How Often Do Leopard Geckos Eat? [Full Guide]

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When people think about buying a new pet, they always wonder what they should be feeding it. However, they don’t always think about how often the pet should be fed. This is nearly as important as what the animal is being fed, especially if it’s a baby.

If you’re considering getting a leopard gecko, you’ll want to continue reading. We’ll walk you through what to feed your gecko, how much do you feed a leopard gecko, and how often to feed a leopard gecko.

What Is A Leopard Gecko?

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizards kept as pets. They are found in warm, arid places like the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq.

They make great pets because they’re beautiful in coloration and they’re fun to watch. They are a light yellow or cream color with dark spots all over the body. Clearly, they resemble leopards.

These critters are most active at night, so if you want one as a pet, you’ll need to account for that. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to work into your own schedule. Most leopard geckos will begin waking up around dusk when you’re arriving home from work. This provides you with plenty of time to spend with your gecko.

They also live on a strictly insect-only diet. This is another thing to keep in mind when purchasing a leopard gecko. They are pretty easy to feed, but they do need live insects. Live insects can be a pain to take care of and are not the right choice for everyone.

If you’re bothered by live insects, you might want to think about getting a lizard that doesn’t need them, like the crested gecko.

What Do You Feed Leopard Geckos?

Leopard geckos are strictly insectivores. They love feasting on different insects and worms. They should never be fed any fruits or vegetables because their bodies cannot digest it.

How much you feed and how often you feed is going to depend on the age of your leopard gecko. Juveniles will require much more attention and nutrition than their adult counterparts.

To learn more about what leopard geckos eat, check out our full guide here.

leopard gecko how much to feed
Leopard gecko eating a cockroach

How Often Do Leopard Geckos Eat?

How often an adult leopard gecko needs to eat is quite different than that of baby geckos. We’ll cover feeding baby geckos later in this article, but in general, they’re going to need more care and food.

Adults, on the other hand, don’t need to be coddled as much. Adults don’t need to be fed every day. In fact, they shouldn’t be fed every day because it can lead to complications. If they eat every day, they can become sick and start regurgitating their food. They may also become obese and/or develop diabetes.

It is best to only feed adult leopard geckos once every other day. If you insist on feeding them every day, though, only give them very small meals. Only feeding them once a day gives them a proper amount of time to digest the insects.

By the time feeding time comes around again, your leopard gecko will be feeling great and ready for its next meal. But, if you feed them every day, yesterday’s meal might not be fully digested.

How Often Do You Feed A Leopard Gecko Crickets?

Crickets and mealworms are staple foods in your gecko’s diet. “Staple” foods are foods that are highly nutritious. They are okay to be fed to your gecko on a regular basis. Other foods are “snack” foods and should only be given sparingly.

Still, just because they’re staple foods doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some variation. Different insects contain different nutrients. It’s important to provide your lizard with some variety so that they receive the full spectrum of nutrition.

There are a few ways you can do this.

With each meal, leopard geckos should be receiving a total of six or seven crickets or mealworms.

Personally, I think the easiest way to make sure they’re getting all their nutrients is to provide both insects in every meal. For example, you could include three mealworms and three crickets with each meal.

Other people like to alternate. That is, one day, they feed their lizard only crickets. The next day, they feed their lizard only worms.

The choice is really up to you. The most important thing is making sure you’re lizard is receiving a variety.

How Often To Feed Leopard Gecko Worms?

As we stated above, mealworms and crickets should both be a staple in your leopard geckos diet. But where does this leave you with the rest of the worms? There are other worms such as butterworms and silkworms that your geckos like to eat too.

These worms are okay to feed once in awhile, but they aren’t very healthy. They are high in fat content and low in nutritive content. However, your gecko will also love them. They’re similar to potato chips for humans. They’re addictive.

Besides your gecko becoming overweight and developing diabetes, there are other complications that go along with eating too many of these fatty worms. These worms are so addictive that your gecko might not want to eat anything else. They may begin refusing the crickets and mealworms you provide to them.

How Often Should I Feed A Leopard Gecko Fruits and Vegetables?

The answer to how often should a leopard gecko eat fruit and vegetables is easy.

This is because leopard geckos should never be fed vegetables or fruits. Feeding them plant matter can make them very sick and will cause health complications. They are insectivores and are not designed to eat plant matter. Their bodies simply cannot digest it.

Fruits and veggies should not even be given to your gecko as a snack. Likely, the gecko wouldn’t accept them anyway, but some might. Rather than providing your gecko with a nice snack as you intended, they’ll be receiving a night of belly aches.

If you want to learn more about your leopard gecko’s digestive system and why they can’t eat plants, check out this article.

How Often Do Baby Leopard Geckos Eat?

Baby and juvenile geckos will need to be fed much more often than when they’re adults. Babies are still growing, so they’re in need of a lot more nutrition and strength than they will need when they’re adults.

When they are hatchlings, leopard geckos are going to need to be fed every single day. Crickets and mealworms will make up the majority of their diet, and you should know how much of those you should feed.

Generally, 4-7 crickets and/or mealworms a day should be sufficient to give your gecko the nutrition it needs. Before feeding these insects to your baby gecko, you should first gutload them and dust them in calcium.

Gutloading

It’s important for every gecko to have gutloaded insects. “Gutloading” is the process of preparing your insects in advance for your reptile eating them. Most people get nutritious food made specifically for their insects. These foods provide the insects with the nutrients they need to keep your lizard healthy once your gecko eats these insects.

Besides gutloading, you’ll also want to dust your insects with calcium. Calcium is incredibly important to leopard geckos throughout their lifetime, but particularly when they are young. Without enough calcium, their bones won’t grow properly and they could develop Metabolic Bone Disease.

How To Feed Babies

It’s not enough to just feed your baby geckos more often, however. Care needs to be taken on how you feed them.

Once a week, skip their usual diet of crickets and mealworms. Let them have a small treat of the fattier worms. This will help them be more suggestable to other foods, and it will help clear their digestive system.

Also, when you feed your baby gecko, it should be done at the same time every day. Get them into a routine. Having a routine meal time will help them mimic their wild hunting habits.

Once your gecko reaches the age of 6 months, you should begin preparing them for their adult feeding schedule. Start off by fasting them for one day out of the week.

Around 12 months of age, your gecko will be nearly grown. You can begin to cut down their feedings and only feed them once every other day.

How Often Should You Feed Leopard Geckos During Brumation?

It’s important that you don’t feed your leopard gecko while it’s going through brumation. A leopard gecko in brumation can go up to 3 months without food.

In fact, the gecko should fast before brumation. During brumation, a gecko cannot properly digest their food. If there are still insects in their belly, it could rot inside of them.

Most gecko owners induce brumation by altering the tank environment. They’ll do this when the seasons begin to change to mimic the reptile’s natural state. Therefore, they can control the fasting process.

Most owners will fast their gecko for 7-14 days before they begin altering temperatures. This allows your gecko plenty of time to fully digest their food.

How Much Does A Leopard Gecko Eat?

Now you know how many times do you feed a leopard gecko. But how much should a leopard gecko eat?

You are going to want to feed 6-7 insects to your leopard gecko with each meal. This goes for both juveniles and adults. The difference between juveniles and adults is how large the insects are and how often they’re fed.

How Many Mealworms To Feed A Leopard Gecko?

As we mentioned above, leopard geckos should get about 6-7 mealworms and/or crickets with each meal.

How Much Should A Juvenile or Baby Leopard Gecko Eat?

Similarly, juvenile and baby leopard geckos should be getting 6-7 mealworms and/or crickets with each meal. The difference here is that the insects should be much smaller.

How To Feed Leopard Geckos

If you’re okay dealing with live insects, leopard geckos are pretty simple to feed. You can attempt feeding dead insects, but your gecko won’t be likely to take them. The lifeless insects do not entice your gecko or induce the hunting response.

Live crickets can usually just be placed straight in the cage. They are very active insects and will automatically begin hopping around the cage. This will trigger your gecko’s hunting instinct so that they’ll want to go after the cricket.

Worms can be a bit trickier. Some geckos might not want to go after them because they don’t move around much. If you notice your gecko is leaving their worms in the dish, try to help them out. Grab a pair of feeding tongs and wiggle the worm in front of your gecko. That should help encourage them to eat the worms.

What Time Should I Feed My Leopard Gecko?

knowing when to feed leopard geckos is just as important as knowing what to feed them.

Leopard geckos are crepuscular animals. This is similar to being nocturnal, where the lizard is up during the night and asleep during the day. The difference between crepuscular and nocturnal animals is when they’re most active.

Although leopard geckos will stay awake most of the night, they’ll be most active during dawn and dusk.

This is their natural behavior, and they’ll mimic it in the wild.

It is best to feed your leopard gecko right around dusk when your gecko will be waking up. Don’t try to feed it during the day because your gecko will be sleeping. If the insects are alive, they could bother and harass your gecko. If the insects are dead, they’ll begin to go bad underneath the heat lamp.

Feeding them at dusk when they first wake up is more preferable to feeding them at dawn. Feeding them at dusk provides them with the whole night to hunt and feast. Feeding them at dawn may force them to stay awake longer than they should.

So the answer to when do leopard geckos eat is dusk.

How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live Without Food?

How long a leopard gecko can go without food depends on its age. Here is a general guideline:

  • Baby (0-2 months): no longer than 2 days
  • Juvenile (2-6 months): no longer than 2-7 days
  • Sub-adult (6-12 months): no longer than 7-14 days
  • Adult (12+ months): 14 days – 1 month

This excludes periods of brumation.

We should never intentionally withhold food. However, when a gecko becomes sick, they might not want to eat. If this is the case, it’s important for you to know who long they can go without nourishment.

Why Won’t My Leopard Gecko Eat?

There are a few reasons why your gecko might not be eating. The most likely reasons are that it’s stressed or sick. Other reasons could include shedding and breeding.

The reasons why leopard geckos won’t eat are similar to the reasons crested geckos won’t eat. The ways you can entice them to eat are also similar to that of crested geckos.

For that reason, check out this article. It goes in depth about why your lizard might not be eating. It will also tell you how to get a leopard gecko to eat.

Conclusion

Crested geckos are pretty easy to feed whether they’re adults or babies. You simply need to know what they’re different needs are. Juvenile geckos will need a lot more food and care than the adults will.

Hopefully this article has helped you know how to feed your new crested gecko. Happy feeding!

Want to learn more? Click here to learn why leopard geckos can’t eat vegetables, our full guide to what they can eat here and here for how often crested geckos should eat. You can also find all our gecko guides 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.