Alternative Foods for Leopard Geckos – A Guide to Feeding

Leopard gecko food alternatives

Fruits and vegetables can be a great addition to your gecko’s diet. While leopard geckos are primarily insectivores, they can benefit from the nutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables. Some safe options include mashed banana, mango, and papaya. Leafy greens such as collard greens and dandelion greens can also be offered as an occasional treat. Remember to chop the fruits and vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces to make it easier for your gecko to eat.

Silkworms and Dubia roaches are alternative insect options that you can consider. Silkworms are soft-bodied insects that are rich in protein and low in fat, making them an excellent choice for leopard geckos. Dubia roaches, on the other hand, are high in protein and have a soft exoskeleton, making them easier for your gecko to digest. Both of these insects can be purchased from specialty pet stores or online and can be offered as a treat every now and then.

What Do Leopard Geckos Eat

Live Insects as Staples

Live insects are the main staple food for leopard geckos. They are a great source of protein and other essential nutrients. The most commonly fed insects include crickets, mealworms, dubia roaches, and superworms.

Mealworms: Mealworms are another common food for leopard geckos. They are high in fat and protein, making them a good source of energy. However, they have a harder exoskeleton, so it is recommended to only feed them in moderation.

Dubia Roaches: Dubia roaches are an excellent alternative to crickets. They are rich in protein and have a low-fat content. They also have a soft exoskeleton, making them easier to digest for leopard geckos. They are becoming increasingly popular among gecko keepers.

Other Alternative Foods

While live insects are the main staple, leopard geckos can also benefit from occasional supplementation with other alternative foods.

Silk Worms: Silk worms are a nutritious and soft-bodied feeder insect. They are high in protein and low in fat, making them an excellent addition to a leopard gecko’s diet. However, they can be difficult to find and can be more expensive than other insects.

Nutritional Requirements of Leopard Geckos

The nutritional needs of leopard geckos can be divided into three main categories: protein, fat, and vitamins/minerals.

Protein: Leopard geckos require a diet high in protein. This is essential for their growth, development, and overall health. The main source of protein for leopard geckos is insects. Live insects such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches are excellent options to meet their protein needs.

Fat: Leopard geckos also require a moderate amount of fat in their diet. Fat serves as a source of energy for these reptiles. Live insects such as superworms and silk worms are good sources of fat for leopard geckos.

Live Insects for Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are insectivores, which means that their main diet consists of live insects. While there are other alternative foods available, live insects remain the best option for providing the necessary nutrients to keep your leopard gecko healthy.

Types of Live Insects

There are several types of live insects that you can feed to your leopard gecko. The most common options include crickets, mealworms, dubia roaches, superworms, and silk worms.

Benefits of Live Insects

Live insects are a great source of protein, which is essential for the growth and development of leopard geckos. They also provide essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that are necessary for overall health.

Additionally, hunting live insects helps stimulate the natural predatory instincts of leopard geckos, providing them with mental and physical enrichment.

Feeding Live Insects

Gut-Loading and Supplementation

Supplementation is also important to ensure that your leopard gecko is receiving all the necessary vitamins and minerals. You can dust the live insects with a reptile-specific calcium and vitamin D3 supplement before feeding them to your gecko.


While there are alternative food options available for leopard geckos, live insects remain the best choice for providing them with the necessary nutrition. When feeding live insects, remember to choose appropriate sizes, gut-load them, and supplement as needed. By offering a varied diet of live insects, you can ensure the overall health and well-being of your leopard gecko.

Mealworms as a Staple Food for Leopard Geckos

Mealworms are considered a great source of protein and fat, both of which are essential for your gecko’s health and growth. They also contain a good amount of fiber and moisture, making them a nutritious choice. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive and can be readily found at pet stores or online.

Feeding mealworms to your leopard gecko is quite easy. Simply place a small dish or shallow container in their enclosure and add a few mealworms. It is essential to ensure that the mealworms are of an appropriate size for your gecko; you don’t want to feed them anything that is too big as it could cause choking or digestion problems.

Leopard geckos should be offered mealworms as a part of their regular diet. However, it is crucial to provide a balanced diet by incorporating other food alternatives as well. Variety is key to ensure that your gecko receives all the necessary nutrients.

It is essential to keep in mind that mealworms alone should not constitute the entirety of your gecko’s diet. While they are a nutrient-rich food choice, they lack certain vitamins and minerals that can be found in other insects. Therefore, it is recommended to alternate mealworms with other live insects, such as crickets, dubia roaches, and superworms, to provide a well-rounded diet.

Crickets for Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning they rely on a diet primarily composed of insects. Crickets offer a high protein content, making them an excellent staple food for leopard geckos. They are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, which are crucial for maintaining proper bone growth and preventing metabolic bone disease.

Before offering crickets to your leopard gecko, it is essential to ensure that they are gut-loaded. Gut-loading involves feeding the crickets a nutritious diet before feeding them to your gecko. This way, your gecko will benefit from the nutrients in the crickets, and you can provide a well-balanced diet.

There are several ways you can gut-load crickets. One option is to feed them a commercial cricket food or a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Another option is to provide them with fresh greens, such as kale or collard greens. Whatever method you choose, it is crucial to offer gut-loaded crickets to ensure your gecko receives optimal nutrition.

Leopard geckos should be fed a few crickets at a time, depending on their size and appetite. It is essential to monitor your gecko’s weight and adjust the feeding amounts accordingly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems, so it is crucial to strike the right balance.

In addition to offering live crickets, you can also provide your leopard gecko with other alternatives such as mealworms, dubia roaches, and superworms. These options can help provide variety in their diet and prevent them from becoming bored with a monotonous food routine.

Remember to dust the crickets with a calcium supplement before feeding them to your leopard gecko. This additional supplementation ensures that your gecko is getting enough calcium to support healthy bone growth and prevent calcium deficiency.

Alternative Food Options for Leopard Geckos: Dubia Roaches

Why Choose Dubia Roaches?

Dubia roaches are an excellent alternative food source for leopard geckos due to their nutritional value and ease of care. These roaches are high in protein, low in fat, and contain ideal calcium-to-phosphorus ratios, making them a perfect addition to your leopard gecko’s diet.

How to Feed Dubia Roaches to Your Leopard Gecko

It’s best to offer Dubia roaches as live prey. Place a few roaches in your gecko’s enclosure, making sure they are easily accessible. Keep in mind that leopard geckos are primarily nocturnal hunters, so it’s best to offer the roaches at night. Remove any uneaten roaches after a few hours to prevent them from bothering your gecko or hiding in the enclosure.

Additional Benefits of Dubia Roaches

Dubia roaches offer more than just a nutritious meal for your leopard gecko. They also provide mental and physical stimulation for your gecko during the hunting process. The act of chasing and capturing live prey helps fulfill your gecko’s natural instincts and keeps them entertained.

In addition, Dubia roaches are an environmentally friendly food option. Unlike crickets, they do not produce any noise or odor, making them an ideal choice for apartment dwellers or anyone sensitive to the smells and sounds associated with traditional cricket keeping.

Superworms as a Treat

Superworms can be a great alternative food option for leopard geckos. These larvae of the darkling beetle are larger than mealworms, making them a more substantial treat for your gecko. They are rich in protein and can be a great addition to their diet.

Superworms have a soft exoskeleton, making them easier for leopard geckos to chew and digest. They also have a high-fat content, which can be beneficial for geckos that need to gain weight or receive an extra boost of energy.

Superworms should be offered as a treat rather than a staple food. They can be given a few times per week, along with a balanced diet of insects and other alternative foods. Variety is key in a leopard gecko’s diet, so offering a mix of different food options will help ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Silk Worms for Variety

Silk worms are another great alternative food for leopard geckos. They are soft-bodied and highly nutritious, making them a healthy and tasty treat for your gecko. Silk worms are rich in protein and low in fat, making them an excellent choice for a balanced diet.

One of the main benefits of silk worms is their high calcium content. Calcium is essential for the health of leopard geckos, as it helps to maintain strong bones and prevent metabolic bone disease. By adding silk worms to your gecko’s diet, you can ensure that they are getting the calcium they need.

In addition to being nutritious, silk worms are also easy to digest. Their soft bodies make them a suitable food for geckos of all ages and sizes. Young geckos can easily consume silk worms, while older geckos can enjoy them as a tasty snack.

Feeding silk worms to your leopard gecko is simple. You can purchase live silk worms from pet stores or online retailers. It is best to provide a varied diet for your gecko, so you can offer silk worms as an occasional treat or as a supplement to their regular diet of insects.

Overall, silk worms are a great alternative food for leopard geckos. They provide essential nutrients, are easy to digest, and can be offered as a tasty treat. By adding silk worms to your gecko’s diet, you can ensure that they are receiving a varied and nutritious meal.

Other Alternative Foods for Leopard Geckos

Silk Worms

Feeding silk worms to your leopard gecko can help promote healthy growth and development. The high protein content of silk worms is beneficial for muscle development and overall body condition. Additionally, the calcium found in silk worms is essential for strong bones and preventing metabolic bone disease in leopard geckos.

Silk worms can be purchased from reptile supply stores or bred at home. They are soft-bodied and easy for leopard geckos to digest. You can offer silk worms as a treat or include them in your pet’s regular feeding routine.

To feed silk worms to your leopard gecko, you can place them in a shallow dish or use feeding tongs to offer them individually. Always ensure that the silk worms are appropriately sized for your leopard gecko to prevent any choking hazards.

When introducing silk worms as an alternative food for your leopard gecko, it’s essential to observe their reaction and adjust the feeding accordingly. Some leopard geckos may take time to accept new food items, while others may readily devour them.

Incorporating silk worms into your leopard gecko’s diet can provide them with essential nutrients, promote variety in their meals, and contribute to their overall health and well-being. Remember to always provide a balanced diet and consult with a reptile veterinarian if you have any concerns about your leopard gecko’s nutrition.