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Can Leopard Geckos Eat Spiders? (Must-Know Information)
Every once in a while, I’ll get this question completely out of the blue – can leopard geckos eat spiders?
We know that leopard geckos live on a diet consistent of various bugs such as mealworms, crickets, and the occasional hornworm or two.
These insects make up a leopard geckos diet because they’re tasty, safe, and full of vital nutrients that keep your leopard gecko alive.
But – does the same apply to our creepy little 8-legged spiders?
Leopard geckos can eat spiders. In fact, they’re full of protein, zinc, folic acid, and other vital nutrients. However, you should never feed your leopard gecko a spider found in the wild. Wild caught spiders pose a risk of containing dangerous parasites, pesticides, or herbicides. If you’re going to feed your leopard gecko a spider, it needs to be purchased from a reliable dealer.
So, now that we know leopard geckos can eat spiders, lets talk a little more about the nutritional value of spiders, how to safely feed them to your leopard gecko, and other weird critters you can feed your leopard gecko!
Nutritional Value of Spiders
Many people are surprised to learn that spiders are one of the most protein-rich bugs available. In fact, per 10 grams, the average spider contains 6.3g of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 9 calories from fat.
To put that into perspective, crickets – one of the most commonly fed bugs for leopard geckos – only contain .67g of protein, .55g of fat, and 5 calories from fat.
As you can probably tell, spiders contain nearly twice the fat and calories as crickets – but they’re nearly 10x richer in protein. It’s also important to note that these are digestible proteins – unlike some foods that contain proteins that are indigestible, rendering them useless.
This is due to the fact that spiders’ themselves have a very protein-rich diet. Their diet consists of mosquitoes, flies, ants, cockroaches, moths, and many other high-protein bug choices.
Furthermore, spiders actually consume their own web which provides a major source of protein for the spider.
How to Safely Feed Spiders to Your Leopard Gecko
Now that you know that spiders are generally safe for leopard geckos if fed under the right conditions, you’re probably wondering how to safely feed them to your leopard gecko.
Well, first of all, you’re going to want to find a reliable spider vendor. After doing a little digging, I came across Josh’s Frogs who happens to sell many different types of feeder bugs – including spiders.
Once you acquire your spiders – feed one to leopard gecko. Because spiders look a little different than the typical meals they’re accustomed to, they may or may not be interested in eating it.
Also, spiders tend to stand still in the presence of a predator. You can poke the spider to make it move around. This will give your leopard gecko indication that the spider is prey.
Keep in mind – outside of protein, zinc, and folic acid – spiders contain little nutrients. Additionally, they have a pretty high fat content. Consequently, you shouldn’t feed your leopard gecko a spider but once every week or two.
What to do if You’ve Fed Your Leopard Gecko a Wild Caught Spider
As we discussed earlier, you should never attempt to feed your leopard gecko a wild-caught spider. They can contain dangerous parasites that can harm your leopard gecko.
Now, I know some of you are here because you’ve already made the mistake of feeding your leopard gecko a wild spider.
If you’ve fed your leopard gecko a wild-caught spider, it may or may not contain something dangerous. I’d keep a close eye on your leopard gecko, observing for any signs of sickness or unusual behavior.
Keep in mind, you should always contact a veterinarian for guidance in situations such as these.
5 Other Weird Bugs You Can Feed Your Leopard Gecko
Outside of spiders, there are plenty of other unusual bugs that you can feed your leopard gecko. Although uncommon, these bugs can be healthy treats for your leopard gecko if only fed on an occasional basis. Some of these bugs include:
Waxworms are a fan favorite among leopard geckos. In fact, they’re so good that some leopard geckos refuse to go back to their normal diet after eating them!
Because these worms are so high in fat, they should only be fed once a week at most. Preferably, once a month.
Locusts are also a great food source for leopard geckos if you’re looking to switch things up. It’s important to note that you should only feed bugs that are smaller than your leopard geckos head. Locusts tend to be on the larger side – so be sure to look for smaller ones if you do end up deciding to try this treat!
Earthworms, although unusual, can be fed to leopard geckos safely. However, due to their size, you’ll probably want to cut them up to make them easily consumable. Earthworms provide a great source of protein and hydration, but not all leopard geckos like the taste.
Dubia Roaches are another fun food to feed your leopard gecko. They’re super high in protein, calcium, and low in fat. Dubia roaches can be a staple in your leopard geckos diet and can be fed on a regular basis.
Phoenix worms are another great treat for leopard geckos because they have an excellent calcium to phosphorus ratio. Furthermore, they’re high in nutrients and most leopard geckos seem to enjoy them.
Although phoenix worms can be a bit hard to come across, they make for an excellent treat if you can find a reliable vendor.
Let’s be honest – the idea of feeding your leopard gecko a spider is interesting, nonetheless.
However, although spiders are high in protein and other vital nutrients, they’re extremely hard to come across. Very few pet stores, if any, sell them as feeders. Plus, finding them online can be just as difficult.
Nevertheless, if you do find a reliable spider vendor, spiders can make for an awesome treat for your leopard gecko.
Even so, there are plenty of other weird bugs you can feed to your leopard gecko. This includes dubia roaches, phoenix worms, earthworms, locusts, and waxworms!
Anyhow, we hope you gained something of value after reading this article. As always – Happy Herping!