Interested in what vitamins your Leopard Gecko needs? This guide is for you!
The most critical healthcare practice for your leopard gecko is to provide him with the proper nutrition.
Above everything else, proper vitamin supplementation is vital to your leopard gecko’s health and overall wellbeing.
Providing your leopard gecko with the right vitamins helps keep at bay serious problems, such as disease, infection, and shedding difficulties. Dusting feeder insects with the correct vitamin supplements is necessary as these insects do not always provide the required nutrition. Equally important is gut-loading feeder insects with vitamins.
It’s crucial to develop the right feeding schedule for your pet to avoid giving him either too much or too little vitamin supplements.
Vitamin overdose is real and has dire consequences for the leopard gecko and the owner.
What’s the Best Feeding Schedule for Leopard Geckos?
Before we look at the right vitamin supplementation, we need to understand the proper feeding schedule for your leopard gecko.
Baby and juvenile leopard geckos are fast-growing and have a high metabolic rate. As such, they should be fed at least once daily to keep up with their nutritional needs.
Notably, baby and juvenile leos don’t eat a lot of food quantity in one sitting. Therefore, baby leos should be fed about 5 to 6 small insects every mealtime.
The juvenile leopard geckos require the same amount of medium-sized insects with every serving.
On the other hand, adult leopard geckos should be fed every other day – or about 3 times weekly. This is because these reptiles need about 8 large insects with every serving.
Another way of looking at it is that each leo should be given as many insects as he can consume within 10 minutes.
It’s important to keep this schedule because leopard geckos are ravenous eaters. They keep eating as long as the food is available, which may cause health complications – such as obesity and fatty liver disease.
Additionally, take care to remove any leftover foods within 10 minutes. Uneaten live insects may harass and traumatize your pet if left in the enclosure for too long.
What Supplements Does Your Leopard Gecko Need?
The most important supplements for your leopard gecko include essential vitamins, calcium, minerals, and amino acids.
Some quality products in the market are well-rounded and provide all these supplements in every serving.
You can either use commercial supplementation schedules or come up with your own regimen.
It is recommended that you formulate your own feeding schedule to target the specific needs of your leopard gecko.
For example, you may offer calcium supplements without vitamin D3 because too much is known to cause kidney issues.
Coming up with your own supplementation schedule enables you to gauge how much vitamins, calcium, and other supplements to give your pet.
Remember to always provide your pet with clean drinking water, as this helps with the absorption of food and supplements.
What Vitamins Do Leopard Geckos Require?
Fat Soluble Vitamins
The leopard gecko stores these vitamins in the fat deposits used whenever the body requires them.
- Vitamin A helps your leo develop good eyesight and healthy skin.
- Vitamin D3 – works with calcium to strengthen your leo’s body structure and bones.
- Vitamin E – is vital for forming new skin before and during shedding.
- Vitamin K – Helps prevent excessive bleeding in case of trauma. It is usually sourced from gut bacteria.
Water Soluble Vitamins
These vitamins cannot be stored in your leopard gecko’s body and must be regularly sourced from your pet’s food.
- Vitamin B – a broad spectrum of vitamins that maintains the body’s internal functions.
- Vitamin C – helps fight diseases and infections.
How to Add Vitamin Supplements to Your Leopard Gecko’s Food
Leopard geckos in the wild get their vitamin supplements from rocks, roots, and plants. They can also get an ample supply of vitamins and minerals from free-flowing water.
This may not be possible in your leopard gecko enclosure. Therefore, you need to provide vitamin and mineral supplements to sustain your pet’s health and vitality.
Avoid Overdosing Your Leopard Gecko
Although leopard geckos need about 6 different types of vitamins, you should have a clear schedule for providing these supplements to your pet.
Leos don’t need vitamins with every meal – unlike they do with calcium. The proper vitamin supplement schedule depends on your leopard gecko’s developmental stage.
Giving multivitamins makes the work easier for you, and ensures that you don’t forget any of the vital supplements.
A major nightmare for any newbie is to overdose their leopard gecko with supplements. You need to be careful not to make this mistake.
So, how best do you add supplements to your leopard gecko’s diet? There are two ways to go about this: dusting and gut loading.
Dusting the Feeder Insects
Vitamin and calcium supplements come in powder form. Dusting the feeder insects 5 to 10 minutes before feeding time is recommended.
To do this, simply place the insects in a plastic bag and spray them with a fine water mist. This will allow the vitamin and calcium dust to easily stick to the insects.
Put in the supplement powder and shake the bag gently, ensuring the supplements stick to all the feeder insects.
Gut Loading the Feeder Insects
You should gut load the insects for about 24 hours before feeding them to the leo. This happens by feeding these insects a variety of vitamin-rich greens and veggies.
Some of the best vitamin-rich foods for gut-loading feeder insects are dark leafy greens, potatoes, oats, carrots, squash, and apples.
Avoid giving these insects citric fruits and acidic veggies, as these are not good for your leopard gecko.
Not all feeder insects should be gut-loaded. For example, it is okay to gut-load roaches, locusts, crockets, superworms, and mealworms.
However, avoid gut-loading waxworms, silkworms, and hornworms.
What Are the Best Multivitamins for Your Leopard Gecko?
Most multivitamin products contain vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, minerals, and carotenoids.
You can use these products or come up with your own formulation that meets your leopard gecko’s unique needs.
Expert leopard gecko owners want more control over their pet’s supplement intake.
A good number of first-time owners prefer to purchase multivitamin powders that contain all the nutrient supplements their leopard geckos need.
Whichever way you choose, ensure that your regime does not contain a high level of Vitamin D3.
An overdose of Vitamin D3 can lead to calcium buildup in your pet’s body. This causes body lethargy, bone infirmities, and kidney disease.
Go for multivitamin products with a vitamin D3 concentration of 50000 IU/kg or less.
What’s the Proper Leopard Gecko Vitamin Feeding Schedule?
Before feeding your leopard gecko vitamin supplements, carefully read the ingredients and instructions on the package.
Different manufacturers pack different qualities of vitamins in their products. The amount of vitamins in a product determines how often you feed your leopard gecko with the vitamin supplement.
Supplement products with lower vitamin levels should be used with every meal. However, those with a higher vitamin content should be used with every second or third feeding.
Equally importantly, ensure you both gut load and dust the insects to feed your pet. However, if you are unable to dust, ensure that the feeder insects are at least gut loaded.
Vitamin Supplement Feeding Schedule for a Baby Leopard Gecko
Baby geckos are classified as those between a few hours to 4 months old. These reptiles should be fed daily because of their fast metabolic rates.
Their feeds should be dusted with calcium and Vitamin D3 thrice a week, and with multivitamins once weekly.
Vitamin Supplement Feeding Schedule for a Juvenile Leopard Gecko
These lizards are neither babies nor fully-grown adults, and should be fed about 5 times weekly.
They should be given a pure calcium supplement once weekly, and a combination of calcium and vitamin D3 twice weekly.
Also, juveniles should be given multivitamin-dusted insects once weekly. Provide these leos with gut-loaded insects (without dusting) once weekly.
In short, the juvenile leopard geckos schedule looks like this:
- Feeding – 5 times weekly
- Pure calcium supplement – once weekly
- Multivitamin only – once weekly
- Only gut-loaded insects – once weekly
- Calcium with vitamin D3 – twice weekly
Vitamin Supplement Feeding Schedule for an Adult Leopard Gecko
Adult leopard geckos should be fed about 3 or 4 times weekly.
A 4 days a week feeding schedule should have two gut-loaded and dusted feedings, one calcium and vitamin D3 combination, and one only gut-loaded feeding.
Adult leopard geckos should be given multivitamins only once monthly.
Vitamin Supplement Feeding Schedule for a Breeding Female Leopard Gecko
Breeding female leopard geckos should be given high-quality Vitamin and calcium-dusted insects with every feeding.
|Developmental Stage||Supplement||How Often|
|Baby (0-4 months)||Calcium and Vitamin D3||3 times weekly|
|Juvenile (5-18 months)||Pure calcium||Once weekly|
|Only gut-loaded||Once weekly|
|Calcium and Vitamin D3||Twice weekly|
|Adult (18 months +)||Calcium and Vitamin D3||Once weekly|
|Only gut-loaded||Once weekly|
|Gut-loaded and dusted||Twice weekly|
|Breeding Female||Pure calcium||Freely available in the tank|
|Gut-loaded and dusted||Every feeding|
What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency in Leopard Geckos?
A lack of Vitamins in your leopard gecko’s diet can seriously compromise your pet’s health. Fortunately, there are indicators to alert you of any problem arising from this before things get out of hand.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A protects your leopard gecko’s eyesight and skin health. A deficiency of this nutrient leads to eye problems and improper shedding.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D stimulates calcium binding and absorption. So if your leopard gecko doesn’t get enough Vitamin D, it will also lack calcium, weakening bones, and body structure.
Signs of a lack of Vitamin D and calcium include:
- Loss of appetite
- Tremors and spasms
If this problem is not promptly addressed, the reptile will eventually develop the metabolic bone disease, whose signs are:
- Bowed legs
- Spine curvatures and malfunctions
- Lumps around the spine, jaws, and legs
- Swelling of the jaw area
Fortunately, deficiencies in Vitamin A and Vitamin D are treatable. You’d want to visit your vet for treatment of any underlying conditions.
The vet will also advise you to immediately start a regimen of multivitamins and supplements.
What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin Overdose in Leopard Geckos?
Take care not to overdose your leopard gecko with vitamins, as this causes a raft of health concerns.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Overdose
Vitamin D is fat-soluble – meaning it is stored in the leopard gecko’s fatty tissues. As such, it’s very easy to overdose your leopard gecko on this supplement.
Avoid leaving Vitamin D3 in the enclosure all the time. Instead, this supplement should be given only when needed, depending on the feeding schedule.
At the same time, using too much UVB light in the terrarium increases the chances of Vitamin D3 overdose.
This is because UVB light stimulates the production of this nutrient in your leopard gecko’s skin. To avoid this, invest in a reptile UV index meter.
This monitors the UV levels to ensure they are manageable for your leopard gecko. Remember, depending on the morph and pigmentation, some leopard geckos need less UV light than others.
Signs of Vitamin D overdose include:
- Appetite loss
- Fluid retention
Symptoms of Vitamin A Overdose
Although it is rare for leopard geckos to overdose on Vitamin A, the risk does exist. Excessive intake of Vitamins makes your leopard gecko weak and erratic.
Other signs include:
- Lethargy and irritability
- Scaly skin
- Irregular heartbeat
Is It Okay to Use UVB Lighting with Supplements?
UVB lighting is not a mandatory requirement in the leopard gecko enclosure. Your pet does not require this item to survive if it gets adequate supplementation of nutrients.
UVB lights help your leopard gecko to manufacture Vitamin D3 in its skin. This is important, considering that leopard geckos are not basking creatures.
Wild leos try to avoid the sun as much as possible.
Feeding your leopard gecko proper Vitamin D3 supplements means he gets the nutrients without UVB lights.
Suppose you use UVB lights and Vitamin D3 on your leopard gecko. In that case, it’s very easy to overdose this reptile on the supplement.
Additionally, UVB light may irritate your pet’s eyes and skin. As such, avoid the use of UVB lighting if you can.
Instead, use the natural light in your home to create the day-night cycle for your leopard gecko. Even then, don’t place the light too close to the enclosure.
Your leopard gecko’s enclosure should be set up in a way that provides lots of shade and hiding areas. Remember to turn the light off at night to simulate this reptile’s natural world.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Multivitamins in Leopard Gecko Feeding?
This is a combination of the vitamins your leopard gecko needs to thrive. Pet stores stock a wide range of multivitamin products meant for reptiles, such as leopard geckos.
Most of the multivitamin products are presented in dust form. You dust these products on feeder insects a few minutes before feeding them to your leopard gecko.
It’s crucial that you provide your leopard gecko with the right multivitamin quantities. Too little or too much of these supplements is counterproductive.
Also, it would be best if you decided whether you’ll use multivitamin products with calcium and Vitamin D3.
What’s the Use of Vitamin D3 in Leopard Gecko Feeding?
Vitamin D3 helps in the absorption of calcium. Without this fat-soluble Vitamin, it would be impossible for your pet to synthesize and absorb calcium.
Calcium strengthens the leopard gecko’s bones and other body structures. Therefore, it is an important nutrient for proper locomotion and muscle control.
In breeding female leopard geckos, calcium is an essential nutrient in the formation of eggshells.
Additionally, Vitamin D3 aids in immune functions. It helps nerve and muscle control, enabling the leopard gecko to control electrical impulses.
What’s the Importance of Vitamin A in Leopard Gecko Nutrition?
Vitamin A toughens and thickens your leopard gecko’s skin. In addition, it creates healthy new skin for the leopard gecko during the shedding process.
At the same time, Vitamin A serves the same function as beta-carotene. It sharpens your leopard gecko’s eyesight and protects his eyes from bacterial and viral infections.
As such, Vitamin A is a readily available substitute for beta-carotene.
Does My Leopard Gecko Need Vitamin E?
Vitamin E cannot be said to be one of the essential vitamins for your leopard gecko. If your pet eats a healthy diet, it does not need Vitamin E.
However, this nutrient is crucial in mitigating the risk of selenium toxicity. Selenium is likely to be produced in unhealthy quantities if your leopard gecko thrives on a diet of crickets.
To avoid this risk, feed your leopard gecko a drop of Vitamin E once weekly.
It’s important that you get the right balance of vitamins your leopard gecko needs. This is the best way to keep your pet alive and healthy.
Since this reptile’s system is complex, a single supplement may not be enough to cover his needs.
We hope this post has opened your eyes to the main group of vitamin supplements you need for your leopard gecko.