Wondering if your Leopard Gecko can Eat Crickets? This guide is for you!
Leopard geckos can and should eat crickets. Actually, crickets are the staple food of most reptiles, including your leopard gecko. The number of crickets your gecko can eat depends on age and size.
If prepared well, crickets portend no harm to your pet. Since they are not poisonous, crickets are unlikely to present the risks associated with some insects.
However, there are a few disadvantages linked to crickets that you need to acquaint yourself with.
For example, you can’t keep live crickets in the same cage as your gecko, because crickets might bite and scratch your pet.
Crickets’ chirping may also be disruptive and cause elevated stress levels in your leopard gecko.
Do Crickets Nourish My Leopard Gecko?
Feeding your leopard gecko crickets is a good choice because of the rich nutritional content of these feeder insects.
Crickets have higher protein and moisture levels than most other insects. This is important for your leopard gecko, considering that it gets most of its moisture from the insects it consumes.
Compared to black soldier flies and mealworms, crickets have a higher protein content. Therefore, the bulk of your gecko’s nutritional needs should be protein.
Leopard geckos stand the risk of being obese by feeding on fat-rich diets. Fortunately, crickets have very little fat, which is ideal if you’re keen on avoiding obesity-related complications.
However, the lack of sufficient fat content has made some keepers consider using dubia roaches over crickets.
This is because fat is essential when your gecko undergoes developmental changes.
For example, young geckos need fat as a source of energy to sustain their rapid growth rates. Lack of fat could also exacerbate the problem for gravid and sick geckos.
Dubia roaches also pack better calcium levels, and this might make them a better choice for most gecko keepers in the coming days.
However, the role of crickets in your leopard gecko’s nutritional needs cannot be wished away. This is because feeder crickets are readily available in live and online pet shops.
Some keepers prefer to breed feeder crickets on their premises, which is a big place if you acquaint yourself with how to go about it.
If your leopard gecko is getting elderly, cricket insects are a good source of nutrition because of their low-fat content.
Unlike younger geckos, the older versions easily succumb to obesity-related diseases.
As such, you’d want to provide your geckos with a reliable food source that doesn’t compromise their health and overall wellbeing.
All the same, crickets have a poor calcium-phosphorus ratio. This means a supplement is necessary to make your gecko strong and healthy.
A poor calcium-phosphorus ratio leads to stunted growth, lethargy, weight loss, and weak body structure.
Are Crickets a Good Food Source for Leopard Geckos?
Crickets have remained a popular staple for geckos because they compare favorably with other insects.
It would be a good idea to make crickets the primary source of nutrition for your pet. Here are a few reasons these feeder insects are popular:
- Are readily available in live and online stores
- Are not as expensive as some exotic insects, such as locusts
- Have been used by the largest number of keepers for years
- Can last up to 3 months if well stored
- Good value for money
- Form the bulk of geckos’ diet in the wild
What Makes Crickets a Popular Staple for Leopard Geckos?
High in Protein, Low in Fat
Crickets are considered more nutritious because of their good protein levels. They provide the nourishment leopard geckos need to grow and become active.
The good news is that even with such a generous serving of protein, crickets’ fat content remains low.
Most animals may have good protein levels but are unsuitable for your pet because of their high-fat content.
The protein-fat ratio needs to remain ideal, so your geckos do not become overweight. Although the crickets’ protein level cannot be said to be the highest, they have an ideal protein-fat ratio.
This makes these feeder insects a favorite for many gecko keepers.
The question of cost must come into play if you are a serious breeder and keeper.
Whether you want to purchase them from the shop or breed them yourself, crickets are a good choice if you are on a budget.
Because of their popularity, many online and live stores have stocked crickets in abundance. This huge supply has necessitated a price drop.
As such, you’ll find that the overall cost of feeding your gecko crickets is cheaper than if you were to choose other insects.
Crickets make great money sense.
Easy to Care for
Your leopard gecko thrives on live insects. Unfortunately, this means you have to keep feeder insects close by to meet your pet’s nutritional needs.
Keeping most of these insects can be quite expensive. This is more so when you consider that feeder insects have their own nutritional and health needs you need to tend to.
Fortunately, crickets are low-maintenance insects. You can keep them going for months with just a little something to eat.
And you can keep many of them in the same container – you don’t have to consider each insect specifically.
Easy to Gut-Load
When in captivity, leopard geckos have special calcium needs. Calcium is a substance that strengthens bones and body structure.
Without an adequate supply of calcium, your leopard gecko becomes weak and may develop the metabolic bone disease (MBD).
MBD is a dangerous disease that may incapacitate your pet to the point it cannot take care of its needs – feeding, movement, etc.
It is not uncommon for leopard geckos with severe MBD to die.
Although freshly-bought crickets do not provide a high level of calcium, they can be gut-loaded to do so. Dusting the feeder crickets with Vitamin D3 powder solves the problem.
Gut-load the cricket with this vitamin about 5 minutes before feeding time. Then, your gecko will have an adequate supply of calcium.
How Many Crickets Does My Leopard Gecko Need?
Although crickets are a good source of nutrition for your pet, your pet cannot thrive on crickets alone. This means you must come up with the right mix of insects to provide wholesome food.
All the same, crickets remain the single, most favored source of nutrition for your gecko. So, how many of these feeder insects does your leopard gecko need?
The number of crickets to feed your pet depends on size and age. Obviously, smaller geckos will require smaller crickets.
Feed your leopard gecko two crickets for every inch of its body. So, for example, if your cricket is four inches long, it would require 8 crickets.
A 5-inch gecko needs 10 crickets, and so on and so forth.
Take care to feed your baby gecko small crickets they can easily manipulate in their mouths. It is advisable you feed your leopard gecko an insect no bigger than the space between the eyes.
Anything bigger will likely lead to choking or cause gastrointestinal complications.
Because baby geckos have high metabolic and growth rates, they need to feed at least once daily. This frequency drops as the gecko grows older.
Adult geckos can feed about 3 times a week, though their meals are heavier and more diverse.
Here’s a simple look at a feeding schedule for your leopard gecko pet:
|DAY||NUMBER OF CRICKETS||OTHER INSECTS|
|Monday||6 large, dusted||3 medium-fat larval feeder|
|Wednesday||6 large||3 wax worms|
|Saturday||6 large||3 medium-fat larval feeder|
The above table is just a guide. First, you must understand your gecko’s unique need to adjust its feeding requirements appropriately.
Your leopard gecko’s needs change by age and size. For example, young geckos require small and young crickets, while older geckos can handle the bigger and more hardened crickets.
Where Can I Get Quality Crickets for My Leopard Gecko?
Although crickets are readily available in a number of online and live stores, you need to be choosy. Carefully select a supplier that other leopard gecko keepers can vouch for.
Some stores make this information readily available in the form of customer reviews.
You’d want to go with a dealer that offers prompt service, no matter the weather. In addition, they should have a wide range of crickets for you to select from.
The feeder insects should be affordable and healthy. But, equally importantly, such a store should promise to deliver the crickets to you alive and healthy.
This is important, considering your leopard gecko will have nothing to do with dead crickets.
Some stores offer subscription services to ensure you never run out of cricket supplies. Others issue a wide range of cricket supplies accompanied by the proper care accessories.
A close look at the market will net you a good dealer of crickets and other feeder insects.
How Do I Store Crickets for My Leopard Gecko?
With good care, crickets can stay alive for several weeks. You can also keep a number of crickets in the same container.
For example, a 2-gallon container can house up to 200 crickets. The good news is you are squeezed for space.
Crickets are the ideal feeder insects for your leopard geckos because you don’t have to tend to their needs all the time.
As long as you house them in good condition, you’ll have ample time to attend to the other aspects of your life.
At the same time, you’ll discover that feeder crickets will not eat into your time, effort, and resources. You’d like to spend more time with your leopard pet than with the feeder insects.
Crickets just need a simple structure (made of plastic or glass), well-ventilated and well-covered.
Crickets are good escape artists; you need to cover ventilation holes with gauze to prevent these feeder insects from running away.
Also, you need to create a conducive environment for the crickets to thrive in their shelter. Torn-up pieces of carton provide these creatures with substrate and hiding places.
If you source the crickets from a reputable dealer, they will be appropriately delivered with the container set up.
You also need to consider your crickets’ food and water needs. These feeder crickets survive on a wide range of fruits and insects.
Investing in nutrient-rich commercial cricket feeds would also be a good idea because of their longer shelf life.
You need to stock up on calcium supplements to gut-load the crickets before feeding them to your gecko.
The important thing here is to keep the crickets alive and healthy to feed them to your pet.
How Do I Feed Crickets to My Leopard Gecko?
Crickets are excellent sources of protein and moisture. However, their calcium-phosphorus ratio is not ideal.
You’ll have to dust the crickets with Vitamin D3 for about 5 minutes before feeding them to your gecko pet.
Alternatively, gut-load the crickets with calcium-rich commercial foods a day or two before feeding them to the lizard.
Young and gravid leopard geckos are more susceptible to metabolic bone disease than healthy, older adults.
You need to feed gravid and younger geckos with dusted crickets every time you feed them. This is because these geckos require more calcium and vitamin D3 to function at near-optimal levels.
All the same, take care not to overfeed your leopard gecko with calcium powder supplements. Overfeeding your pet opens a can of new challenges that may be hard to close up again.
The best way to circumvent this problem is to ensure the measured feeding of the supplements. For example, two meals with calcium supplements per week are enough for normal adult geckos.
Anything more is likely to cause more harm than good.
Additionally, do not put the leopard gecko with the crickets at the same time.
This is because crickets might hide in the nooks and crannies in the tank and be forgotten, only to emerge later to cause mayhem.
The best way to feed crickets to your gecko is by hand. This gives you a good opportunity to observe your pet’s feeding habits.
Also, you get to correctly measure how many crickets your gecko can take per meal.
Why Can’t I Feed My Leopard Gecko Crickets Only?
Your leopard gecko can’t thrive on crickets only. Although crickets provide good nutrition for your gecko, this meal lacks some essential ingredients.
Your leopard gecko will have varied nutritional needs over the course of his life. Unfortunately, crickets alone cannot meet all these needs.
You should plan to alternate the cricket staple with other feeder insects to enrich your gecko’s diet.
Remember that your pet will need extra fat-rich meals every now and then, because crickets are poor in fat content.
This is particularly true if you are dealing with females. Sickly, young, and female geckos.
Also, the calcium-phosphorous ratio in crickets is not ideal for your gecko’s needs. For example, while the leopard gecko needs a Ca:P ratio of 1:1 or 2:1, crickets have Ca:P ratio of 1:9 – which is totally skewed.
Suppose your leopard gecko survives on crickets only. In that case, it will miss the all-important calcium for enhanced bone and body structure.
A poor-calcium diet forces the gecko to turn to its own body for calcium supplements. As a result, its bones are weaker, and the reptile is prone to metabolic bone disease.
If you are new to keeping reptile pets, you need to be vigilant against MBD, which is fatal. In addition, a low-fat diet may complicate your pet’s health and ultimately turn fatal.
Can I Leave Crickets in My Leopard Gecko’s Tank?
Your leopard gecko’s tank should be free of all insects. This is because some insects are quite aggressive and may take advantage of your pet while resting.
Leaving crickets inside your gecko’s tank may have dire consequences. For example, an attack from the insect injures the gecko, which may develop a wound or an infection as a result.
Also, it’s very possible for the crickets to lay eggs, poop, or even die inside the tank. All these things are likely to compromise your leopard gecko’s life.
A cricket may introduce bacteria or another pathogen that can change the entire ecosystem in the tank. Fungi and moss may grow as a result, which poses a real threat to your pet’s health.
As such, ensure there are no crickets in your lizard’s tank, unless it’s feeding time.
Can My Leopard Gecko Thrive on Dead Crickets?
Being predators, leopard geckos like to eat insects that stimulate their hunting instincts. They enjoy chasing and killing their own meal.
Offering dead crickets to your pet sort of removes this thrill from their lives. Although your leopard gecko will feed on dead crickets if offered no choice, it dilutes their happiness.
If you can’t offer your pet live insects for genuine reasons, freeze-dried ones may be your next best option.
Freeze-dried crickets are killed and processed before being stored at low temperatures.
Take care, however, not to offer your pet crickets that had died after being sick or injured. For example, don’t feed your gecko crickets whose cause of death is unknown.
If some crickets die in their tank, don’t introduce them into the gecko’s tank.
To avoid all these do’s and don’ts, the best cause of action is to feed your leopard geckos live crickets. Feeding your pet becomes less complicated this way.
Your leopard gecko can survive quite well on a meal of crickets. However, if you want them to thrive rather than survive, you need to supplement this meal with other insects.
Crickets are picky eaters and will choose something tastier than crickets if given a chance. All the same, many keepers feed their geckos crickets as the staple food.
These feeder insects have many benefits, making them the ideal choice for your leopard gecko.