What to Feed Crested Geckos

What to Feed Crested Geckos: A Complete Guide

 

What to Feed Crested Geckos

Crested geckos are popular and easy-to-care-for pets that can live up to 20 years in captivity. They are omnivorous reptiles that eat a variety of foods in the wild, including insects, fruits, and nectar. In captivity, they can thrive on a balanced diet of commercial crested gecko food, live insects, and occasional fruits and vegetables.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about feeding your crested gecko, including:

  • What are the best commercial foods for crested geckos
  • How often and how much to feed your crested gecko
  • What insects and fruits to offer your crested gecko as treats
  • What foods to avoid feeding your crested gecko
  • How to provide water and supplements for your crested gecko

Key Takeaways

Topic Summary
Commercial food The easiest and most convenient way to feed your crested gecko is to use a high-quality commercial food that is specially formulated for crested geckos. These foods come in powder form that you mix with water and offer in a shallow dish or a feeding bottle. Some of the best brands are Pangea, Repashy, and Zoo Med.
Live insects Live insects are a great source of protein and calcium for your crested gecko, and they also provide enrichment and stimulation. You can feed your crested gecko insects such as crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, and hornworms, but make sure they are no larger than the space between your gecko’s eyes. You should also gut-load and dust the insects with calcium and vitamin supplements before feeding them to your gecko.
Fruits and vegetables Fruits and vegetables can be offered to your crested gecko as occasional treats, but they should not make up more than 10% of their diet. You can feed your crested gecko fruits such as bananas, apples, kiwis, strawberries, and blueberries, and vegetables such as squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Avoid citrus fruits, grapes, and lettuce, as they can cause digestive problems or calcium deficiency.
Feeding schedule The frequency and amount of food you give your crested gecko will depend on their age, size, and activity level. Generally, you should feed your crested gecko every other day, and adjust the amount of food according to how much they eat. Juveniles and breeding females may need more food than adults and males. You should also remove any uneaten food within 24 hours to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
Water and supplements Crested geckos get most of their water from their food and from licking dew drops from their enclosure. However, you should still provide a shallow dish of fresh water for your crested gecko at all times, and mist their enclosure daily to maintain humidity. You should also supplement your crested gecko’s diet with calcium and vitamin D3 to prevent metabolic bone disease and other health issues.

What are the Best Commercial Foods for Crested Geckos?

The easiest and most convenient way to feed your crested gecko is to use a high-quality commercial food that is specially formulated for crested geckos. These foods are designed to meet the nutritional needs of your gecko and mimic their natural diet of insects and fruits.

Commercial crested gecko foods come in powder form that you mix with water and offer in a shallow dish or a feeding bottle. You can also add some fresh or dried fruits to the mix to make it more appealing and varied for your gecko.

Some of the best brands of commercial crested gecko food are:

  • Pangea: Pangea offers a range of flavors and formulas for crested geckos, such as banana and papaya, watermelon and mango, and insect and apricot. Pangea foods are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins, and contain natural ingredients and no artificial colors or preservatives.
  • Repashy: Repashy is another popular brand of crested gecko food that has different varieties, such as crested gecko diet, grubs and fruit, and banana and cream pie. Repashy foods are also high in protein, calcium, and vitamins, and contain natural and organic ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors.
  • Zoo Med: Zoo Med is a well-known brand of reptile products that also makes crested gecko food. Zoo Med’s crested gecko food is available in tropical fruit and mango flavors, and contains protein, calcium, and vitamins, as well as probiotics to support digestive health.

To prepare commercial crested gecko food, you need to follow the instructions on the package and mix the powder with water until you get a thick consistency. You can also adjust the ratio of water to powder according to your gecko’s preference. Some geckos like their food more runny, while others like it more solid.

You should offer the food in a shallow dish or a feeding bottle that is easy for your gecko to access and lick. You can place the dish or bottle near a branch or a ledge where your gecko likes to hang out, or near their hiding spot.

You should replace the food every 24 hours or sooner if it dries out or gets contaminated. You should also clean the dish or bottle regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

How Often and How Much to Feed Your Crested Gecko

The frequency and amount of food you give your crested gecko will depend on their age, size, and activity level. Generally, you should feed your crested gecko every other day, and adjust the amount of food according to how much they eat.

As a rule of thumb, you should offer your crested gecko enough food to fill their head, or about one teaspoon of commercial food per gecko. However, this may vary depending on your gecko’s appetite and metabolism. Some geckos may eat more or less than others, and some may eat more during certain seasons or life stages.

For example, juvenile crested geckos that are still growing may need more food than adult crested geckos that have reached their full size. Similarly, breeding females may need more food than males or non-breeding females, as they need more energy and calcium to produce eggs.

You can monitor your crested gecko’s weight and body condition to determine if you are feeding them enough or too much. A healthy crested gecko should have a plump tail, a smooth body, and no visible ribs or spine. An underweight crested gecko may have a thin tail, a wrinkled body, and prominent bones. An overweight crested gecko may have a fat tail, a bulging body, and difficulty moving.

You can use a digital scale to weigh your crested gecko regularly and keep track of their growth and health. You can also use a growth chart to compare your crested gecko’s weight and length to the average values for their age and sex.

Here is a table that shows the average weight and length of crested geckos at different ages and sexes:

Age Male weight (g) Male length (in) Female weight (g) Female length (in)
1 month 3-5 2-3 3-5 2-3
3 months 10-15 4-5 10-15 4-5
6 months 20-30 6-7 20-30 6-7
9 months 30-40 7-8 30-40 7-8
12 months 40-50 8-9 40-50 8-9
18 months 50-60 9-10 50-60 9-10
24 months 60-70 10-11 60-70 10-11
Adult 70-80 11-12 70-80 11-12

Note that these values are only averages and that your crested gecko may be smaller or larger than the norm. As long as your crested gecko is healthy and active, you don’t need to worry too much about their size.

What Insects and Fruits to Offer Your Crested Gecko as Treats

While commercial crested gecko food can provide a complete and balanced diet for your crested gecko, you may also want to offer some live insects and fresh fruits to your crested gecko as treats. These foods can provide some extra protein, calcium, and vitamins for your crested gecko, as well as some variety and enrichment for their diet.

Live insects are a great source of protein and calcium for your crested gecko, and they also provide enrichment and stimulation. You can feed your crested gecko insects such as crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, and hornworms, but make sure they are no larger than the space between your gecko’s eyes. You should also gut-load and dust the insects with calcium and vitamin supplements before feeding them to your gecko.

You can offer live insects to your crested gecko once or twice a week, or about 10% of their diet. You can either place the insects in a shallow dish or release them in the enclosure and let your gecko hunt them. You should also remove any uneaten insects after a few hours to prevent them from biting or stressing your gecko.

Fruits and vegetables can be offered to your crested gecko as occasional treats, but they should not make up more than 10% of their diet. You can feed your crested gecko fruits such as bananas, apples, kiwis, strawberries, and blueberries, and vegetables such as squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Avoid citrus fruits, grapes, and lettuce, as they can cause digestive problems or calcium deficiency.

You can chop or mash the fruits and vegetables and mix them with some commercial food or water to make a smoothie for your gecko. You can also place small pieces of fruits and vegetables on a skewer or a toothpick and hang them in the enclosure for your gecko to nibble on.

You can offer fruits and vegetables to your crested gecko once or twice a week, or about 5% of their diet. You should also remove any uneaten fruits and vegetables within 24 hours to prevent spoilage and pests.

What Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Crested Gecko

While crested geckos can eat a variety of foods, there are some foods that you should never feed your crested gecko, as they can be harmful or even fatal to your gecko. Some of these foods are:

  • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are too acidic for your crested gecko and can cause mouth sores, stomach upset, and dehydration.
  • Grapes: Grapes are high in oxalates, which can bind with calcium and prevent your crested gecko from absorbing it. This can lead to calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease, a serious condition that affects the bones and organs of your gecko.
  • Lettuce: Lettuce is low in nutrition and high in water, which can cause diarrhea and dehydration in your crested gecko. It can also fill up your gecko’s stomach and prevent them from eating more nutritious foods.
  • Avocado: Avocado contains a toxin called persin, which can damage the heart, lungs, and liver of your crested gecko. Even a small amount of avocado can be fatal to your gecko.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are stimulants that can cause seizures, tremors, and heart problems in your crested gecko. Chocolate is also high in fat and sugar, which can cause obesity and diabetes in your gecko.
  • Dairy products: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are not suitable for your crested gecko, as they are lactose intolerant and cannot digest them. Dairy products can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea in your gecko.
  • Human foods: Human foods such as bread, pasta, rice, cereals, cookies, cakes, and candies are not meant for your crested gecko and can cause health problems. These foods are high in carbohydrates, fat, salt, and sugar, which can disrupt your gecko’s digestion and metabolism. They can also contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and additives, which can be toxic to your gecko.

To keep your crested gecko healthy and happy, you should avoid feeding them any of these foods and stick to the foods that are safe and nutritious for them.

When Do Ball Pythons Stop Growing

Ball pythons are one of the most popular and easy-to-keep pet snakes in the world. They are known for their docile temperament, attractive patterns, and manageable size. However, many new and prospective owners may wonder when do ball pythons stop growing and how big do they get.

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about the growth and size of ball pythons, including:

  • How fast and how long do ball pythons grow
  • What factors affect the growth and size of ball pythons
  • How to measure and weigh your ball python
  • How to tell the age and sex of your ball python
  • How to provide the optimal conditions and care for your ball python’s growth and health

How Fast and How Long Do Ball Pythons Grow

Ball pythons are slow-growing snakes that can take up to 5 years to reach their full adult size. However, the growth rate and duration of ball pythons can vary depending on their genetics, diet, environment, and health.

Generally, ball pythons grow the fastest during their first year of life, when they can gain up to 2 feet in length and 500 grams in weight. After that, their growth rate slows down significantly, and they may only grow a few inches and grams per year.

The average adult size of ball pythons is between 3 and 5 feet in length and between 1 and 3 kilograms in weight. However, some ball pythons may grow larger or smaller than the average, depending on their individual characteristics.

What Factors Affect the Growth and Size of Ball Pythons

There are several factors that can influence the growth and size of ball pythons, such as:

  • Genetics: Genetics play a major role in determining the potential size and growth rate of ball pythons. Some ball pythons may inherit genes that make them grow faster or slower, or larger or smaller, than others. For example, some morphs, such as the spider and the champagne, are known to be smaller and slower-growing than the normal or wild-type ball pythons. On the other hand, some morphs, such as the banana and the pastel, are known to be larger and faster-growing than the normal ball pythons.
  • Diet: Diet is another important factor that affects the growth and size of ball pythons. Ball pythons need a balanced and nutritious diet of rodents, such as mice and rats, to provide them with the protein, fat, calcium, and vitamins they need for their growth and health. The quantity, quality, and frequency of feeding can also affect the growth and size of ball pythons. Underfeeding or overfeeding your ball python can cause health problems and stunt or accelerate their growth. Generally, you should feed your ball python a rodent that is about 10% to 15% of their body weight, once every 7 to 14 days, depending on their age and size.
  • Environment: Environment is another factor that affects the growth and size of ball pythons. Ball pythons need a suitable and comfortable enclosure that provides them with enough space, security, temperature, humidity, and lighting to support their growth and health. A too small or too large enclosure, a too hot or too cold temperature, a too dry or too wet humidity, or a too bright or too dark lighting can stress your ball python and affect their growth and size. Generally, you should provide your ball python with an enclosure that is at least as long as their body, a temperature gradient of 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, a humidity level of 50 to 60 percent, and a 12-hour light and dark cycle.

How to Measure and Weigh Your Ball Python

To keep track of your ball python’s growth and health, you should measure and weigh your ball python regularly. Measuring and weighing your ball python can help you determine if they are growing normally, if they need more or less food, or if they have any health issues.

To measure your ball python, you can use a measuring tape or a string and a ruler. You can either stretch your ball python along the tape or string, or coil them around it and then uncoil it and measure the length. You should measure your ball python from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail.

To weigh your ball python, you can use a digital scale or a balance scale. You can either place your ball python directly on the scale, or put them in a container and subtract the weight of the container. You should weigh your ball python in grams or kilograms, as these are the most accurate units for snakes.

You should measure and weigh your ball python at least once a month, and record the results in a log or a chart. You can also compare your ball python’s measurements and weights to the average values for their age and sex, or to a growth chart, to see how they are doing.

How to Tell the Age and Sex of Your Ball Python

Another thing that you may want to know about your ball python is their age and sex. Knowing the age and sex of your ball python can help you understand their growth and size, their behavior and temperament, and their breeding potential.

However, telling the age and sex of your ball python can be tricky, as there are no obvious external differences between male and female ball pythons, or between young and old ball pythons. The only reliable way to determine the age and sex of your ball python is to consult a veterinarian or a breeder, who can use specialized techniques and equipment to examine your ball python.

Some of the techniques and equipment that can be used to tell the age and sex of your ball python are:

  • Probing: Probing is a technique that involves inserting a metal rod into the cloaca of your ball python and feeling for the presence or absence of hemipenes, the male reproductive organs. Male ball pythons have hemipenes that extend further into the tail than female ball pythons, who have only a small pocket. Probing can also indicate the age of your ball python, as older ball pythons have larger and deeper hemipenes or pockets than younger ball pythons. Probing should only be done by a professional, as it can cause injury or infection if done incorrectly.
  • Popping: Popping is a technique that involves applying gentle pressure to the base of the tail of your ball python and causing the hemipenes or the pocket to pop out of the cloaca. Popping can also reveal the sex of your ball python, as male ball pythons have hemipenes that are visible and protruding, while female ball pythons have a pocket that is barely noticeable. Popping can also indicate the age of your ball python, as older ball pythons have more developed and prominent hemipenes or pockets than younger ball pythons. Popping should also only be done by a professional, as it can cause damage or stress to your ball python.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a technique that involves using a device that emits sound waves to create an image of the internal organs of your ball python. Ultrasound can reveal the sex of your ball python, as male ball pythons have hemipenes that are visible and distinct, while female ball pythons have ovaries and follicles that are visible and distinct. Ultrasound can also reveal the age of your ball python, as older ball pythons have larger and more mature hemipenes, ovaries, and follicles than younger ball pythons. Ultrasound is a safe and non-invasive technique, but it requires a veterinarian and a specialized device.

How to Provide the Optimal Conditions and Care for Your Ball Python’s Growth and Health

The most important thing that you can do to ensure your ball python’s growth and health is to provide them with the optimal conditions and care that they need. This includes:

  • Enclosure: You should provide your ball python with a suitable and comfortable enclosure that provides them with enough space, security, temperature, humidity, and lighting to support their growth and health. You should also furnish your enclosure with appropriate substrates, hides, branches, plants, and water bowls to make your ball python feel at home.
  • Diet: You should provide your ball python with a balanced and nutritious diet of rodents, such as mice and rats, to provide them with the protein, fat, calcium, and vitamins they need for their growth and health. You should also feed your ball python a rodent that is about 10% to 15% of their body weight, once every 7 to 14 days, depending on their age and size. You should also monitor your ball python’s appetite and weight, and adjust the feeding accordingly.
  • Hydration: You should provide your ball python with a shallow dish of fresh water for your ball python at all times, and change it daily or as needed. You should also mist your enclosure daily to maintain humidity and provide your ball python with drinking droplets. You should also monitor your ball python’s hydration and urination, and look for signs of dehydration or overhydration.
  • Supplements: You should provide your ball python with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to prevent metabolic bone disease and other health issues. You can either dust the rodents with the supplements before feeding them to your ball python, or offer them in a separate dish or bottle. You should also consult your veterinarian or a breeder for the recommended dosage and frequency of the supplements.
  • Health check: You should check your ball python’s health regularly and look for any signs of illness or injury, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, abnormal shedding, respiratory infection, mites, parasites, burns, bites, or wounds. You should also take your ball python to a veterinarian or a breeder for a routine check-up and vaccination, or if you notice any signs of illness or injury.

 

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