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What Do Geckos Eat in the Wild?

Geckos in the wild are known to eat just about anything that they can easily overpower, including crickets, spiders, small rodents and grasshoppers.

At night, geckos will snatch up insects using their long, sticky tongues. Geckos are experts at blending in with their surroundings while simultaneously utilizing their heightened senses to capture prey.

What Do Geckos Eat in Captivity?

Geckos in captivity should be fed size-appropriate cricketsmealworms and superworms. Geckos can occasionally be fed waxworms as treats, which can be nutritionally beneficial due to their high fat content. Each gecko species may have slightly different nutritional needs so it is the gecko owner's responsibility to research and understand its dietary requirements.

When choosing the correct sized feeder insect for your gecko it is important to select an insect that is smaller than the width of the gecko's mouth. Choosing an appropriately sized live food makes it easier for the gecko to swallow and digest the prey item. Some adult geckos can occasionally be fed a pinky mouse. Most geckos will eat any insect or small animal that will fit in their mouth. We recommend gut loading your insects to ensure you are providing the essential nutrients for the optimum health of the reptiles that consume them.

How to Feed Your Gecko

Adult geckos should be fed 5-10 crickets every other day, while baby geckos can require as many as 20 small crickets per day. Dusting your insects with calcium powder enhances your gecko's diet with important vitamins and minerals. Insects and dusting powder can be placed in a plastic bag and shaken gently to thoroughly coat the insects. A small dish of calcium powder should also be left in the gecko’s enclosure at all times.

Once a gecko reaches maturity, you can begin introducing pinky mice into it's diet to help keep it at an ideal body weight.

Make sure when feeding your gecko it does not ingest substrate such as sand since this can lead to a serious gut impaction. To avoid these types of problems, some people recommend feeding lizards in a separate enclosure that utilizes newspaper or paper towels as a substrate.

Remove all uneaten live food from your gecko’s enclosure after 30 minutes to prevent the insects from biting your gecko. A small, shallow water dish should be provided to ensure your gecko has continual access to clean water.

What if Your Gecko Doesn't Eat?

If you begin to notice uneaten food in your gecko's enclosure, don't panic. Geckos may refuse food due to issues involving their surroundings. For instance, if your gecko's tank is too cool, it won't consume food as readily. In this case, simply increase the temperature of the enclosure. Another issue could be that your gecko is thirsty and you need to refill its water dish. If your situation doesn't involve either of these conditions, stress can also be a contributing factor that can affect your gecko's appetite.

One word of caution: If none of these scenarios apply to your gecko, you may consider contacting a veterinarian. If your lizard is a new pet, it may simply need some time to acclimate before eating. However, don't wait too long to consult an expert.

Any Gecko Diet Precautions?

Avoid feeding waxworms to your insectivorious gecko as a sole food item as it could become sick and fatigued which could eventually lead to more complications.

Additionally, the size of insects matters when deciding what to feed geckos, whether its hornworms or mealworms. This is because smaller geckos cannot handle eating insects that are too large, so remember to always provide food items that are smaller than the width of your gecko's mouth. Lastly, some insects such as fireflies can harm your gecko and should never be offered as food. For this reason, it's crucial to purchase gecko food like these hornworms from reliable sources like the experts at to avoid feeding your pet something that could compromise it's health.

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