Leopard geckos are insectivores, they must be fed on live insects. In this guide we will explore leopard gecko feeding options and nutritional value of common feeder insects.
Leopard Gecko Feeding – What feeder insects to use?
Leopard geckos can be fed on a wide variety of insects, popular choices including, but not limited to, crickets, mealworms, superworms, dubia roaches, hornworms, waxworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, butterworms, and more. Some feeder insects are more readily available so they are more affordable and easier to find. We will review some popular feeder insects used for leopard gecko feeding.
Nutritional Information: Moisture 69.07%, Fat 6.01%, Protein 21.32%, Fiber 3.2%, Ash 2.17%, Ca ppm 345, P ppm 4238, CA/P ratio 0.081% (source)
Pro: Easy to find, cheap, low fat, high protein, easy to care for, gut-loads well, erratic movement stimulates feeding
Con: Noisy, unpleasant smell, short lifespan, jumpy, hide in crevices hard to fish out of the tank, can bite your gecko, can carry parasites
Nutritional Information: Moisture 62.44%, Fat 12.72%, Protein 20.27%, Fiber 1.73%, Ash 1.57%, Ca ppm 133, P ppm 3345, CA/P ratio 0.040% (source)
Pro: Easy to find, cheap, high protein, easy to care for, decent lifespan (can be prolonged by refrigeration), no mess or smell, easy to breed your own feeder colony
Con: Higher fat content, bad calcium to phosphorous ratio, doesn’t gut-load as well (small digestive tract), slow movement may not stimulate your leopard gecko feeding as much
Nutritional Information: Moisture 59.37%, Fat 17.89%, Protein 17.41%, Fiber 6.80%, Ash 1.20%, Ca ppm 124, P ppm 2320, CA/P ratio 0.053% (source)
Pro: Easy to find, cheap, decent protein, easy to care for, long lifespan (no refrigeration needed), easy to care for, no mess or smell, easy to breed your own feeder colony
Con: High fat content, lower protein, may not be suitable for younger/smaller geckos, bad calcium to phosphorous ratio, doesn’t gut-load as well, can bite
Nutritional Information: Moisture 65.6%, Fat 7.2%, Protein 23.4%, Fiber 2.9%, Ash 1.2%, Ca ppm 800, P ppm 2600, CA/P ratio 0.308% (source)
Pro: High protein, low fat, easy to care for, extremely long lifespan (nymph to adult can live up to 2 years), gut-loads very well, no smell, high calcium to phosphorous ratio, easy to breed your own feeder colony, movement stimulates feeding
Con: Can not be shipped to Florida, not as easy to find (most retail stores won’t have them), expensive unless you breed your own, roach phobia
Nutritional Information: Moisture 61.73%, Fat 22.19%, Protein 15.50%, Fiber 7.69%, Ash 1.02%, Ca ppm 283, P ppm 2161, CA/P ratio 0.131% (source)
Pro: Easy to find, cheap, irresistible to geckos, can be used to jump start feeding
Con: Extremely high fat content (must be used as treats only), short lifespan, can not be gut-loaded, smelly, sensitive to moisture & heat
Phoenix Worms (Black Soldier Fly larvae)
Nutritional Information: Moisture 61.2%, Fat 9.4%, Protein 17.3%, Ca ppm 8155, P ppm 5355, CA/P ratio 1.52% (source)
Pro: Low fat, easy to find, cheap, best calcium to phosphorous ratio feeder available, decent protein, decent shelf-life (3 weeks), movement stimulates feeding
Con: Messy, can not and should not be gut-loaded, different brands of black soldier fly larvae confuse consumers, some leopard geckos don’t like them
Notes: There are different brands of black soldier fly larvae. Their nutritional values are different between each brands because they are fed different diets and raised on different bedding mediums. Phoenix Worm is the most popular one, and it carries the best & safe calcium to phosphorous ratio of 1.52%. Another brand, Calciworm, contain a calcium to phosphorous ratio of 3.28%. This is too high and not safe for continued consumption by leopard geckos. For leopard gecko feeding, we recommend going with the Phoenix Worm brand. Continue reading “Leopard Gecko Feeding – Feeder Insects Nutritional Value Facts”