Unlike most reptile pets, leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) have one of the simplest diet requirements. So if you are looking to keep one as a pet, feeding your Leo is easy and fun. But what do leopard geckos eat?
Leopard geckos are quite different from other lizards. Instead of having a varied diet like crested geckos, they only depend on live insects and bugs. In simple terms, leopard geckos are insectivorous and won’t feed on fruits, vegetables, or meat.
However, there is still much to learn about a leopard gecko’s diet. This post covers the kind of insects you can your gecko every day and a variety of other insects that should only be only fed a few times a week.
I have also compiled a list of insects, bugs, and invertebrates that wild leopard geckos are believed to eat in the wild but are not recommended to captive common leopard geckos. Also, check the list of foods to avoid at the bottom.
What Do Leopard Geckos Eat?-Food List
In captivity, the appropriate diet for Leopard geckos is a variety of live calcium-coated insects and worms such as gut-loaded live crickets, and a small number of mealworms, super mealworms, waxworms, butter worms, silkworms, and locusts. Other great foods for Leos include wild-caught moths, grasshoppers, beetles, sow bugs, and caterpillars.
Remember: Adult leopard geckos should be fed 2-3 times a week, while juveniles should be fed every 1-2 days.
Keep in mind that not all insects are good for these lizards. Below are some of the recommended feeder insects for leopard geckos:
1. Gut-loaded Crickets
Crickets are leopard gecko’s favorite meal. They are easy to find, nutritious, and cheap. You can find them in various sizes and are always available in most pet shops. Besides, crickets are easy to gut load and make the best leopard gecko food.
The good thing about crickets is that they are low in fat and have a lot of protein. In addition, they tend to move around more often, thus stimulating the gecko to hunt them.
Mealworms can also make good leopard gecko food. Gecko keepers like them because they have a longer lifespan than crickets. In fact, you can prolong their lifespan by refrigerating them.
Mealworms are high in protein content, but they also have a lot of fats. This means you should not feed a lot of mealworms. Besides, they have a tough exoskeleton that makes them hard to digest.
3. Dubia Roaches
Dubia roaches are a good leopard gecko food alternative. Unfortunately, they are hard to find in pet stores. We always advise leopard gecko keepers to breed Dubia roaches on their own if they want them as part of your gecko’s diet.
These insects tend to have a high protein content and low-fat content as well. At least they are a healthy option for you ‘leo’. Finally, dubia roaches gut load excellently, thus providing your leopard gecko with complete nutrition.
Dubia roaches are illegal in Florida
Silkworms are great feeder insects because of their low-fat content. They are popular for having high protein and calcium content. Apart from that, they are pretty docile and slow, meaning that your leopard gecko will have an easy time feeding on them.
It can be difficult to stock silkworms as they have a very short lifespan (30 days). Besides, they can be quite expensive and are not easily available.
5. Captive Hornworms
Hornworms make a good staple because of their high protein and calcium content. They carry plenty of moisture which can help in hydrating your leopard gecko.
Avoid feeding too many hornworms as they might cause diarrhea or impaction as well.
other insects that are great for leopard geckos
- Discoid roaches
- Red runner roaches
- Black soldier fly larvae – Reference
- Butter worms (only as a treat- once a week)
- Waxworms (only as a treat – once a week)
- Small super worms (only as a treat – once a week)
Foods that Leopard Geckos eat in the wild but not ideal for captive leopard geckos
- Small scorpions
- Pinkie mice
Food to Avoid Feeding Your Leopard Gecko
- Mealworm Beetles
- Red runner roaches
- Lighting bugs
Other key things in Leopard Gecko nutrition
Leopard geckos require various supplements in order to grow strong and healthy. You should always provide vitamin and mineral supplements to keep off malnourishment-related reptile diseases.
Pet leopard geckos that are not supplemented risk having MBD and other related illnesses.
A Leo’s enclosure should always have a small dish containing calcium without D3. Some people might prefer to give calcium that contains D3. Unfortunately, this can lead to health problems especially if you also use Leopard gecko UVB.
You can also give the supplements by gut-loading the insects with a diet that is packed with calcium and other nutrients. The other way is to dust the insects with the supplement you want the gecko to take.
Although leopard geckos are desert creatures, they still need water. Do not assume they get enough hydration from insects. You have to place a bowl containing fresh water and make sure you change it every day.
Leopard Gecko Feeding Schedule
A leopard gecko’s feeding schedule can differ greatly depending on the size and age. For instance, baby leopard geckos should be feed small insects on a daily basis. You can do 7 to 10 small crickets every day until the baby gecko turns 1 year old.
Adult leopard geckos should be fed up to 7 medium or large-sized insects every 2 or 3 days. Overfeeding adult l geckos can easily lead to obesity and that’s why you should not feed them daily.
It is always good to come up with a feeding schedule that will suit your gecko. Make sure you try to incorporate various insects to avoid boredom.
Leopard Gecko Food Alternatives
Unfortunately, leopard geckos are insectivorous and they feed strictly on bugs. You can have them feed on worms that are low in fats and high in protein.
Unlike bearded dragons, leopard geckos cannot feed on vegetables or fruits. In addition, you should refrain from giving your leopard gecko human food or even a commercial crested gecko diet.
If you think that your gecko is bored of eating crickets, mealworms, hornworms, and roaches you might want to switch up things a bit and give them the treats we’ve discussed below.
Treats for Leopard Geckos
Leopard geckos do not have any specific treats that might intrigue you. Surprisingly, we normally classify treats depending on their nutritional content. Geckos cannot rely on high-fat level insects as their staple food. As much as they are delicious, they should be given as treats.
Treats should be given once every week because they do not offer much nutritional value. Below are some of the treats that you should include in a leopard gecko’s diet:
Your leopard geckos’ poop can also tell if any of the food you are serving is affecting the gecko. For instance, yellow poop is a sign of too much fat. Just like with crested gecko, a proper leopard gecko diet keeps it healthy and improves its immunity protecting it from conditions such as mouth rot and impaction. A healthy diet especially water also avoids cases of salmonella.
With the above information, you’ll no longer have to worry about what can leopard geckos eat. These bad boys love hunting insects and they do not require any other type of food. Just make sure you are trying to give your gecko different feeder insects to keep them interested.