For those of you that don’t know, leopard geckos absolutely love to eat crickets. They’re one of the two most commonly fed insects given to leopard geckos and are a wonderful source of nutrition when served live. When served freeze-dried though, who knows what nutritional value they hold or if leopard geckos will even eat them for that matter. Let’s find out.
Will leopard geckos eat freeze-dried food? Unfortunately, they won’t. Regardless if they’re freeze-dried or not, leopard geckos will only eat insects that are alive.
I know that answer isn’t one you probably wanted to hear, but sadly, leopard geckos are very, very picky when it comes to what they eat. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with freeze-dried crickets, it’s just that leopard geckos, for some reason, do not like to eat anything that’s not moving around or wiggling. If you’d like to know an alternative to these crickets, feel free to read on.
What do Leopard Geckos Like to Eat?
Seeing as dead feeders can hold almost the same nutritional value as live food, it really is a shame that leopard geckos don’t have the desire to eat or even touch them. If they did, feeding our lizards would be a lot easier since we then wouldn’t have to worry about keeping our insects alive or maintaining them until it’s time to give them to our geckos.
In a perfect world, that’s exactly what would happen. But since we’re living in reality, we have to make compromises and give our leopard geckos what they want so that we can ensure that they’re staying nice and healthy.
That said, I have some insects that you may want to consider. Not because crickets aren’t extremely nutritional, but because unless a miracle occurs, chances are your leopard gecko will never touch those freeze-dried crickets that you have or are considering picking up.
Sourcing Live Insects for Leopard Gecko
If you’d like to know where to get some of these insects, click here to go to a page that I put together that’s full of the feeders that I currently give to my leopard gecko. None of them are freeze-dried or dead, but they are all healthy, alive, and will give your picky gecko what they need in order to successfully survive.
Also for the nutritional value for these various different insects, check this page out here. Freeze-dried insects are healthy for your leopard gecko and if they weren’t so picky, they would be very beneficial to them. Because they’re not alive though, they’re not as nutritious as live crickets are simply for the fact that they’re dead.
If your issues lie more with the difficulties of caring for crickets then I would recommend looking into getting dubia roaches. Not only are they way easier to maintain, but they’re also just as, if not a little bit more, nutritious than crickets are.
Tricking Leopard Geckos Into Eating
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend products that I haven’t used or that I don’t feel would be good for other leopard gecko owners to use. However, if you’re absolutely set on wanting your gecko to eat freeze-dried worms, then something like this vibrating food dish over on Amazon might be worth checking out.
Sometimes using these things can work and sometimes they won’t, but based on what people are saying in the reviews of the product, you may want to really consider if feeding your leopard gecko dead insects is really worth it or not.
I’m not knocking the food dish because it’s actually a brilliant invention. But based on that food dish, in particular, it doesn’t look like a product that I can comfortably get behind. If you do happen to end up trying the dish out, then I hope you’re one of the lucky ones who have said it’s worked for them.
– Exo Terra Reptile Food
Exo Terra is an overall good brand that happily serves many reptile owners but from time to time, even the best companies out there sell products that aren’t the greatest. This isn’t meant to be a product review or anything, but I just want all the readers out there to know what they’re getting into before they buy it.
Who knows, maybe your leopard gecko will actually fall for it. I guess the only real way to find that out is to get it and try it yourself. If you get it and you’re not happy with the product, don’t hesitate to reach out to support for information on what needs to be done in order to either replace it or return it altogether.
Again, I normally wouldn’t recommend products that I don’t think are good for owners. But seeing as some owners really want to give their leopard geckos dead food over food that’s alive, that’s really the only option out there that will even make doing that a possibility.
An Alternative to Hand-Feeding
Despite insects being a leopard geckos one and only diet, some owners just absolutely hate having to touch their insects in order to feed them. Depending on the insect, it can make you feel icky. But since live insects are the only thing that they can and will eat, it’s essential that they’re fed despite the fear of potentially having to touch them.
That said, if feeding bugs that are alive is the thing that you struggle with the most because of this reason, then I recommend looking into getting some feeding tongs like these here so that you can keep touching the insects down to a minimum.
This is a little off-topic, but not only will they help you with not having to touch your bugs, but they’ll also help with avoiding bites and attacks at times where your leopard gecko might be behaving a little aggressively as well.
As a leopard gecko owner, insects are something that you’ll have to come in contact with on a pretty frequent basis. If you have tongs like those to hold them with though, at least you can make dealing with them a little more tolerable.
As mentioned above, you could always try using the vibrating bowl if that seems to be a more interesting option. But because leopard geckos aren’t fooled as easily as you might think they’d be, using the tongs might be the better option to go for out of the two.
Don’t Leave Dead Insects Inside the Tank
Because leopard geckos have to get hungry at some point, some people may think that leaving the dead insects in the tank until they eat them will be an effective way of feeding them. But because leopard geckos can be extremely stubborn and even go on hunger strikes if they’re not given the food they want, doing that will more than likely not work.
Not only that, but insects left in the tank for an extended period of time can develop a ton of bacteria that can be harmful to your leopard gecko if they do, at any point, decide to finally eat them.
This doesn’t only apply to crickets, but to any other bugs that are left inside of the tank as well. The good thing about freeze-dried crickets is that unlike crickets that are alive, they won’t potentially harm your leopard gecko when left in the tank.
Because we now know that leopard geckos don’t enjoy eating insects that are dead though, I guess that information really doesn’t benefit us. As stated above, we could get away with feeding our leopard geckos dead insects in a perfect world, but sadly, only a few lucky people have ever been able to get their leopard geckos to do so.
As much as it may be disheartening to hear that, it’s, unfortunately, the harsh truth that all of us have to deal with. Because the vibrating dish exists though, it’s not the end of the world. If that doesn’t work, using the tongs if you’re grossed out by live insects is another way to feed your gecko without having to worry about touching them.
There are a few different reasons why owners would like to have their leopard gecko on a freeze-dried diet but because leopard geckos act completely uninterested most of the time when owners try to feed these types of insects to them, having them on a diet like that is nearly impossible.
You can try using the vibrating dish that I mentioned above but from what I’ve gathered, there aren’t a whole lot of owners out there who have had success in using them. Because I understand live insects can be icky to touch for some people, using tongs will help you tremendously in avoiding having to do that as much as possible.
Upon buying your leopard gecko, you kind of have to accept that insects are a part of the deal that comes with caring for them. But if dealing with live bugs really isn’t your thing, then leopard geckos just might not be the right reptile for you.
Since crickets can be a little intimidating for those who don’t do well with insects that hop around, consider taking a look at dubia roaches as they are insects that are just as nutritious.