What to feed a leopard gecko [Top 7 items to consider]

What to feed a leopard gecko [Top 7 items to consider]

What to feed a leopard gecko? With so many commercial diets and feeder insects available, reading this article will make it simple to decide just what to feed your new reptile buddy. Beginners and new owners who want to gain a rough sense of what their geckos should be eating can start with this article.

What is a leopard gecko?

What is a leopard gecko?

Leopard geckos are insectivores. This means that they are a type of carnivore, a meat-eating animal. But they almost exclusively eat bugs and I’m telling you this because unlike certain other pet lizards they are not omnivores and should never be fed vegetables or any other type of meat sources such as dog food or cat food.

So when it comes to feeding your leopard gecko you have a ton of options in the world of feeder insects.

You’re going to have to choose the correct insect size for your leopard gecko and the way to tell is the distance between their eyes. That is generally a good rule of thumb. You don’t want anything bigger than that or else they could choke.

Right now I’m going to go over a couple of the main options and give you the pros and cons of each.

Top 7 food items to consider to feed a leopard gecko

1. Crickets

Crickets to feed a leopard gecko

Starting off we have crickets. These are kind of the classic insect in the world of reptile keeping. Crickets can be really good for leopard geckos because they are super duper cheap and you can usually get a lot of them for a very small amount of money.

Unlike most dry worms crickets have a lot of moisture. So they have a pretty decent meat-to-shell ratio.

So with crickets, their calcium to phosphorus ratio is not perfect, so whenever you do decide to feed crickets you have to dust them with a calcium supplement. It’s okay if you’re a beginner and you don’t completely understand what calcium or phosphorus means.

To give you the most basic idea essentially insects contain both calcium and phosphorus and you want the ratios to be equal in order to provide the best nutrients for your leopard gecko.

So for the majority of insects, it’s important that you always add supplementation before you feed them to your gecko.

When it comes to crickets give your leopard gecko around five to seven in each feeding.

So we’re going to talk about the cons of feeding crickets. One notable thing that is very annoying is the fact that keeping crickets is kind of a pain in the ass because yes they are loud, they’re noisy, they’re also kind of disgusting because they smell really bad and they have a very short lifespan of only a couple of weeks.

2. Mealworms

Mealworms to feed a leopard gecko

Mealworms are the next type of bug we’ll discuss, and geckos have long relied on them as a reliable food source. They don’t have as much meat or moisture because they are dry worms as opposed to other insects like again crickets and also wet worms.

Just like crickets you can find mealworms pretty much anywhere and they are also really really cheap, and the best part is that it is very easy to store mealworms.

Mealworms may typically be maintained in the container they arrive in and placed in the refrigerator, where they will enter a hibernative stage. This is very important since if kept at room temperature, mealworms will pupate. Leopard geckos cannot eat them because they transform into darkling beetles.

In each feeding, you would generally want to feed around 15 to 20 mealworms in one sitting depending on how much your gecko wants to eat.

3. Superworms

Superworms to feed a leopard gecko

Another worm that is great to feed a leopard gecko is superworms. They are also known as king worms and morio worms. Unlike mealworms, they cannot be kept in the fridge because they will die at that cold of a temperature.

However, one good thing about superworms is that when you keep them together even at room temperature they will not pupate. Superworms nutritionally is not as good as mealworms but I still really like them because of the fact that they are so convenient.

Oftentimes having the fish mealworms out of a container in the fridge and then waking them up with your body heat takes too long and superworms get the job done super quickly and because they are so big they’re also juicier and meatier.

When it comes to feeding superworms I would feed around three to four in one serving.

Super worms, on the other hand, have the peculiar reputation of munching through an animal’s stomach and crawling back out.

I would like to emphasize that this is really rare and usually it is seen in animals who are already sick or who are very small. That’s why I would not recommend giving your gecko superworms until they are an adult for that reason.

4. Dubia Roaches

Dubia Roaches

Dubia roaches are my preferred staple feeder insect. When people hear roaches they automatically freak out and think of the American abomination that is a roach.

But not to worry Dubia roaches are very stupid creatures. They can’t fly, they can’t bite, and they can’t even climb up a vertical surface so don’t worry about it.

Dubia roaches are so great because they have the best nutritional profile of pretty much all the feeder insects.

They are a very juicy high meat-to-shell ratio insect that will really satisfy your leopard gecko. Another aspect that is so great about them is the fact that they live for around two years.

Meaning that unlike crickets you can actually buy a lot of them and they will not suddenly just die off.

The only bad thing about dubia roaches is the fact that they are substantially more expensive. However, if you are super serious about dubia roaches you can actually start your own colony.

Although warning if you do have a cockroach allergy like me don’t do it because you will die. But as with all of these insects you can actually get them from online sources.

5. Hornworms


The bright, beautiful, green alien that captures every reptile’s heart are hornworms. These are definitely what I consider a wet worms because hornworms are around 90% water. They’re like watermelons and that is great because they are big juicy and filled with moisture.

Hornworms are also super duper healthy and can actually definitely make a staple for a leopard gecko diet.

However, hornworms are typically used as a treat because they are pricey, just like dubia roaches. I’d advise feeding one to two of each dish because they are so juicy and meaty.

I was literally going through my mind looking at this list and I realized that pretty much every single item of insect on this list is worms. So here we go again.

6. Black soldier fly larvae

Black soldier fly larvae

Black soldier fly larvae are otherwise known as phoenix worms or calci worms. Now, these are an amazing staple for your leopard gecko because unlike all the insects I have mentioned their phosphorous-to-calcium ratio is actually perfectly balanced. Meaning that if you want to feed this insect there’s no need to dust it with calcium at all.

Just like mealworms, they can be stored in their container in the fridge and they will last a very long time. Although there is slightly more height maintenance because you’re going to have to keep the container moist so that they don’t shrivel up and fall off.

Just like much with black soldier fly larvae, I would say around 10 to 15 although I’m not completely sure about that number because I’ve never fed them alone as a whole meal.

7. Wax worms to feed a leopard gecko

Wax worms to feed a leopard gecko

This is definitely exclusively supposed to be used as a treat, they are wax worms. I’ve never eaten a wax worm before. But according to most leopard geckos, they taste very good because some specimens actually get so picky after eating exclusively wax worms that they will purposely deny any other food.

So they might have a slightly addictive quality so definitely just save it as a treat. Give one or two a week for good behavior.

Also, read Can leopard geckos eat human food [Detailed Guide].

How much amount should I feed to a leopard gecko?

And when I’m talking about the amount to give a gecko this applies to all ages of leopard geckos. Just make sure you give them the correct size.

For example, a baby certainly wouldn’t be able to finish five to seven adult crickets. However, if you give them appropriately sized crickets such as the little tiny baby ones they will certainly be able to eat five to seven.

Give them more than one insect to choose

So I’ve given you so many different options but that does not mean you can just choose one or two and call it a day. As with any kind of animal, diversity is key.

Don’t be racist. You definitely want a variety of options when it comes to insects for your leopard geckos. I would say a minimum a bare minimum of three types of insects put into rotation.

And most people do know this but as a subtle reminder do not ever give the gecko insects that you have found outside, insects that you have found in your house, insects that are wild, or anything of that sort.

You don’t know where the insect has been. It could have been exposed to pesticides or be carrying internal parasites.


However, just these insects alone do not cover every single aspect of a leopard gecko’s diet.

This is where supplementation is very important and unfortunately, we will not be going over the detailed supplementation guide in this article. The three ones that you definitely need are calcium. Calcium with d3 and multivitamins.

Commercial diets

You must be wondering what to do about all of the leopard gecko food available in pet shops, and I’ll just say don’t. At Petco and PetSmart, you can find those tiny pellets, freeze-dried insects, canned insects, and just dead manufactured foods made for leopard geckos. Don’t do that.

No, these commercial diets simply do not do your leopard gecko justice. If you cannot commit to keeping live insects in your house do not get a leopard gecko.

How to feed a leopard gecko

How do I actually do it? You want to give them one opportunity per feeding day to eat all of their food in one go.

Something that I really dislike is the concept of free feeding your leopard gecko. Where you take a little dish, you fill it up with worms or crickets or whatever and you just keep it in there and they eat when they want, and then when it’s empty you take it out and fill it up with more. That in my opinion is setting yourself up for failure.

Because this way you cannot track the actual amount of food your gecko is eating. They might be overeating or under-eating, plus you miss out on the joys of feeding your gecko. So every time you feed them just give them one session to finish all their food and of course along with all your insects be sure to provide fresh water 24×7. Just put it in a little dish and change it periodically.

So how often do you do it? The frequency of when you give them food depends on their age. So baby leopard geckos that are just a couple of weeks old need to eat every single day.

Juvenile geckos that are around a couple of months old eat every other day and then finally adult leopard geckos will eat every two to three days.

Anyways I hope that this article has helped you understand the world of leopard geckos and how to feed them. Also, comment down below if you have a leopard gecko and what are your favorite insects to feed them. Thank you so so much for reading.

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