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How to Feed a Pet Leopard Gecko

Updated on April 18, 2013
Source

The Size of Prey

The size of prey that a leopard gecko can devour, depends on the size of the gecko. The size of the prey that one feed a pet leopard gecko should be no longer than the length and should be half the width of the leopard geckos head. Baby geckos should be fed small meal worms or small crickets. Mid-sized geckos should be fed large cricket, medium to large meal worms, and/or small to medium super worms. Adult geckos should be fed large crickets, large meal worms, large super worms, and/or pink mice (pink mice should only be offered to adult geckos no more than once per month due to the fact that pink mice are very fattening).

Leopard Gecko Diet Selection

There is a large variety of insects when it comes to feeding a leopard gecko.

  • Crickets

  • Wax worms

  • Meal worms

  • Super worms (adult geckos only)

  • Pink mice (adult geckos only)

The best diet for leopard geckos are the appropriate sized, commercially raised crickets and meal worms. Adult geckos can eat a more variety of foods which may include super worms and/or pink mice. He market today offers owners with a variety of dried and frozen meal options for leopard geckos. Most geckos need to be conditioned to eat dried and/or frozen prey. Some geckos take to these stagnant food options, others refuse to eat them (it all depends on the individual geckos food preference).

How to Prepare Leopard Gecko Food

Upon purchase of live leopard gecko food it is important to gut load crickets or meals worms prior to feeding a leopard gecko pet. To gut load live food for a leopard gecko, put the crickets, meal worms, etc in a plastic container and provide high quality food for the bugs to eat (before feeding them to a gecko). There are commercial cricket meals and gut load that are filled with vitamins and minerals that are essential for a leopard gecko to consume. One can also gut load gecko food by placing carrots, orange slices, and kale in the plastic container overnight with the gecko live gecko food (these foods will also provide necessary water to keep the bugs alive).

Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation

Leopard geckos are very tolerant creatures to do not require as much vitamin and mineral supplementation as other lizards do. One essential supplementation that leopard geckos do require is calcium. Minutes prior to feeding the pet leopard gecko, once should dust the food with calcium powder. Some breeders will tell an individual owner to keep a small dish of calcium in the enclosure at all times, while also dusting the food with calcium prior to feeding. Immature/baby geckos should be supplemented at every feeding, while adult geckos only need to be supplemented every other feeding (but it won't hurt them to dust the food in every feeding).

When and How to Feed a Leopard Gecko

Most lizards need to eat a wide variety of food everyday, leopard geckos are not as high maintenance as other reptiles/lizards. Leopard geckos only need to eat once a week (or biweekly at the least). A leopard can go a very long time without food, but to ensure the health of the pet leopard gecko one should feed the gecko several times each month, while offering the gecko a variety of food. A leopard gecko should be fed at least twice, preferably three or four, times per month. A baby leopard gecko should be fed everyday or every two days. Ideally, each time a leopard gecko is fed, it should be a different type of food (if one feeds the gecko crickets, the next time the gecko is fed one should offer meal worms, or super worms), but many owners have been successful in keeping leopard geckos healthy by only offering properly gut loaded and calcium dusted crickets and/or meal worms. The food provided to a leopard gecko should be placed in shallow ceramic dishes, an clean ashtray, plastic jars, or small plastic pet dishes. This will help prevent the meal worms and/or super worms from escaping into the enclosure and burrowing and hiding in the substrate. If crickets are fed to the leopard gecko placing them into a dish will help reduce the rate at which the crickets disperse into the enclosure.

Gecko eating superworms dusted with calcium in a small dish.
Gecko eating superworms dusted with calcium in a small dish. | Source

Watering a Leopard Gecko

A pet leopard gecko should have a filled water dish in the enclosure at all times. A leopard gecko needs to drink water on a daily basis just as any other living creature. Even though a leopard gecko can go a period of time without food and water, an owner should still provide clean water every few days. Water should be provided in a shallow container similar, but separate from the feeding dish. The water needs to be visible to the gecko, and the dish should be shallow enough so the gecko can drink out of it in the same manner as a dog or a cat would. Some say to remove the water dish after a few hours and offer water again in a day or two, but if the water stay in the enclosure at all times, it is very important to change the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth and fecal contamination for these things can cause infection and illness in the leopard gecko. All dishes in the enclosure should be cleaned and disinfected once a month (the same as cleaning and disinfecting the entire enclosure).

Source

Philippe de Vosjoli, Roger Klingenberg, Ron Tremper, and Brian Viets. The Leopard Gecko Manual. Irvine: Advanced Vivarium Systems, Inc. 2004. Print.

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    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      The appreciation is all I need, I do not want to put any gecko in harms way :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      My 2 little ones are very bad. They might not plan to kill it, just want to play. And, they'd eat all his food! They love crickets! Yes, maybe in another life I can have geckos and thanks to you, I'll be all ready!

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      Very true, I don't know if I'd trust those curious cats. The curiosity might kill a gecko.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I don't think I'd hasve too much trouble growing to love one but......IDK....4 cats, 2 bedrooms, might bre looking for trouble!

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      I try to push reptiles onto people by showing exactly how EASY they are (and because my love for them is indescribable) @btrbell, I really appreciate all your comments and support, I'm pretty sure you need to get a leopard gecko now that you are so informed ;)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Well, now I know how to feed a Leopard Gecko, if I ever get one! Great job!

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      :D perfect!

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 years ago from now on

      "Well then, you and she are going to get along fine!" says my wife after reading your last comment.

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      I will check that out! I laughed at the joke, but the nerd in me could not let it slide :)

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 years ago from now on

      I know, but just Gecko was my only possible opening for a joke - without my occasional , sometimes forced, often lame humorous comment hub hopping could be boring for me :-). Check out my "Hilarious Stuf " hub if you want some (clean) entertainment on the weekend.

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      tsadjatko, good joke, just one flaw, the Geico gecko is a gold dust day gecko not a leopard gecko :D

      Thanks for reading and commenting, they are beautiful creatures to care for and own (especially if one has children, my little one is in LOVE with them).

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 years ago from now on

      Is it really worth all time and trouble just to get 15% off on car insurance?

      :-) Great little hub - appreciate the information. They are beautiful animals!

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 

      5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      Great hub! I don't want one myself but if I ever do get one I know A lot more about it thanks to you! :)

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Your very welcome. 'Lizard chocolate' is just my coining as my gecko was so happy on waxworm days is seemed apt :D

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      I have never heard the term "lizard chocolate" before. Super worms are different from wax worms. Super worms are fairly large and pretty fattening, I feed them to my adult leopard geckos. Thanks for reading and voting.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Mines also liked waxworms (lizard chocolate) is that another name for superworms? Good article, voted up.

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