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
- Superworms (small)
- Hornworms (captive only; wild hornworms are toxic!)
- Dubia roaches
- Discoid roaches
- Red runner 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.
You can hand feed your gecko with soft-tipped feeding tweezers. This can be a great way to bond with your pet!
- PRO TIP: 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.
- 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
- Bugs caught in your backyard — These can make your gecko sick.
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 to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease.
Best calcium for leopard geckos with UVB:
Best calcium for leopard geckos without UVB:
Some keepers like to keep a dish of calcium powder (no D3) in their gecko’s enclosure for the gecko to lick at will. As long as you are dusting your feeders appropriately, however, this should not be necessary and may even contribute to calcium overdose. For more information about reptile supplements, read our article: What You Need to Know About Reptile Vitamins.
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. If you are using Repashy CalciumPlus, no additional multivitamin is necessary.
Best multivitamins for leopard geckos:
Since leopard geckos are insectivores and unlikely to be able to convert carotene to vitamin A, they need a supplement that contains vitamin A (retinol) rather than beta carotene.
Because leopard geckos rely on insects for all of their nutrition, it is especially important to gut-load feeder insects for at least 24 hours before offering. The easiest way to keep them optimally fed and gut-loaded is with one of (or even a rotation of) the following formulas:
- Arcadia InsectFuel
- Dubia.com Dubia Diet
- Lugarti Premium Dubia Diet
- Mazuri Better Bug Gut Loading Diet
- Repashy Bug Burger
For hydration, use gel water crystals.
Some people like to use vegetable scraps to “gutload” their feeders, but personally I dislike this practice since the nutrition is incomplete and not specifically formulated for the insects’ dietary needs.
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.
- PRO TIP: 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.
Do not use distilled or softened water! Tap, spring, and even filtered 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.
- Introduction to Leopard Geckos
- Shopping List
- Terrarium Size and Cohabitation
- Lighting, Temperature & Humidity Needs
- Substrate (Bedding) Options
- Decorating Your Leopard Gecko’s Enclosure
- What to Feed Your Leopard Gecko (YOU ARE HERE)
- Handling Tips & Leopard Gecko Body Language
- Common Diseases, Illnesses & Other Health Questions
- Additional Resources