When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher, Ms. Christie, told us we were getting a leopard gecko as a class pet.
We were so excited! We got to vote on its name (we named it Geico) and took turns feeding it what we thought was the best leopard gecko food: crickets and mealworms.
Looking back with what I now know about leopard gecko food best practices, we could have taken better care of Geico.
Ms. Christie was doing the best she could, following the instructions she was given by the pet shop. But unfortunately, pet stores don’t always give out the best information about the animals they sell.
So, what should we have done differently? In this article, let’s take a look at the natural leopard gecko diet, and what you can do to provide your gecko with the best nutrition.
What do Leopard Geckos Eat?
Leopard geckos in the wild eat a diet of insects and small animals. They are lively hunters, actively chasing down their prey.
It’s important to give leopard geckos a wide variety of insects. The most common feeder insects for geckos include roaches, mealworms, crickets, waxworms, and hornworms.
Leopard Gecko Food Amounts
Because of their active nature, wild leopard geckos are rarely overweight. However, feeding leopard geckos too much food is easy in captivity. That’s because they aren’t as active and don’t need as much as their little brains think they do.
Baby geckos should be fed every day. The exact number of bugs will vary, but between 5 and 7 is a good starting point. Since babies are growing, don’t worry about overfeeding at this point. If they’re still hungry after you’ve fed them, give them a few more bugs.
Adult leopard geckos don’t need nearly as much food. They should be fed every 2 to 3 days. They can also eat a wider variety of insects. Mealworms, for example, have too much chitin for juveniles to easily digest, but can be fed alongside other bugs to adults.
The size of the insects you feed should also change with age. The general guideline is to feed bugs no wider than the space between your gecko’s eyes.
Below is a leopard gecko food chart so you can easily see what leopard geckos can eat at different ages.
|Feeder Insect Type||Baby Leopard Geckos (under 6 months)||Juvenile Leopard Geckos (6-12 months)||Adult Leopard Geckos (12+ months)|
|Dubia Roaches||6 to 8 small roaches||6 to 8 small to medium roaches||5 to 6 medium roaches|
|Crickets||5 to 7 small crickets||5 to 7 small to medium crickets||4 to 6 medium crickets|
|Mealworms||Not appropriate at this age||8 to 10 small or 5 to 6 large worms||6 to 9 large worms|
|Superworms||Not appropriate at this age||4 to 12 as an occasional treat||4 to 12 as an occasional treat|
|Hornworms||1 small worm in addition to another feeder||1 small worm in addition to another feeder||1 worm in addition to another feeder|
|Waxworms||1 small worm in addition to another feeder||1 small worm in addition to another feeder||1 worm in addition to another feeder|
Please keep in mind that these amounts are estimates. The exact number you feed may vary depending on the needs of your leopard gecko.
Also, it’s best to mix and match different types of insects, even in the same meal. For example, you could feed an adult leopard gecko 3 to 4 medium roaches, 2 to 4 mealworms, and a hornworm as one meal.
5 Tips for Feeding Your Leopard Gecko Right
- Make a leopard gecko feeding schedule. Because adult leopard geckos don’t eat every day, keeping a consistent feeding schedule will help ensure they get the nutrition they need. For example, you could feed your gecko on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
- Keep a feeding journal. Keeping a journal of what insects you feed and how many will help you keep your gecko’s diet varied. Your journal may also come in handy when it’s time to order more bugs. Tracking makes it easy to know how many your gecko will need.
- Use an escape proof feeding dish. (Or feed in a separate enclosure.) It’s best not to leave any leftovers in your gecko’s enclosure. Using a dish or feeding in a separate tank makes this easy. Plus, you’ll be able to quickly count how many bugs your gecko ate for your feeding journal.
- Gut load your feeder insects. Many first-time gecko owners aren’t told they should gut load their gecko’s insects. But doing so will make their meals way more nutritious.
- Provide supplements. Pet leopard geckos should be given a multivitamin and calcium supplement to keep them healthy. This will help to prevent metabolic bone disease.
Where to Buy Leopard Gecko Food
There are many places you can go to buy your leopard gecko the food and supplements it needs to thrive. While live crickets and mealworms are often available at your local pet store, you can find a wider selection at better prices online.
Visit our shop for nutritious dubia roaches, mealworms, and more!