Crested Geckos were thought to be extinct up until 1994 when various thriving populations were found on the islands of New Caledonia. These geckos are also known as the “eyelash geckos” and they are some of the most popular species of geckos held as pets today.
While today it’s illegal to catch any wild Crested Geckos, we now have lots of crested geckos available that come from the few crested geckos taken by some researchers before the ban was placed. These geckos grow between 5 to 8 inches in length and can live between 5 to 10 years in captivity.
What can a Crested Gecko eat? Diet Tips
One of the best things about Crested Geckos is that they can live only on commercial premixed food and lead a happy and healthy life. This is because today’s commercial foods contain a completely balanced formula that has everything your little gecko needs.
You have various options when it comes to feeding your Crested Gecko. You can use commercial food, live insects and fruits, or a mix of both. Insects are always important for insectivore creatures and if you own more than one gecko you might want to start breeding your own insects.
Crested Geckos love having a varied diet just as much as you do. This means that mixing up various insects and fruits for each meal is highly appreciated. And after the gecko hunts all the insects in the enclosure you can also offer it a small bowl of premixed food. You can use fruits or vegetables as a treat as well but don’t forget to include them in each of their meals as they need both fruits and insects to be healthy.
If your gecko refuses to eat for a while, it’s nothing to be worried about as long as its personality and habits don’t change. If the gecko gets tired very quickly, seems in pain, and won’t eat, you should take it to the vet as it might have some health problems.
A highly recommended thing to do if your gecko is not eating is to place it in a bowl with a little bit of warm water. Then you need to slowly massage its tummy. This should help the gecko pass whatever’s blocking its digestive system.
But it should only be done if you already developed a relationship with your gecko so it wouldn’t lose its tail in the process. Then both of you will have something to recover from. Make sure you have food ready for the gecko and always provide a bowl of clean and fresh water.
Types of insects that Crested Geckos will enjoy
Locusts are great for Crested Geckos and they’re are nothing but short-horned grasshoppers that are in the swarming phase. They’re known to be a delicacy in various countries and their protein levels are very high. This makes them a great base for a gecko’s diet as geckos need all the nutrients they can get.
The only thing you need to be careful about is whether the gecko is big enough to eat an adult locust without any choking hazards. If your Crested Gecko is not an adult yet, opt for very young locusts or go for other insects.
Another great base for the Crested Gecko’s diet is a long relative to the grasshopper, which is the cricket. There are lots of species of crickets so you need to be careful about the ones you opt for. Black, Brown, and banded crickets are the most recommended for Crested Geckos. They’re very high in nutrients.
When it comes to home breeding, crickets can be a bit difficult if you don’t get a species that doesn’t fly and is mute. They’re also great jumpers so you will need to be very careful when handling them so they won’t escape. More than that, they have strong jaws and might attempt to bit you or your gecko, which is why you should only feed one cricket at a time so the gecko won’t get hurt.
Crested Geckos have access to snails as well in their natural habitat. These mollusks are excellent for your gecko and you should start incorporating them into their diet as well. A snail from time to time will be greatly appreciated. You can also get them almost anywhere so finding a supplier won’t be hard. Just make sure they’re the right size.
The reason why snails are excellent for Crested Geckos is that their shells are made of calcium carbonate. This supplies the gecko with both nutrients and calcium. And as you know, geckos need a calcium supplement powder to lead a healthy life. You can also feed your Crested Gecko isopods and other soil microfauna that can offer your gecko the calcium and nutrients it needs in a more natural way.
Blue-bottles are a good source of nutrition as well but they’re more recommended as a way to add variety to your gecko’s diet. They’re pretty popular and easy to get so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a supplier or breeding them yourself.
But you should pick and choose which insects to breed at home as getting too many on your hands can be a lot of work. If you have the time and patience, you should go for it. But if you work a lot and don’t have time to take care of so many different insects, you might want to breed the more expensive ones and get the cheap ones from a supplier.
Stick insects are a sure source of nutrients if you can’t seem to find the insects in the exact size for your smaller gecko. These insects are also known as walking sticks or bug sticks as they resemble the vegetation around them. You won’t have to worry about their width as they’re definitely smaller than the space between your Crested Gecko’s eyes.
While they’re not hard to maintain, it’s best if you just get them from a supplier. This is because it’s important to get a species that is safe for Crested Geckos, as some stick insects use toxic secretions as a self-defense mechanism.
When it comes to roaches, dubia has quickly become an extremely popular choice as feeder insects. These roaches provide high levels of protein and are low in fat, making them pretty similar to crickets. They are also easy to gut-load and never grow too big for your Crested Gecko.
Keeping and breeding dubia roaches is also pretty easy. But you should make sure that they’re legal in your state as they’re considered highly invasive. They’re incapable of jumping, climbing smooth surfaces, flying, and they move pretty slowly. They’re also completely quiet and they won’t settle in your home if they escape as they require a tropical environment.
Turkestan roaches are another good replacement for crickets as they also can’t climb smooth surfaces and don’t burrow. You also won’t have to deal with the cricket’s noise, odor, and short lifespan anymore. They’re high in protein, low in fat, and they’re easy to gut load.
Lobster roaches can be included in your gecko’s diet as well. They’re not hard to breed and keep as they typically live around 1 year. This gives you enough time to feed your gecko a healthy and varied diet without worrying that your roaches will die too soon.
Discord roaches are also extremely easy to raise in captivity and they breed very fast. They reach breeding age at around 6 months as long as you’re keeping their enclosure temperature between 85F and 90F. They’re a great nutrition source and your gecko will love the variety. Domino and Banana roaches are also recommended.
When it comes to snacks, you can offer your Crested Gecko silkworms, butterworms, calcium worms, and wax-worms. They’re excellent for stubborn eaters and they have lots of nutrients. But since they also have lots of fat, it’s better to use these worms as treats.
These worms might also be too difficult to breed at home, which is why they’re typically bought from a supplier. This is because they also need to be radiated against parasites and to make sure they remain in their larva stage as they can be invasive.
Do Crested Geckos need live food?
Crested Geckos are some of the geckos that will actually eat the insect even if it’s dead when you’re feeding it. This means that you won’t have to discard the dead crickets as soon as they die. In fact, dead crickets are more recommended if you don’t have time to feed the gecko one cricket at a time. This is because multiple crickets can hurt the gecko.
However, this should only be done if a cricket dies pretty healthy and it hasn’t been dead for more than a few short hours. Don’t ever give your gecko geckos that you might think that they could have been sick as there’s a chance the gecko can get ill as well. And don’t feed your gecko insects that have been dead for more than a few hours either.
While Crested Geckos can live on premixed food as well, baby Crested Geckos will grow up much faster if they’re fed insects, even if they’re not alive. The diet of a wild Crested Gecko contains a very wide range of insects, fruits, vegetables, etc. And it’s highly recommended to make their meals in captivity just as varied. This is why they can thrive on premixed foods.
Commercial food for Crested Geckos
Commercial premixed foods have gotten better and better over the years and now you can find products made specifically for Crested Geckos. This means that you can find mixes that include absolutely everything your little gecko needs. This includes the necessary insects, fruits, vegetables, calcium, vitamins, etc.
These products come with their own serving guide and each brand is usually served in different portions. This is because they differ in how nutritious they are. The general way of feeding is placing a bit of premixed food on a small plate and the required amount of water. Then you need to keep steering until it becomes a paste similar to ketchup.
A good mix will include crickets, calcium worms, silkworms, bananas, apples, honey, flowers, probiotics, and bee-pollen. Crested Geckos will get bee-pollen in their natural habitat directly from the insect, so it’s important to include it in its premixed food as well. A good premixed product typically contains more nutrients than the ones you can provide by offering your gecko the ingredients separately.
If you already have a premix that includes fruit for their main meals, you can use a mix that is only made of fruits as a treat. This can be served a teaspoon from time to time and it will help get the gecko out of its hiding to interact with you.
What time of day should I feed my crested gecko
Crested Geckos will only come out at night, which means that you need to place their food inside its vivarium in the evening. The gecko will come out later that night and hunt the insects down. But always remember to look thoroughly in the cage after any remaining insects the next morning.
Dead insects can contaminate the enclosure with bacteria and the gecko can get very sick. And if the dead insect is in a hidden place, you might only notice it when it’s starting to rot. If that ever happens, get the gecko out of the infected vivarium and disinfect it thoroughly. Then put everything back and nurse the gecko back to health.
Regardless of what you’re feeding your gecko, you should place the food in its cage at night then remove any leftovers each morning. Many people remove their geckos from the cage during feeding and place them in a separate container. This makes removing the leftovers a lot easier.
But since Crested Geckos are a bit shyer than other geckos, they might get scared and not eat no matter how long you’re keeping it in the container. If the original cage is too big and too cluttered to find a dead insect in time, you should make another small cage that’s very simple so you can easily find any dead leftovers. This might help the gecko feel a bit more like at home.
How much should my crested gecko be eating
If you have no idea how much your Crested Gecko eats, offer it food until it starts becoming uninterested for a week or two and keep track of every single meal. This will help you get an idea after how much food it becomes full. After that, you should be able to create a meal plan that won’t lead to lots of leftover food that you’ll have to throw away.
You’ll need to feed your gecko three times a week, or maybe four. It all depends on your gecko as some eat more than others, depending on how active they are. You can give commercial food during the week and give it insects during the weekend. Or you can feed it insects during the week and commercial premixes during the weekend.
But whatever you’re feeding your Crested Gecko, it’s ideal to also give it a few thin slices of fruit or a puree mix of one or multiple fruits each meal. And remember to always replace or throw away the premixed food the next morning as it hardens and becomes uneatable.
When it comes to feeding insects, make sure they’re dusted in calcium supplement every single feeding. Then you need to also add a multi-vitamin supplement powder once or twice a week.
How long can crested geckos go without food
A crested gecko can go up to 3 weeks without food, but only in the most extreme cases. They typically go this long without eating if they’re very sick. This means that after the second week without eating you should take it to the vet. A parasite or something similar might make it so ill that it can’t eat.
But you should keep in mind that going a few days or a week without food is completely normal. If it skips a meal or two there’s no need to panic. Get the food back out of the container and keep a close eye on the gecko. Keep offering it food, even a butterworm or two as they’re good at getting stubborn eaters to eat again.
If it gets to two weeks or more of not eating, then you need to take the Crested Gecko to your exotic vet. It’s recommended to go to an exotic vet and not a cat and dog vet. This is because lizards are very different and you need an expert in exotic pets to catch any problems early on. Geckos don’t just quit eating for so long without a good reason.
You might have problems with your gecko eating when you first get it. Some geckos can get very stressed out when they change their environment and it can actually take up to three weeks to eat. It’s very common and nothing to worry about. Every gecko needs a specific time to get comfy and feel at home. But if you had the gecko for a while and it stopped eating for so long then it can be a serious problem.
Do baby crested geckos eat everyday
Hatchlings will need to always be fed daily as some eat multiple times a day. A gecko will start eating less and less as it grows into adulthood. If your Crested Gecko is under 6 months, it’s highly recommended to leave a bowl of premixed food every single night. Then you need to remove it in the morning as these geckos never eat during the day.
Remember to refill the bowl each evening and leave the occasional small insect once every other evening. But if the insect is very small, make sure you’re searching for it very well as it can be easy to lose it in a cage. Make sure your baby gecko doesn’t eat any spoiled food or insects as it can get sick.
Besides its food, a gecko should always be provided with a bowl of fresh and clean water every single day. While keeping the humidity up to 60% is very important, sometimes the gecko won’t get hydrated enough from the drops gathered on the leaves and it will go to the bowl and drink. And while it may not happen very often, you should always offer this option so it wouldn’t dehydrate.
The water should not be tap water as it contains chemicals that are harmful to a gecko. You should get bottled water that has not been through any rough filtering as this can get rid of important minerals as well.
What fruit can crested geckos eat? Are bananas OK?
Crested Geckos need lots of insects but they need a stable diet of fruits as well. And bananas are excellent for them, as a meal or as a treat. You can offer the banana sliced into very thin pieces but you can also use a fork to turn it into a puree. More than that, you can also add a little bit of baby food and mix it up. Geckos absolutely love baby food.
Other types of fruits include pear, mango, grape, apricot, fig, strawberry, blueberry, plum, peach, watermelon, etc. Just make sure there are no seeds and that they’re all peeled. You can also mix a small piece of each fruit and create a tropical smoothie for your gecko.
What should you not feed crested geckos?
First of all, you should never feed a gecko insects or pieces of fruit that are wider than the space between its eyes. This means that it will not be able to swallow the food and it can choke and cause various problems. If the insect seems just about the right size but you’re not sure, it’s best to not feed that insect as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Fish might seem like a good idea since it’s meat and these geckos might eat dead prey, but it’s actually a very bad idea. Crested Geckos don’t eat fish in their natural habitat, which means that their bodies are not meant to digest and get nutrients from fish. More than that, even if the fish is very small (goldfish), it still contains sharp bones that can hurt the gecko very badly.