Like most reptiles, geckos are predators that prefer to eat a variety of insects. Based on gecko species, their activity level, and their age, the insect type and quantity of food vary. Knowledge of gecko feeds is mandatory before buying a gecko.
Geckos love to eat arthropods like spiders, centipedes, and scorpions. Small rodents, particularly young ones still in the nest, are also on their prey list. Geckos may even have a bit of a cruel taste as they may eat a hatchling.
General Pet Gecko Food Guidelines
Unlike dogs and cats, geckos hate to have pre-packaged or prepared food. The majority of the geckos like to have live prey, so you should purchase or breed live insects. Some types of geckos are fond of having both fruits and insects. For this type of geckos, you can provide pureed fruit mixes or prepared fruit mixes.
However, most pet geckos are primarily insectivorous, meaning they eat insects. Some examples of insectivorous geckos are the African Tailed Geckos and Leopard Geckos. The Crested Gecko is frugivorous, which means they are fond of fruits.
Feeding within the enclosure
To be healthy, your gecko requires a variety of food choices like crickets, mealworms, silkworms, and locusts – where Crickets will be the major part of the diet in the enclosure.
Remember to NOT provide all the insects in the same quantity. Fruit flies are like the gecko’s candy. Provide a one-day-old mouse or pinkie to your adult geckos once a week, in order to simulate the wild habitat.
How much and when to feed your Gecko
Feed your geckos at night, as they are nocturnal species. Baby geckos need to be fed every day, but adult geckos can be fed every other day. Provide consistent, fresh, and clean water to the gecko. Mist the enclosure regularly to maintain the humidity geckos expect.
The quantity of the food varies from gecko to gecko based on age and activity level. Avoid stuffing too many insects in the enclosure, as they can escape and/or tempt your gecko to overeat. To slow down your gecko’s eagerness to eat, offer one or two insects at a time.
Once your gecko has finished its meal, clean out the residual fruit mix and/or insects. Remember, both fruit and insects will rot, so clean the mesh regularly.
The perfect food proportion
The size of the gecko is hard to predict, so avoid offering insects that are larger than the space between the gecko’s eyes. For adult geckos, provide 2in. long insects in respect to the gecko’s length. For instance, a 4-inch long gecko should be provided with 8 mealworms four times a week. The rest are as follows:
- For babies, offer crickets that are 3/ 8 inches long.
- For Juvenile geckos under age 1, offer crickets 1/ 4 inches long.
- For Adults, make sure to feed adult size crickets.
These will be the major part of your gecko’s diet, so have a keen eye when picking these insects. Remember that not all crickets have the same nutritional content, especially the ones that were bred and kept in the pet shop for a long time.
Mealworms are the geckos’ favorite. Depending on the age of the gecko, there are a variety of sizes available in the pet shop. You can also mix the sizes if you have different aged geckos.
Geckos are fond of these worms because of their taste and high calcium content.
Butter worms are a great food for picky-eating geckos. They are rich in fat and encourage weight gain – so you can provide these to a sick gecko for it to gain weight. Butter worms are like geckos’ candies, so feed these in limited quantity otherwise your gecko may become addicted.
If left alone, your gecko may eat these worms in huge quantities. Waxworms are feasts to the geckos so if the proportions are left unmonitored, your gecko may get obese. Provide these worms as treats, once a week or once in 15 days.
Toxic foods to avoid
- Don’t offer the bugs which light up, like fireflies and lightning bugs. These natural chemical holders are toxic to your geckos.
- Usual garden insects that you may easily find are also to be avoided. As convenient as it may seem, they may carry parasites that could affect your gecko’s health.
Without water, nothing survives! Geckos are not exceptional. Provide a small flat dish with water inside the enclosure for your geckos. Don’t offer a large dish, this may attract your gecko to the water and bathe in it.
The importance of dusting
Even if you give your gecko the right amount of food, it will not be enough to provide all the nutritional needs your gecko requires. That’s why dusting of supplements is just as important as feeding your gecko. Every insect you provide must be gut loaded and dusted with supplements that have calcium, D3, and multivitamins, which are required to keep your gecko healthy.
Obesity and geckos
The owner of the gecko should strictly monitor the amount of food provided to the gecko, as obesity will make your pet unhealthy and uncomfortable.
Do your best to avoid overfeeding. Do note that the tail of the gecko is chubby by nature, and this is because of its fat-storing function, so there isn’t a need for much worry. It is completely normal for a gecko to have a flat stomach and a wider tail.