What Human Food Can a Leopard Gecko Eat?
If you have a Leopard Gecko, you probably understand that they love Insects, and why you need to supplement them with supplements (Click here to see my best Calcium Supplelemnt for Leos, on Amazon), but can they eat Human food?
What human food can leopard geckos eat? They can’t actually eat any human food. They are not built to consume the food that humans typically consume, such as fruits, veg, etc. This isn’t because they don’t prefer it, it isn’t physically possible for them to digest some of these human foods.
Now that you know why they cannot eat human foods, let me explain what they can eat, why they can’t eat fruit and veg, alternatives if you hate insects and more. Keep reading…
So, what can leopard geckos eat?
The reality is they are an insectivore. Meaning that they eat meat, in particular, insects. There are specific reasons why they can’t eat any other food (but more on this later in the article).
They will eat pretty much any wriggly insect that is put in front of them. This includes:
Can Leos eat fruit and vegetables?
No, they cannot eat fruit and vegetables. This is because their body is designed to consume insects only.
The reason why they can’t consume fruit and veg is they do not actually have a Cecum, this is the part of the body which breaks down cellulose, which is found in fruit and vegetables.
Small digestive tract
Another issue that they have is the size of their digestive tract. This is typically smaller than a herbivore, who has a longer digestive tract and it is acidic. Whereas a Leopard Gecko’s digestive tract is alkaline.
What happens if you do not like dealing with insects?
If you don’t like handling insects and you want to feed your leopard gecko, truthfully, your options are quite limited.
However, there is an alternative that you can consider. But, the chances of your leopard gecko enjoying this is quite slim.
Because the option I’m going to present to you does not include live insects. And, they typically prefer to see the movement to get them stimulated to eat, are you with me?
Repashy Gel (Click here to see the price on Amazon) is a powdered form of food, which can be processed and set into a gel. Once the gel is set you can cut it up into pieces and offer it to your Leopard Gecko.
It contains nutrients to keep your Leo fulfilled. But, taste and preference are another thing. As mentioned earlier, they prefer to eat live insects. So, there is a chance your Leo will not take to this.
However, if you are really squeamish about insects this could be something that you could try.
Skull designed for insect consumption (Not Human Food)
The leopard geckos jaw and skull is designed for consuming insects. It is smaller and more robust than a herbivore giving it the perfect structure to consume insects.
Some people believe there is new research to suggest that leopard geckos can consume fruit and vegetables.
But, I heard there is new research to suggest they can eat Fruit & Veg, right?
Let’s address this now. Being able to consume fruit and vegetables is one thing. But actually digesting it is another, are you with me?
As discussed in the previous section, they cannot consume and digest fruit and vegetables. Their body cannot do this. Therefore, to save any disappointment and wasted investment it is best to stick to live insects which they will devour.
The dangers of obesity and overfeeding.
Leopard geckos natural habitat is in the desert, in particular, the Southeastern regions of Asia. The reason I mention this is because it is quite a dry area with limited food supply.
Therefore, leopard geckos have to be clever and store a good source of fat inside their tails to maintain themselves in these conditions, are you with me?
Therefore, they are not expected to eat every single day. So their body has evolved to naturally store fat. So, they can deal with these “lean days”, when there is no food available.
This works perfectly in the wild, in their natural environment. However, in captivity, this can work against them.
Because in captivity they are fed regularly, in fact as long as you are caring for them correctly, their food intake is border-line predictable.
However, their body will continue storing fat in its tail and building up fat reserves in this body, as if it was starving in the desert. You see whats happening here?
If this is done on a regular basis and they are overeating this can lead to obesity.
The General Rule
If you are concerned or curious to understand what is classed as a “safe weight” for your Leo, or what is deemed as overweight or obese, let me share a general rule with you.
The general rule is the tail should always be wider than its stomach, which is quite easy to see visually. Also, their stomach should remain flat, unless they have just eaten. If they have just eaten, this would obviously cause a bit of a bulge until the food is digested.
Things to look out for
Other things to look out for, if you are worried about signs of overfeeding, is regurgitation. If you see some food regurgitated, this is a clear indication that your Leo is eating too much.
Also, he may appear to be lethargic, which is quite subtle but another red flag. If this is the case you need to cut back on the food that you are giving to him. Also, you can consider cutting back on fatty foods such as Superworms (Click here to see what worms are good for a Leopard Gecko) or Butterworms.
Leo’s lap-up their own skin, what?
Another interesting dietary behavior that you may notice with your leopard geckos is the fact that they eat their own skin.
Immediately after they shed they will devour their old skin.
This is a clever defensive mechanism to avoid any predators picking up on the fact that they have been in the close vicinity. Basically, hiding their tracks.
If they consume their skin, they leave no evidence of them being there and therefore the Predator will not pursue them, get it?
Avoid these foods like the plague!
There are a couple of food groups that you should always avoid when thinking about what foods to feed your Leo:
- Lightning Bugs.
Fireflies and lightning bugs should be avoided because they possess a certain chemical which is required to give them the glowing and flashing effect that make them attractive.
If you feed these to your lizard, it can cause them to be ill or stomach infections. For this reason, they should be avoided.
Random Wild insects
If you have a leopard gecko in captivity. It is not advisable to allow them to eat wild insects that are roaming around the house.
Even though, on paper, they can actually eat it.
It is unknown where these insects have been. They can cause infections and introduce parasites to your pet which cause major health issues.
Do Leos need any other Nutrients in Captivity?
In captivity, Calcium and other nutrients are a very important part of their diet.
A lack of calcium can lead to bone-related issues, abnormal joints and a number of other health-related problems.
So you may be wondering how is it possible to feed them these nutrients if they only eat insects and don’t consume other foods such as fruits and vegetables…
To get around this a lot of lizard keepers dust or gut load (click here to see how to gut load Superworms and why you should bother) their insects before feeding them.
Dusting is a way that you can prepare their food by dusting calcium supplementation on to the insects and then directly feeding it to your leopard gecko.
Got loading, on the other hand, is a way of pre-feeding the insects with supplementation so that it will pass on to your Leopard Gecko as they feed on them.