- Most popular insect
- Smaller crickets are best
How to Feed Leopard Geckos
Leopard geckos will eat anything that moves or wiggles in front of them. You should only feed your gecko live insects (most leopard geckos won't eat dead prey). It is difficult to overfeed leopard geckos, since they store their excess fat in their tail, but it is possible. So if you feel your leo is gaining a lot of unnecessary weight, you may want to cut back on their feedings or remove any fatty insects from their diet.
You should feed your leopard gecko late in the day or early in the evening, since that is generally the time they start hunting in nature. There is no ideal routine to feeding leopard geckos since each gecko has different eating habits. Below are the most common feeding schedules among leopard gecko owners:Geckos that tend to overeat
Feed them a set amount predetermined by you to reduce excessive eating and prevent them from gaining additional weight.Geckos that are a healthy weight
Geckos that are active and already at a healthy weight can be fed as much as they can eat in a 15-20 minute period.Geckos that are stubborn eaters
If your gecko is a picky eater you should feed them normally, but leave a food dish with worms available in their tank so they can eat later if they get hungry.
Leopard geckos have been known to change food preferences as they get older, so your gecko may love crickets one week and hate them the next. Because of this many owners will mix up their diet with a combination of crickets, worms, and other insects to keep some variation in what they eat.
When feeding your leopard gecko you will want to put any worms into a feeding bowl or a shallow dish that they can easily reach. You should put the crickets in their tank and place them as close to your gecko as possible so he/she will see the prey. Some owners will only place 2 crickets in the leopard gecko enclosure at a time because it can be difficult to re-catch the crickets if your leo decides they aren't hungry after all. If you have remaining crickets in the tank and your leo is done eating, you should remove the crickets. Crickets will molt, crawl onto your gecko, and will sometimes bite the tip of your gecko's tail so it's best to remove them from the tank to save them for another feeding.
Avoid Large Insects
Insects can be too big for your leopard gecko to safely digest, so it's up to you to make sure they are the correct size before feeding. The general rule of thumb is to not feed your gecko any insects that are longer (in length) than the space between their eyes.
The below table shows estimated cricket sizes by gecko age:
Most leos will stop eating when they're full, but others will try to keep eating. If your gecko seems like he/she is eating too much you shouldn't overfeed your leopard gecko because it can cause him/her to gain unnecessary weight and it can lead to them regurgitating their food. If you're concerned your leopard gecko is eating too much you can tell by how large they are. Like people, leopard geckos which are overweight will start to develop are large stomach and will start to store fat in other areas of their body (besides their tail).
Here are a few general rules regarding overweight geckos:
- Their stomach should be mostly flat, unless they've recently eaten
- Their tail should not be wider than their body
If you suspect you are overfeeding your leo, you should cut back on the amount of food your offer and/or remove fatty insects from the diet until they are at a healthy weight.
Your leopard gecko's feeding schedule depends on their age and health. Younger leopard geckos will need to be fed every day while healthy adult leopard geckos (one year or older) should be fed once every other day. If you have a sick or weak leopard gecko they should be fed every day until they have grown in strength or are back to a normal healthy size.