Leopard geckos are insectivores, which means that they eat bugs. No vegetables, fruit, or meat – they’re just crazy for bugs!
It’s easy to remember how much to feed your gecko: Offer 2 appropriately-sized bugs per 1 inch of your leopard gecko’s length, or however much they can eat in 15 minutes. Juveniles should be fed daily, and young adults fed every other day/every 3 days. Adults whose tail is fatter than their neck can be fed every 5 days.
Do not leave feeder insects in your gecko’s enclosure all day for your gecko to eat at their leisure — crickets and other feeders nibble on geckos in their sleep, sometimes causing serious injuries.
Good Feeder Insects
- Hornworms (captive only; wild hornworms are toxic!)
- Dubia roaches
- Black soldier fly larvae
Always offer live insects. Dead or canned insects don’t trigger your gecko’s “hunting mode,” so they most likely won’t get eaten. Also, try to offer more than just 1-2 kinds of insects. Offering a variety provides enrichment for your gecko, as well as varied nutrition to prevent nutrient deficiency.
- Wax worms
- Butter worms
These worms are very high in fat. So while they’re tasty, it’s best not to feed these more than once a week. Pinky mice should not be offered either, unless you are trying to fatten up a gecko who recently dropped its tail.
Insects to Avoid
- Superworms. These popular feeders have very strong mandibles that can cause substantial internal damage.
- Bugs caught in your backyard. These can make your gecko sick.
All feeder insects should be gutloaded for at least 24 hours before feeding. Ideally, they should come pre-gutloaded from the breeder. If they weren’t, or you buy your feeder insects in bulk, the easiest way to keep them fed and gut-loaded is with Repashy Veggie Burger or Grassland Grazer powder. Note that if you give your insects a dry gutload, they will need a source of water. Gel water crystals work perfectly for this purpose.
All insect feeders should be dusted with calcium powder. If you’re not using a UVB light, be sure to use a supplement that includes vitamin D3.
Our favorite calcium supplements are:
- Rep-Cal with Vitamin D3
- Rep-Cal without Vitamin D3
- Repashy SuperCal HyD
- Repashy SuperCal NoD
- Miner-ALL Indoor
- Miner-ALL Outdoor
Some keepers like to go one step further and keep a dish of calcium powder (no D3) in their gecko’s enclosure for the gecko to lick at will.
Leopard geckos also need an occasional multivitamin. Dust insects with a multivitamin powder once a week for young geckos and once every other week for adult geckos. Since leopard geckos are insectivores and unlikely to be able to convert beta carotene to vitamin A, they need a supplement that contains vitamin A (retinol) rather than beta carotene. At the moment, Repashy SuperVite is the only quality multivitamin on the market that meets this need.
Leopard geckos readily drink water from a dish, so fresh water must be available. Use a heavy ceramic dish so it can’t be spilled, but not deep enough that your gecko could potentially drown in it. If the dish spills or splashes, clean it up ASAP (this is why I like linoleum better than paper towels).
Do not use distilled, softened, or filtered water! Tap water (assuming that it’s safe for humans to drink) contains minerals vital to your gecko’s health. Yes, this means you might have to deal with buildup in the water dish, but it’s worth it — and can be easily prevented with regular cleaning. Here’s why.
- Don’t add vitamin drops to the water. These products are usually lower quality, and there’s no way to track how much your gecko is getting.
- Sometimes geckos stop eating for weeks or even months at a time. This is normal. Whether due to breeding season or brumation, you don’t need to be concerned. As long as its weight stays roughly the same, your gecko will be fine.