Caring for a leopard gecko correctly should be an owners number one priority, so it’s no wonder this question is asked quite frequently. Feeding a gecko is usually quite an easy task. In the wild they are opportunists, so they will more than likely eat at any chance they get. But how often do you feed leopard geckos in captivity?
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As stated before, leopard geckos are opportunist eaters. It’s a natural instinct and this doesn’t just vanish because they are captive bred. If you give then the opportunity, leopard geckos will mostly eat every time you offer them food. Many gecko owners may misunderstand this and believe their pet is still hungry, but this isn’t usually the case.
Over feeding a leopard gecko can cause obesity, and this can then cause some further health issues that may become life threatening if untreated.
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So how often do you feed leopard geckos, and does it differ with age?
In fact yes. There is absolutely a correlation between how often a leopard gecko is fed compared to its age. So how often do you feed leopard geckos? Just like and other living species, a juvenile will eat a smaller amount, but more often. Where as an adult will eat less often, but a bigger amount.
Baby Leopard Geckos
Baby leopard geckos should be fed roughly 5-7 small crickets or mealworms every day until they reach about 10cm in size. If you want, you can spread this over two feeds if you have the time and can remember to do so. Spreading the foods over two feeds gives baby leopard geckos a chance to fully digest their first meal before ingesting the next.
Baby leopard geckos have much smaller stomachs that adult leopard geckos and their digestive system is still become familiar with all the new foods. Feeding them too much at once may cause indigestion or constipation which can be very uncomfortable.
Also this may cause an upset stomach and they may have irregular stools, which means they nutrients from the food are being passed too quickly and they are not gaining the needed benefits from their foods.
Splitting their food over two meals with massively reduce the chance of this happening and will no doubt keep your baby gecko as happy as possible throughout it first few weeks.
Juvenile Leopard Geckos
Once your baby gecko has grown a bit, you can start to offer them slightly bigger foods. Once they have reached the juvenile stage you can now offer them larger foods every other day. Now you can offer them medium side crickets and mealworms, but make sure they are no bigger than your geckos head as they wont even attempt to eat the food.
Juveniles should continue to be fed this amount for the remainder of the first 12 months, until they reach full maturity of adulthood.
Adult Leopard Geckos
After 12 months, leopard geckos will have reach full maturity and are now classed as adults. Even though they have reached adulthood they have not yet still reached their full size.
Adult leopard geckos can be fed 6-7 large crickets or meal worms two or three times a week. The reason they now only have to eat a few times a week is because they have now started to slow their growth rate. As juveniles their growth rate is constant. Their bodies are continuously growing at a rapid rate and therefore need to consume foods more often than adults do.
Once at the the adult stage you can start to b a bit more adventurous with the foods you offer your gecko. Fully mature adults can eat a much wider range of insects than juveniles. However, some other insects should only be given as treats as they contain higher levels of fats compared to crickets and mealworms.
A staple diet for an adult leopard gecko can include, Crickets, Mealworms, Hornworms Superworms and Dubia Roaches.
As a treat you can offer Waxworms to add extra natural fats into their diet. Or Calciworms, to add extra natural calcium into their diet.
Calciworms are very important to a leopard geckos diet as they commonly struggle to maintain the correct calcium levels they ideally need to be healthy. These worms should be offered two or three times a week to balance these levels correctly.
What can you feed an adult leopard gecko?
The best insects to feed your leopard gecko are indeed Crickets and Mealworms. These insects should be the main bulk of a leopard geckos diet. However there are some other insects that you can offer your gecko as a treat, just to keep their meals interesting.
Waxworms and Superworms can be offered in a leopard geckos diet every so often as they are very high in natural fats. Too many of these may lead to obesity, so these only need to be offered once a week.
Many owners like to treat their geckos to Butterworms and whilst this is actually okay from time to time, geckos have been known to become addicted to these insects and actually refuse other foods after. They are high in fats again which means they should only be offered as a treat. However for some reason they seem to love them. Maybe they just taste great. But commonly they will refuse to eat other foods after having butterworms introduced into their diet.
Dubia roaches are another staple food for a leopard geckos diet. They have full of great nutrients and are fairly easy to purchase, whether it be in store or online. You can actually breed Dubia Roaches at home quite easily, so they can actually save you money if done this way. As a rule of thumb, you can serve two Dubia roaches per inch of your gecko. (5 inches = 10 roaches).