Wondering if you can overfeed a Leopard Gecko? This guide is for you!
One of the best things you can do for your leopard gecko is to give him a proper diet. A leopard gecko’s diet includes insects, worms, and the right supplements.
Also, you need to keep a proper feeding schedule to avoid over-feeding this lizard. Because they are ravenous eaters, leopard geckos are susceptible to being overweight.
You can overfeed your leopard gecko if you don’t have a proper feeding schedule. An overfed leo becomes overweight, characterized by belly rolls, armpit fat bubbles, and sluggish movement.
The leopard gecko’s tail also becomes wider than the widest point of the head, an obvious sign that this reptile is obese.
Obesity in leopard geckos should be avoided because it opens a can of health issues.
Can You Overfeed Your Leopard Gecko?
Leopard geckos are good feeders. Actually, they make a lot of noise when hungry or when they miss the food when they’re supposed to be fed.
Like most lizards, leopard geckos have a healthy appetite when presented with their favorite food. As such, you need to keep a close watch on this reptile not to overfeed.
Having the proper feeding schedule goes a long way in helping you keep your leopard gecko’s weight in check.
This schedule spells out your pet’s feeding time, the food to be offered, and the quantities. The good thing about dealing with leopard geckos is they quickly pick a habit.
This means that if you train them on proper feeding, they will go with your plan. However, when you miss their feeding time, be ready for squeals, squeaks, and chirps.
To avoid overfeeding this lizard, you need to understand how often he should be fed. Baby leopard geckos should be fed daily with about 6 small insects.
Juvenile leopard geckos should be fed 5 times with about 7 medium-sized insects per feeding. Adults should be fed 8 large insects every other day.
Ensure your pet has an adequate supply of clean water to prevent constipation and dehydration. Also, give him the proper doses of vitamin supplements for improved health and strength.
Take care not to go overboard and overfeed your leopard gecko, as this could lead to improper growth and development.
Signs and Symptoms of an Overfed Leopard Gecko
What happens if you have overfed your leopard gecko on one or a few meals?
Your Leopard Gecko is Impacted
Impaction happens when food and other materials block your leopard gecko’s digestive tract. For example, if you feed your pet too much, his belly will swell.
His digestive system may be overwhelmed. In addition, some foodstuffs will block other food materials from being processed and passing out as stool.
Signs of impaction include constipation, swollen belly, appetite loss, and lethargy. Impaction should be handled urgently as it can quickly compromise your leopard gecko’s life.
Your Leopard Gecko Will Regurgitate
If you give your leopard gecko more food than he can handle, he’ll vomit.
Develop Diarrhea and Constipation
Too much food makes your leopard gecko’s stomach upset. As a result, your pet will be constipated, which comes with lots of discomfort.
Sometimes, the stomach cannot retain the food, resulting in diarrhea.
Your Leopard Gecko Becomes Lethargic
Your leopard gecko requires you to rest in a warm place to properly digest food. However, if you give him too much to eat, he may be unable to move to the warm zone.
He may remain rooted in his hide, desperately struggling to digest the food.
What happens if you have overfed your leopard gecko for a long time?
Your Leopard Gecko Becomes Obese
If your leopard gecko has a history of overeating, he will put on unwanted weight. This is because your pet’s body absorbs the excess fat and stores it in important tissues.
An obese leopard gecko is at a great disadvantage. This is because the excess weight strains his liver and heart, and his organs will not function normally.
If this problem is not promptly resolved, your pet’s life will rapidly deteriorate.
Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Lipidosis))
Obesity triggers the fatty liver disease, which means your pet’s liver can no longer function optimally. As a result, proteins and fats will no longer be broken down, and your leopard gecko will start to rapidly lose weight.
Before long, the lizard starts to have diarrhea, becomes lethargic, and the body loses color. Fatty liver disease is a serious condition that requires the urgent intervention of your vet.
How Often Should You Feed Your Leopard Gecko?
The correct feeding schedule should be made considering the leopard gecko’s age. This is because leos of different ages have different needs.
A baby leopard gecko is between 0 and 4 months. As far as food is concerned, this category is the most ravenous.
This is because they are fast-growing and they have a high metabolic rate. As such, they should be fed daily.
A Juvenile leopard gecko is between 4 and 12 months. Because this category is transitioning to adulthood, they have special feeding needs.
Juvenile leopard geckos should be fed 5 times weekly.
Adult leopard geckos are above 12 months. The metabolic rate at this rate slows down. This means an adult leopard gecko can take larger meals, but eat less frequently.
It is okay to feed your mature leo every 2 to 3 days.
How Much Should You Feed Your Leopard Gecko
Again, the quantity of food you give your leopard gecko depends on his developmental stage. Each stage – baby, juvenile, and adult – has different feeding needs.
Also, you must consider the health status of your leopard gecko. Sick pets may not eat as much until they are treated enough to regain their appetite.
A recovering pet should be fed more frequently than his age mates because he needs to regain his form as fast as possible.
The portion of food you offer your leopard gecko depends on the size of the insect. Generally, baby geckos should be fed small insects, juvenile geckos medium-sized, and adult geckos should eat large insects.
Baby leopard geckos should be fed 5 to 7 small insects daily. Juvenile leopard geckos require 5 to 7 medium insects 3 times weekly. Adults should be given 6 to 8 large insects 3 to 4 times weekly.
It’s important to give a combination of insects every time. For example, you can feed an adult 5 large crickets and 3 large mealworms in one meal.
Some leopard gecko keepers use a different feeding technique. They give their leopard gecko as many insects as these pets can eat in ten minutes.
If you’re using this technique, ensure that you stop and the 10th-minute mark. Any leftover insects should be removed from the enclosure after this.
A Healthy Diet: the Best Way to Avoid Overfeeding Your Leopard Gecko
A healthy diet is as important as the amount of food your leopard gecko eats. On the other hand, an unhealthy diet choice can lead to obesity and other health complications.
An overfed leopard gecko could be the victim of a high-fat diet. As such, you must get as much nutritional information as possible regarding the food you want to give your leo.
A staple feeder insect should not be high in fat content. Seasoned leopard gecko keepers know this, and they go with low-fat insects like crickets, dubia roaches, and mealworms.
High-fat insects should be used as treats and served only occasionally.
Here’s some nutritional information about some common feeder insects:
|Black Soldier Larvae||64%||17%||11%||6%||2.5:1|
From this table, you can clearly understand why many leo keepers prefer crickets as their pet’s staple food.
At 2%, this feeder insect is the least likely to make your leopard gecko obese. However, its Ca:P ratio is rather poor, and you need to use the right supplements to fill this gap.
What Should My Leopard Gecko Weigh?
An overfed leopard gecko is overweight, which is risky for his health and overall wellbeing.
Leopard gecko owners are advised to closely monitor their pet’s weight to act swiftly should something goes amiss.
Acquaint yourself with your leopard gecko’s weight based on its developmental stage:
|Developmental Stage||Leopard gecko’s age||Body Length||Weight|
|Hatchling||Days’ Old||3 inches||2 – 4g|
|Baby||1 month||4 – 5 inches||15 – 25g|
|2 – 3 months||5.5 inches||20 – 30g|
|Juvenile||4 – 5 months||5.5 – 6 inches||25 – 35g|
|6 – 7 months||6 – 6.5 inches||30 – 40g|
|8 – 10 months||7 – 7.5 inches||35 – 45g|
|Adult||10 – 18 months||7.5 – 8 inches||40 – 60g|
|18 – 24 months||8 – 12 inches||60 – 90g|
It is noteworthy that males tend to be longer and heavier than females. For example, an adult male reaches 28cm (11 inches) long, while a female grows to 20cm (7.9 inches).
While an adult male can weigh up to 90g, a female gets to 60g. Therefore, in the above table, males are on the bigger end of the ranges while females are on the smaller end.
A Healthy Leopard Gecko vs. an Overfed Leopard Gecko
You can tell a healthy leopard gecko from an overfed one because their body conditions differ. A healthy leopard gecko is vibrant and lively, while an overfed one is dull and lethargic.
Here are signs of a healthy leopard gecko:
- Bright, lively eyes
- Active and outgoing
- Thick, well-rounded tail, but not thicker than the space between its eyes.
- Of the right size and weight based on age
These are signs of an unhealthy leopard gecko:
- Huge tail, broader than the head
- Thick legs
- Fat bubbles in the armpit area
- Huge fat rolls
- Sluggish and lethargic
- Dull, disinterested eyes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Can I Know If My Leopard Gecko Is Still Hungry?
If you see your leopard gecko still looking for food, it means he is still hungry. The best way to tell how much your leopard gecko can consume is to use the 10-minute method.
However, just because your leopard gecko is looking for food doesn’t mean he is underfed. If he’s not showing signs of losing weight, it could be that he is merely being pushed by a voracious appetite.
Stick to his feeding schedule based on his age to avoid overfeeding him.
Should I Put My Overweight Leopard Gecko on a Diet?
This is a great way of solving the problem of an obese leopard gecko. First, however, you need to treat him gently and with understanding as you put him on a diet.
It would be counterproductive to make sudden food changes. Instead, introduce the changes gradually.
Start by reducing his food portions and spacing out the days. For example, if you have been feeding him 10 large insects, drop this to 7.
If you have been feeding him every other day, start feeding him after every 3 or 4 days.
How Can I Know That I’m Feeding My Leopard Gecko the Right Amount of Food?
The best way to know you’re feeding your leopard gecko right is by keeping a food diary. Also, monitor his weight and general health.
Take your leopard gecko’s weight and length measurements every fortnightly. This is particularly important for baby and juvenile leopard geckos as they change quickly.
Also, monitor their food intake vis a vis growth, weight, and general body development. Finally, consult your pet doctor if your leopard gecko shows signs of deviating from the normal based on age.
What is the 10-Minute Leopard Gecko Feeding Technique?
This technique involves giving your leopard gecko as many insects as he can consume within 10 minutes.
It’s best that you avoid using tasty treats such as waxworms. Instead, use crickets or some other staple feeder to get an accurate picture of how many insects your leopard gecko needs per feeding session.
Adjust the feeding schedule if your leopard gecko eats more or less than is in the feeding diary.
Keep doing this every now and then as your leopard gecko continues to grow.
An overfed leopard gecko will develop health complications unless this situation is rectified. In addition, overfeeding this reptile lowers its immunity, making it susceptible to diseases.
It’s very possible to overfeed your leopard gecko if you don’t devise and follow a proper feeding schedule.