What Crested Geckos Eat? Crested Gecko Diet – Do’s And Don’ts
Having your Crested gecko on the right diet is essential for their development and health. Knowing what Crested geckos eat and what’s NOT a safe diet is something that every owner should know.
Food is the main source where your Crested gecko will be getting their nutrients. Therefore, if you feed your gecko the wrong foods, it can result in many health problems.
This article will help you establish what are the do’s and don’ts in Crested gecko diet. To do this, we are looking at the following topics:
- Crested gecko diet in the wild
- What Crested geckos eat when kept as pets? Dos and don’ts of Crested gecko staple diet
- Insects and bugs – dos and don’ts
- Fruits and vegetables – dos and don’ts
Crested Gecko Diet In The Wild
Before looking at what Crested geckos eat when kept as pets, it’s important to understand what is their diet in their natural habitat.
In the wild, Crested geckos’ natural diet is made up of plants, fruits, bugs and insects.
- Insects 49.6%
- Fruits 11.7%
- Fruit nectars 7.52%
- Seeds 1.8%
- Pollen 10.3%
Crested Gecko Staple Diet – Commercial Diet vs Homemade Diet
Normally, what Crested geckos eat as a staple diet when kept as pets it’s either commercial or homemade diet.
It’s important to ensure that your Crested gecko’s diet is nutritious and well-balanced. If your gecko is not receiving the nutrients they need from the food they are eating, it will result in many health problems and suffering for your Crested gecko.
Nowadays, most owners choose a commercial diet for their Crested geckos. This is because commercial diet is not only the easiest option but also it provides your gecko with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.
The most popular commercial food brands that Crested gecko owners recommend are Repashy and Pangea.
According to owners, Repashy has better nutritional value but it doesn’t mix that well as it’s quite bitty.
On the other hand, Pangea mixes better and have more flavors to choose from. Furthermore, it’s reported that Crested geckos gain weight at a steadier pace with Pangea compared to Repashy.
For reference, the cost for Repashy 340gr/12oz is $24.99, whereas Pangea 16oz costs $34.99.
|Repashy||Better nutritional valueCheaper||Doesn’t mix well|
|Pangea||Mixes better than RepashyHave more flavors||Less nutritional compared to Repashy|
Homemade Crested gecko diets are considered more risky and are not recommended for unexperienced reptile owners. Strictly homemade diets can result in malnourishment and health problems if you don’t know what Crested geckos eat in the wild and what’s the balance of nutrients that they need.
What Crested geckos eat in terms of homemade diet depends on the foods’ nutritional values.
Foods with 2:1 (or better) Ca:P ratio and low oxalic acid content are good for a staple diet but you also need to watch out for vitamins and mineral intake. For instance, if your gecko doesn’t get the amount of Calcium they need, it can result in Metabolic Bone disease or other health problems.
If you want to feed your gecko homemade diet, the best option is to use CGD powder as a staple diet and offer healthy fruits, fruit purees and insects as an occasional treat.
Crested Gecko Staple Diet – Do’s
With everything discussed so far, we recommend the following diet route:
- Commercial diet as a staple diet (Repashy or Pangea)
- Insects/fruits/fruit purees offered as an occasional treat 1 to 2 times a month
Crested Gecko Staple Diet – Don’ts
When it comes down to what Crested geckos eat, the following diets should never be fed to your gecko:
- All-insect diet
- Baby food
Both of these diets are out-dated, don’t have the necessary nutrient and can be harmful to your gecko’s health.
Insects And Bugs
You might wonder what Crested geckos eat alongside their staple diet of commercial food. Well, their diet can also include an occasional treat of insects/bugs.
Although, Crested geckos consume insects and bugs in their natural environment, they can only be fed this as an occasional treat when kept as pets.
Before feeding your Crested gecko insects/bugs, you must ensure the following:
- Are they easily digestible for the Crested gecko? The exoskeletons of some insects such as beetles and mealworm, can sometimes cause problems in your Crested gecko. These problems include constipation, dehydration and impaction
- Size. You shouldn’t feed bugs to your Crested gecko that are bigger than the distance between their eyes
- The nutritional value of the worms you feed your gecko such as fat percentage, protein and calcium. For that information, check out the table below:
|SPECIES||MOISTURE %||PROTEIN %||CALCIUM (mg/100g)||FAT %||ASH %|
Insects And Bugs – Do’s
When feeding your Crested geckos insects/bugs, stick to the following guidelines:
- If your Crested gecko is fed commercial diet, insects/bugs should only be fed 1 to 2 times a month
- With homemade diet, insects/bugs can be fed more often. How often depends on their nutritional value
- Gut loading. Most live foods you feed to your Crested gecko needs to be gut loaded beforehand. This means that the bugs/insects need to be fed before offered to the gecko
- Dusting. The most nutritional way to feed bugs/insects to your Crested gecko is by dusting them with a calcium/vitamin D3 powdered supplement
- Underweight or sick geckos. Insects and bugs are great to use for malnourished geckos. If your gecko is sick/recovering insects can be used to help them gain back weight
The most nutritional and healthy insects to feed to your Crested gecko include:
- Dubia Roach
- Silkworms. This type of worm is the better option than a mealworm because the silkworms doesn’t have a hard exoskeleton
Insects And Bugs – Don’ts
- Addictive. Feeding too often and too many bugs/insects can result in your gecko becoming addicted and possibly overweight due to the high fats content
- An all insect diet should be completely avoided as it doesn’t provide the Crested gecko with all the nutrients they need
- Avoid insects with hard, undigestible exoskeleton such as mealworms
- Avoid feeding your Crested gecko bugs/insects that are larger than the distance between their eyes
What Crested geckos can eat in terms of fruit, depends largely on the fruits’ nutritional value. Although Crested geckos eat fruit in the wild, when kept as pets fruits are mostly offered as a treat rather than used as a staple diet.
It’s important to remember that some fruits are the healthier option for your Crested gecko. On the other hand, some fruits are even dangerous and should never be offered.
The following factors are what determines if a fruit is safe to feed to your Crested gecko:
- Good calcium to phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) – Good Ca:P refers to moderate to high content of calcium and low content of phosphorus
- Low oxalic acid
The factors mentioned above also determine how often you can feed a fruit to your Crested gecko and if it can be included in a homemade diet.
Fruits – Do’s
Only a handful of fruits have the desirable Ca:P ratio to be included in a staple homemade diet for your Crested gecko.
However, even fruits with a “bad” Ca:P ratio can be fed to your Crested gecko as an occasional treat.
The following list of fruits have high to moderate ratio and are safe to feed to your Crested gecko either as an occasional treat or used as a part of a staple homemade diet:
- Roselle (hibiscus) fruit – 5.8 : 1
- Papaya – 4.5 : 1
- Rose Apple – 3.6 : 1
- Fig – 2.5 : 1
- Kumquat – 2.3 : 1
- Prickly pear also known as tuna (fruit), sabra, nopal – 2.3 : 1
- Raspberries – 1.8 : 1
- Blackberries – 1.5 : 1
Fruits – Don’ts
The following is a list of fruits for Crested geckos with a bad Ca:P ratio. These fruits should only be offered as an occasional treat and should not be included in a homemade staple diet:
- Grapes – 1.4 : 1
- Black currants- 1.2 : 1
- Red currants- 1.1 : 1
- Gooseberries- 1 : 1
- Mango- 1 : 1
- Pineapple – 1 : 1
- Apple – 1 : 1
Very bad Ca:P ratio
- Pumpkin – 1 : 2.1
- Peaches – 1 : 2.2
- Plum – 1 : 2.5
- Banana – 1 : 3.1
- Nectarine – 1 : 3.2
- Cantaloupe – 1 : 3.3
It’s important to remember that even the fruits with “very bad” Ca:P ratio can still be fed to your Crested gecko but only as an occasional treat. “Very bad” Ca:P only means that these fruits shouldn’t be relied on to provide nutritional value to the meal.
Dangerous fruits to completely avoid are from the citrus family. The reason they can be so harmful is the high concentration of:
- Vitamin C – too much of this vitamin can lead to diarrhoea and intestine problems
- Oxalic Acid – this type of acid in high amounts can interfere with the absorption of calcium by the body
The following citrus fruits should never be fed to your Crested gecko:
Other fruits that should never be fed to a Crested gecko include:
- Rhubarb – high concentration of oxalic acid
- Avocado – this fruit contains low amounts of persin. This is a natural occurring chemical that can be harmful to pets and can lead to death
- Star Fruit – not only this fruit has a low Ca:P but it’s levels of oxalic acid are also very high
What Crested geckos can eat in terms of vegetables is quite similar to fruits. What makes a vegetable good or bad depends on the Calcium: Phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) and calcium content.
The factors to look at when deciding if a vegetable is safe are:
- Ca:P ratio
- Oxalic acid levels
- Vitamin A content
- Goitrogens content
If you want to learn more about what vegetables are suitable for your Crested gecko, click here Can Crested Geckos Eat Vegetables – Top Diet Tips
Vegetables – Do’s
Safe and healthy vegetable that you can include in your Crested gecko’s staple homemade diet will be:
- High in calcium
- Have a good Ca:P ratio of 2:1 or better
The following is a list of vegetables with good Ca:P ratio:
- Dandelion Greens – Ca:P is 2.8:1 Dandelion leaves provide a good source of Calcium, Vitamin A and K. If taken from the garden, you should avoid picking any that may have been in contact with pesticides or other chemicals. Also, you should not pick dandelion leaves that are near the roadside
- Rocket – Ca:P is 3.1 : 1. A good source of vitamin A and Calcium
- Mustard Greens – Ca:P is 2.4 : 1. Very high vitamin A, vitamin C, high Calcium and Potassium
- Watercress – Ca:P is 2.0: 1. It contains good levels of Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Folic acid, Vitamins A and C
- Endive – Ca:P is 1.9 : 1. High in Calcium and Vitamin A
- Celery – Ca:P is 1.7:1. High in calcium and low in goitrogenic compounds, celery can be a vegetable in your Crested gecko’s staple diet within your crested geckos diet
- Butternut squash – Ca:P is 1.5:1. It’s high in Vitamin A and Calcium
Vegetables – Don’ts
Vegetables with bad Ca:P ratio can’t be included in a homemade staple diet for your Crested gecko. However, they can still be fed to your gecko once a month as an occasional treat. Such vegetables include:
- Carrots – Ca:P is 0.6:1. Carrots have little calcium but have high levels of carotenes
- Chard – Ca:P is 1.1:1. This is a good source of fibre, Vitamin A, C, E, K, Calcium and Iron
- Cos/Romaine Lettuce – Ca:P is 0.8:1 good source of Vitamin A and fibre. Aside from Iceberg lettuce, most green leaf and romaine lettuces contain good amounts of vitamins & minerals. In addition, lettuces aren’t high in goitrogens or oxalates which makes them good to feed to your Crested gecko
Completely avoid feeding your Crested gecko the following vegetables even as an occasional treat:
- Broccoli – Broccoli is best avoided as it is high in oxalates and goitrogens
- Spinach – High in oxalates and goitrogens so should be used occasionally
- Cabbage – High in goitrogens and oxalates
- Cauliflower – Too high levels of goitrogens and oxalates
- Kale – High in goitrogens and oxalates
- Avocado – Avocados are toxic to Crested geckos and should never be fed
- Iceberg lettuce – This lettuce should be avoided as it has no nutritional value
Vegetables that contain high levels of water and low nutritional value, shouldn’t be fed to your Crested gecko as they don’t offer any nutrients and can result in diarrhoea. Examples of such vegetables include iceberg lettuce and cucumber.
Knowing what Crested geckos eat is essential part of providing your gecko with high quality care. If your gecko is not receiving all the nutrients they need, it can result in poor health and other complications.
The following is a summary of what Crested geckos eat when kept as pets:
- Crested gecko staple diet. It’s recommended to feed your gecko commercial foods such as Repashy or Pangea. Commercial diets are formulated to provide your gecko with all the nutrients they need. The other option is homemade diet. However, a strictly homemade diet is not recommended for beginners
- Diets to completely avoid are: only insect diet and baby food diet. Both diets are outdated and can result in health problems for your gecko
- Insects/bugs can be fed to your gecko as an occasional treat. Always, ensure the insects are easy to digest, don’t have hard exo-skeletons and are no larger than the size between your gecko’s eyes
- Fruits and vegetables can be fed to your Crested gecko as an occasional treat. Ensure the foods you feed your gecko are healthy for them. This can be done by checking the Ca:P ratio
If your Crested gecko is not receiving the nutrients they need, it can result in many health problems. By feeding your Crested gecko the right foods, you’ll be preventing illnesses and your gecko will live a happy and healthy life.
Related Topics Q&A
What Crested Gecko Diseases Are Caused By Poor Nutrition?
Feeding your Crested gecko the wrong foods can result in many health problems. Some of the illnesses that can be caused by incorrect diet include:
- Metabolic Bone disease
- Crested gecko mouth rot. Click here for more information on the topic Crested Gecko Mouth Rot – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
- Respiratory infection
- Stress. Poor diet can result in your Crested gecko being stressed
To learn more about how to treat a sick Crested gecko, click here Do You Have A Sick Crested Gecko? Full Crested Gecko Health Guide