All Uroplatus are insectivores, which means that the ideal leaf-tailed gecko food is BUGS. Offerings of meat or plant matter will be rejected or—if eaten—can make the gecko sick.
Juveniles should be fed daily; adults can be fed every other day. Offer as much as they can eat in one night. The female U. sikorae I worked with did well on 5-6 large crickets every other night. However, other keepers have documented feeding adults daily, with one “fasting” day per week. Conclusion: do what keeps juveniles growing and what keeps adults’ weights stable, which means that weekly weighing is required.
All feeders should be no larger than the space between the gecko’s eyes. Offer them in the evening, after misting so you don’t accidentally wash off calcium powder.
Good Feeder Insects
- Darkling beetles
- Dubia roaches
- Discoid roaches
- Red runner roaches*
- Hornworms (captive only; wild hornworms are toxic!)
Crickets, roaches, and snails are the most popular leaf-tailed gecko food, whose hunting instinct is triggered by motion, especially prey capable of climbing into their arboreal territory. The exception to this rule is snails, which are a natural prey for wild Uroplatus.
Do not be concerned if your gecko ignores or rejects worm feeders. Offering a variety is nice, but sometimes Uroplatus have very specific preferences.
Avoid the use of feeding dishes. Uroplatus like to dive from leaves/branches to catch their prey, and like solid substrates, hard dishes can cause injury. If you must use a feeding dish, line the floor of the dish with a sponge for the gecko’s safety.
Because leaf-tailed 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. 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 reconstituted Repashy Veggie Burger or Grassland Grazer powder with a sprinkle of bee pollen.
Feeders should also be dusted with calcium powder for every other feeding. A common symptom of over supplementation in Uroplatus is weight gain, so look out for fat stores accumulating under the jaw and in front of the rear legs.
If you are using a UVB bulb, use a calcium powder without D3. If you are not, calcium with D3 will be required to keep the gecko healthy.
Our favorite calcium supplements are:
- Repashy SuperCal HyD
- Repashy SuperCal NoD
- Miner-ALL Indoor (D3)
- Miner-ALL Outdoor (no D3)
- Arcadia CalciumPro-Mg (no D3)
- Jurassic Natural Calcium
- Jurassic Natural Calcium with D3
Our favorite vitamin supplements for leaf-tailed geckos are:
Dust insects with a multivitamin powder once a week for young geckos and once every other week for adult geckos.
**Note** U. sikorae and U. phantasticus are particularly sensitive to over-supplementation, so calcium should only be offered every other feeding or even just once a week, depending on the state of their calcium sacs. U. henkeli, on the other hand, need a lot of calcium, and it may be wise to provide a bottle cap-sized dish of calcium powder (without vitamin D3) on a ledge outside of insect feedings.
A Quick Note about Water
Although they prefer to lick water off leaves and the walls of their enclosure, Uroplatus will drink from a small bowl if provided. Install a magnetic gecko feeding ledge on one of the sides of the enclosure and keep a small condiment cup of water there for the gecko to use as needed. Replace the water every other day or whenever it becomes soiled.
Do not use Reptisafe or other water “conditioners” that claim to remove chlorine from your pet’s drinking water. The tiny amount of chlorine in your tap water is negligible, and the conditioner is arguably more dangerous to your reptile’s health.
- Introduction to Leaf-Tailed Geckos
- Leaf-tailed Gecko Shopping List
- Uroplatus Species
- Terrarium Size Requirements
- Substrate Options
- Temperatures & UVB
- Humidity Requirements
- How to Decorate a Leaf-Tailed Gecko Terrarium
- What to Feed Your Leaf-Tailed Gecko (YOU ARE HERE)
- Handling Tips & Body Language Info
- Common Diseases & Other Health Questions
- Additional Resources