What Can Crested Geckos Eat?

What Can Crested Geckos Eat? A Complete Guide

 

Temperature for Crested Geckos

Crested geckos are one of the most popular pet reptiles in the world. They are easy to care for, have a gentle temperament, and come in a variety of colors and patterns. But what do these cute and curious creatures eat? And how can you provide them with a balanced and healthy diet?

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about what crested geckos eat, both in the wild and in captivity. You will also discover the pros and cons of different feeding options, some tips and tricks on how to feed your crested gecko, and the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the crested gecko diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Crested geckos are omnivorous and eat a variety of insects, fruits, and flower nectar in the wild.
  • In captivity, you can feed your crested gecko either a natural diet of insects and fruits, or a commercial diet of prepared food, or a combination of both.
  • The natural diet of insects and fruits provides more variety and enrichment, but requires more preparation and supplementation. The commercial diet of prepared food provides more convenience and nutrition, but may be less appealing and stimulating.
  • You should feed your crested gecko every other day, and offer fresh water daily. You should also monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and weight, and adjust the feeding accordingly.
  • You can use some tips and tricks to make feeding your crested gecko more fun and easy, such as making your own fruit puree, offering different textures and flavors, handling picky eaters, and gut-loading and dusting the insects.

What Do Crested Geckos Eat in the Wild?

Crested geckos are native to New Caledonia, a group of islands in the South Pacific. There, they live in humid and tropical forests, where they are active at night and hide in the trees during the day.

In their natural habitat, crested geckos are omnivorous, which means that they eat both animal and plant matter. Their diet consists mainly of insects, fruits, and flower nectar, which they find in the forest canopy.

Some of the insects that crested geckos eat in the wild are roaches, moths, spiders, crickets, and other small arthropods. They use their sticky tongues to catch and swallow their prey whole.

Some of the fruits that crested geckos eat in the wild are bananas, mangoes, passion fruit, and other tropical fruits. They also lick the nectar from flowers, such as hibiscus, orchids, and bromeliads. They use their teeth to mash and chew the fruits and nectar.

The natural diet of crested geckos provides them with a variety of nutrients, such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. However, it also varies depending on the season, the availability, and the preference of each individual gecko.

What Do Pet Crested Geckos Eat?

If you keep a crested gecko as a pet, you have two main options for feeding it: a natural diet of insects and fruits, or a commercial diet of prepared food. You can also use a combination of both, depending on your preference and your gecko’s needs.

Natural Diet of Insects and Fruits

If you want to feed your crested gecko a natural diet of insects and fruits, you will need to provide it with a variety of live insects and fresh or frozen fruits. You will also need to supplement the insects with vitamin and mineral powders to ensure proper nutrition.

Some of the insects that you can feed your crested gecko are crickets, roaches, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, silkworms, and phoenix worms. You should choose insects that are appropriate for the size of your gecko, and avoid insects that are too large, hard, or spiny, as they can cause impaction or injury.

You should also gut-load the insects before feeding them to your gecko, which means feeding them a nutritious diet for at least 24 hours. This will enhance the nutritional value of the insects and make them more beneficial for your gecko.

You should also dust the insects with vitamin and mineral powders before feeding them to your gecko, which means coating them with a thin layer of the powders. This will provide your gecko with essential nutrients that may be lacking in the insects, such as calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin A.

Some of the fruits that you can feed your crested gecko are bananas, mangoes, papayas, peaches, apricots, figs, dates, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and kiwis. You should choose fruits that are ripe, soft, and sweet, and avoid fruits that are unripe, hard, or sour, as they can cause digestive problems or mouth sores.

You should also mash or puree the fruits before feeding them to your gecko, which means blending them into a smooth paste. This will make the fruits easier for your gecko to eat and digest, and prevent choking or impaction.

You can also make your own fruit puree by mixing different fruits and adding some water or honey to adjust the consistency and sweetness. You can also add some commercial crested gecko food to the fruit puree to boost the nutrition and flavor.

How Often and How Much to Feed Your Crested Gecko a Natural Diet of Insects and Fruits

You should feed your crested gecko a natural diet of insects and fruits every other day, and offer fresh water daily. You should alternate between insects and fruits, and provide a variety of both.

You should feed your crested gecko as many insects as it can eat in 15 minutes, and remove any uneaten insects after that. You should also offer a small amount of fruit puree in a shallow dish, and replace it every 24 hours.

The amount of insects and fruits that you feed your crested gecko will depend on its age, size, activity level, and appetite. As a general rule, you can use the following table as a guideline:

Age Insects Fruits
Hatchling (0-3 months) 2-3 times a week, 5-10 small insects per feeding 2-3 times a week, 1/4 teaspoon of fruit puree per feeding
Juvenile (3-12 months) 2-3 times a week, 10-15 medium insects per feeding 2-3 times a week, 1/2 teaspoon of fruit puree per feeding
Adult (12+ months) 1-2 times a week, 15-20 large insects per feeding 1-2 times a week, 1 teaspoon of fruit puree per feeding

You should also monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and weight, and adjust the feeding accordingly. You can use a digital scale to weigh your gecko regularly, and use the following table as a reference:

Age Weight
Hatchling (0-3 months) 2-5 grams
Juvenile (3-12 months) 5-35 grams
Adult (12+ months) 35-50 grams

You should aim for a steady and gradual weight gain for your crested gecko, and avoid overfeeding or underfeeding it. You can also check your crested gecko’s body condition by looking at its tail, which should be thick and round, but not too fat or too thin.

Commercial Diet of Prepared Food

If you want to feed your crested gecko a commercial diet of prepared food, you will need to provide it with a specially formulated crested gecko food that contains all the nutrients that your gecko needs. You will also need to prepare and serve the food according to the instructions on the package.

Some of the commercial crested gecko foods that you can choose from are Repashy, Pangea, Zoo Med, Exo Terra, and Fluker’s. They come in different flavors, such as banana, mango, watermelon, apricot, papaya, and insect. They also come in different forms, such as powder, paste, gel, or pellet.

You should choose a commercial crested gecko food that is high in quality, palatable, and suitable for your gecko’s preferences. You should also look for a food that has a balanced ratio of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and avoid foods that have artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

You should also prepare and serve the commercial crested gecko food according to the instructions on the package, which usually involve mixing the food with water to make a paste or a gel, and offering it in a shallow dish. You should also replace the food every 24 hours, and clean the dish regularly.

 

How Often and How Much to Feed Your Crested Gecko a Commercial Diet of Prepared Food

You should feed your crested gecko a commercial diet of prepared food every other day, and offer fresh water daily. You should also offer some live insects once or twice a week as a treat

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You should feed your crested gecko as much commercial food as it can eat in 15 minutes, and remove any uneaten food after that. You should also offer a small amount of water in a shallow dish, and replace it every 24 hours.

The amount of commercial food that you feed your crested gecko will depend on its age, size, activity level, and appetite. As a general rule, you can use the following table as a guideline:

Age Commercial Food
Hatchling (0-3 months) 2-3 times a week, 1/4 teaspoon per feeding
Juvenile (3-12 months) 2-3 times a week, 1/2 teaspoon per feeding
Adult (12+ months) 1-2 times a week, 1 teaspoon per feeding

You should also monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and weight, and adjust the feeding accordingly. You can use the same methods and references as for the natural diet of insects and fruits.

Tips and Tricks on How to Feed Your Crested Gecko

Feeding your crested gecko can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pet. However, it can also be challenging and frustrating at times, especially if your gecko is picky, bored, or stressed. Here are some tips and tricks on how to feed your crested gecko and make it easier and more enjoyable:

  • Make your own fruit puree: You can make your own fruit puree by mixing different fruits and adding some water or honey to adjust the consistency and sweetness. You can also add some commercial crested gecko food to the fruit puree to boost the nutrition and flavor. This way, you can customize the fruit puree to your gecko’s preferences and offer more variety and enrichment. You can also store the fruit puree in the freezer for up to a month, and thaw it before feeding it to your gecko.
  • Offer different textures and flavors: You can offer different textures and flavors to your gecko by using different types of insects, fruits, and commercial foods. You can also vary the size, shape, and color of the food items, and the way you present them. For example, you can offer whole or chopped fruits, live or dead insects, powder or gel commercial food, and use different dishes, bowls, or cups. This way, you can stimulate your gecko’s senses and curiosity, and prevent boredom and monotony.
  • Handle picky eaters: If your gecko is picky and refuses to eat certain foods, you can try some of the following strategies to entice it to eat:
    • Offer a small amount of food at a time, and remove any uneaten food after 15 minutes. This will create a sense of scarcity and urgency, and encourage your gecko to eat.
    • Offer the food at different times of the day, and observe when your gecko is most active and hungry. Usually, crested geckos are more likely to eat at dusk or dawn, when they are most awake and alert.
    • Offer the food in different locations, and observe where your gecko feels most comfortable and secure. Usually, crested geckos prefer to eat in a high and hidden spot, where they can avoid predators and competitors.
    • Offer the food in different ways, and observe how your gecko likes to eat. Some geckos like to lick the food from a dish, some like to hunt the food from the substrate, and some like to catch the food from the air. You can also use a feeding tong or a syringe to hand-feed your gecko, and create a bond with it.
    • Mix the food with something that your gecko likes, such as honey, yogurt, or baby food. This will make the food more appealing and palatable, and help your gecko to acquire a taste for it. However, you should only use this as a temporary measure, and gradually reduce the amount of the added ingredient, as it may not be suitable or nutritious for your gecko.
  • Gut-load and dust the insects: You should gut-load and dust the insects before feeding them to your gecko, which means feeding them a nutritious diet for at least 24 hours, and coating them with a thin layer of vitamin and mineral powders. This will provide your gecko with essential nutrients that may be lacking in the insects, such as calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin A. You can use commercial gut-load and dust products, or make your own by using fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and supplements.
  • Monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and weight: You should monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and weight, and adjust the feeding accordingly. You can use a digital scale to weigh your gecko regularly, and use the tables above as references. You should aim for a steady and gradual weight gain for your gecko, and avoid overfeeding or underfeeding it. You can also check your crested gecko’s body condition by looking at its tail, which should be thick and round, but not too fat or too thin.

 

What Do Crested Geckos Eat in the Wild?

Crested geckos are native to New Caledonia, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. There, they live in humid and tropical forests, where they can find plenty of food sources. Crested geckos are omnivorous, which means they eat both animal and plant matter. In the wild, their diet consists mainly of:

  • Insects: Crested geckos hunt and eat various insects, such as crickets, roaches, moths, flies, and beetles. They prefer live and moving prey, as it stimulates their natural hunting instincts. Insects provide crested geckos with protein, fat, and calcium, which are essential for their growth and health.
  • Fruits: Crested geckos also eat ripe and soft fruits, such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, figs, and berries. They use their tongue to lick and scoop the fruit pulp, and sometimes swallow small pieces whole. Fruits provide crested geckos with carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, which are important for their energy and immunity.
  • Flower nectar: Crested geckos have a sweet tooth, and they love to drink the nectar from flowers. They can climb up to the tree branches and reach the flowers with their sticky feet and tail. Flower nectar provides crested geckos with sugar, water, and some micronutrients, which are beneficial for their hydration and digestion.

The table below summarizes the main food items that crested geckos eat in the wild, and their nutritional value:

Food item Protein Fat Carbohydrate Calcium Water
Insects High High Low High Low
Fruits Low Low High Low High
Nectar Low Low High Low High

 

 

 

FAQS

 

  • Q: What is the best commercial food for crested geckos?
  • A: There are many brands of commercial crested gecko food available on the market, and each one has its own pros and cons. Some of the most popular and reputable brands are Repashy, Pangea, Zoo Med, and Arcadia. These brands offer a variety of flavors and formulas to suit different preferences and needs. The best commercial food for your crested gecko depends on factors such as availability, price, quality, and palatability. You may have to try different brands and flavors to find the one that your crested gecko likes the most. You can also mix different brands and flavors to create your own custom blend.
  • Q: How often should I feed my crested gecko insects?
  • A: Insects are an important part of the crested gecko diet, as they provide protein, fat, and calcium. However, they should not be fed too often or too much, as they can cause obesity, impaction, and nutritional imbalances. The general recommendation is to feed your crested gecko insects once or twice a week, as a treat or supplement to the commercial food. You should feed your crested gecko insects that are no larger than the space between its eyes, and dust them with calcium and vitamin supplements before offering them to your pet.
  • Q: What fruits can I feed my crested gecko?
  • A: Fruits are another source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for your crested gecko. However, they should also be fed in moderation, as they can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and sugar spikes. The general recommendation is to feed your crested gecko fruits once or twice a week, as a treat or supplement to the commercial food. You should feed your crested gecko fruits that are ripe, soft, and easy to digest, such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, figs, and berries. You should avoid fruits that are acidic, hard, or high in oxalates, such as citrus fruits, apples, grapes, and kiwis.
  • Q: How much water does my crested gecko need?
  • A: Crested geckos need fresh and clean water to stay hydrated and healthy. However, they do not drink from a water bowl, as they prefer to lick water droplets from leaves, branches, or walls. Therefore, you should provide your crested gecko with a water bowl, but also mist the enclosure daily or every other day, depending on the humidity level. You should use dechlorinated or filtered water, and change it regularly to prevent bacterial growth. You should also monitor your crested gecko’s hydration status by checking its skin, eyes, and feces. If your crested gecko shows signs of dehydration, such as wrinkled skin, sunken eyes, or dry feces, you should increase the misting frequency and offer it some water by dripping it on its nose or mouth.

 

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