Do you want to know about the staple food of the leopard gecko?
Are you worrying you’re feeding your new pet too much or too little?
Crickets are the most common food for many reptiles, including the leopard gecko.
They’re a vital part of a healthy diet, but knowing how many crickets to feed a leopard gecko may not be obvious.
The number of crickets your leopard gecko will be able to eat per day safely will depend on their age. Baby geckos should eat around four to eight small crickets daily, while adults should be fed about six to ten large crickets every two days or as many as they will eat in 10 minutes.
For more details on this topic, check out the rest of the article.
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Exactly How Many Crickets To Feed A Leopard Gecko As Part Of A Healthy Diet
The rules for a healthy leopard gecko diet apply to all nutritious insects, including insects such as mealworms, dubia roaches, and, yes, crickets.
For every meal, leopard geckos need to eat two insects for every inch they are long.
For example, an 8″ inch gecko would need to eat 16 crickets at its meal.
By the same math, a 3″ inch gecko needs to eat six crickets at its meal.
For baby leopard geckos, they can eat once per day.
Learn more about how to take care of a baby leopard gecko.
Adult geckos only need to be fed once every other day.
All insects, including crickets, need to be the correct size.
For leopard geckos, you need to look at their eyes.
Insects should be no larger than the space between their eyes.
Get as close as possible to this size without going over.
This will give your leopard gecko enough food to sustain them without choking them.
You may also want to learn about how long a leopard gecko can go without eating.
Why Are Crickets A Popular Staple Food?
When pet owners use the phrase “staple food,” they mean a food source that can make up most of or all the pet’s diet.
With leopard geckos, cricket is the most common staple food.
Mealworms are a close second.
But why use crickets? Why do so many reptiles use crickets as their staple food?
Higher Protein, Lower Fat
First, the crickets are healthier than many other “pest” insects.
Protein is an essential nutrient to get from insects.
Insectivores like the leopard gecko need a lot of protein.
Most insects will offer reasonable amounts of protein, but how much fat there is in the insect also needs to be considered.
If the protein-fat ratio is too high in fat, the gecko will get obese and bring with it a whole host of health issues and shorter life spans.
Cricket isn’t extremely high in protein, but it is low in fat.
This ratio is good enough to make it a healthy staple food choice.
Another significant consideration for staple foods is the cost.
Pets need to eat all the time, so an expensive insect may not be the best choice for those on a budget.
Crickets are one of the top choices for so many pets, and as such, pet stores and online dealers have built an abundant supply.
This means the overall cost of crickets will be lower than any other insect you wish to choose.
Over the life of the leopard gecko, you’ll end up saving quite a bit of money.
When using live insects, some will require so much care; it’s almost as if you have another pet.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Crickets can keep in containers with many other crickets.
They only require a little feed and stay alive for quite a while.
For most owners, the last thing they want to worry about is caring for the food they’re giving their pets.
Low Extra Nutrition, But Easy To Gut Load
One of the defining characteristics of a food is its extra nutritional value.
For reptiles, the most important of these is calcium.
Reptiles tend to develop calcium deficiencies in captivity.
This may develop into a more severe illness called metabolic one disease.
In this disease, the skeletal structure is so weakened the leopard geckos bones will break and deform much easier.
In the worst cases, the leopard gecko may die.
This is easily avoidable by providing foods higher in calcium.
Crickets don’t seem to fit the bill right away.
They don’t have a lot of extra calcium and nutrients.
This is fixed with a simple vitamin powder sprinkled on before feeding.
Even this, though, isn’t as effective as natural nutrition.
Fortunately, crickets are among the easiest insects to gut load.
Gut loading is when you feed the insect high calcium and high nutrient meal 24 hours before providing them to the gecko.
This allows for extra calcium to be in their systems when eaten.
It’s a more effective and healthy way to get extra nutrients for your pet.
It’s not hard to do, but it does require some forethought as the crickets need to be gut loaded before they’re fed to the reptile.
Gut-loading foods are as simple as adding collard greens or kale to their feed.
We recommend a high calcium cricket feed like this one for maximum effect.
Knowing how many crickets to feed a leopard gecko is an essential part of giving your pet the best life possible.
Remember the golden rule for leopard geckos:
Feed them two correctly-sized crickets for every inch they are long at each meal.
For most adult leopard geckos, this will mean over a dozen crickets at each meal!
This may seem like a lot to you, but it’s actually what they need.
Also, make sure you provide either a powder supplement or gut load the crickets to boost the calcium it needs.
And if you notice your pet opening their mouth repeatedly after eating, they’re usually just dislodging some leftover cricket in their mouth, and it looks like yawning.
If this behavior continues for too long, read our post on the leopard gecko yawn because there’s a chance it could be something more serious.