Do I Have to Feed My Crested Gecko Insects?

Crested geckos make low-maintenance pets that are comparatively simple to care for. The ideal option for a new crested gecko owner, or even an experienced one, is to give a crested gecko a prepared diet. Do crested geckos, however, also require live food?

A crested gecko doesn’t require live food to remain healthy. Only a prepared diet, like a meal replacement powder diet, can be fed to a crested gecko. However, feeding your crested live food, like insects, is beneficial if you do it correctly. They have some nutrients which prepared meals may miss.

Crested geckos can thrive without live food, but you can give it to them occasionally. However, it would help if you exercise caution while giving your crested gecko worms or insects to eat.

Before feeding live food to your crested gecko, it must be gut-loaded and dusted because it has fewer nutrients. You can give your small crested gecko live food as treats.

Crested gecko eating worms

Do crested geckos eat insects?

Cresties don’t need to eat live insects. Thanks to the developed pet food industry, several solutions are available to consumers who prefer to avoid bringing live insects into their homes. 

Crested geckos can obtain most of the nutrients required to live a long, healthy life by eating powdered meal substitutes.

There are some advantages to feeding live insects that one can take into account and use as persuasive evidence. One of these is that the gecko receives more animal protein than it would from a meal replacement powder.

Usually, these powdered substitutes contain Whey Protein Isolate. While it serves its purpose, it only adds to what they would receive in their natural habitat. It has been demonstrated that crested geckos that do not have access to insect food do not develop as well as those who do.

Feeding live insects stimulates that area of the brain in crested geckos, who are pretty clumsy hunters and not particularly noted for their hunting skills. In the wild, where more than 50% of their diet consists of live insects, this mimics how they would eat. 

What insects do crested geckos eat?

One of the best live foods for crested geckos is dubia roaches, which need to be their primary food source. You may also feed crickets that are suitable for them nutritionally; make sure you buy them from a reliable vendor to prevent parasite-infected crickets. 

You can also give your crested gecko super worms, Nutri-grubs, mealworms, wax worms, and silkworms to supplement your regular feeders. 

Keep an eye on the size of the insect you feed; it should not be larger than the area between the eyes for insects with high chitin content, such as superworms and mealworms, but it can be slightly larger for softer feeders, such as hornworms and wax worms. Your crested gecko risks impaction if you feed it insects that are too large.

It’s essential to consider the nutrients each insect carries and what those nutrients can do for your gecko’s long-term health when selecting the right feeder insect. Every meal can include staple bugs. However, treats should only be given once or twice a week.

Insects to avoid for crested geckos

Adding insects to your crested gecko’s diet will offer them something to forage for and keep them occupied. However, avoid insects that are not too large for your crested gecko because it will hunt and pounce on them.

Only feed insects that are big enough for your crestie. According to a good rule of thumb, the insect shouldn’t be bigger than the area between a crested gecko’s eyes. Otherwise, your crestie can eat almost any insect that isn’t poisonous

Should crested geckos be fed live insects?

Here are some of the pros of feeding live insects to your gecko:

  • Stimulates appetite: Insect-eating reptiles and amphibians are very attracted to motion, so the motion of a live insect is likely to get your reptile’s attention and encourage them to eat.
  • Encourages exercise: When live insects are offered loose in the terrarium or a separate feeding container, it encourages the reptile to hunt down and chase their prey, which is a good source of exercise and enrichment.
  • Gut loadable: Live insects can be gut-loaded, which means you have some control over the quality of nutrition your reptile is getting from their feeder insects.

What are the downsides of feeding insects to crested geckos?

Some of the problems that comes with feeding your crested geckos insects include the following:

  • Need special attention to remain alive: Unless you intend to give them to your pet immediately after bringing them home from the pet store (which is highly advised against), feeders should be gut loaded for at least 24-48 hours before offering. You might need a separate container to care for the feeders between bringing them home and feeding your reptile or amphibian.
  • Nutritional variation: The quality of the food provided and the availability of food and water significantly impact the nutrition of living insects. This can be advantageous if they are adequately nourished and cared for, but it can also be detrimental if they are not.
  • Costly: Live insects are typically more expensive than dried or canned alternatives. However, this represents a considerable portion of the cost of maintaining insect-eating reptiles.
  • Subject to shortages: Due to the limited number of insects that breeders and pet shops can sell, there may be gaps in supply between batches. This may be a hassle for keepers.

Feeder insect sellers try to keep insects from being DOA (dead on arrival), but accidents like unexpected weather extremes or postal service negligence can still cause this.

What else do crested geckos eat?

In the wild, crested geckos are omnivores, which consume plants and other animals. In addition, they consume a range of bugs and insects, overripe fruit, and pet store substitutes. 

Several resources examine food sources for crested geckos kept as pets, but it’s crucial to remember that the diets of wild crested geckos have yet to be thoroughly investigated.

Crested geckos can consume almost any bug that is much larger than them because they are lizards. A crested gecko in the wild will likely eat any bugs it comes across. They eat worms of all kinds, grasshoppers, spiders, ants, and crickets.

Here is a comprehensive list of typical meals consumed by crested geckos:

  • Grapes 
  • Strawberries
  • Nectar
  • Pollen
  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Spiders
  • Mango
  • Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • Figs
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Mealworms
  • Waxworms
  • Silkworms
  • Grubs
  • Roaches
  • Ants
  • Flies

The ideal approach to feed any insect-eating reptile is well-gut-loaded live insects. They are the most efficient way to encourage your crested gecko to engage its natural instincts and behaviors. 

However, from the point of view of convenience, canned insects come out on top. They allow caretakers to provide a wide range of nutritional insects without excessive investment or care.

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