What do you feed a baby leopard gecko

Leopard Geckos: Care and Feeding

Leopard geckos are small relatively easy to care for reptiles. They can reach an adult size of 5-10 inches, and can live 10-15 years with good health care, a clean environment, and proper feeding.

What type of housing is needed for geckos?

A single leopard gecko can be housed in a 10-gallon aquarium or container. The cage should be a minimum of 6 inches high. Screen tops are essential to prevent your lizard from escaping the enclosure.

A hide box or hut should be provided and wet sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, or vermiculite should be provided to help with moisture control and shedding. The cage floor can be covered with reptile carpet, bark, paper towels or newspaper. Coarse sand, corncob bedding and crushed walnut shells must be avoided as these bedding materials can be swallowed and create an intestinal blockage.

"Coarse sand, corncob bedding and crushed walnut shells must be avoided..."

Does my gecko need extra heat or special lighting?

Leopard geckos do their best when the environmental cage temperature is in the mid-80s (Fahrenheit; ~30°C). Geckos can take nighttime temperatures as low as 70°F (21°C). Heat tapes, under-tank heaters, or low-level basking lights are great sources for heating the cage. In-tank hot rocks are not recommended.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) is not required, but it is recommended for geckos. Dome light covers should never be placed on plastic surfaces when the light is on, as they can melt plastic. Also, make sure your gecko cannot get closer than 6 inches from a heat light as thermal burns can occur. UVB lights should be 10-12 inches away from your gecko for best absorption of the ultraviolet lighting.

What should I feed my gecko?

Leopard geckos feed primarily on live, moving insect prey. An appropriate diet may consist of commercially-raised crickets with smaller numbers of silkworms, roaches, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, and other live insects. Juveniles should be fed every 1-2 days and adults 2-3 times per week.

Insects should be lightly dusted with a phosphorus-free calcium powder before feeding. Additionally, prey items should be fed a high-quality diet (“gut-loaded”) for at least 24 hours prior to being fed to your gecko. Commercial cricket diets are available, but fresh greens (e.g., turnip greens, collard greens, parsley, carrot tops/slices, broccoli, cauliflower) can also be fed to crickets and mealworms to improve their nutritional value when fed to your gecko.

Clean, fresh water should be provided in a shallow container and changed daily. A shallow dish containing calcium powder should also be be provided, so geckos always have access to calcium, an essential mineral for proper nutrition.

Can I house multiple geckos together?

Male geckos can be very territorial, so care must be taken when tow males are in one cage. The more geckos there are, the larger the cage must be.

10 Baby Leopard Gecko Care & Feeding Tips for Beginners

Leopard Geckos are one of the most popular pet lizards in captivity, and rightfully so.

They have delightful personalities, simplistic husbandry requirements, and irresistibly cute faces! What’s not to love?

Whether you’re the proud new owner of your own Baby Leopard Gecko or you’re trying to learn as much as you can before you pick up or receive your new pet, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re going to cover the ten most important tips for taking care of and feeding your new Baby Leopard Gecko.

Once you nail down these guidelines, there’s not much more to it – just enjoy and bond with your Baby Leopard Gecko!

In This Article

1. Know What to Expect From Your Baby Leopard Gecko

Before we get into any specific care and feeding tips, it’s best to gain a solid understanding of normal and healthy Baby Leopard Gecko behavior!

For example, did you know that new Baby Leopard Geckos probably WON’T eat for the first week while they’re becoming acclimated to their new surroundings?

Or how about the fact that they eat their skin?! That’s right – if you see your Baby Leopard Gecko biting at itself or gulping down some unknown white, papery substance – it’s likely old skin!

Baby Leopard Geckos shed once or twice every week, and you likely won’t find the evidence.

It’s also expected that you may not see your Leopard Gecko move or explore much unless you’re a night owl.

Leopard Geckos are naturally active after the lights go out, and they tend to hide and sleep for most of the day.

Another reality that you should come to terms with is that Baby Leopard Geckos need live insects to grow and thrive.

You can buy the bugs at the pet store, online, or breed them yourself, but the fact of the matter is that you’ll have to be comfortable with having real crickets, grubs, and even roaches in your home on any given day.

Finally, while you may never encounter this freaky phenomenon, it’s essential to be aware of the fact that startled Leopard Geckos will “drop” their tail!

This is a defense mechanism used to distract predators while they make their escape. Don’t worry; most Leopard Geckos recover just fine and even re-grow their tail.

Now that we’ve covered all of the nitty-gritty potential drawbacks of Baby Leopard Gecko ownership, let’s move on to the more positive points:

  • They’re so cute! Especially as babies.
  • There are several different morphs you can choose from (Albino leopard gecko is one of the most popular ones)
  • Leopard Geckos that are handled often seem to enjoy interacting with humans.
  • They stay reasonably small and don’t require a huge enclosure.
  • Leopard Geckos don’t require expensive, elaborate set-ups or equipment.
  • These friendly little guys rarely bite, and even when they do, it doesn’t hurt.
  • Leopard Geckos usually go to the bathroom in one corner of their enclosure, making clean-up and maintenance a breeze.

2. Avoid Stressing Out Your Baby Leopard Gecko

As we mentioned above, when you bring your Baby Leopard Gecko home, it likely won’t eat for the first week or so.

Your Baby Leopard Gecko will be stressed out from the trip and new sights, sounds, and scents.

The best thing to do during this acclimation period is to leave him or her alone. There’s plenty of time for bonding after your baby has settled in!

We suggest you wait to start handling your Baby Leopard Gecko for at least seven days, or until you know it’s eating and pooping fine – whichever criteria takes the longest.

During this time, only open the enclosure to offer fresh water and food (only if it seems to go missing). Try to keep the room somewhat dark and as quiet as possible during this time.

We stress that you should NOT keep adding more bugs every day if they don’t seem to be disappearing. An excessive amount of insect activity in the habitat could stress your baby even more!

When you do start handling your Baby Leopard Gecko, take things slowly. Never try to grab or “catch” your Baby Leopard Gecko if it’s running from you – this could cause it to drop its tail.

While that isn’t a life-threatening situation, you will need to treat the tail base as an open wound, and your Baby Leopard Gecko will need to dedicate its biological resources to regenerating the tail instead of growing.

3. Set Up an Appropriate Enclosure for Your Baby Leopard Gecko

Your Baby Leopard Gecko can start in a small 10-gallon aquarium or a plastic bin with at least 1. 25 square feet of floor space.

Inside the enclosure, you should provide:

  • At least three hides: one on the warm side, one on the cool side, and one humid hide.
  • A shallow water dish that your Baby Leopard Gecko can’t drown in
  • Rocks, logs, plants, and aquarium or terrarium decor, as desired.

Once your Baby Leopard Gecko reaches adulthood, it will need an upgrade to an enclosure with at least 2.5 square feet of floor space, like a 20-gallon long aquarium.

You should use a securely-locking lid on your Baby Leopard Gecko’s enclosure.

While they’re terrestrial and can’t climb glass, many crafty young geckos have devised ways to climb corners and terrarium decorations to reach the open top and escape.

Baby Leopard Geckos benefit from UVB lighting, but it’s not required.

If you don’t use a UV bulb over your Leo’s habitat, be sure to supplement their diet with calcium powder that includes Vitamin D3.

If you use lighting, be sure to hook up a timer set for 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

Finally, your Baby Leopard Gecko is going to need supplemental heat to digest its food and stay healthy.

4. Set Up a Temperature Gradient in Your Baby Leopard Gecko’s Enclosure

All captive reptiles benefit from a temperature gradient in their enclosure.

Creating a temperature gradient involves heating one side of the enclosure to a maximum ideal temperature; the hottest area on this side of the enclosure is known as the “basking spot.”

The temperature will gradually fall to a minimum ideal temperature on the other side of the enclosure, known as the “cool side.”

The middle of the enclosure should fall somewhere between the maximum and minimum ideal temperatures.

This temperature gradient allows your Leopard Gecko to control its own body temperature by using its environment, which is what ectothermic animals evolved to do.

Baby Leopard Gecko Temperature Summary
Basking Spot Temperature: 90-95°F
Warm Side Ambient Temperature: 80-90°F
Cool Side Ambient Temperature: 70-80°F
Optional Nighttime Temperature Drop: 60-74°F

You can provide heat using any of the following depending on what works best for your set-up:

  • Halogen light bulb
  • Ceramic heat emitter
  • Carbon filament heat projector
  • Deep heat projector
  • Heating cable
  • Heating pad
  • Reptile heat tape

Always use a thermostat when operating any heating element to mitigate risks like a house fire or overheating and killing your reptile.

At night, you can likely turn off all heating elements. Research indicates that ectothermic animals benefit from a drop in temperatures at night.

5. Use Safe Substrate in Your Baby Leopard Gecko’s Enclosure

Many new Leopard Gecko owners may be tempted to use “reptile sand” that’s often explicitly marketed for Leopard Geckos.

The scary truth is that most commercially available “reptile sand” is very dangerous for your Baby Leopard Gecko.

Numerous Baby Leopard Geckos have passed away after ingesting too much of their loose substrate while hunting.

Unfortunately, the sand can cause an intestinal blockage, which is a death sentence. Sometimes surgery has been a successful treatment option, but even that comes with its risks.

Most Leopard Gecko veterans recommend these types of substrates to new Baby Leopard Gecko parents:

  • Paper towels, non-glossy newspaper, or butcher block paper
  • Tile
  • Reptile sand mat
  • Shelf liner

When your Baby Leopard Gecko grows up, you may want to consider one of the safe particulate substrates available because they are visually appealing and allow your gecko to dig and forage.

Babies are fragile and clumsy and are best kept on a solid substrate until they grow up.

6. Create a Humid Hide for Your Baby Leopard Gecko

Even though Leopard Geckos are desert-dwelling critters, they need access to a humid hide in captivity to help with shedding.

In the wild, Leopard Geckos are able to create burrow systems that give them access to pockets of high humidity in the ground.

These high-humidity retreats are necessary for healthy hydration levels and shedding processes in Leopard Geckos.

You can replicate this in captivity by filling a hide with damp sphagnum moss or paper towels. Check the media daily for moisture, and add more water as necessary.

Replace the paper or moss if it’s been soiled on or shows any sign of mold growth. Otherwise, replace the medium and clean the hide at least once a month.

Situate the humid hide closer to the warm side of the habitat.

As far as the actual hide, you can use anything from a faux rock cave from the pet store to a Tupperware container with an entry hole cut out.

It needs to be 2 to 3 times the size of your Baby Leopard Gecko’s body. Enclosed hides will hold onto humidity better than bottomless hides.

8. Feed Your Baby Leopard Gecko the Proper Insect Variety

It may seem easier to just stick with one type of insect for your Baby Leopard Gecko’s entire life, but imagine how you would feel if you had to eat the same thing every day!

Feeding your Baby Leopard Gecko a variety of prey items has many benefits, including:

  • Mental enrichment from new appearance, scent, movement pattern, taste, and texture.
  • Broader coverage of micronutrients. What vitamin one bug may be lacking in, another type may be full of.
  • Avoidance of a “picky eater.” What are you going to do if your Leopard Gecko only eats crickets, but there is a cricket shortage?!

Aim to feed a lot of insects that are considered “high-calcium,” such as:

  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Earthworms
  • Isopods
  • Roaches
  • Hornworms
  • Silkworms

These insects are also suitable as main food items, as long as you gut-load them and coat them with supplemental calcium:

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Farm-raised grasshoppers

Here are some more commonly-available insects that may be fed as a treat or to help a sick Baby Leopard Gecko gain weight.

  • Giant mealworms
  • Superworms
  • Butterworms
  • Waxworms

All of the above are high in fat, so they shouldn’t be offered regularly:

7. Feed Your Baby Leopard Gecko the Proper Insect Size

Insects that are too small may not trigger your Baby Leopard Gecko’s hunting instincts whatsoever or may cause your gecko to burn more calories “hunting” than it would gain back by eating the prey.

Insects that are too large can cause swallowing and digestion issues, potentially leading to throat injuries, intestinal impaction, and other problems.

They also may intimidate your Baby Leopard Gecko, and uneaten insects (especially large ones) pose a risk of chewing on your fragile gecko!

The ideal feeder insect size is about as long as your Baby Leopard Gecko’s head or shorter than the distance between its eyes.

Generally speaking, hatchlings will eat ⅜” insects, juveniles will eat ¼” insects, and adult Leopard Geckos will eat ½-¾” insects.

9. Don’t Feed Your Baby Leopard Gecko Too Much OR Too Little

Baby Leopard Geckos should eat every day unless they are stressed or otherwise sick.

The general rule of thumb is to feed one appropriately-sized insect per every inch of your Leopard Gecko’s body, or as many insects as they will eat in 15 minutes.

Baby Leopard Geckos usually don’t become overweight, but if you notice that its tail is getting thicker than its neck, you should cut back on the number of insects you’re offering or switch to an insect with lower fat content.

10. Use Supplements With Your Baby Leopard Gecko’s Food

You should dust your Baby Leopard Gecko’s food with supplement powders and gut-load the feeder insects, if possible

You can use commercial high-calcium insect diets or fresh high-calcium vegetables to gut-load:

  • Roaches
  • Crickets
  • Isopods
  • Superworms

Most other feeder insects are difficult or impossible to gut-load, so they’ll need a healthy dusting with reptile-safe calcium powder

If you’ve equipped your Baby Leopard Gecko’s habitat with a UVB lighting system, be sure to buy calcium powder without added Vitamin D3.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for replacing the UVB light bulb. They continue to emit light long after the UV-emitting component “dies.”

If your Leopard Gecko doesn’t have access to UV light, buy reptile calcium powder with added Vitamin D3, but less than 25,000 IU/kg.

The amount can be found on the package’s label; it varies drastically from one brand to another.

You should dust all non-gut-loaded feeder insects with calcium powder and add calcium powder to gut-loaded insects every 2nd or 3rd day.

Baby Leopard Geckos also need a reptile multivitamin.

Dust their prey with the multivitamin powder once per week.

Your efforts to provide a balanced diet and proper care will substantially increase your leopard gecko’s lifespan and its quality of life.

Just pick up a new baby leopard gecko but have no idea how to name him/her? Click to see our top 70+ best leopard gecko names here.  

How to deal with picky eaters - feeding geckos


"What should I do with picky eaters?" You have a leopard gecko who is a picky eater and you are looking for advice on how to get a leopard gecko to eat. In this article, we will look at several ways to help your gecko start eating. Over the years, we have found several tricks that can help you get started feeding your gecko quickly. These are by no means guaranteed methods, as your results may vary. But it doesn't hurt to try. nine0003

In this article, we assume that your gecko is healthy and your conditions are good. We also assume that your gecko is not going through breeding season or sexual maturity.

Eviscerating mealworms helps get young geckos to eat. You want them to eat because some babies will die or develop metabolic bone disease (MBD) if they don't start eating. Here's a method we've found that really helps kickstart a baby's feeding instinct. nine0003

You take a mealworm and cut it open just enough to show some of its insides. Then you take a feeding tong and wiggle it in front of a gutted mealworm baby. At first, the little gecko may be afraid. But as soon as he licks it, he gets a taste of the guts, and that's usually enough to trigger the gecko's feeding instinct.

We have seen baby geckos ignoring a bowl full of mealworms for several days. But once they've tasted the guts of a gutted mealworm, fed with tongs at least once, they'll start eating on their own. It is very important for hatched geckos/juveniles to eat well on a regular basis because they need to be healthy and grow well. nine0003

Crickets evoke the hunting instinct

For some picky eaters, crickets are the best choice. When the crickets run it really kicks off the hunting instinct of the leopard gecko. Personally, we don't like dealing with crickets because of the noise, the smell and their short lifespan. But they do work for some geckos that don't eat mealworms and super worms.

Zofobas as a last resort

When you've exhausted all your strength and the leopard gecko is still not eating, it might be time to try zofobus. Zofobus for eublefars is like candy. They are very high in fat, so you should never give them as a staple food. You should only buy a small amount to see if you can get the gecko to eat.

Vitamins and calcium with D3.

When it comes to feeding geckos, variety is key. This is very important, no matter which insects you choose to feed, you must supplement with vitamins and calcium with D3. nine0003

Other similar entries:

What to feed gecko - feeding the gecko at home, keeping and caring for lizards

Geckos love tasty food. They quickly get used to treats and may refuse healthy and healthy food. To prevent this from happening, you need to include a variety of dishes on the menu and adhere to the feeding regimen. We tell you how to do it.

Feeding objects

Gecko food objects are divided into basic and additional. The main ones should be in the lizard's diet from birth. Additional food items include treats that can be added to the diet after the pet is six months old. nine0003

Geckos feed on insects and do not refuse newborn naked mice. It is advisable to give your pet live food so that the instinct of the hunter does not disappear. If you choose this option, then remember that you also need to take care of keeping insects at home. They must be full and active.

Another way is to feed frozen food. In this case, it is enough to store food in the freezer, and defrost it immediately before feeding. If the food has lain at room temperature for about 2 hours, it will have to be thrown away. You can not freeze insects again. nine0003


At home, the gecko should eat the same way as in the wild.


The main menu should include:

  • crickets;
  • cockroaches;
  • locust;
  • grasshoppers;
  • earthworms;
  • butterflies, moths, moths.

You don't have to choose just one. A mono-diet can lead to beriberi and metabolic disorders. If it is not possible to diversify the diet, use ready-made feed additives. They contain the components necessary for proper development. nine0003

Where can I get food?

Food and vitamins for reptiles can be ordered in the online store. To grow food yourself, get a separate terrarium for it. Do not feed hungry insects to your lizard, as they bite and can feed on your pet's feces, which will negatively affect his health.

We do not recommend getting food for the gecko on the street. Together with wild insects, chemicals, helminth eggs, poisons of larvae, etc., can enter the body of reptiles. nine0003

Which food should I choose?

Crickets and cockroaches are the main diet of the lizard. Their share is about 70%. The remaining 30% are treats. For example, spotted leopard geckos love tobacco hawk caterpillars, mealworms, silkworm larvae, etc. Periodically change treats to create conditions close to the wild.

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Power features

Feeding time depends on the type of lizard. Some are active at night, others during the day. For example, geckos hunt at dusk, at night and at dawn, so they prefer to eat early in the morning or late in the evening. By the same principle, feed currents, striped, viper geckos, etc. nine0003


Geckos have a good appetite. In their natural habitat, they eat any prey that they manage to catch. Do not overfeed - reptiles have slow digestion. It is important that before the next feeding they have time to digest the previous portion. Young lizards need to be fed more often than adults.

There are two approaches to feeding:

  • 1 time in 3-4 days for 5-7 large insects. So the reptile will definitely not overeat, but will remain a little hungry. nine0061
  • 1 time in 2-3 days, but until full, until the pet refuses to eat.

Babies under 2 months old need daily meals.

How to understand that the gecko is full and happy? Rate his behavior. The pet must be nimble during the period of activity. After overeating, lizards become passive, they have problems with the liver, reproductive system. The state of the pet is easy to determine by the tail. In starving geckos, it is thin, in overeating geckos it is large and interferes with walking. With proper nutrition, the tail looks natural in relation to the body, as in the photo below. nine0003

Portion sizes

Portions depend on the age and size of the geckos. For a miniature adult animal, 2-3 large crickets are enough. A large lizard needs to eat 10-15 of the same insects. Newborn animals are fed from the 4th day of life 1-2 times a day with small crickets. After 12 months, the cubs switch to a common diet.

Choose the right food. Do not give the animal an insect that is too large for it, which is difficult to digest. We recommend that you follow a simple rule: the length of the insect should not be more than the distance between the eyes of the gecko. nine0003


Lizards feel more alert if they can hunt. To create such conditions for them, purchase a terrarium with a tight-fitting lid. Then the crickets, cockroaches and moths will stay inside. But the gecko can live peacefully without hunting. Simply feed it defrosted insects with tweezers. The animal will be interested in such food.

What can not be fed to individuals?

Geckos should not be fed anything that they do not eat in nature. Vegetables, fruits, yoghurts, berries and similar foods are not suitable. nine0003

Reptiles are not given dead insects. The latter are densely fed and frozen alive. A hungry cricket or cockroach is useless for a lizard. For the same reason, moulting crickets should not be given to an animal - they are always empty. They are easily recognizable by their white color.

Insects that glow in the dark are not suitable for food. These are fireflies and lightning beetles. A chemical that is toxic to geckos is responsible for the glow.

What must be in the diet? nine0044

Mineral and vitamin supplements should not be excluded from the menu. The first contains calcium. The gecko is happy to use it in the quantities needed for growth and healthy molting. Pour the powder into a small bowl and place on the floor of the terrarium.

Vitamin supplements must be dosed. They are dry and liquid. Dry roll a few crickets 1-2 times a week. For pregnant females, slightly increase the portion. Liquid vitamin complexes can be applied to the eyes or the tip of the pet's nose. It is convenient to do this with a soft brush. The animal licks the drops. nine0003

The gecko needs clean and fresh water. Place a small bowl at the bottom of the terrarium. Rinse and refill daily. Some individuals like to swim, especially in the heat. Many reptiles stomp in the bowl and then walk around on the mineral feed. Water can be sprayed on the walls of the terrarium. Your pet might enjoy licking the drops off the glass.

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Important to know

Proper nutrition of a gecko depends not only on food, regime and conditions.

Learn more