Reptiles can have a variety of dietary needs, and it’s important for pet owners to know what to feed their animals. Though some lizard species enjoy a mix of insects, small animals (like pinky mice), and plants, it’s not the correct diet for all reptiles.
While it is natural to assume that leopard geckos can eat fruits and vegetables like other lizards, this could not be further from the truth. Leopard geckos cannot digest plants and should not be offered fruits or vegetables as part of their diet. Read more to find out why, and what to feed them instead.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Fruit or Vegetables?
Leopard geckos are a popular choice of pet lizard, but many owners may not realize that these animals have specific dietary needs. While other pet reptiles may thrive on leafy greens and a variety of fruits and vegetables leopard geckos cannot eat fruit or vegetables. Their natural diet consists mainly of insects.
A healthy leopard gecko diet consists insects like crickets, mealworms, super worms, and dubia roaches. The insects feast on vegetables, fruits, and other plant matter. When gut loaded insects are fed to your gecko, they are getting the nutrients from the plants – just indirectly.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Fruit?
While leopard geckos can eat a wide range of insects, they cannot eat fruit. This is because their bodies are not designed to digest these types of food sources and eating them can actually be harmful as the sugars in fruits and soft diets cannot be digested.
You should not feed your leopard gecko fruit, though letting the bugs munch away on fruit like apples 12-24 hours before feeding them to your pet leopard gecko helps pass that nutrition along for a healthy meal.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Vegetables?
Some pet lizards thrive on leafy collard greens or lettuce. After all, vegetables are healthy, right? Leopard geckos are insectivores and can not eat vegetables. However, there are still ways to give your pet the nutrients it needs from these food sources.
A leopard gecko will get all the nutrition it needs from its staple diet of insects. Gut loading the insects on vegetables like carrots prior to feeding them to your gecko provides the nutrition they need.
Why can’t Leopard Geckos eat fruit or vegetables?
Reptiles like bearded dragons, iguanas, or turtles commonly eat vegetables as part of a balanced diet. Why can’t leopard geckos eat fruits or vegetables?
Generally speaking, leopard geckos just don’t have the digestive system to process this type of food. They lack a functioning cecum, which is part of the digestive system that breaks down the cellulose present in fruit and vegetables.
Without a functioning cecum, these plant foods pass right through without being properly broken down and digested.
In short, while leopard geckos won’t be able to digest fruit or vegetables like we do, there are still ways to introduce these foods into their diet in moderation for a much-needed nutritional boost.
Risks of Leopard Geckos Eating Fruit
Fruit may seem like a healthy treat for your pet reptile, but there are many risks associated with feeding them plants.
The main reason why leopard geckos should not eat too much fruit is that these reptiles lack a functioning cecum, an organ that helps to break down cellulose found in most fruits and vegetables. Without this organ, the food passes through them without being digested properly and can lead to discomfort or even digestive issues.
What do they typically eat in the wild?
In the wild, leopard geckos feed on a wide variety of insects and invertebrates. Their diet consists mainly of beetles, crickets, and a variety of worms all of which provide them with essential proteins and fats. This variety of food sources allows leopard geckos to get much-needed protein from the insect exoskeletons .
Read more about wild geckos and their natural habitat in our post Where do Leopard Geckos Come From?
What to Feed Leopard Geckos Instead of Fruits and Vegetables
Feeder insects such as crickets and mealworms should be a staple food source. Adult leopard geckos may be offered occasional treats such as wax worms, silkworms, and butter worms (they love them, but these worms are high in fat content.)
Additionally, make sure you provide your leopard gecko with a calcium supplement to ensure they receive all the essential nutrients for healthy growth and development.
Related Post: Learn other foods to never feed to your leopard gecko
Wrap Up – Do Leopard Geckos Eat Plants?
The leopard gecko’s digestive system cannot digest plant matter. For optimal health and wellness, steer clear of fruits, vegetables, plant matter, or human foods for leopard geckos. Instead, feed them live insects.
For those keeping leopard geckos in captivity, offering them a varied diet is key to ensuring that they stay healthy and happy. Feeder insects should always make up the majority of their diet along with occasional treats like wax worms.
Gut loading your feeding insects and supplementing with calcium powder, your gecko should be getting the high quality diet it needs.