Crested geckos live on a balanced diet of insects and fruits. But since there are so many options available and it’s hard to ensure your gecko gets all the nutrients it needs, commercial crested gecko diets are more and more popular. They ensure your pet gets everything it needs to remain happy and healthy.
In this article, we’ll talk about what insects a Crested Gecko loves to eat and what does a balanced diet looks like.
Can Crested Geckos Eat Insects? What Are The Main Types?
Crested Geckos need a balanced diet between insects and some fruits. But insects are still the main type of food they need. It’s highly recommended to only use prey insects and tropical fruits if you’re a first-time gecko owner. But a more experienced keeper can make a Crested Gecko’s diet more varied without risking the gecko’s health.
One thing you should always keep in mind when feeding geckos is that the insects you’re giving them should always be smaller than the space between their eyes. This gives you an idea about how big their throat is and whether they risk choking on the insect or not. They can be longer but the width of the insects should never be larger than their throat.
Some Crested Geckos might have their own preferences, which is why they might refuse certain insects. It’s completely fine if it gets the nutrients it needs some other type of way. This includes powders, commercial food, etc. It might take some time until you find out exactly what your gecko likes and what it doesn’t.
Another thing to always keep in mind is that most geckos won’t eat dead insects. There are a few that are not bothered by them, which is great as the chance of the gecko getting hurt during feeding time is non-existent. But most geckos, including Crested Geckos, won’t even go near the corpse. Specialists say that dead insects to them are like someone offering us a spoiled meal.
The best way to feed your Crested Gecko is to offer it live insects, especially if you think it’s a picky eater. A live insect often wakes up their hunting instinct and even the most stubborn gecko will attempt to catch it. But if yours is fine with dead insects, then chopping off the heads of the feeder insects before feeding time is a great idea. This reduces the risk of the insect biting your gecko in self-defense.
Can Crested Geckos Eat Mealworm Beetles?
Most geckos love mealworms and these worms are often considered the best food. But when it comes to Crested Geckos, mealworms and dark beetles are not recommended. This is because Crested Geckos are quite sensitive and their teeth are not made for very hard carcasses. Mealworms are way too crunchy for them and they can cause some digestive problems.
The same goes for the mealworm beetles. If you forgot about some mealworms and they already turned into beetles, it’s best to avoid giving them to your gecko just to “save food”. They can cause some serious digestive problems and they might even choke trying to chew them up.
You should also keep in mind that superworms are pretty much the same and they should be avoided as well. But if your Crested Gecko actually loves them, you can offer them as an occasional treat once a week. However, it’s highly recommended to find another type of treat.
The reason why insects and worms that are very hard to chew are to be avoided is that Crested Geckos are very eager eaters. You will notice how excited they get every time they see prey. They tend to rush and attack the insect with all of their force and in their hurry, they might choke if the insect is too hard.
Dubia roaches are pretty good as both primary crested gecko food and as treats. It’s up to you when you want to feed them. They’re nutritious and not very high in fat, which is important in primary food so the gecko won’t gain weight.
But you should choose the dubia roaches very carefully. It’s important for them to be as long as your gecko’s head so the gecko can eat them properly. If you feed them as treats, stick to one or two insects a week so their diet can be more varied.
Beetles are not really recommended for Crested Gecko. In general, geckos are not big fans of beetles, although there’s always the exception. But even if your gecko loves them, you need to keep in mind how sensitive your pet is and that feeding them insects that are hard to eat can cause some problems.
There are various other options available, from crickets to dubia roaches and various small nightcrawlers. It’s very important to be extra careful about what your pet eats each day. You should also avoid wild beetles as they can have parasites that can later be transferred to your pet.
While Crested Geckos can eat ants, it’s definitely not recommended. Despite being so small, ants are very well-known for their amazingly strong jaws and stings. They can cause some serious damage to your gecko.
In fact, one of the reasons why Crested Geckos almost went extinct is because of the introduction of the Little Fire And, also known as the Electric Ant. These ants attack Crested Geckos in very big numbers and kill them very fast. So it’s a good idea to keep these geckos away from any ant.
Besides the danger of hurting your gecko, you should also keep in mind that ants are extremely crafty little creatures. If you do the big mistake of adding a few in the gecko’s wood vivarium, they will immediately burrow.
They can also burrow in the walls and eat wood until they find a way out. They can also multiply in the natural substrate without you having any idea. Overall, ants are just not ideal for Crested Geckos.
Spiders are another type of insects that Crested Geckos definitely eat in the wilderness but they’re not such a good idea in captivity. It’s important to make sure the spider is not very big and that it’s not poisonous. And even then, you should only feed them if they are bought from a reputable reptile food supplier.
Avoid house spiders as they can have countless parasites and may have touched insecticides.
Rolly pollies are either a hit or a miss with most geckos. They just don’t seem interested in these types of foods. Some might eat them for a while, while others won’t even touch them, which is a bit frustrating if you have easy access to good rolly pollies but your gecko doesn’t like them. They’re completely safe.
So you can definitely try your gecko with rolly pollies from time to time. But if they keep refusing, you should opt for something else. You should never starve your gecko just to make it desperate enough to eat some type of insect.
Cockroaches are another type of feeder insect that your Crested Gecko might be able to eat but it’s not ideal. This is simply because they tend to be a bit way too large for a gecko as tiny as the Crested Gecko. This is why the best choice is only the dubia roaches as they’re easier to eat if you get them in the right size. Just don’t get too many at once as they will grow too big and you won’t be able to feed them to your pet.
And if you have a cockroach infestation, don’t use your gecko to get rid of them. You never know where those cockroaches have been and how harmful they can be. And more importantly, they’re nightcrawlers and they hate coming out of their hiding. They also don’t need much space. So if you see one, it’s 100% safe to say there are A LOT more hidden somewhere and you need to get a professional exterminator.
Moths are OK for most geckos but not for Crested Gecko. This is because most moths tend to be way too large for these geckos. And if you live in an area with very big moths, they are most likely even larger than your Crested Gecko. Just opt for other types of feeder insects.
As mentioned before, geckos prefer live insects. Very few will be interested in your insects if they are not moving. But if you have a Crested Gecko that is completely OK with eating dead insects, then dried crickets should be fine. However, this is very rarely the case.
The best way to use dried crickets is to mix them into a fruit smoothie for your geckos as they are a great source of extra protein.
Black crickets might attack your gecko as well but are generally a good food source as long as they are not bigger than the gecko’s head. Otherwise, you should avoid them as crickets have incredibly strong jaws and can hurt your gecko very badly if given the opportunity.
You should also keep in mind that adding more than one or two crickets to the vivarium for your gecko’s meal is a very bad idea. They can all attack the gecko at the same time and hurt it very badly.
Crested Geckos can eat ladybugs but they generally will refuse them as they taste bad. These insects are also completely harmless so if you find a gecko that likes them, you can definitely introduce them to their diet. But since they’re not very rich in the nutrients your gecko needs, use them as an occasional treat or only add one or two to each meal
Earwigs don’t release any toxins, which makes them very safe from this point of view. But these insects are also known to bite and pinch quite badly, which can harm your pet. However, they are excellent for geckos that eat dead insects as you can just cut their heads off before feeding them to your pet. Otherwise, it’s highly recommended to avoid them.
What can Crested Geckos eat besides insects?
Besides gut-loaded insects, Crested Geckos can eat a variety of other foods as well. The best food source that you should always have in your house is commercial food. These products are carefully produced specifically for Crested Gecko so they can get all the nutrients they need in captivity.
Commercial food plays an important role in the foundation of a healthy diet for these geckos. They’re powder-based and you’ll need to blend them with water and feed the paste to your pet around three times a week. And the best thing about commercial food is that it can replace live insects entirely. But it all depends on you. Some owners prefer feeding them natural live prey and a mix of fruits and vegetables as treats.
Another thing your Crested Gecko might love is baby food. This is because, in the wild, Crested Geckos eat a lot of fruits and nectar as well. And it’s important to offer them the fruits they need in captivity as well. But since they are small geckos and they risk choking on fruit slices, it’s best to stick to baby food or very well-chopped fruits.
The best thing to do is to mix a puree baby food formula with a well-mashed piece of fruit. For example, a piece of peach needs to be mashed with a fork very well until it becomes a paste. Then you can add the peach-flavored or tropical fruit-flavored baby food formula and mix very well. You might have to add a bit of water. This mix should be fed around two times a week.
Another way to provide fruit and make sure your gecko won’t choke is to give your pet a very big piece of fruit and let it nibble at it under your close supervision. Crested geckos are a bit hard to handle but if you formed a bond with yours, you can just take the gecko out of the cage and keep it in your hands until it doesn’t want any more fruit. Make sure it doesn’t take big bites.