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Just like dogs and cats, leopard geckos are adorable, beautiful pets. If you are a starter at caring for geckos, this is an excellent gecko to start with as it is easy to care for. However, as a new leopard gecko owner, you may have questions regarding their diet. One of the most common questions about leopard gecko diets is if they can eat grasshoppers.
These geckos are insectivorous and can feed on any insect, including grasshoppers. Therefore, you should not be afraid of feeding them this delicacy. However, there are things you will need to consider to help your leopard gecko stay healthy. Read on below for more information related to leopard gecko diets.
What You Should Know About Feeding Leopard Geckos?
Leopard geckos are insectivores. They love to eat and will consume almost any insect that comes their way. However, it is best not to let them overfeed or feed them the wrong food types as they will likely end up with serious health complications.
Typically and in the wild, these geckos hunt at night. Their favorite insects include caterpillars, mealworms, wax moth larvae, springtails, and crickets.
However, the leopard gecko in your home is most likely to have been bred in captivity. This means that you cannot simply go into the wild and get them crickets or worms to eat.
You have to plan their diet carefully and avoid feeding them wild crickets and worms that will compromise their immunity.
There are factors to consider as you plan your leopard gecko’s diet, including their age. Lizard Gecko hatchlings begin to feed approximately four or five days after hatching. They indulge in small crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.
They also eat baby mice occasionally as adults as a substitute for insects. Feeding them more than one baby mouse or super worms many times in a month is not a food idea because it can lead to obesity.
The most important thing to know about feeding your leopard gecko is that you should not feed them every day. Feed them twice or thrice a week or every day in smaller portions.
These animals need vitamin D and calcium just like humans. If they do not get sufficient amounts of these two nutrients, they are likely to get sick with metabolic bone disease. This disease causes limb deformities, and their spines become painful.
The foods we have mentioned above are among the most common and favorites of the leopard gecko. As a gecko owner, you must maintain a habit of feeding your reptile friend a well-balanced mix of insects to keep them healthy.
Read More: Can Leopard Geckos Eat Spiders?
How To Feed Grasshoppers to Your Leopard Gecko?
If you have ever lived with a leopard gecko, you most likely know that it is better to feed them on live worms and insects than dead ones. Dead insects could potentially make your gecko sick.
However, there is much more to feeding them than just giving them live insects.
For starters, there is a process called gut loading. Gut loading involves feeding store-bought insects on nutritional food for a few days before feeding them to your leopard gecko.
Why Do You Need to Gut Load Store-bought Insects?
Store-bought insects are fed on generic insect food made from processed wheat. This means that they are not well-fed, and in most cases, they are also not nutritious. If your gecko eats this food, it may not gain the required nutritional value from it.
Therefore, gut loading helps raise the nutrient levels in the insects before your gecko can eat them.
How Is Gut Loading Done?
Gut loading involves feeding insects with vegetables and fruits for a few days before feeding them to the gecko.
Some of the foods used to gut load insects such as grasshoppers include apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, tropical fish food, baby rice cereal, squash, dark leafy greens, and more.
Keep in mind that whatever the crickets eat will end up in your gecko’s body. Therefore, you should ensure that you use fresh vegetables and fruits when gut loading because when fruits and vegetables start to go bad, they lose their nutritional value.
Gut load insects for a few days before feeding them to your leopard gecko.
Dusting Insects with Calcium Powder and Vitamin D
Apart from gut loading, dusting insects with calcium powder helps increase their nutritional value.
Calcium helps increase the amount of calcium that you will give to your gecko. Calcium is crucial as it helps keep your leopard gecko healthy. A calcium deficiency would lead to metabolic bone disease.
It is best to use calcium with no fillers and artificial additives for dusting. Ideally, the product should be a balance of calcium and phosphorus.
How To Dust Insects
Dusting insects such as grasshoppers is easy. Follow the simple steps we outline below:
It is recommended that you substitute the calcium with a multivitamin when dusting every once in a while.
You must feed your leopard gecko correctly, as this helps improve their quality of life and health.
What is Not Good for Your Leopard Gecko?
While insects are suitable for your leopard gecko, wild insects can expose them to chemicals and cause them illness.
Moreover, they should not be fed on baby mice too often as such a diet can lead to obesity.
Apart from baby mice, super worms and wax worms are also best fed as treats as they could also lead to obesity.
It is interesting to note that butter worms are not only high in fat, but your gecko is likely to become addicted. Therefore, just like baby mice and super worms, they should be served occasionally.
Leopard geckos live mainly on a diet of insects. Therefore, it is okay to feed them grasshoppers. You should avoid feeding them wild insects as these might expose them to harmful chemicals and make them sick. As much as they enjoy butter worms, waxworms, and baby mice, these should be served occasionally. Most importantly, maintain a healthy mix of these insects and worms to ensure they remain healthy and strong.