Crested geckos are a great choice for new reptile enthusiasts because they are low maintenance, especially compared to other popular reptiles like bearded dragons.
Because cresties are so popular for beginners, we often get asked about what a healthy crested gecko diet should look like.
We are so happy to hear from new owners who want to do what’s right for their pets. In this article, let’s talk about what to feed crested geckos, and 7 tips to make feeding time easy!
What do Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested geckos are omnivores. In the wild, they eat various types of insects and soft, ripe fruit.
Sounds simple? Well, crested geckos in captivity don’t have the same nutrition requirements as their wild cousins because they’re not living in the same situations. Also, not all wild animals are the healthiest. They may be malnourished, have parasites, etc.
Now you may be asking, “what should I feed my crested gecko, then?”
Well, you certainly could go ahead and feed exclusively feeder insects and soft fruits. But doing so is risky if you aren’t experienced with crested gecko diet requirements. You’ll need to make sure you’re providing the right amounts of calories, protein, fat, carbs, as well as other nutrients like calcium, vitamin D3, phosphorus, and more.
But don’t worry! Feeding your crested gecko doesn’t have to be that hard. There’s another option.
Most crested gecko experts recommend feeding MRP, or Meal Replacement Powder, as the primary food source. There are many kinds of MRP available, so you may still need to supplement with vitamins and minerals depending on the kind you choose.
7 Tips for a Healthy Crested Gecko Diet
Providing a high quality powdered crested gecko food is enough to meet your crestie’s needs. But if you want to give them the best crested gecko diet, we have a few tips.
- Supplement with live bugs and soft fruit. While this isn’t strictly necessary, it’s fun for your crested gecko to hunt small roaches or munch on some ripe mango. After all, we enjoy different flavors and textures in our food – why shouldn’t they? Some people also find that feeding bugs and fruit helps malnourished geckos gain back weight faster.
- Keep a feeding journal. We love feeding journals for several reasons. They are super useful for you to keep track of what (and how much) your crestie eats. This makes it easy to see trends in their appetite so you know how much food you need to buy each week. It’s also handy for health reasons. If they suddenly stop eating as much, your feeding journal will document that and may help your vet understand what’s wrong.
- Keep extra food on hand. Let’s face it: emergencies happen. The last thing you’ll want to think about if you become injured, lose your job, etc. is how you’ll feed your crested gecko. MRPs make it easy to store an extra few weeks or even a few months of food, just in case.
- Avoid baby food. Many people supplement their powdered crested gecko diet with baby food instead of fresh fruit. At first, this sounds like a great idea – shelf stable, soft fruit in small containers. However, many baby foods contain additives, preservatives, and/or high amounts of sugar that you don’t want your crested gecko to eat. If you do want to use baby food, make sure to check the label first.
- Feed in the evening. Because crested geckos are most active during the late evening, night, and early morning, this is when they’ll be most hungry. By adding new food to their enclosure in the evening, they will be more likely to eat it right away. Any food left after 24 hours should be removed so it doesn’t harbor bacteria and mold growth.
- Avoid citrus. Citrus isn’t good for crested geckos. It can mess with their ability to absorb calcium, which can lead to serious health problems. Instead, stick to fruits like figs, mangoes, strawberries, or even mashed up apple.
- Gut load your insects and dust your insects. Gut loading and dusting with calcium are two ways to add extra nutrients to your crested gecko diet. Read more about gut loading and why dubia roaches are so easy to gut load on our blog.
Give Your Crested Gecko Something Fun…And Tasty
Small dubia roaches are a great insect to add to your crested gecko diet. They’re packed with nutrition, are easy to store for weeks at a time, and your crested gecko will love hunting them down and devouring them!