What size crickets to feed baby leopard gecko

Leopard Gecko food and diet advice

While Leopard Gecko's have big appetites and will eat pretty much any insect that wriggles in front of them, over-feeding them, or giving them the wrong type of food, can have very serious health consequences.

Keep reading for advice on how to provide the best diet for your Leopard Gecko.

  • What do Leopard Geckos eat?
  • What size food should I feed my Leopard Gecko?
  • How often do Leopard Geckos eat?
  • How much do Leopard Geckos eat?
  • Can Leopard Geckos eat fruit and vegetables?
  • What food is toxic to Leopard Geckos?
  • My Leopard Gecko is not eating
  • Gut loading insects
  • Dusting Leopard Gecko food with vitamins and minerals

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Leopard Gecko food - what do Leopard Geckos eat?

The best insects to feed your Leopard Gecko are crickets and mealworms. However, you can also feed him waxworms, butterworms, silkworms, tomato hornworms, beetles, sow bugs and cockroaches.

Waxworms and superworms should be fed as a treat as they're high in fat. Too many may lead to obesity in your gecko, so providing these around once a week should be enough.

Butterworms should also be kept as a treat, as they are fatty, contain bad calcium and some geckos have been known to get addicted to them and refuse all other food.

You can buy live food for your Leopard Gecko from Northampton Reptile Centre.

Read our article about setting up your Leopard Gecko's vivarium

All food should be live, don't ever feed dead or dried insects, and you shouldn't feed him any fruit or veg.

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What size food should I feed my Leopard Gecko?

  • Baby Geckos: You should feed your baby gecko crickets that are around 3/8 inches in size.
  • Juvenile Geckos: You should feed your juvenile gecko crickets that are around 1/4 inch in size.
  • Adult geckos: You should feed your adult gecko small adult to adult size crickets.

As a rule, you shouldn't feed your gecko insects bigger than the space between his eyes.

You can buy crickets from Northampton Reptile Centre.

How often do Leopard Geckos eat?

  • Leopard Geckos younger than one year should be fed every day.
  • Healthy adult geckos should be fed every other day.
  • Sickly geckos should be fed once a day until they regain their strength.
  • Food should be given late in the day or early in the evening, as that is the time Leopard Geckos are likely to start hunting in the wild.
  • If your gecko is a problem eater, feed it normally, but leave a dish with worms in its tank in case it wants to eat later.

Baby geckos should eat everyday, adult geckos every other day.

How much do Leopard Geckos eat?

Whether he's a baby, juvenile or adult Leopard Gecko, he should be fed two insects for every inch of body length.

Don't forget that adult geckos should only be fed every other day.

Can Leopard Geckos eat fruit and vegetables?

Leopard Geckos are insectivores and cannot eat fruit or vegetables. A Leopard Gecko's body can only digest meat, such as insects. 

The reason they can't eat fruit or vegetables is because their bodies aren't designed to manage or digest fruit and vegetables.

They don't possess a functioning Cecum, which is the part of the body that would digest Cellulose, the substance found in fruit and vegetables.

In addition, they have a shorter digestive tract, that is alkaline, where as a herbivore has a much longer and acidic digestive tract.

They also have a skull and jaw that has evolved to eat meat, being smaller and less robust than a herbivores.

Some research has revealed that Leopard Gecko's can eat fruit and vegetables, however, as they cannot digest it, it's unlikely that it'll do them any good.  

If your Leopard Gecko does eat fruit and vegetables, it's likely that they're doing it because the food is 'there' and not because it's a natural thing for them to do.

We would recommend sticking to a diet of insects, a food they can naturally digest. 

You can buy insects and worms, from the Northampton Reptile Centre, or via other reptile outlets.

Source: Leopard Gecko Talk, via YouTube. 

Your Leopard Gecko's tummy should mostly be flat, unless he's just eaten

Leopard Geckos and obesity

It's your responsibility to avoid over feeding your Gecko, to help prevent obesity.  

In the Leopard Geckos natural habitat (the dry regions of South-eastern Asia), the availability of food varies drastically according to conditions.

For this reason, Leopard Geckos have developed a habit of effectively processing and storing food, which is helpful in the desert, but may cause over-eating and obesity in captivity.

As they carry their fat in their tales, it is not always obvious they are gaining too much weight, but this can still have health consequences.

As a rule, a gecko's tail must always be wider than its body and its stomach should be mostly flat (except for right after feeding).

Over feeding your Leopard Gecko can cause it to regurgitate its food and may cause lethargy. If you notice any of these issues with your Leopard Gecko, you should cut back on the amount of food you feed it and make sure not to feed it fatty insects (like Waxworms and Butterworms).

What food is toxic to Leopard Geckos?

  • Bugs that light up are toxic to Leopard Geckos: The most harmful insects are bugs that light up (like Lightning Bugs and Fireflies).

    These bugs contain chemicals which are extremely toxic to geckos and should never be used as a food source.

  • Wild caught insects can be toxic to Leopard Geckos: Opinions are split on whether you should feed your geckos insects you’ve caught yourself.

    Some websites say that these can be a good (and cost effective) source of nutrition, while others like Thebeardeddragon. org, say you should never feed wild caught insects to your gecko, as these may contain parasites or have traces of pesticide that can be toxic to your Leopard Gecko.

If you do choose to feed your gecko insects you’ve caught yourself, make sure you have an in-depth knowledge on the kind of insects which are toxic to geckos and be aware of pesticide contamination (so, preferably stick to your own garden).

Keep these as a treat to stop your gecko becoming addicted to them and refusing to eat shop-bought food.

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Leopard Geckos should drink clean, fresh water

What should a Leopard Gecko drink?

Your Leopard Gecko must drink clean, fresh water, that should be available in your gecko's tank at all times.  

Make sure the dish is shallow, so that your gecko can drink from it easily, and there is no chance of it drowning if it managed to climb into it.

As the substrate in the cage should be kept dry, the dish should be stable to avoid spillage.

My Leopard Gecko is not eating

  • Your Leopard Gecko may not be eating because its tank is too cold: The first thing to check here is the temperature in your gecko’s tank. Leopard Geckos are reptiles, and as such are dependent on external ways to help regulate their body’s temperature.

    Your Leopard Gecko needs heat to digest its food and so, if its tank is too cold, it will go off its food. If the problem persists, the cold may also affect your gecko’s immune system.

  • Your Leopard Gecko may not be eating because its stressed: Another potential reason for your Leopard Gecko refusing to eat is stress.

    Changes in its environment may lead to this, which is why geckos sometimes take time to start eating when you first bring them home.

    Setting your gecko's tank with plenty of hides for it to retreat to will help alleviate this issue.

  • Your Leopard Gecko may not be eating because it's dehydrated: Another important thing to note is that your Leopard Gecko has enough water in its tank, as dehydration may also cause it to stop eating.

If you’ve taken all the steps mentioned above and your Leopard Gecko is still refusing to eat, you should seek the advice of a vet, as it may be indicative of a serious health issue.

Check out our article on the loss of appetite in reptiles for more information on why your gecko might not be eating.

Gut loading insects for your Leopard Gecko

The best way to insure your Leopard Gecko gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs is by gut loading the insects you feed him.

Gut loading means feeding the insects nutritious food before you give them to your Leopard Gecko to eat. It is recommended to gut load the insects 12 hours before feeding them to your gecko.

  • Crickets can eat a variety of fruit and vegetables in order to provide your Leopard Gecko with extra nutritional value (but avoid acidic fruit and veg, as well as spinach and broccoli).

    You can buy cricket feed and gel balls that act as a water source from the Northampton Reptile Centre. 

    Make sure to change the crickets’ food regularly, to avoid the build-up of mould.

  • Mealworms like to eat carrots. These should be given to them 24 hours before you feed them to your gecko. Cricket gut loading food can be placed with the carrots to give the mealworms extra nutrition.

    If you leave mealworms in your gecko’s tank for it to eat whenever it wants, you might consider leaving some food for the mealworms as well, so they are gut loaded for whenever your Leopard Gecko chooses to eat them.

Dusting Leopard Gecko food with vitamins and minerals

You can ensure your Leopard Gecko receives most of the vitamins and minerals he needs by dusting the insects before you feed them to your gecko.

Calcium is particularly important for hatchling and juvenile geckos and for females during breeding season, if they are to produce eggs.

You can dust your insects putting them in a bag containing the powder, ensuring their bodies are covered.

You should feed the insects to your gecko straight away to avoid the powder being licked or rubbed off.

You can dust your Leopard Gecko's food with a vitamin, mineral and amino acid complex such as Zoo Med Reptivite with D3 available from the Northampton Reptile Centre.  

Do Leopard Geckos eat their own?...

  • Do Leopard Geckos eat their own skin? Yes. After shedding, Leopard Geckos eat their shed skin. They do this for two reasons – so that no one would know they were there (to avoid predators in the wild), and because the shed skin contains protein and vitamins helpful for growth, which they cannot get in any other way.
  • Do Leopard Geckos eat their own eggs? Sometimes they do, yes. Female Leopard Geckos sometimes lay eggs which are infertile (so, not created through contact with a male and therefore no baby is inside them). In this case, they may eat them.

    Opinions on whether Leopard Geckos will eat fertile eggs are split, with some saying they might, if they feel threatened or lack calcium, and some saying they would not do so under any circumstances.

  • This is the same on whether Leopard Geckos will eat their young. For precaution, If you have more than one Leopard Gecko, it is best to keep the eggs in a separate tank with their mother, and separate adult and hatchling geckos.

  • Do Leopard Geckos eat their own poop? The general opinion here is that Leopard Geckos would not eat their own poop. They may sometimes try to bury it though, so make sure you check your Leo's tank carefully.

Sources: The Gecko Spot; The Bearded Dragon.org; The Reptile Blog and Leopard Gecko Guy.com

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How Many Crickets To Feed A Leopard Gecko

Do you want to know about the staple food of the leopard gecko?

Are you worrying you’re feeding your new pet too much or too little?

Crickets are the most common food for many reptiles, including the leopard gecko.

They’re a vital part of a healthy diet, but knowing how many crickets to feed a leopard gecko may not be obvious.

The number of crickets your leopard gecko will be able to eat per day safely will depend on their age. Baby geckos should eat around four to eight small crickets daily, while adults should be fed about six to ten large crickets every two days or as many as they will eat in 10 minutes.

For more details on this topic, check out the rest of the article.

Table of Contents

Exactly How Many Crickets To Feed A Leopard Gecko As Part Of A Healthy Diet

The rules for a healthy leopard gecko diet apply to all nutritious insects, including insects such as mealworms, dubia roaches, and, yes, crickets.

For every meal, leopard geckos need to eat two insects for every inch they are long.

For example, an 8″ inch gecko would need to eat 16 crickets at its meal.

By the same math, a 3″ inch gecko needs to eat six crickets at its meal.

For baby leopard geckos, they can eat once per day.

Learn more about how to take care of a baby leopard gecko.

Adult geckos only need to be fed once every other day.

All insects, including crickets, need to be the correct size.

For leopard geckos, you need to look at their eyes.

Insects should be no larger than the space between their eyes.

Get as close as possible to this size without going over.

This will give your leopard gecko enough food to sustain them without choking them.

You may also want to learn about how long a leopard gecko can go without eating.

Why Are Crickets A Popular Staple Food?

When pet owners use the phrase “staple food,” they mean a food source that can make up most of or all the pet’s diet.

With leopard geckos, cricket is the most common staple food.

Mealworms are a close second.

But why use crickets? Why do so many reptiles use crickets as their staple food?

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Higher Protein, Lower Fat

First, the crickets are healthier than many other “pest” insects.

Protein is an essential nutrient to get from insects.

Insectivores like the leopard gecko need a lot of protein.

Most insects will offer reasonable amounts of protein, but how much fat there is in the insect also needs to be considered.

If the protein-fat ratio is too high in fat, the gecko will get obese and bring with it a whole host of health issues and shorter life spans.

Cricket isn’t extremely high in protein, but it is low in fat.

This ratio is good enough to make it a healthy staple food choice.

Low Cost

Another significant consideration for staple foods is the cost.

Pets need to eat all the time, so an expensive insect may not be the best choice for those on a budget.

Crickets are one of the top choices for so many pets, and as such, pet stores and online dealers have built an abundant supply.

This means the overall cost of crickets will be lower than any other insect you wish to choose.

Over the life of the leopard gecko, you’ll end up saving quite a bit of money.

Easy Care

When using live insects, some will require so much care; it’s almost as if you have another pet.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Crickets can keep in containers with many other crickets.

They only require a little feed and stay alive for quite a while.

For most owners, the last thing they want to worry about is caring for the food they’re giving their pets.

Low Extra Nutrition, But Easy To Gut Load

One of the defining characteristics of a food is its extra nutritional value.

For reptiles, the most important of these is calcium.

Reptiles tend to develop calcium deficiencies in captivity.

This may develop into a more severe illness called metabolic one disease.

In this disease, the skeletal structure is so weakened the leopard geckos bones will break and deform much easier.

In the worst cases, the leopard gecko may die.

This is easily avoidable by providing foods higher in calcium.

Crickets don’t seem to fit the bill right away.

They don’t have a lot of extra calcium and nutrients.

This is fixed with a simple vitamin powder sprinkled on before feeding.

Even this, though, isn’t as effective as natural nutrition.

Fortunately, crickets are among the easiest insects to gut load.

Gut loading is when you feed the insect high calcium and high nutrient meal 24 hours before providing them to the gecko.

This allows for extra calcium to be in their systems when eaten.

It’s a more effective and healthy way to get extra nutrients for your pet.

It’s not hard to do, but it does require some forethought as the crickets need to be gut loaded before they’re fed to the reptile.

Gut-loading foods are as simple as adding collard greens or kale to their feed.

We recommend a high calcium cricket feed like this one for maximum effect.


Knowing how many crickets to feed a leopard gecko is an essential part of giving your pet the best life possible.

Remember the golden rule for leopard geckos:

Feed them two correctly-sized crickets for every inch they are long at each meal.

For most adult leopard geckos, this will mean over a dozen crickets at each meal!

This may seem like a lot to you, but it’s actually what they need.

Also, make sure you provide either a powder supplement or gut load the crickets to boost the calcium it needs.

And if you notice your pet opening their mouth repeatedly after eating, they’re usually just dislodging some leftover cricket in their mouth, and it looks like yawning.

If this behavior continues for too long, read our post on the leopard gecko yawn because there’s a chance it could be something more serious.

How to feed a eublefar - feeding a 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 contain:

  • 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. nine0022
  • 1 time in 2-3 days, but until full saturation, 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 should 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? nine0005

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. Appetite is also influenced by external factors.

Temperature rating

The lizard needs to warm up well after eating. Only in this way the body will absorb the necessary nutrients. The terrarium should have a warm zone in which the soil will warm up to about + 34 ° C.

Peace after eating

Immediately after feeding, do not take the pet in your arms or stimulate activity. Reptiles digest and assimilate food at rest. nine0003

Feed your pet in a relaxed environment. Eliminate loud noises, bright lights, and anything that might scare the animal. Watch his behavior during feeding. This will help you in the care and training, if you want to accustom the animal to your hands.

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 to 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 trigger 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.

Learn more