Selecting The Right Gecko Food
Choosing the correct gecko food will depend upon the particular species of gecko you have as a pet. There are over 2,000 different species of geckos, most of which live in tropical or subtropical parts of our planet. Some eat only insects, some prefer fruits, some eat other, smaller geckos. Most geckos are excellent climbers, with those having claws often found in forested areas in and around trees. Others have smooth pads on there feet, including several species you’ll find climbing on the glass wall of an enclosure, or on the smooth wall of a house (inside or outside).
Many species are best left in the wild and do not make particularly good pets. Other species are great as pets, and in locations like Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, geckos are often “unofficial” house pets, as they are found indoors and usually left alone since they tend to keep the interior of the house free of insects.
One of the species that is very often kept as a pet is Bibron’s Gecko, a native of southern Africa. This is a tree dwelling gecko, which primarily feasts upon insects. If you keep one of these as a pet, the best gecko food in this case would be insects which have been dusted with a calcium supplement. Like most species, the gecko does not have to be fed every day, every other day or every third day is usually good enough. A multivitamin supplement given once a week is also a good idea for this species.
The Leopard Gecko is another extremely popular pet. There are several species of leopard gecko, but all are popular as pets due to their rather unique coloring and patterns. The leopard gecko’s diet consists mainly of spiders, insects, and grubs. They like crickets, which is the primary gecko food usually given to this species. Supplementing crickets with meal worms is a good idea. Dusting the crickets or meal worms with vitamin supplements will keep your pet leopard gecko in excellent health.
A gecko species that does not subsist on a diet of insects is the Gargoyle gecko. This species is a fruit-eater, and is particularly fond of fresh apricot, plums, and bananas. Apricots are favored, being high in calcium, but it is advisable to dust whatever food is given to the Gargoyle gecko with a calcium supplement, and on occasion, perhaps monthly, with a vitamin supplement.
The Crested Gecko is another insect eating gecko, and gecko food for this species generally consists of crickets and meal worms, again dusted with calcium. This calcium supplement is important to all species of geckos when kept as pets. Some pet owners raise their own gecko food (crickets, meal worms, and grubs) and provide the gecko food with a highly nutritious diet, a practice known as gut loading. You can then either feed your pet gecko with an insect that has been dusted with a vitamin supplement, or gut load the insects. In either case, the insect still should be dusted with calcium.
Geckos are for the most part predators, and will eat almost anything they can catch. You are therefore not restricted to giving them a diet of crickets; it is just that crickets are the most abundant gecko food available. Some species of gecko should not be given a cricket that is larger than its head. Other species can eat any size cricket. Young geckos, (hatch lings) should only be given very small crickets or other types of insects. Young geckos, those under 7 months of age, should be fed twice a day. When they reach the adult stage, you can go to a twice a week feeding, and in some case, once a week.
Whatever gecko food and supplements you choose; it’s always a good idea to read up on the subject, particularly taking into account the species of gecko you plan to keep. An improper balance of supplements can be harmful, and even deadly to a gecko. Getting things right, as far as gecko nutrition is concerned, is very important. Once you know the proper amount of food, and the proper balance of supplements to give your pet, you can go on autopilot. The gecko’s dietary needs are not going to change.