How Often Do Leopard Geckos Eat? Understanding Their Feeding Habits

Unlock the key to your Leopard Gecko's health with a diet of nutrient-packed insects, careful monitoring, and a dash of essential supplements. Keep your scaly friend thriving by tailoring their diet to their age and health.

Leopard Geckos are popular pets and as insectivores, their feeding habits are crucial to their overall health and well-being. Ultimately, the frequency and amount of food required depends on the your Gecko's age, size, and health, but other influential factors may be involved as well.

In this article, we'll delve into the basics of feeding your pet Leopard Gecko, including what to feed them, when to feed them, and the amount of food they need. We'll also uncover their nutritional requirements and how to ensure that they are receiving the necessary vitamins and minerals for an optimal health.

How Often to Feed Leopard Geckos?

In short, Baby Leopard Geckos and Juvenile Leopard Geckos (0-6 months) need to be fed more frequently than adults, as they have a higher metabolism and need more energy to grow. It is recommended to feed your young Geckos every day, or every other day, with appropriately sized insects.

On the other hand, Adult Leopard Geckos (6+ months) can be fed every two to three days, depending on your pets overall health and appetite.

Age/Size Frequency of Feeding
Baby (0-3 months) Daily
Juvenile (3-6 mo.) Every other day
Sub-Adult (6-12 mo.) Every two to three days
Adult (>12 mo.) Two to three times a week

Dietary requirements for a sick Leopard Gecko

It's important to note that sick Leopard Geckos may have different feeding requirements when compared to a healthy Leopard Gecko. If your pet is sick, it may lose its appetite or have difficulty digesting food, which can lead to malnourishment and weight loss.

You may need to feed them more frequently to ensure they get enough nutrients. In this case, make sure to monitor their weight and feeding habits closely and adjust the frequency of feeding as necessary. Please be mindful that it might be crucial to seek veterinary care if you notice something out of the ordinary in your pet's behavior.

Special dietary requirements for a pregnant Female Leopard Gecko

A gravid Leopard Gecko will have specific dietary requirements to support their reproductive needs. During this time, it's important to increase the frequency of feedings and provide a diet that is high in calcium and protein.

It's also important to offer calcium supplements, such as calcium powder or crushed cuttlebone, to help prevent calcium deficiency and ensure healthy egg development. In general, having a calcium dish available in the enclosure can be beneficial in most cases.

In addition, make sure to always have a shallow dish of water and clean it regularly to prevent the risk of infection. It's important to consult with a veterinarian or reptile specialist for specific feeding recommendations and to monitor the Gecko's weight and overall health closely during this time.

When to Feed your Leopard Gecko?

Leopard Geckos are crepuscular reptiles, which means they are most active during dawn and dusk. Therefore, it is best to feed them during these times to ensure that they receive their food when they are most alert and active. In the wild, they typically start hunting towards the end of the day or early evening. Providing food during these hours can help mirror their natural feeding behavior, which can greatly promote a healthy appetite and digestion.

It's important to note that wild Leopard Geckos and their domesticated counterparts are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat whenever food is available. However, overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems, so it's crucial to monitor their food intake and adjust accordingly. Additionally, avoid feeding your Leopard Gecko right before bedtime, as this can lead to digestive issues.

Ideal Foods for your Pet Leopard Gecko

Leopard Geckos are insectivorous, which means they eat only insects. Their diet mainly consists of crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms. The ideal food for Leopard Geckos is gut-loaded insects, or insects that have been fed nutritious food prior. Gut-loaded insects are high in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients to support your pet's growth and health.

Additional Tips

When feeding your Leopard Gecko, it is important to consider their age and size. Baby Geckos require smaller food items than juvenile or adult Geckos. It is recommended to feed baby Geckos with crickets that measure 3/8 inches. For juvenile Geckos, 1/4 inch-sized crickets are appropriate. For adult Geckos, choose small adult to adult size crickets.

When maintaining gut-loaded insects for your Leopard Gecko, note that mealworms are simpler to manage than crickets. Crickets require a spacious cage, water gellies, and a diet of cricket food or organic fruits/veggies. Beware, non-organic fruits have a tendency to kill crickets in just a day or two.

Remember, what the crickets consume ultimately nourishes your Leopard Gecko.

Nutritional Requirements for Leopard Geckos

Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates

Protein is an essential part of your Leopard Gecko's diet. Insects such as crickets and mealworms are high in protein and should make up the majority of your Leopard Gecko's diet.

Fat, while often vilified, is also an important source of energy for your Gecko. In addition, it contributes to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, which is crucial for your Gecko's eyesight.

Conversely, while carbohydrates may be considered a staple macronutrient for humans, Leopard Geckos do not require it in large amounts, as they are metabolically adapted to obtain energy from fats and proteins.

Vitamins and Minerals

To ensure their well-being, Leopard Geckos need vitamins and minerals in addition to their staple foods. Calcium is fundamental for your Gecko's health, as it assists with solid bone development and helps avoid metabolic bone disease. Additionally, including Vitamin D3 can provide a further advantage, assisting the Gecko's proper absorption of calcium.

Supplementing your Leopard Gecko's diet regimen with calcium powder as well as vitamin D3 power is quite beneficial, and can be achieved by dusting the insects you feed them with this mixture prior to offering them!

Providing a Variety in Diet

Providing a varied diet is essential for the health and happiness of your Leopard Gecko, as relying on just one type of feeder can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Consider offering crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms, but limit the last two as they are rather "fatty" and should be considered as treats to be fed once every 10-14 days. Hornworms and butterworms can also be offered as rare treats, but should not be a regular part of their diet.

Geckos usually prefer live feeders over dried, so find the right combination that works for them through trial and error. When selecting live feeder insects, be mindful of their size as it can impact your Gecko's digestive health.

It's important to supervise your Gecko during feeding to ensure they don't choke on their prey. A good way to avoid this is to offer appropriately sized feeders and to remove any uneaten insects from their enclosure after a feeding session. Finally, remember to always offer a shallow dish of water at all times for a healthy and proper hydration.

Avoiding Harmful Foods

Proper knowledge of harmful foods is essential when it comes to feeding your Leopard Gecko. While variety in your Leopard Gecko diet is important, certain foods can prove to be toxic for your pet. Some harmful foods that should be avoided are:

  • Fireflies: Fireflies contain toxins called lucibufagins that are lethal for your Leopard Gecko. These toxins can cause severe neurological and digestive problems.
  • Lightning bugs: Similar to fireflies, lightning bugs also contain lucibufagins that are harmful to Leopard Geckos.
  • Mealworms with hard exoskeletons: Mealworms with a hard exoskeleton can be difficult for a Leopard Gecko to digest and may cause impaction, so make sure to buy your feeder insects from reputable sellers.
  • Ladybugs: Ladybugs contain a toxin called cantharidin that can cause severe irritation of the digestive system and even lead to death.
  • Foods containing sugar: Leopard Geckos have difficulty processing sugar, which can cause digestive problems and even lead to obesity and other severe health issues. A common misconception is that Leopard Geckos eat fruit, however, this is not true, and can ultimately be fatal. Instead, focus on providing a diet that is high in protein and low in fat, with a variety of insects.
  • Non-store bought insects: You should also avoid feeding your Gecko insects that have been caught in the wild, as they may have been exposed to parasites, bacteria, pesticides or other harmful substances.

Can you Overfeed your Pet Leopard Gecko?

Leopard Geckos have a tendency to overeat, which can lead to a variety of health problems including obesity, fatty liver disease, and even death. While it's important to provide your Gecko with a varied diet, it's crucial to keep track of the quantity and frequency of feedings. Overfeeding on treats or insects can easily result in an unbalanced diet and should be avoided.

Additionally, Leopard Geckos should not be fed too much at once, as this can cause digestive problems and regurgitation. As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to understand the recommended amount of food intake based on your Gecko's size and age to prevent overfeeding and ensure they have a healthy and active lifestyle.

Author's Note

Keep in mind, your adult Gecko will usually tend to eat every 2-4 days. You'll find that a group of 25 small-sized crickets should last approximately 2 weeks. Serving size is a no-brainer too, simply allocate one cricket per inch of your gecko's length for each meal.

Can you Underfeed your Pet Leopard Gecko?

Leopard Geckos have specific nutritional requirements, so underfeeding them can be just as detrimental to their health as overfeeding. When your pet Gecko is not getting sufficient nutrients, they may experience a lack of energy, become lethargic, and lose weight. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your Gecko's diet is well-balanced and meets their needs. This can be achieved by offering an appropriate number of live insects, providing them with a variety of feeder types, and including supplements and vitamins as recommended by a veterinarian. Neglecting to meet these dietary requirements could lead to serious health problems and even death.

Identifying Diet-Related Symptoms of Malnutrition

Identifying symptoms of malnutrition in Leopard Geckos is crucial to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of your pet. Malnutrition can lead to serious health issues, including weight loss, weakness, lethargy, dehydration, and metabolic bone disease. By being aware of these symptoms and monitoring your Gecko's diet, you can take the necessary steps to prevent malnutrition and keep your pet healthy.

Symptom of Malnutrition Description/Details
Weight Loss
  • Most common symptom.
  • A significant drop, such as more than 10% of usual weight, warrants vet visit.
  • Typical weight: 45-80 grams.
Weakness or Lethargy
  • Indicates insufficient nutrients.
  • Can progress to dehydration and metabolic bone disease if untreated.
  • Can affect skin and body temperature regulation.
  • Providing additional hydration and consulting a vet is necessary.
Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Results from lack of calcium or vitamin D.
  • Symptoms: weakness, fractures, deformities, tremors, difficulty moving, and lack of appetite.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the most common symptoms of malnutrition in Leopard Geckos. As a responsible owner, it's important to monitor your Leopard Gecko's body weight regularly to ensure they are maintaining a healthy body condition. You can use a kitchen scale or a reptile scale to weigh your Gecko, and it's recommended to weigh them at least once a month. It's also important to keep track of their weight over time, as gradual weight loss can be an indicator of a chronic problem.

Additionally, it's worth noting that Geckos will naturally lose weight during times of stress, such as during shedding or when being introduced to a new environment. However, sudden or significant weight loss is a cause for concern and may indicate a more serious health issue. A healthy adult Leopard Gecko should typically weigh between 45 and 80 grams, with males generally being larger than females. If you notice a significant drop in weight, such as more than 10% of their usual body weight, it may be a cause for concern and warrant a visit to the veterinarian.

Weakness or Lethargy

Leopard Geckos that are malnourished may display weakness or lethargy due to insufficient nutrients to sustain their energy levels. These symptoms are often a sign of malnutrition and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, they can progress to more serious health issues, such as dehydration and metabolic bone disease. Regular monitoring of your Gecko's diet and behavior can help detect these symptoms early on and prevent further complications.


Dehydration is another potential symptom of malnutrition, and it can be particularly dangerous for Leopard Geckos, as they rely on adequate hydration to maintain healthy skin and to regulate their body temperature. If you notice that your Gecko is not drinking enough water or if they appear to be dehydrated, it's important to provide them with additional hydration and to consult with a veterinarian if necessary.

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease is a serious condition that can result from malnutrition, particularly if your Gecko is not getting enough calcium or vitamin D. This condition can cause weakness, fractures, and deformities in the bones, and it can be particularly dangerous for young or growing Geckos.

In addition to weakness, signs of metabolic bone disease may include swollen or misshapen limbs, tremors, difficulty moving or walking, and lack of appetite. Young or growing Geckos are especially at risk for developing this condition, as their bones are still developing. It's important to seek veterinary care immediately if you notice any of these symptoms, as untreated metabolic bone disease can be life-threatening for your Leopard Gecko.

Final Thoughts

Leopard Geckos are fascinating and unique pets that require a balanced diet to stay healthy. By understanding their nutritional requirements and following the tips outlined in this article, you can provide your Leopard Gecko with a healthy diet, that will keep them happy and healthy for years to come. Remember to always do your research and consult with a professional if you're unsure about anything related to your Leopard Gecko's diet.

Maxim Suleman

My lifelong love for animals has led me to share my expertise in exotic pets. From parrots and crabs to turtles, hedgehogs, and cats, I've cherished each unique companion.

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