Juvenile to Adult: The Ultimate Tokay Gecko Feeding Schedule

Crickets for Tokay Geckos

Tokay Geckos, known for their vibrant colors and striking appearance, have long been a favorite among reptile enthusiasts. Hailing from the rainforests of Southeast Asia, these beautiful creatures are unique in their dietary needs and behavior. Keeping them in captivity requires a deep understanding of their natural habits and the ability to simulate these conditions to the best of our ability.

This article aims to guide you through the process of establishing a feeding schedule for your Tokay Gecko, from its juvenile stage all the way to adulthood. By understanding their dietary needs and preferences, you can ensure your Tokay Gecko thrives in its new environment. So, let’s embark on this journey of understanding and caring for your Tokay Gecko together.

Importance of a Proper Diet for Tokay Geckos

Diet plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of any creature, and Tokay Geckos are no exception. A balanced, nutritionally adequate diet is not just about keeping them alive; it’s about allowing them to thrive, fostering their natural behavior, and maintaining their vibrant coloration and active lifestyle. Tokay Geckos in the wild are opportunistic hunters, feeding on a variety of insects and small vertebrates. This diverse diet provides them with the essential nutrients necessary for growth, reproduction, and maintaining overall health.

For Tokay Geckos in captivity, it’s vital to mimic this varied diet to meet their nutritional needs. While it might seem easier to offer them a consistent type of food, it’s important to remember that variety is the spice of a Tokay Gecko’s life. Providing a diverse diet not only meets their nutritional needs but also keeps them mentally stimulated.

Understanding the dietary requirements of your Tokay Gecko is the first step towards establishing a proper feeding schedule. This includes understanding what they eat, how often they eat, and the proportions of different food items they need. This might sound like a lot of work, but fear not! We’re here to help you every step of the way.

Decoding the Dietary Needs of a Tokay Gecko

The diet of a Tokay Gecko primarily consists of animal matter. As insectivores, their main staples are various types of insects like crickets, mealworms, and roaches. However, they are also known to consume small mammals and other reptiles in their natural habitat, reflecting their adaptability and opportunistic feeding habits. When it comes to feeding Tokay Geckos in captivity, diversity in their diet is key to ensuring they receive a range of nutrients.

Protein, calcium, and vitamins A, D3, and E are some of the crucial nutrients that Tokay Geckos require for healthy growth and functioning. Protein is fundamental to their diet as it supports growth and repair. Insects like crickets, mealworms, and roaches are good sources of protein. However, these insects must be gut-loaded, meaning they themselves are fed nutrient-rich food before being offered to the geckos. This method enhances the nutritional value of the insects.

Calcium and Vitamin D3 are crucial for healthy bone development and function in Tokay Geckos. A deficiency in these nutrients can lead to metabolic bone disease, a common health problem in captive reptiles. Ensuring a proper balance of these nutrients in their diet is a must. Many insects lack sufficient amounts of these nutrients, so supplementation is often required.

Vitamin A is vital for maintaining good eye health and immune function, while Vitamin E plays an important role in reproduction and aids in preventing nutritional deficiencies.

Feeding Schedule: Juvenile Tokay Geckos


Juvenile Tokay Geckos, typically those under a year old, have higher nutritional needs due to their rapid growth phase. During this stage, their dietary requirements center around the provision of high-quality protein to support this growth.

Ideally, juvenile Tokay Geckos should be fed daily due to their high energy requirements. The diet should primarily consist of small, live insects like crickets, mealworms, and roaches. However, the insects should not be larger than the space between the gecko’s eyes to prevent choking or digestive issues.

Here’s a typical feeding schedule for a juvenile Tokay Gecko:

  1. Crickets: Offer 5-8 small crickets per day, ensuring they are gut-loaded with nutritious food before feeding. Crickets should form the bulk of a juvenile Tokay’s diet.
  2. Mealworms: Offer 2-3 mealworms per day, again, ensuring they are gut-loaded. These serve as a valuable protein source.
  3. Roaches: Offer 1-2 small roaches per day, gut-loaded. These provide a nice variety and another protein source.

In addition to these, it’s beneficial to offer the occasional wax worm or other soft-bodied insect for variety and enrichment. However, these should not form a significant part of the diet due to their high-fat content.

All food items should be dusted with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement to ensure the geckos are getting these essential nutrients. The dusting should be done every other feeding for juveniles due to their higher calcium needs.

Feeding Schedule: Adult Tokay Geckos

Tokay Gecko water
Credit: Ethan Knapp and Alyssa Stark, The University of Akron

As Tokay Geckos transition from their juvenile phase into adulthood, their growth slows down and so does their metabolism. As a result, their feeding schedule will also need adjustments. Adult Tokay Geckos, typically those over a year old, do not require daily feeding. Instead, feeding them every other day or 3-4 times a week should suffice.

Here’s a typical feeding schedule for an adult Tokay Gecko:

  1. Crickets: Offer 4-5 medium crickets every other day or during feeding days. As with juveniles, ensure they are gut-loaded.
  2. Mealworms: Offer 2-3 mealworms during feeding days, once again, ensuring they are gut-loaded.
  3. Roaches: Offer 1-2 medium roaches during feeding days, gut-loaded.

The occasional addition of wax worms, silkworms, or other insects can provide variety. However, these should be given in moderation due to their high-fat content. Also, it’s essential to continue dusting the food items with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement, although the frequency can be reduced to twice a week.

Always ensure that the food items are appropriate for your gecko’s size to prevent choking or digestive issues. A general rule of thumb is that the insect should not be larger than the space between the gecko’s eyes.

Remember, every gecko is an individual, and the feeding schedule may need adjustments based on their activity level, health, and personal preference. Monitoring their behavior, weight, and overall health is crucial to ensuring they are thriving.

Prey Items: What to Feed and What to Avoid

Knowing what to feed your Tokay Gecko is just as important as knowing how often to feed them. The right prey items will ensure that your gecko receives all the necessary nutrients, while the wrong ones can lead to serious health problems.

Preferred Prey Items

  • Crickets: These should form the bulk of your Tokay Gecko’s diet. They’re a good source of protein and are readily accepted by geckos. Ensure that they are gut-loaded and dusted with supplements before feeding.
  • Mealworms: Another protein source, mealworms can be a staple in your gecko’s diet. Remember to gut-load them before feeding.
  • Roaches: Dubia roaches are a great alternative to crickets and mealworms. They’re nutritious, easy to digest, and don’t carry the risk of infestation like crickets do.

Occasional Treats

  • Waxworms and Butterworms: These worms are high in fat and should only be offered occasionally as a treat. They’re great for adding variety to your gecko’s diet.
  • Earthworms and Silkworms: These worms can also be offered as occasional treats. They’re nutritious but may not be readily accepted by all geckos.

Prey to Avoid

  • Fireflies and other Luminous Insects: These insects are toxic to geckos and can cause serious harm or even death.
  • Wild-Caught Insects: While it might be tempting to offer your gecko insects caught from your backyard, it’s generally not recommended. These insects might carry pesticides or parasites that could harm your gecko.

Supplements and Tokay Geckos: Ensuring a Balanced Diet

Despite our best efforts to provide a balanced and varied diet to our Tokay Geckos, it’s challenging to completely meet their nutritional needs with just prey items. This is where supplements come in. Supplements help to fill the nutritional gaps and ensure that your gecko is getting all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.

Here are the key supplements you should consider for your Tokay Gecko:

Calcium with Vitamin D3: This is a critical supplement for all geckos. Calcium is essential for bone health, while Vitamin D3 aids in calcium absorption. Without enough Vitamin D3, geckos cannot properly utilize the calcium in their diet, leading to metabolic bone disease. This supplement should be dusted onto your gecko’s food items. For juvenile geckos, this should be done every other feeding, while for adults, twice a week should suffice.

Multivitamin Supplement: A multivitamin supplement provides a range of essential vitamins and minerals that might be missing from your gecko’s diet. This supplement should be offered once a week, dusted onto the gecko’s food.

Remember to use supplements sparingly as over-supplementing can be as harmful as under-supplementing. Always consult with a reptile vet if you’re unsure about the right dosage for your gecko

Common Challenges in Feeding Tokay Geckos and Solutions

Like any pet, feeding a Tokay Gecko can come with its own set of challenges. From picky eaters to overfeeding, each problem requires a tailored solution. Here, we address some of the common feeding issues and how to resolve them.

Picky Eaters: Some Tokay Geckos may refuse certain types of food, making it challenging to provide them with a varied diet. In such cases, introducing new foods gradually, mixed with their preferred food, can help. Sometimes, changing the size of the food or offering it in a different way (such as letting it move around more) can also spark interest.

Overfeeding/Underfeeding: Maintaining the right balance in feeding is crucial. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can lead to malnutrition. Monitor your gecko’s body condition regularly and adjust the food quantity and frequency accordingly. If you’re unsure, consult with a reptile vet.

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): This is a common health issue in geckos due to calcium and Vitamin D3 deficiency. To prevent this, ensure a proper supplementation schedule and offer UVB lighting if possible, which aids in Vitamin D3 synthesis.

Feeding Stress: Some geckos may feel stressed while feeding, especially if they’re new to the environment. Provide them with plenty of hiding spots and make sure the enclosure is in a calm, quiet area. It’s also beneficial to maintain a consistent feeding schedule so your gecko knows what to expect.


Feeding your Tokay Gecko might seem complex, but with the right knowledge and commitment, it becomes an engaging part of your journey with your pet. By providing a balanced and varied diet, monitoring their health, and adhering to a consistent feeding schedule, you can ensure your Tokay Gecko leads a healthy and thriving life.

As a pet parent, you play a significant role in the well-being of your Tokay Gecko. Their health and longevity largely depend on the care and attention you provide. Remember, the goal is not just to keep them alive but to allow them to thrive. As you follow this guide, you’ll learn and adapt, providing a comfortable environment that mirrors their natural habitat.

This guide has equipped you with the basics of feeding Tokay Geckos, from understanding their dietary needs to setting up a feeding schedule. You are now prepared to navigate your journey with your Tokay Gecko, creating a bond that enriches both of your lives. So here’s to a beautiful journey of companionship with your Tokay Gecko.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best food for a Tokay Gecko?

The best food for a Tokay Gecko is a varied diet of live insects such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches. These should be gut-loaded and dusted with calcium and vitamin D3 supplement.

How often should I feed my Tokay Gecko?

Juvenile Tokay Geckos should be fed daily due to their high energy needs. Adults, however, only require feeding every other day or 3-4 times a week.

Why is my Tokay Gecko not eating?

There could be several reasons for this, including stress, illness, or a change in environment. If your Tokay Gecko refuses to eat for a prolonged period, it’s best to consult a reptile vet.

Can I feed my Tokay Gecko fruits or vegetables?

Tokay Geckos are insectivores and primarily eat animal matter. Fruits and vegetables are not typically part of their diet and may not be well-digested.

How can I prevent my Tokay Gecko from getting metabolic bone disease?

Ensure your gecko receives adequate calcium and Vitamin D3 through their diet. This typically involves dusting their food with a supplement. UVB lighting can also help, as it aids in Vitamin D3 synthesis.

Can I overfeed my Tokay Gecko?

Yes, overfeeding can lead to obesity and related health issues. It’s essential to monitor your gecko’s body condition regularly and adjust food quantity and frequency accordingly.

How do I know if I’m underfeeding my Tokay Gecko?

Signs of underfeeding include weight loss, lethargy, and a loss of muscle tone. If you suspect your gecko is underfed, consult with a reptile vet.