My leopard gecko won’t eat – feeding problems – behavior change

my leopard gecko won't eat extreme emerine albino not eating

One of the most commonly asked questions is “what do I do, my leopard gecko won’t eat”.  Your geckos have stopped feeding on a regular schedule, you are now wondering if there’s something wrong.  The very first thing you should check is your husbandry.  If you have not read our leopard gecko care guide, you should take a look.  It contains detailed valuable information on proper husbandry.

Leopard geckos require proper belly heating in order to digest food

If you do not provide proper belly heat, they can’t digest food properly, and could stop eating as a result.  The ideal belly heat is between 88 – 93 degrees Fahrenheit.  Gecko owners often make the mistake of measuring the air temperature because they purchased a leopard gecko “kit” from the pet store, as they usually come with a stick on thermometer.  It’s important you measure the floor temperature where your gecko will be laying on to get the proper temperature reading for belly heat.  You can easily and quickly measure your tank’s floor temperature by using a temperature gun like Etekcity’s Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer.  Just point and click.  Or if you prefer constant reading, a digital thermometer with a probe.

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Leopard Gecko Feeding – Feeder Insects Nutritional Value Facts

leopard gecko feeding feeder insects nutrition dubia roaches

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.

Crickets

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

Mealworms

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

Notes:  Giant mealworms are mealworms treated with juvenile hormone analog, S-Methoprene.  S-Methoprene is an insect growth regulator, it prevents the mealworm from pupating.  We have an article if you wish to learn more about how giant mealworms are created.  Read the article so you can decide for yourself whether you want to use giant mealworms as feeders.

Superworms

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), 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

Dubia Roaches

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