Do Leopard Geckos Eat Vegetables? What You Need To Know

Published Categorized as Geckos
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People who are familiar with lizards know that many of them like to eat fruits and veggies. You may be tempted, then, to feed your new leopard gecko fruits and veggies as well.

But, can leopard geckos eat vegetables? Leopard geckos are insectivores and cannot digest fruits and veggies. Instead, you should feed them lots of insects.

What Is A Leopard Gecko?

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizards kept as pets. In the wild, they like to live on the ground. They live in desert-like regions in the Middle East. Some countries include India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Because of this, they prefer to sleep during the day, preferring to come out at night. They’re most active during dusk and dawn when the temperature is warm, but not scalding.

Leopard geckos are also sometimes referred to as panther geckos. Their scientific name is Eublepharis macularius. The reason they’re called leopard geckos is because they’re spotted like a leopard. Their bodies are most commonly a light yellow with black spots, resembling a leopard.

Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko

Read about the differences between veiled and panther geckos here.

Do Leopard Geckos Eat Vegetables?

Unlike many other kinds of pet lizards, leopard geckos cannot and will not eat vegetables. They won’t eat fruit either.

Click here to read our full guide to why leopard geckos shouldn’t eat fruit.

They’re Insectivores

Leopard geckos are insectivores and will not eat anything other than insects. They won’t even eat the lizard foods you find in stores.

Furthermore, leopard geckos are even picky about what kinds of insects they’ll eat. Most won’t eat dead insects, so you’ll need to provide them with an assortment of live critters. We’ll go over more of that later.

Digestion

You shouldn’t even try to feed your leopard gecko anything other than insects. Because they’re carnivores, they can’t digest things like fruits and vegetables.

The only times a leopard gecko might try to eat a piece of vegetable is if it’s curious or if it’s starving.

Other lizards can eat fruits and veggies because they can break down cellulose. Because leopard geckos are carnivores, they lack this ability. Eating a piece of fruit or vegetable can make your leopard gecko sick.

What Vegetables Can Leopard Geckos Eat?

Leopard geckos are strictly carnivorous. They won’t eat vegetables no matter how hard you try. You honestly shouldn’t even encourage it because it can make them quite sick. Instead, stick to their favorite insects.

What Should Leopard Geckos Eat Instead Of Vegetables?

Unlike other pet lizards, leopards are strictly insectivores. They should never be fed anything other than insects. You can try to give them dead insects, but they likely won’t eat them. Instead, stick to their favorite live insects.

Here are some of the best insects to feed your leopard gecko:

Staples

Foods that are “staples” are healthy and nutritious to feed to your leopard gecko with every meal.

Crickets

Crickets are one of the best insects that you can feed your leopard gecko. They are highly nutritious with lots of protein and low in fat. They should, however, be dusted with calcium powder.

They are easy to digest, so they are easy on your gecko’s stomach. They’re also very active critters. Even the pickiest of eaters will want to go after crickets. They love to run and hop around, stimulating your gecko’s hunting instinct.

However, if your gecko is sick, you shouldn’t feed it crickets because they’ll be too fast. They can also harm your gecko if they are laying around too much and the crickets crawl on them.

Instead, you should try feeding worms. They will give your gecko more of a chance to eat.

Because they can harm your gecko, you shouldn’t put more than 2 or 3 crickets in the enclosure at one time. Even if the gecko is healthy, too many crickets could be harmful.

Mealworms

Mealworms are another great option for your leopard gecko. Still, they’re not as good as crickets. They are less nutritious, and they can be harder to digest. Mealworms have a hard exoskeleton that can make digestion a bit more difficult.

However, they do still pack some good nutrition, and they’re easier to care for.

Crickets can be annoying because they’re fast, easily escape, and they smell. On the other hand, mealworms aren’t very active, so they’re much easier to keep.

The only recommendation is to provide your gecko with a deeper feeding dish. This will prevent the mealworms from crawling out and burrowing into the substrate.

Because they’re so easy to keep, you can even breed your own colony. This is easy to do, and it provides you with a large food source for cheap.

There is one thing we’d like to caution you on. Never feed your geckos mealworms once they have grown into beetles. The shells become hard and nearly impossible to digest. They can even cause impaction.

Dubia Roaches

These are another insect that is easy to breed and keep alive. Their nutritional value is excellent, making them a great food source. They are also slow and are unable to crawl up walls. This makes your gecko’s hunting job easier.

Silkworms

Silkworms are also very slow, so they’re easy for your lizard to catch. Better yet, they’re incredibly nutritious. They have high stores of protein and are low in fat. They are also rich in calcium and moisture, making these one of the better options for your gecko.

These worms even contain an enzyme called serrapeptase. The enzyme reduces pain and inflammation in your gecko’s body. It also helps with the absorption of calcium.

Click here to read our full guide to what leopard geckos should eat.

Snacks

“Snack” foods are usually high in unhealthy content. They should only be fed as an occasional treat.

Waxworms

Waxworms are incredibly high in fat content. This is what makes leopard geckos love them so much. They would eat them all day if they could. That’s why you should only give them as an occasional treat.

Butterworms

These worms are similar to waxworms in nutrition, but they are lower in fat and higher in protein. Still, they should only be given as occasional treats.

Insects They Shouldn’t Eat

You shouldn’t try to feed your leopard gecko any spiders or ants. Both spiders and ants have pinchers that they can use to harm your gecko.

Caterpillars are also a no-go. Many use harmful chemical defense mechanisms to protect themselves.

You should never feed wild insects either. They could be riddled with unknown diseases or pesticides that will kill your gecko. Feeding wild insects is a recipe for disastor.

Conclusion

Leopard geckos are insectivores and cannot eat fruits and vegetables. They live solely on live insects, and that can make caring for them a bit more difficult. Still, if you know their favorite insects, they’re not hard to care for.

If you’re ready to commit to caring for insects and a gecko, a leopard gecko could be a great choice for you.

Want to learn more? Find all our guides to geckos here. You can also click here to find out if leopard geckos can swim and how often they should eat here.

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Jason Williamson

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.