Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet reptiles due to their docile nature, fascinating behavior, and of course, their love for food. These adorable creatures have unique dietary needs that are specific to their species, and providing them with a well-balanced diet is crucial for their health and well-being.
Something you may have wondered from time to time is whether or not you can feed wild insects and other creatures, such as nightcrawlers and other worms, to your pet leopard gecko. In the post below, we will answer this question and many others just like it.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Nightcrawlers?
Yes, leopard geckos can safely eat and digest nightcrawlers. However, it’s unlikely that your gecko will actually attempt to eat a nightcrawler when presented with one.
Leopard geckos are picky eaters, and the size of nightcrawlers can make them a difficult prey to choke down. On top of this, nightcrawlers secrete a sticky mucus that helps them stay hydrated. Leopard geckos are not fond of this mucus.
However, technically speaking, there’s nothing wrong if your leopard gecko does enjoy nightcrawlers. In fact, they are packed with nutrients and minerals that are great for your pet, such as iron. A full breakdown is below (info courtesy of whatanimalseat.com):
|Nightcrawler Nutrition Facts|
|Magnesium||136 mg per kg|
|Calcium||444 mg per kg|
If you are going to try and give your leopard gecko a nightcrawler, keep these things in mind:
- Make sure the nightcrawler isn’t too big for your gecko to swallow
- Ensure that the nightcrawler was not found anywhere that pesticides or other chemicals are used
- Be sure to clean the nightcrawler before feeding it to your gecko
What Other Insects Do Leopard Geckos Like?
Leopard geckos can safely eat a wide variety of insects, such as mealworm beetles, darkling beetles, crickets, wax worms, and more. Most of these feeder insects can be purchased at reptile stores, but some can also be found in the wild.
Some insects to avoid giving your leopard gecko include:
- Lightning Bugs– Lightning bugs (also known as fireflies) are toxic to leopard geckos and other types of lizards. A general rule of thumb is to avoid feeding them anything that glows.
- Ants – You should never give your leopard gecko any type of ant, as together they can bite and injure your gecko from the inside. Certain types of ants, such as fire ants, also carry harmful toxins.
- Bees & Wasps – If it’s harmful to you, it’s most likely harmful to them. Bees and wasps should not be given to leopard geckos.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Dead Crickets & Other Dead Insects?
No, you should never give your leopard gecko or other pet reptiles any dead insects as they can carry harmful bacteria as well as fail to provide your pet with any nutritional benefit. Leopard geckos also prefer live insects because it stimulates their natural instinct to hunt.
Standard Leopard Gecko Diet
A standard leopard gecko’s diet should consist of a variety of live insects, supplemented with a small amount of fruits and vegetables. The primary insects that should be fed to leopard geckos include crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. These insects should be gut-loaded (fed a nutritious diet prior to feeding them to your gecko) and dusted with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement powder before being offered to your pet.
Leopard geckos should be fed in the evening, as they are nocturnal creatures and are most active during the night. Adult geckos should be fed every other day, while younger geckos and breeding females may need to be fed daily. However, it’s important not to overfeed your leopard gecko, as obesity can lead to health issues.
In addition to insects, leopard geckos can also be offered small amounts of fruit and vegetables, such as mashed pumpkin, sweet potato, and pineapple. However, these should only be offered as occasional treats and should not make up a significant portion of their diet.
Remember to always provide fresh water in a shallow dish for your leopard gecko, and ensure that their food is dusted with supplements to meet their nutritional needs. By following these guidelines, you can provide your leopard gecko with a healthy and well-balanced diet to support their overall health and longevity.
Verdict: Can Leopard Geckos Eat Nightcrawlers?
Yes, leopard geckos can safely eat nightcrawlers. However, it’s highly unlikely that yours will. These picky eaters tend to avoid the slimy mucus that nightcrawlers and earthworms create, and would prefer something that catches their attention more, such as crickets or beetles.
Still, it’s always best to do your research before giving any type of new insect to your leopard gecko for the first time. Feel free to check out our leopard gecko care guide for more information.