Crested geckos have become one of the most popular lizard species of all in recent years. This is not by accident. In contrast to many other pet lizards, which require all manner of specialist (and expensive) care, the crested gecko is altogether less demanding. Never is this more true than when it comes to feeding crested geckos.
Whilst most other lizard species require constant supplies of live insects to eat, the crested gecko is much easier to feed, and as a result is ideal for anyone that doesn’t want the hassle of continually buying tubs of crickets. Read on to find out the easiest and most effective tips for feeding your crested gecko…
What Do Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested geckos are omnivores and will therefore eat a wide range of both insects (an ideal source of protein) and plant material.
The most popular plant-based foods given by crested gecko keepers tend to be a wide range of different fruits, however some crested geckos will also accept vegetable-based foods. Some keepers find that blending vegetable leaves into a “shake” tends to make them more readily acceptable to crested geckos.
One of the things that makes crested geckos particularly appealing pets is that a number of complete foods are available from retailers. These come a powder form, which is mixed with water to create a paste.
This paste then can be provided in a shallow bowl to your gecko, and should be replaced every day. This means that at its simplest, feeding your crested gecko is as simple as just remembering to swap the paste over every few days.
While such complete diets contain all the nutrients that your crested gecko needs, most keepers also opt to supplement this with a wide range of insects and plant-based foods in order to ensure a balanced diet.
Best Foods for Crested Geckos in Captivity
Now you understand the basics of what your crested gecko will eat we can move on to the specifics. We’ll start off by looking at some of the better-known complete foods for crested geckos before we look at acceptable feeder insects, fruits and vegetables.
By the end of this article you’ll have a complete list of all the various food items that can make up your crested geckos diet, and will be perfectly placed to offer a balanced yet delicious diet to your gecko.
Complete Crested Gecko Diets
Complete foods are so-called because they provide all the vitamins and minerals your crested gecko needs to thrive. Simply mix up the powder and provide to your gecko. While it is recommended that you remove any uneaten complete food paste daily, premixed solution should be fine in the fridge for a few days.
- Powdered food for crested geckos of all life stages
- Proven great for female geckos for breeding, egg development, and producing healthy offspring
- Complete, balanced nutrition for day geckos, gargoyle geckos, and other omnivorous New Caledonian gecko species
If you’re feeding a complete diet like those discussed above then it isn’t strictly essential to add live insects to your crested geckos diet. All the same, part of the fun of keeping a pet lizard is watching it hunt and catch prey, so many crestie keepers opt to supplement their diet with live insects.
These days a wide range of feeder insects are available from reptile stores or from specialist livefood breeders online. Most popular among crested gecko keepers tend to be brown crickets, but a range of other feeder insects can also be tried – from waxworm larvae to smaller locusts or roaches.
When feeding live insects try not to offer too many at any one time; uneaten live insects can stress your crested gecko and can be problematic to try and remove from the cage. Providing just a few feeder insects at a time is therefore recommended.
Dusting Feeder Insects
The nutrition offered by live feeder insects can vary enormously. In order to ensure your crestie gets the most benefit possible it is recommended to either “dust” insects or gut load them before feeding them to your lizard.
To gut load livefood simply use a gut loading powder for at least 24 hours before the insects are fed to your gecko. In this way the digestive system of each insect will be packed with beneficial calcium.
Alternatively, insects can be dusted. Simply place the feeder insects into a clear plastic bag, add a small amount of mineral powder and shake the bag vigorously. The insects will become coated in the beneficial powder and should then be fed to your gecko instantly.
- Highly bio-available source of calcium carbonate
- Free of harmful impurities (not from Oyster Shells)
- Safe levels of Vitamin D3
Note that crickets and roaches hate to be coated in this powder, and will work hard to clean the powder off their bodies. Therefore, the sooner your gecko snaps up the livefood the more nutrition they will offer.
While most complete diets like Repashy offer a high fruit content, many keepers opt to feed finely chopped or mashed fruit either as a treat, or instead of a complete diet.
A huge number of different fruits are safe for crested geckos, but to ensure that your pet receives a broad range of nutrients it is advisable to regularly swap out the fruits being offered, aiming for a range of different fruits to be consumed. This will avoid the risks of nutrient deficiencies from just feeding one single type of fruit.
The following list of fruits have all been proven to be safe and popular among captive crested geckos:
- Black Currants
- Red Currants
Vegetables don’t tend to be as popular with crested geckos when compared to the sweet taste of fruit, however these can often be blended to give them a more appealing texture, and may be mixed with fruits to improve the taste.
The reason to consider offering vegetables is that they tend to be much richer in minerals like calcium and phosphorous when compared to fruit.
Examples of great vegetable-style foods to offer include:
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Leaves
- Mustard Greens
What Shouldn’t Be Fed to Crested Geckos?
Now you know what you should be feeding to your crested gecko it is worth mentioning a few food types that were once popular – but are now considered not to be healthy for your gecko. In other words these are the foods best avoided by the a caring crested gecko owner…
Baby food tends to be made primarily from pureed fruit, which after all is what you will find the higher quality complete crested gecko foods. However, things aren’t quite that easy.
Not only do baby foods often contain a lot more sugar that crested gecko food, but they also typically lack the protein included in Repashy or Pangea foods. Therefore, while you will always stumble across the odd person who swears by giving baby food to their crested gecko it is generally not advisable.
Overly Large Insects
Crested geckos might love to hunt down and chomp on a few crickets but keepers have found that they’re only able to handle reasonably small prey.
In comparison to some of the greedier exotic pets out there, therefore, don’t amuse yourself by figuring out the biggest insects your gecko can eat. Instead, aim for smaller live insects as opposed to larger prey.
It is believed that many citrus fruits may block the absorption of calcium from the diet, so if fed they should only make up a small fraction of your crested gecko’s diet.
How Often Should You Feed a Crested Gecko?
Most crested geckos will eat every few days. Irrespective of what you are feeding you should ensure that fresh food is added to your crested gecko cage at least once every other day, and that any uneaten food is removed after 24 hours to prevent it spoiling.
How Should I Provide Food for My Crested Gecko?
Live insects can simply be released into your crested gecko tank, while plant-based foods and complete diets can be provided in shallow food dishes that you regularly wash.
Note that crested geckos rarely seem to make their way down to the floor of their cage, so many crestie keepers opt to install one or more raised feeding platforms in their crested gecko cage.
- UNIQUE DESIGN: Magnetic Reptile Feeding Cup Gecko Feeder Ledge is Delicate, smooth and high brightness, perfectly blend in your tanks to increase the beauty of the landscape. Rounded ledge keep you pets feel comfortable and good for eating.
- INSTALL IN SECONDS: Includes 20 free cups. Install or relocate in seconds. The Magnetic Reptile Feeding Cup can holds the reptile food dish on your glass wall firmly. These heavy weight cup ledges can hold most medium-sized reptiles. So basically yeah, these will hold any gecko on the face of the planet.
- DETACHABLE CUP HOLDER: Reptile food dish offers two replaceable cups or bowls holder. The cups and shelf are separated. It is convenient for changing the cup and cleaning, you can simply wipe away any mess, even dried on gecko diet.
These typically attach to the cage wall either thanks to magnets or suction cups. These raised feeding stations are available quite cheaply, and ensure that your gecko is easily able to reach its dinner.
As you can see, feeding crested geckos can be as easy or as difficult as you like. If you have very little time available, or don’t fancy dealing with creepy crawlies, then you can simply rely solely on Pangea or Repashy complete crested gecko foods.
On the other hand, if you want to have some fun then you can also supplement your crested geckos diet with a range of fruits and live insects. Indeed, while the complete meal replacement powders certainly make your life a lot easier they’re not absolutely necessary so long as you feed a wide range of the other foods outlined in this guide.
Whatever arrangement you opt for, the keys are simply to feed your gecko a complete and balanced diet, while ensuring that hygiene standards are maintained by regularly cleaning food bowls and not allowing food to foul in the warm environment of your crested gecko cage.
Photo by danielbromilow
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