Leopard geckos are popular pets due to their small size, docile nature, and easiness of caring for them. Their diet and habitat are also fairly simple.
However, it is important to know that leopard geckos cannot eat fruits or vegetables as part of their diet.
This article will explain why in more detail, and present what a proper diet for these reptiles should be.
Why Leopard Geckos cannot eat Fruits or Vegetables
Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning that their diet primarily consists of insects. They have evolved to digest and utilize the nutrients from insects effectively, but their digestive system is not well adapted to process fruits and vegetables.
The main reason leopard geckos cannot eat or digest fruits and vegetables is that their digestive system lacks the necessary enzymes to break down complex carbohydrates, fibers and sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables. These compounds pass through their digestive tract undigested and can cause health issues such as diarrhea, bloating, and malnutrition.
Leopard geckos also lack the salivary amylase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down starches and sugars in the mouth, making it harder for them to digest fruits and vegetables. They also have a shorter gut than herbivores or omnivores, which is not as efficient at breaking down and absorbing nutrients from fruits and vegetables.
In short: The digestive system of a leopard gecko simply isn’t able to handle fruits and veggies.
What happens when you feed fruits or veggies to your Leopard Gecko
The first potential problem is diarrhea: Because of the high water content and fiber, along with the fruit being indigestible, the gecko might get a very irritated bowel for a while! A bloated, gassy stomach is another related problem that can come from feeding vegetables or greens to your gecko.
Another big issue is impaction: Worse than irritation, impaction can be deadly if not treated in time! Basically, impaction is when something indigestible is blocking the digestive tract of your gecko, preventing both digestion and normal pooping.
So even though we are raised with the idea of vegetables and fruit being good and healthy, you need to consider them dangerous and potentially deadly for your gecko! However, small pieces are relatively harmless, so if your gecko ever happens to get a few bites of fruit, you do not need to rush to the vet.
What Leopard Geckos need instead
The natural diet of wild leopard geckos consists primarily of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, beetles, and other small invertebrates. In the wild, these lizards will also occasionally eat small lizards, spiders, and even the occasional small mammal, like baby mice. In short, a leopard gecko in the wild needs to eat whatever insect it can find.
In captivity, leopard geckos should be fed a diet that mimics their natural diet as closely as possible. This means that the proper diet for leopard geckos is live insects: such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches.
These insects should be dusted with a calcium supplement before feeding, as leopard geckos require calcium for healthy bones. Vitamin D powder should also be used regularly, along with the occasional multivitamin.
Some commercial leopard gecko diets, such as meal replacement powder, are also available but should be used with caution as they may not provide all the necessary nutrients.
It is important for leopard gecko owners to understand that these lizards cannot eat fruit as part of their diet. Fruits and vegetables are not a natural food source for leopard geckos and can lead to health problems such as diarrhea, bloating, impaction, and malnutrition.
Instead, a healthy diet consists of only live insects, mainly a mix of crickets, roaches, and mealworms.