Leopard geckos are known for their endearing smiles and their irresistible cuteness; as a result, they have swiftly surpassed even the beardies in terms of popularity as pet companions. The leopard gecko, also known by its scientific name, Eublepharis macularius, is regarded as the ideal low-maintenance pet option for new reptile fans as well as professional herpetologists. The topic “what do leopard geckos eat?” is one of the first queries that people who are interested in this gorgeous spotted reptile ask. So let us discuss the Leopard Gecko diet and what they eat?
Leos are opportunistic carnivores, meaning that they will consume anything that they are able to grab. These reptiles may consume prey such as beetles, wasps, bugs, and scorpions for food in the wild. In addition to that, they will occasionally hunt and eat newborn mice, gecko babies, and tiny snakes.
They are willing to give any animal a shot as long as it is tiny enough to fit in their mouths. There have even been tales of geckos devouring hatchlings in their quest for food, but this behavior is quite unusual.
More about Leos eating behavior
Leopard geckos do not sit and wait for their prey to come to them; instead, they actively seek them out and pursue them. They have excellent eyesight and will move stealthily and methodically in order to get their prey. They will occasionally shake or flex the ends of their tails before striking their prey when they are hunting. This helps to startle their prey into action and get them to move.
After making their first attack, they soon kill their target by shaking it. Geckos often ignore their dead prey, but occasionally they may lick it to evaluate whether or not it is edible.
The lizard’s pursuit of its prey may be pretty interesting to watch. They are skilled hunters with exceptional eyesight and a heightened sense of smell, despite their little size and ferocity. In addition, they have strong jaws equipped with a hundred fine, pointed teeth capable of being replaced every three to four months.
Leopard geckos will consume food whenever they have the chance. Wild creatures almost never develop overweight or obese due to their high activity levels and the lack of prey available to them. In point of fact, most of the time they are underweight. The average weight of a wild Lep is around 27-30 grams, although bigger pets can weigh up to 80-90 grams.
Leopard geckos kept as pets have lower activity levels than wild leopard geckos, and the food they consume is of higher quality; thus, they tend to put on excess weight. Maintaining a regular feeding routine for your gecko and keeping an eye on any signs of weight increase to reduce the risk of obesity is essential.
It is usual for juveniles and hatchlings to consume food more often and grow quicker than adults. Species that are older than 24 Months should no longer grow weight and thus feed less frequently, even though the size of their prey might get greater.
What to Give Your Pet Leopard Gecko to Eat?
The process of providing food for a pet leopard gecko is not only easy, but it’s also a lot of fun to see. They ambush their victim after tracking it from a distance or just wait for the bug to come too near before pouncing on it. This hunting strategy is very similar to the one used by their wild counterparts.
When it comes to feeding a Leos, it is preferable to provide them with as many insects as they can consume within a time frame of five to ten minutes. In addition, to protect the gecko from suffocation or impaction, you should always choose insects that are no larger than the distance in width that separates the gecko’s eyes. Your gecko will become disinterested in the food it consumes very fast if it is always the same item.
Most owners of reptiles just place the feeder insects in their gecko’s enclosure or feeding dish one at a time, and then they let their gecko pick them up whenever it is convenient for them. If your gecko is very fussy about its food (or, alternately, if it is elderly or crippled and needs a little bit of extra assistance), there are feeding tweezers available on the market. It is also possible to feed your gecko by hand, but doing so inhibits the natural foraging activities that your gecko would typically exhibit and, over time, might cause them to become sluggish.
Do Leos Need Some Extra Supplements?
The diet of a captive leopard gecko needs to have a supplement containing calcium and vitamin D3 given to each and every one of their meals. There are several essential health considerations underlying this decision.
To begin, geckos kept as pets require additional calcium and vitamin D3 because their natural meals do not provide sufficient nutrients. This is because most feeder insects marketed commercially contain an extremely high level of phosphorus but a very low level of calcium. In addition, in order for the gecko’s body to absorb and appropriately make use of calcium, vitamin D3 is required.
A leopard gecko that is kept in captivity may soon develop a susceptibility to malnutrition and MBD if the calcium and vitamin D3 in its diet are insufficient. This condition is excruciating and sometimes deadly, and it causes substantial bone deformation. MBD is a fatal disease that cannot be cured and causes a great deal of anguish for the reptile that has it. There is some degree of reversibility.
The calcium supplement given to a captive leopard gecko should preferably have calcium (Ca) to phosphorus (P) ratio of 3:1 or higher, an even better option. The vast majority of supplements are offered in either powdered or liquid forms, and they are intended to be either “dusted” over the insect or administered directly to the Leo using a syringe or eyedropper.
What Methods Of Hunting Do Wild Leopard Geckos Use To Catch Their Prey?
Leopard geckos are very opportunistic when it comes to hunting prey (as discussed above). They are ready to attack on virtually any bug or other invertebrate that gets too close to their territory. Most of the time, they hunt during the crepuscular or night hours.
Leopard geckos, fortunately, have excellent vision, particularly their ability to see in the dark. Because of this adaption, they are far better able to sneak up on their prey at such unnatural hours. In addition, they are voracious predators, meaning their method of hunting is basic and uncomplicated.
Are leopard geckos able to digest plant matter of any kind?
As insectivores, leopard geckos are unable to consume fruit or vegetables in their diet. Meat, such as insects, is the only food that the body of a leopard gecko can break down.
The fact that their systems were not developed to process or digest fruit and veggies is why they cannot consume any of these food groups.
They do not have a working cecum, which is the body’s area responsible for digesting cellulose, a chemical that may be found in fruits and vegetables.
In addition to this, their digestive tracts are alkaline and shorter, in contrast to the digestive tracts of herbivores, which are much longer and more acidic.
In addition, their skulls and jaws have adapted over time to enable them to consume meat, even though they are smaller and less intense than herbivores.
Research has shown that leopard geckos are able to consume fruit and vegetables; however, because they are unable to digest these foods, it is highly doubtful that doing so will benefit them in any way.