Crested geckos are some of the best pets for beginners and anyone who is looking for a reptile that does not have a complex diet. In fact, cresties can feed on commercial gecko diets alone and still grow to be healthy.
All in all, that does not mean that you should bore your crested gecko with one type of food. These creatures feed on fruits and bugs in the wild. So, why would you fail to incorporate some insects and healthy fruits in your crested gecko’s diet?
We’ve done all the backbreaking work and came up with a food guide that should help you rear a healthy gecko.
What Do Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested geckos are omnivorous, they feed on both animals and plant-based diets. In captivity, the best food for crested includes live insects and bugs, fruits, commercial crested gecko food, and of course water.
What Fruits Can Crested Geckos Eat?
Fruits play a significant role in a crested gecko’s diet. They provide abundant nutrients that can’t be found in insects. Does this mean cresties can eat all types of fruits? Definitely no! Some fruits might pose to be a danger because of their bad Ca:P ratio.
Fruits containing a high or moderate Ca:P ratio should be included frequently in the crested gecko food as opposed to fruits constituting a lower Ca: P ratio. Overall, most fruits contain a higher level of calcium than phosphorus. Fruits with a lower Ca: P ratio should be fed only as a treat or when combined with fruits that contain a moderate or high ratio.
Calcium is an essential mineral in a crested gecko’s diet. It aids in the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and in preventing metabolic bone disease. The juveniles and hatchlings require calcium for their skeletal development. For gravid females, extra calcium is considered necessary to form eggshells.
Fruits with a high Ca: P ratio
Fruits with a Ca: P ratio of 2:1 or more make an ideal crested gecko diet. However, there naturally exists a few of these fruits. They include:
- Prickly pear
Fruits with a moderate Ca: P ratio
The majority of fruits contain a moderate Ca:P ratio of 1:1. Fruits with a Ca:P ratio ranging from 1.5: 1 to 1:2 comprise of:
- Berries like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries
Fruits with a low Ca: P ratio
The following fruits have a low Ca: P ratio that starts at 1:2:
- Passion fruits
- Bananas (more on whether crested geckos can eat bananas)
- Star fruits with high oxalic acid concentration
Crested geckos have plenty of tiny teeth, but their jaws are not strong enough to chew large bits of fruits. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare fruits for your gecko.
Preparing fruit for a crested gecko
- Clean the fruit– There are lots of bacteria and pesticides on the peel of a fruit. The bacteria and pesticides could harm the health of any crested gecko when consumed.
- Get rid of the inedible and toxic parts of the fruits– Some fruits have parts that are inedible and toxic to both humans and crested geckos. A good example is an apple whose seeds contain small quantities of cyanide. If apple seeds are taken in large amounts, they might cause problems for your crestie.
- Ensure the fruit is soft and edible– Crested geckos do not have enough biting power to crush hard fruits. You will have to look for ways to soften hard fruits. This includes blending them in a food processor until they turn to a fruit puree. You can as well split the fruits into tiny pieces, especially if you are dealing with bananas or papayas
What Insects Can Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested geckos can be offered live insects either as part of a well-rounded diet or as a regular treat. Feeder insects offer supplementary proteins to the crestie, thus aiding in the growth and improvement of their overall feeding response.
When feeder insects are appropriately gut-loaded with minerals and vitamins, they form a perfect healthy snack for your crested geckos.
As part of a well-balanced diet, the best-crested gecko food should comprise a variety of insects. Some of these feeder insects include:
- Gut-loaded crickets
- Phoenix worms
- Fish flies
- Fruit flies
The insects must be properly sized to suit the gecko’s consumption. Some cresties might tend to ignore small feeder insects. Also, large feeders may result in impaction or choking.
The utmost concern should be placed on the balancing of the Ca: P ratio. The ratio should be balanced out during dusting to ensure a nutritious and healthy crested gecko diet.
The feeder insects are sprinkled with a multivitamin supplement and a calcium supplement once or twice a week to ensure a balanced diet. They are fed at night and 2-3 times a week. Make sure you remove uneaten insects from the gecko’s tank in the morning.
Gut loading Feeder Insects
Freshly bought feeder insects are not ready to be fed directly to a crested gecko. They require to be gut-loaded as they are often fed food with low nutritional value, such as potatoes. If fed directly, the crested geckos will acquire lower nutrition.
Gut-loading involves feeding the feeder insects with a diet of high nutritional value. The crested gecko then feeds on these insects and acquires similar valuable nutrition. Gut-loading is done at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours since most insects such as crickets digest their meals in about 24 hours.
If the crested geckos are fed crickets that are gut loaded past 24 hours, the nutritional value will be minimal as the food is already digested.
- Grains such as barley, oat, or wheat bran
- Dark-green vegetables such as mustard, green-leafed lettuce, romaine lettuce, kale, and collard greens
- Citrus fruits such as oranges
The fruits should be thoroughly washed before being fed to the crickets as is the case when they are fed directly to the crested geckos. Despite real vegetables and fruits being ideal for gut-loading insects, there exist commercial gut-loading powders and diets, with suitable budget options for those who don’t have plenty of time and money.
Commercial Gecko Diet (CGD)
Commercial crested gecko foods retail in various outlets worldwide. The manufacturers ensure they provide the best-crested gecko food with a complete balanced diet. Some of the Commercial Gecko Diet include:
1. Pangea Gecko Diet
The Pangea gecko diet is among the most trusted and diverse Gecko powdered diets across the globe. It is manufactured scientifically for the different life stages of the geckos and in different flavors for the reptiles that are picky. The food is available for commercial online and at various distributors’ outlets around the globe. The Pangea gecko diet comprises fats and proteins from the feeder insects. The higher fat content is crucial for better growth and breeding. The calcium levels are maximal.
2. Repashy crested gecko food
Repashy crested gecko food is a Meal Replacement Powder (MRP) recommended for all fruit-eating geckos like Gekko, Phelsuma, and Rhacodactylus. It contains Calcium Min. 1.2%, Ash Max. 8%, Moisture Max. 8%, Crude fiber Max. 8%, crude fat min. 7%, and Crude protein min. 25%. When feeding the crested geckos, one part of Repashy should be mixed with two parts of water in volume. Initially, the mixture is watery but thickens afterward. If there is separation with time, less water should be used. MRP ought to have the consistency of ketchup.
3. Zoo med crested gecko food
Zoo med crested gecko food is a two-ounce of Tropical powdered food that is suitable for all geckos in their various life stages. It is approved to be great for female geckos in the reproduction, development, and production of healthy offspring. It provides a complete and balanced diet for gargoyle geckos, day geckos, and other New Caledonian gecko species that are omnivorous. It has huge amounts of insects and fruits. Further, it contains probiotics that are good for digestion and consistency in the stool. The probiotics also ensure noticeable development in weight and development of the young geckos.
4. Pangea Fruit Mix Watermelon Complete Gecko Diet
It is the most popular crested gecko food produced by Pangea Reptiles. More than 60% of real fruits are used in the manufacturing process, with no seed meals, nuts, or seeds. It has proteins in the form of Egg Whites and Whey Isolate. The feeding response of the Pangea fruit mix watermelon complete gecko diet is enthusiastic.
Before commercial diets existed, supplements played a significant role in boosting the nutrients of the crested geckos. However, there was a risk of over-supplementation and under-supplementation.
The risks of under-supplementation brought nutritional imbalances such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Problems of over-supplementation included Vitamin D3 toxicity. Moreover, a lot of calcium (hypercalcemia) led to trace deficiencies of other minerals. Hypercalcemia is a binder that inhibits the cresties’ from absorbing the essential minerals and vitamins. Calcium is better for the neutralization of stomach acids thereby inhibiting the overall digestion and assimilation of other essential nutrients.
Naturally, crested geckos are docile and should be handled carefully. Apart from gut loading the feeder insects, dusted insects with a calcium supplement can be fed to the cresties 2-3 times a week. Additionally, a reptile vitamin-mineral supplement can be used at least once per week. The reptile vitamin-mineral supplement should contain vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is used by the cresties to metabolize calcium. Since cresties are nocturnal and sleep during the day, they are deprived of UV light, which could be ideal for calcium metabolization. The metabolization of calcium by vitamin D3 hence prevents calcium deficiencies for the cresties. However, excessive vitamin D3 is toxic and can lead to extreme absorption and utilization of calcium (hypercalcemia).
Water is vital when caring for a crested gecko. They require to reside in an environment with an overall humidity that ranges from 50%-70%. Gecko owners are required to provide enough water in the gecko’s tank. Unfortunately, cresties do not like drinking water from bowls. Instead, they prefer licking water from the glass walls or from plants. You will have to mist the enclosure regularly so that your gecko has enough water to drink.
These reptiles need water for sufficient hydration that keeps them healthy and allows for the promotion of complete sheds. A dehydrated gecko exhibits signs like poor skin elasticity, dry and flaky skin, wavy tails, sticky tongue, dull skin with wrinkles, protrusion of ribs and hips, and sunken eyes, among others.
Frequently Asked Questions on What Do Crested Geckos Eat?
- How often do you feed a crested gecko?
Juveniles should be fed daily while adults should be fed thrice a week. In case you’d like to feed fruits, do so once a week. Crickets and other insects should also be given as treats.
- What do crested geckos feed in the wild?
In the wild, crested geckos feed on insects, rotten fruits, bugs, as well as flower nectar.
Final thoughts – What Do Crested Geckos Eat?
If you have read this entire post, then I expect you to be in a better position to raise a healthy crested gecko. These little critters are not demanding and are easy to feed. All you have to do is follow our crested gecko diet guide and you’ll be fine.