Many people don’t know this, especially beginner gecko owners, but there are a lot more foods that they enjoy besides crickets and mealworms. Although many people like to keep them on this type of diet because it is cheap and most leopard geckos don’t have a problem with it, it is alright to occasionally switch it up a bit or give them other foods in between their regular diet as a treat. Here’s a list of what other foods they like to eat.
- Wax Worms
- Black Soldier Fly Larvae
- Fruit Flies
- Dubia Roaches
With the exception of three of the foods on this list, most of these can be fed to your leopard gecko on a regular basis. Yes, a lot of people love the mealworm and cricket diet, but there are also a lot of other owners who prefer some of these other foods on the list instead for various different reasons. These reasons can be for anything from what their gecko likes the most all the way down to not wanting to mess with smelly or pesty feeder insects. Here is the list in more detail.
Because leopard geckos need calcium to survive, these little critters here are perfect feeder insects for them simply because of the fact that they are extremely high in it. And although this is true, you will still need to dust them with your calcium powder so that they’re getting the right supplementation. What the hornworms pack is just a little bonus.
Not only are these good for the extra calcium, but they are also are a great source of water as well, which would be amazing for leopard geckos who live in the wild seeing as they get most of their hydration from their prey.
They start off very small, but with enough food, they can grow all the way up to 4 inches in length fairly quickly at which point they develop into caterpillars. With that said, they will likely be way too large for your leopard gecko to eat, so you have to feed it to them before they get too big and follow the rule of not giving them anything that is wider than the width between their eyes.
Luckily, though, most places that sell them don’t provide the hornworms with enough food to turn into moths, which is what they transform into after the caterpillar phase. Not only do leopard geckos love these things, but they’re also cool to watch grow if you decide to keep a few extra just for pleasure.
If you’d like to introduce your leopard gecko to hornworms, check out these by Josh Frog’s that I feed mine. He absolutely loves them.
When I said there were three foods on the list that shouldn’t be fed to your gecko regularly, this is one of them. To put it simply, these are the fried twinkie of a leopard geckos diet. They are very high in fat and should only be fed to them as treats.
Many owners make the mistake of accidentally giving them too many and then running into the problem of their gecko not wanting to eat anything else because they are so addicting for them, just like chips are for humans.
Leopard geckos need a good balance when it comes to their diet, and if they are getting too much fat, then this can cause them to become overweight or obese as well. They store most of their fat in their tails, but when they take in too much of it, it starts to distribute throughout other parts of their body and they become very pudgy.
To avoid a wax worm addiction and to stop them from becoming overweight, it’s best to only feed them to your gecko only once or twice every fortnight ( no, not the video game ), or in other words, every two weeks.
Wax worms are amazing foods to feed your gecko, but they have to fed to them VERY sparingly or else there will be consequences and nutritional imbalances within their body. I don’t buy wax worms very often, but when I do, I always go with these ones from Amazon.
Since your gecko can only eat them so often, it’s best to go with the smallest available size.
If you want to ditch crickets and mealworms or even just simply introduce a new insect to your pre-existing diet, then silkworms are great bugs to consider adding as a staple. They are even considered one of, if not the one and only, best feeder insect out there for leopard geckos.
Just like hornworms, they are high in calcium and are also packed with other awesome nutrients such as sodium, protein, B3, and more. The only downside to getting silkworms is that is can be hard to keep them alive due to the fact they have a very strict diet compared to other feeder insects.
While certain insects like crickets can eat various different foods such as apples and potatoes, silkworms are restricted to only eating leaves from a mulberry tree. Luckily, you can order these leaves online, but a lot of leopard gecko owners don’t even know what these leaves are or where to get them from, so that’s why it can be hard to keep them alive no longer than a week in some cases.
They are great nutritionally, though. So if you ever plan on buying some, be sure to order some mulberry leaves as well. They are actually fairly cheap, so you won’t be breaking the bank whenever you buy both.
And as for the second insect on the list that should only be fed as a treat, I introduce to you, the super worm. Also like hornworms, super worms are extremely high in fat and should only be fed sparingly. If they eat too many, they will become overweight. They’re not as addictive as hornworms, but they are just as bad when it comes to how much fat they carry.
This doesn’t mean that they’re bad to feed to your gecko, because they love them, but it should never be used as a staple simply for the fact that the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to this particular feeder insect.
Also, keep in mind that super worms are pretty large, so it’s best to never feed them to your gecko unless they are at least a 1-year-old. Once they hit that age, you can give them 1 or 2 every two weeks just like the hornworms.
Besides the fact that they are high in fat, though, they are very tasty and can live a lot longer than crickets can. If you have an adult leopard gecko you might want to see how they react to super worms.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae
Anything that packs a ton of calcium is good for a leopard gecko, so with that said, these are definitely awesome little bugs to feed them. But because they sort of have a tougher outer skin compared to some other feeder insects, it’s probably best to not feed these to your gecko in large quantities at once.
There have been reports of them having trouble pooping after a BSL meal, but that’s likely due to the fact that whoever fed them these bugs probably gave them way too many at once. Not all leopard geckos like them, but they do carry a good nutritional balance, so that’s always a plus.
While some owners have said that their leopard gecko won’t touch them, there have been many other owners who have said that their leopard gecko absolutely loves them. So really, there’s no other way to tell if yours will or not until you have your gecko try them out. Luckily, my leopard geckos actually love them, so they are definitely feeder bugs that I keep in my arsenal when I feel like switching his diet up a bit.
Although many leopard geckos love to eat fruit flies, they are usually way too small to bring any real nutritional value to the table and would require a whole jar of them at the very least to satisfy your gecko’s hunger and needs.
With that said, they should only be fed as treats. Not because they carry too much of one nutrient like super worms and hornworms do when it comes to fat, but because they don’t carry enough of what they need. So it’s pretty much the opposite problem.
On top of that, fruit flies can be a hassle to control if they’re the ones that can actually fly. Trying to catch them can be a pain and having to constantly worry about if they will get loose every time you feed your gecko is too stressful.
Flightless fruit flies are really no better either. They’re good feeder insects and can be used regularly for various other reptiles out there, but when it comes to leopard geckos, they should only be fed to them as a snack alongside a more nutritional meal rather than a staple unless you plan on buying a TON.
Coming in at third for one of the three foods on this list that are extremely high in fat, the butter worm. Of course, by this point, I think it’s safe to say that geckos love foods that are high in fat. And when we’re dealing with foods like these, we should also know that they should only be fed to them sparingly.
Butter worms are great, but just like super worms and hornworms, they can cause obesity in your gecko. They are also addictive as well. If fed too many, not only can it cause them to gain a tremendous amount of weight like other bugs can, but they might even shun away from eating anything else because they’re just that good. And we all should know that too much of a good thing can cause bad outcomes ( hence the weight gain ).
Actually, now that I think about it, leopard geckos aren’t too different than us. They love to sleep, socialize ( sometimes ), and eat a lot of things that aren’t good for them. With that said, it’s best not to overdo it with these worms.
If you’ve never given butter worms to your leopard gecko, try them out as a treat. Don’t worry, unlike black soldier fly larvae, most geckos love these things.
Many don’t know this, but locusts are a wonderful staple food to feed your gecko whether that be when mixing them with what you’re currently feeding them or if you’d rather just feed it to them exclusively.
With these, just like any other food, I always go with the ” width between the eyes ” method. Figuring out how large your locusts should be by doing this is a great way to properly get the correct size for them. Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to these particular insects, some leopard geckos won’t touch them unless they are a little smaller or larger than this length.
So, the best thing you can do is to just experiment. Start with the ones that you feel are appropriate for them and then work your way up or down until you hit the sweet spot. Locusts are a great, balanced source of nutrition, that’s why a lot of owners use these as staples opposed to just mealworms and crickets.
There isn’t a whole lot of information on the web on whether or not earthworms are good for leopard geckos to eat, but when fed occasionally, they actually are as long as you’re not purchasing them from bait stores where they are likely filled with pesticides.
Another thing to keep in mind is that they are fairly large and should only be fed to adult geckos as they will have the most success getting them down. Picking them up locally from a place like Walmart, for example, is not advised. But, if you can find them at an online store that’s dedicated to catering to reptiles specifically, then it’s likely that they are safe. Remember to do your research, though.
Aside from the pesticide scare, they are actually very balanced when it comes to their nutritional value. Do not hesitate to pick these up if you can get your hands on some that are healthy enough for your gecko to eat.
This might be one of the most commonly suggested food alternatives, but Dubia Roaches are go-to staple foods for many different gecko owners. Not only are they low in fat and just overall really healthy for your gecko, but they are easy to maintain, don’t smell as bad as crickets, and if cared for properly, can actually be kept alive for a very long time.
These roaches are one of the foods that you can feed to them exclusively, but because I never like to have my gecko eat one specific type of food, I always like to provide him with a variety because I know that’s what he likes. Just like humans, whether yours will eat them will differ from gecko to gecko, but from what I’ve found in not only my gecko and others as well, the majority love them.
They aren’t only good for their nutritional value, but they don’t cause a nuisance for owners compared to other feeder insects either. How big your Dubia Roaches need to be will depend on the size of your gecko, so instead of linking directly to the ones I buy, I decided to link to the whole page so you can see the many options they have and make your decision based on your gecko.
Grasshoppers are another great food to feed to your leopard gecko, but be careful where you get them because just like earthworms, they may have ingested pesticides or fertilizer and should never be picked up from any other place aside from a reputable pet store or trusted online site.
Trying to feed them anything that’s in the backyard can kill them if the grasshoppers have, in fact, consumed any sort of chemical, so it’s best to not take that kind of risk. If buying them from a shop that specializes in raising feeder insects, then you can definitely add them to your list of foods to give to your gecko.
Some of the foods on the list may have been some that you would have never expected leopard geckos to eat, but if you don’t know anything about what they eat in the wild, then check this article out that I wrote here to see what they’re really capable of eating. You might be surprised.
Also, although they can and will only eat certain strict diets, it’s always recommended to switch their food up from time to time or start incorporating different insects on a regular basis so that you can keep them happy. They don’t get tired of eating the same foods during feeding time, but they do love trying out new things. So give some new insects a try and see what else your gecko loves.