Leopard geckos require a varied diet of feeder insects for proper nourishment. Some owners even dust these foods with vitamin powder to increase the nutritional content.
One of the easiest types of feeder insects to source and store are black soldier fly larvae (BSFL). These larvae boast an optimal ratio between protein and fat content.
Ideally, it is best to feed gecko feeder insects that are smaller than the space between their eyes, to reduce any risk of choking or impaction. Also important is having various kinds of prey available so your reptile doesn’t become bored eating the same thing every day.
Pet shops sometimes sell gut-loaded feeder insects like crickets and Dubia roaches that have been fed nutrient-rich diets – a great way to add essential vitamins and minerals into their leo’s diet.
Your leopard gecko will benefit from having access to pure calcium powder at all times, although only add it after prey has been consumed and gut loaded. Never feed wild-caught insects as these could contain disease and pesticides/fertilizers; hatchlings/juvenile leopard geckos usually have ravenous appetites while adults may temporarily decrease in appetite as they prepare to shed. This should pass within days; seek professional advice if it persists beyond this point.
Leopard geckos depend on insects for most of their food needs; however, choosing high quality prey such as crickets, mealworms and dubia roaches to provide enough protein, calcium, fiber, phosphorus and vitamin A while being low in fat and chitin content is crucial.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) are easy-to-find feeder insects with excellent nutritional profiles for reptiles. Rich in proteins, ash, calcium and low in fat content, they make for excellent additions to regular diets or as occasional treats.
Some keepers give leopard geckos an occasional pinkie treat as an occasional supplement to ensure they receive essential vitamins. But pinkies should only account for 20% or less of their meal – too much food can lead to obesity which in turn could create other health issues.
Gut Loading Insects
Leopard geckos require a wide variety of feeder insects in order to receive all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids they require for good health. Mealworms, dubia roaches and crickets can all provide ample protein. Both pet stores and online sellers stock such feeders and provide quick solutions for gecko care.
Gut loading, or offering high-nutritional foods 24 hours before their feeding times to “load up” their feeders with essential vitamins and minerals, is another method used to provide them with all of their necessary nutrition.
As another means of supplementing feeder insects, dusting them with powdered diets like Zoo Med Reptivite with D3 may also provide necessary benefits. Simply place the feeders in a tub or bag before slowly adding powder until all insects have been coated by it.
Mealworms are one of the most beloved feeder insects for Leopard Geckos, being easily purchased and stored, affordable, low in smell and noise, easy to gut-load with vitamins that would otherwise not be present, and used as the foundation for supplemental foods such as fruits, vegetables, berries and oats.
When pregnant or laying eggs, additional Calcium may be required and feedings increased to support gestation and embryo development. For this reason, it’s crucial to dust feeder insects (and their supplement food sources) with Calcium powder at each feeding.
Dubia Roaches offer an excellent alternative to mealworms; they’re easy to buy and feed, don’t escape their cage like crickets do, are easier on your eyes than both crickets and cockroaches, contain more protein than mealworms, yet still need their vitamin dosage topped up regularly.