for a long time.
Check out our care sheets for leopard geckos for a quick-reference guide on caring for them.
Commonly Asked Questions
How long can leopard geckos go without food?
An adult leopard gecko is able to go without food for 10-14 days.
During this time, the gecko will survive on the fat stores in its tail.
Younger leopard geckos are only able to live for a maximum of 10 days without food since they do not have as much fat storage as an adult.
What time should I feed my leopard gecko?
Leopard geckos are often believed to be nocturnal, but they are actually crepuscular creatures.
This means the gecko is the most active between the hours of dusk and dawn.
It is best to feed your leo in the evening hours after sunset. This time period is when the gecko would hunt in the wild, and the reptile would be rested after sleeping during the day.
Is it oK to leave crickets in with my leopard gecko?
Never leave live crickets in your leopard gecko’s enclosure.
A good rule of thumb is to remove any uneaten insects from your leo’s tank after 15 minutes.
Be sure to thoroughly check the enclosure to make sure no crickets are hiding.
Crickets are very aggressive, and they may bite your gecko, causing severe injury.