Leopard Geckos are one of the most versatile reptiles when it comes to feeding them and what they can eat. They aren’t particularly picky and a lot of people actually like to feed them vitamins to help them grow more efficiently and to help them mature quicker. Some of the notable examples of what Leopard Geckos will feast on are: baby mice, worms, wax worms and the most common thing that’s fed to Geckos are crickets.
So, let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages to feeding Geckos crickets.
One of the pros to feeding crickets to Geckos is that they require activity as they’re more stimulating to catch and eat. It’s also commonly known that in terms of nutrition, they’re far superior to mealworms because of all the nutrients they provide. Let’s just say, if you’re ever lost in a forest, you could probably eat crickets, among other things with nutrition in them. Also, they’re easier to digest because their skeleton frame isn’t as large as some common food types; this is a huge plus for Geckos that are still maturing.
However, some of the disadvantages to feeding your Leopard Geckos crickets are that it’s easy to overestimate just how many you’ll need. People don’t commonly buy them as just a single cricket, but they prefer to buy them in bulk. If you buy too many of them, what might happen is, you’ll over compensate just how much your Geckos are going to eat and you’ll forget to feed the crickets. Crickets need water and food just like everything else that’s a live, or else it dies and you’ll be cleaning your cage more often.
Crickets that don’t get eaten can also cause quite a nuisance to both you via noise and your Gecko via chewing on it. They aren’t going to harm your Gecko but they sure are going to make sure they don’t get any rest. Crickets that don’t get eaten also pose a serious health risk because what happens is, if you don’t feed these uneaten crickets, they’ll begin feeding on feces if any is available to avoid starvation and death. Then, when your gecko finally does decide to eat it, it’ll ingest the cricket that ate the feces of the Gecko and made eggs out of it. Your gecko will not have parasite eggs inside of their stomachs which can lead to more complications.
This is why while crickets are nutritious and a great meal for the Leopard Geckos, they need to be fed in moderation and only to the point where they can be handled, otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a mess. Not to mention in a poorly constructed cage or shelter, they can get loose and roam around your house chirping. I doubt anyone in the household wants to listen to that all night while they try to sleep.
You may also want to consider feeding your Leopard Geckos what’s known as “pinkies”. These are baby rats that haven’t grown yet your geckos will eat them. Another great food group is wax worms. They’re not only great for catching fish but they’re also great for feeding geckos too. A lot of owners use these to feed to geckos that haven’t been eating as much lately to help them gain weight. When Leopard Geckos become distressed, they may stop eating and this is when you can try to feed wax worms to them so that they’ll gain their weight back. They’re very high in fat content.
I believe the second most common type of food is the mealworms. They’re very easy to find, you can buy them in bulk for cheap and geckos will definitely eat them.
Some of the advantages that mealworms have over other food groups are the following:
They’re not as active as crickets and they can’t jump up or climb anywhere, so the chances of them actually escaping the structure are next to impossible.
You don’t have to provide any kind of food or water for them because once you buy them; you can refrigerate them for weeks at a time without having to worry about anything. They stay fresh for a very long time which is why they’re so commonly used for fishing.
Unlike crickets, the chance of them infecting your Gecko with their own feces is impossible because they’ll just sit in a dish until they’re eaten. They aren’t going to starve and start eating the feces around the cage.
Also, one of the biggest benefits to using mealworms is that they aren’t going to make that annoying chirping sound.
However, they do have some disadvantages to them as well. First of all, their exoskeleton and frame isn’t as narrow as a cricket, so your Leopard Geckos might have a slightly harder time digesting them than they would with crickets. They also don’t provide nearly as much nutrition as a cricket will either. You also need to make sure there’s absolutely no way that they’ll escape into the sand or else they’ll try to dig their way into the bottom or make their escape.
While you can feed carrots or small pieces of orange to crickets just a mere 30 minutes before feeding them to Gecko, it’s recommended that you wait far longer to do with this mealworms because it takes longer for them to get the nutritional value from them. It’s best to wait 24 hours as an average before feeding mealworms to crickets after they’ve fed on food or vitamins.
Basically, you want to do this in a dish because they’ll also crawl around in what’s known as the “gut load” which is basically just feeding your prey essential vitamins before they’re eaten. They’ll roll around and crawl around in this gut load and then when the Leopard Geckos eat them, they’ll be getting a good portion of all those vitamins. One of the best parts is, that they’ll have this “gut load” for several days after you put them in the dish so it doesn’t matter when your Gecko eat them, as long as they eat them in the next few days after serving them.
Some people prefer small carrots and some people prefer small pear cactus, you’ll just have to try different ones and find out which one works for yourself. Commonly, young geckos will latch onto the mealworms quicker than the adults will because they tend to be a little more cautious about what they’re eating. Male gecko will eventually eat them but it’ll just take them a little while to warm up to the new food and they usually do this once they’re starving.
Also, one of the most common myths that need to be dispelled is that when a mealworm is eaten, it can easily eat its way through the Gecko’s stomach. I’m not certain who started this one but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing bad is going to happen from eating a mealworm and they’re actually not that strong. It takes them a long time to dig through the soft surfaces and they’ll be long gone before they would even have a chance to dry. No one has ever lost a Gecko to a mealworm; I can assure you of that.
Some people have other types of food they like to feed to their Gecko but just remember that it’s very important to take in consideration the size of your prey that you’re feeding to the Leopard Geckos. Obviously and it should go without saying, that smaller gecko are going to need to be fed smaller prey and vice versa. It’s much harder for a small gecko to digest larger prey and to digest prey with a large skeleton. For example, when it comes to crickets, you want to ensure that the cricket is no longer than the Gecko’s head so that it’ll digest it easily.
Feeding time is usually from around ten to fifteen minutes and how much youre Leopard Geckos will vary. Some of them can eat a lot and some of them just won’t be that hungry, so try to make sure they’re eating everything you put in there and that you clean up after them if they tend to leave a lot of their food. Make sure if you go with crickets, you’re cleaning out dead crickets and feces on a regular basis to avoid complications.