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Home > General > How Much Should Leopard Geckos Eat? With Feeding Chart

How Much Should Leopard Geckos Eat? With Feeding Chart

leopard gecko with tongue out

Leopard geckos are captivating creatures that hail from regions stretching from Pakistan to Nepal. Given their unique environmental preferences for dry, sandy habitats, many terrarium enthusiasts across North America and beyond, painstakingly recreate these conditions for their pets. If you’re a novice to the world of gecko parenting, navigating their dietary requirements can be a tad challenging. It depends on their age, size and what they are being fed. Dive into this comprehensive guide to demystify the leopard gecko’s culinary preferences and ensure they remain healthy for years to come.

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Understanding the Leopard Gecko’s Diet

Delving into the gastronomic world of the leopard gecko, one quickly realizes their preference for insects. As insectivores, it’s essential to provide them with a smorgasbord of these creepy crawlies. However, it’s pivotal to remember that not all insects are created equal in the eyes (and stomach) of your gecko.

While some bugs that are rich in fats might be relished as delightful treats, they must be served judiciously. Overindulging on them might not only spoil their appetite, but pave the way for undesirable weight gain and the associated health woes.

A good variety of insects will provide a more balanced diet than offering only one or two species.

Insects That Are Ideal for Leopard Geckos
  • Crickets: Because of their high protein content, crickets are a mainstay of the leopard gecko’s diet. In addition to supplying necessary nutrients, they are also very simple to digest.
  • Mealworms: Mealworms are another great protein source and are rich in fats. Their soft exoskeleton makes them easier for leopard geckos to digest, and they are a favorite for many geckos due to their movement, which triggers the gecko’s predatory instincts.
  • Dubia Roaches: These roaches are nutritionally balanced and provide a good mix of protein and fats. They also have a softer exoskeleton than other roaches, making them easier to digest for leopard geckos.
  • Butterworms: Butterworms are another fatty treat for geckos. They are also high in calcium, which is essential for bone health in leopard geckos.
  • Other insects to try; silkworm larvae, tomato hornworms, moths, cicadas, grasshoppers, and sow bugs.
  • Very occasionally, an adult Leopard Gecko can be offered a pinky mouse but this is not essential.
leopard gecko eating mealworm
Image Credit: MattiaATH, Shutterstock

Steering Clear of Certain Foods

While they possess a broad dietary range, there are several foods leopard geckos should steer clear from. Surprisingly, fruits and vegetables top this list, primarily due to the gecko’s inability to digest cellulose present in plant fibers. This also necessitates a cautious selection of commercial reptile foods, which might contain these indigestible fibers. They also prefer live foods and may be reluctant to eat anything that doesn’t move. Other potential hazards include:

Foods and Insects to Avoid:
  • Weevils
  • All types of meat (chicken, beef, pork, and processed meats)
  • Fish
  • Pet food (both dog and cat)
  • Fireflies
  • Spiders
  • Centipedes

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Feeding Guide for Leopard Geckos

  • First, measure your Gecko from their head to tail. For each inch in length your Gecko should be offered two reasonably sized insects.
  • Do not feed a Gecko an insect larger than the size of the gap between their eyes.
  • Young, growing Geckos will need to be fed once or twice a day, gradually decreasing to every 1-2 days, then every 2-3 days by the time they reach maturity at around 12 months.
  • To avoid overfeeding, don’t feed them more than they naturally consume in 15 minutes. Some growing geckos will need more than others, so if they are coming back for more, you can offer more.
  • Bear in mind that the amount of frequency of feeding can vary with the activity level and temperature of your Gecko’s habitat.
  • Leopard Geckos will need more food when they are shedding, and juveniles shed frequently, so this is another factor to consider when feeding your pet.
leopard gecko eating
Image Credit: Kurit afshen, Shutterstock

Leopard Geckos Feeding Chart

Age Size Quantity of Food Frequency
Newborn 3 inches 6 insects Every day
1 month 4 inches 8 insects Every day
3 months 5 inches 10 insects Every day
6 months 6 inches 12 insects Every day
9 months 7 inches 14 insects Every other day
1 + year 8 inches 16 insects Every other day
18 months 10 inches 20 insects Every other day


Can You Overfeed a Leopard Gecko?

Like any pet, leopard geckos can overindulge. While feeding them slightly more than the recommended amount on occasion is unlikely to cause harm, habitual overfeeding will. A sign of overeating includes a tail broader than its neck, indicative of excessive fat storage.

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The Importance of Supplements

Gut Loading: To amplify the nutritional value of insects, it’s recommended to “gut load” them. This process involves feeding the insects a calcium-rich diet for several days before offering them to the gecko. It ensures your pet receives a wholesome meal.

Multivitamins and Calcium: Once insects are gut-loaded, dust them with a calcium and multivitamin powder mix before feeding. This step is crucial as it supplements any missing essential nutrients from the gecko’s diet. Ensure that the calcium or multivitamin powder contains Vitamin D3, essential for calcium absorption in the gecko’s body.

Special Treats and What Not to Feed

Leopard geckos love treats like wax worms, but due to their high-fat content, they should only be offered occasionally. Alternatives like super worms and beetle larvae can also be given in moderation. Always monitor their tail thickness as a health indicator.

While they might show curiosity, leopard geckos should never consume fruits, vegetables, or any plant-based foods. Their system isn’t equipped to digest cellulose, which can lead to health complications.

baby leopard gecko eating
Image Credit: agus fitriyanto suratno, Shutterstock

When Your Leopard Gecko Refuses to Eat

Various factors, from habitat conditions like temperature and lighting to health issues, can affect a leopard gecko’s appetite. If your pet abstains from eating, ensure the habitat conditions are optimal and consult with an exotics veterinarian.

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Arming yourself with knowledge about your leopard gecko’s dietary requirements is paramount for their well-being. Using the feeding guide, understanding the importance of gut-loading and supplementation, and being aware of foods to avoid, are pivotal for their longevity. With proper care, these fascinating creatures can thrive, bringing joy and intrigue to your home.

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Featured Image Credit: DWI YULIANTO, Shutterstock

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