Most research about Crested Gecko diets has shown that in the wild they eat fruits, flower nectar and small bugs. The result of this research led to the development of powdered foods, sold as “complete diets”.
I got my first Crested Gecko in 2006. He was a month old and I fed him a complete Crested Gecko Diet and crickets.
For the first year, I never saw him eat, but he thrived and is now the senior gecko in the household at the age of 17.
Keep reading to learn what a Crested Gecko eats and how to provide healthy food they will eat. We also share tips on why one isn’t eating and what not to feed.
What to Know
- Crested Geckos are omnivores, they eat plants, flower nectar, tropical fruits, small bugs and worms.
- Hatchlings and young juveniles can be fed every day. Adults should be fed 2-3 times a week. Some eat immediately, while others may “graze” on food for several hours. Generally they do not overeat.
- A single crestie eats about 1/2 a teaspoon of Crested Gecko Diet mixed with water.
- Adults may go without food for several weeks as their metabolism slows in the winter and when they get interested in mating.
- Some hatchlings need to be taught how to eat live prey like bugs and worms.
What Do Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested Geckos live on tropical islands and are nocturnal. They spend most of the day asleep in leaves and trees waiting for nightfall. Once the sun begins to set they wake up and prepare themselves for a night of hunting for various foods like:
- Overripe fruit
- Plant fluids
- Any small insects
We do not know exactly how much they eat in the wild as their populations are dwindling. We do know that Crested Geckos eat lots of papayas, mangos, bananas, tree sap, grasshoppers, roaches and spiders.
Interestingly they eat overripe fruit in the wild and they often prefer older fruit to ripe fruit.
These Geckos are active hunters that move quickly and efficiently through the thick vegetation of tree canopies. They can jump easily between branches and give chase to any insects they may find. Some of their favorite insects include crickets and roaches.
Pet Crested Gecko diets are very similar to that of their wild relatives. You can expect to feed them a variety of fruits, vegetables, worms and insects. Many keepers enjoy the low cost and simplicity of their diet!
Most of the fruit and vegetables required are easily found at any grocery store and feeder insects are available at nearly every pet store.
One difference for pet species is that they need their insects to be dusted with calcium and vitamin D3 powder. This is necessary for almost all captive lizards including leopard gecko diets. The reason for this is that they do not get enough calcium in their diet that they would normally have in the wild.
Some keepers choose to feed a commercial diet. This can be very convenient, but it is not required and can be expensive.
Feeding your Crested Gecko a variety of fruits, vegetables, insects and worms is cheaper in the long run. It is also more enriching and healthier.
Crested Gecko Diet
The first thing to consider when planning what to feed your Crested Gecko is diet type.
Do you want to use a commercial all-inclusive diet or a natural variety of fruits, vegetables and insects?
Many keepers choose a diet that focuses on fresh fruits and live insects. This is beneficial because not only does it provide enrichment, but it is also cheaper, healthier and easy to find. Some keepers also find that being able to choose from a wide variety of fruits makes feeding picky pets much easier!
The best Crested Gecko diet will have a mix of fruits and insects.
Fruits like papaya, mango, strawberries, raspberries, and figs can be cut into small pieces or blended and fed. Keepers will often leave the fruit in the bottom of the enclosure. Adults are fed on average ¼ cup of fruit two to four times per week.
Adults should also be fed a cricket or roach that is dusted with calcium powder every other day. It is best to feed this insect with tongs.
Keepers who do not feed a mix of fruit and insects instead feed a commercial diet. These complete diets are usually in powdered form and contain blended insects, fruits, vegetables and calcium supplements that have been dehydrated. You simply add water and then feed the mixture in a bowl.
Though this may seem like a great option, even these diets occasionally need to be supplemented with fresh food items. Complete diets can be very convenient for keepers that may not have the time to prepare a variety of fresh foods every few days. However, it is best to supplement this diet with fresh fruits to provide variety and enrichment.
Another thing to consider is the age of your Crested Gecko.
Hatchlings are an exception because they do not need to be fed any insects for the first month of their life. During their first month they get the majority of their nutrients from the remnants of the yolk sac they were born with. Because of this hatchlings are only fed a few tablespoons of fruit once a day.
Adults and juveniles have similar diets, though younger Cresties usually eat less.
Picking The Right Fruit
Now that you have an idea about diet you need to know how to pick healthy fruits.
When selecting fruits and vegetables to feed a crested gecko the main variable to consider is the calcium to phosphorus ratio. Feeding foods with a high calcium ratio will help to make sure your pet gets enough calcium in their diet. It will also help to reduce the chance of them getting conditions like metabolic bone disease.
Normally you want to pick fruits with lots of calcium and not much phosphorus.
A good ratio for Crested Geckos is two parts calcium for every one part phosphorus.
You should try to feed a Crested Gecko fruits that match the criteria above. If you are not sure, you can always check the nutritional information on fruits and vegetables and look for high levels of calcium and low phosphorus.
Foods with a high calcium to phosphorus ratio include fruits like papayas, nectarines, figs and raspberries:
|Best Fruits||Good Fruits||Bad Fruits|
|Mustard Greens||Berries (blueberries, strawberries and blackberries)||Bananas|
|Cactus Fruits||Cherries||Passion Fruits|
What Fruits Can Crested Geckos Eat?
Your Crested Gecko can eat a variety of different fruits. The most important thing to consider is the calcium to phosphorus ratio. You want fruits with high levels of calcium and low levels of phosphorus. This includes fruits like:
- Prickly Pear
- Cactus Fruits
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries and blackberries)
The amount you feed a Crested Gecko depends on their appetite, age and size.
Most keepers give adults a small dish of fruit every other day.
These fruits should be washed, peeled and have any inedible stems or seeds removed. They should be given in very small pieces that are half the size of your lizard’s head. Baby crested gecko food should be mashed to avoid any choking hazards.
Feeding this mix of fruits in the evening helps to mimic the time they would naturally go hunting in the wild.
As for insects an adult Crested Gecko should be eating one medium cricket or roach every few days. These live insects should be dusted with calcium powder and fed with tongs. The only rule is to make sure that the insect is smaller than the space between their eyes. They often won’t eat insects that are too large and can also easily choke on them if they do.
|1 month||1 tablespoonful of fruits||1 meal per day|
|1 to 18 months||2 tablespoons of fruit and 1 small insect||1 meal of fruit per day, 1 insect every 2 days|
|18+ months||1/4+ cup of fruit and 1 to 2 medium insects||Every other day|
There are a few things to avoid in a good crested gecko diet.
They should not be fed citrus fruits as they have high concentrations of vitamin C and oxalic acid. Oxalic acid doesn’t allow their bodies to absorb calcium properly and can lead to calcium deficiency. Excess vitamin C can also cause diarrhea.
Avoid fruits like pineapples, kiwis, grapefruit and other citrus fruits. Avocados should also never be fed as they contain a toxin called persin which can cause sudden death in small animals.
How Long Can Crested Geckos Go Without Food?
Crested Geckos are “cold-blooded” reptiles which means they have lower metabolic rates than a mammal of the same size. This gives them the ability to go without food for longer periods of time.
Healthy pet Geckos are able to go without food for one or two weeks.
A Crested Gecko not eating could be due to a variety of reasons. They may be uncomfortable in a new habitat, have improper temperatures or humidity, a tank that is too small or no proper hiding spots.
After one week of not eating you should check to make sure that their tank setup and husbandry is correct.
Two weeks of not eating and you should take your Crested Gecko to an exotic vet. A vet will be able to make sure that it is not due to a health issue like impaction or a parasitic infection.
What Can Crested Geckos Eat?
Mealworms: Yes, but only sometimes. Mealworms are safe to feed, but they are not nutritious. This insect is very high in fat and has a hard exoskeleton that can be difficult to eat. If fed as a treat mealworms should be blended.
Bananas: Yes. Bananas are very easy to eat because of their softness, but they do have low amounts of calcium. Because of this they will need to be fed with other fruits.
Blueberries: Yes. Crested geckos love blueberries! They have moderate calcium levels and when cut into small pieces they are easy to eat.
Strawberries: Yes. Strawberries are another great fruit. This fruit is cheap, easy to find and has good levels of calcium.
Superworms: Yes, but only sometimes. Superworms can be fed as an occasional treat. These worms are high in protein and fat which can quickly lead to obesity.
Fruit: Yes. The majority of a Crested Gecko diet should be fruit! They frequently eat fruit in the wild and will be happy to eat fruit.
Apples: Yes. Apples are another cheap fruit that crested geckos love. Make sure they are cut into small pieces or blended and the seeds and stem are removed. Apple seeds are known to contain amygdalin which produces cyanide and is toxic in large amounts.
Dubia Roaches: Yes. Dubia roaches are a great feeder insect. Just make sure they are smaller than the space between your lizard’s eyes.
Grapes: Yes. Grapes have a good calcium to phosphorus ratio and are perfectly fine to feed in small amounts.
Crickets: Yes. Crickets are one of the best insects for Crested Geckos. Just make sure you are dusting them with a calcium supplement before feeding.
Raspberries: Yes. Raspberries are great fruit as they contain high levels of calcium. They will help your Gecko avoid metabolic bone disease.
Watermelon: Yes. Watermelon is perfectly safe to feed and can help to rehydrate an individual that hasn’t ate for a week or so.
Lettuce: Not really. Lettuce is not a necessary part of their diet as it does not hold much nutritional value. They can be fed small amounts of lettuce once a week as it is a good source of vitamin A.
Pineapple: No. Pineapple is not safe for Crested Geckos as it is a citrus fruit. Not only are pineapples highly acidic, they also contain oxalic acids and high levels of vitamin C which can be very harmful.
Earthworms: Yes, but only sometimes. Earthworms should only be given occasionally as a treat. Overfeeding can cause imbalances in their calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Baby Food: Yes, but only sometimes. Baby food is a great treat as long as you thoroughly read the ingredients. The key is to only pick baby foods that consist of blended fruit. Stay away from foods with added sugar and preservatives.
Oranges: No. Oranges are considered a citrus fruit and are not good for your Crested Gecko. Citrus fruits can lead to diarrhea and metabolic bone disease if fed consistently.
Carrots: Yes. Carrots are a great vegetable to feed. Many keepers consider carrots a staple in their diet as they contain little phosphorus.
Applesauce: Yes. Applesauce is perfectly safe to feed. When purchasing applesauce find a brand that contains no added sugar or preservatives.
Mango: Yes. Mango is a great food for Crested Geckos. Overripe mango also has a very soft texture that is easy for them to eat.
Ants: No. Ants are not recommended. They are very small, do not have many nutrients and have strong bites or stings that can hurt your pet.
Peaches: Yes. Peaches are a staple fruit and are very soft and easy to eat.
Dried Mealworms: Yes, but only sometimes. Similar to fresh mealworms, dried mealworms are okay as a treat. They are high in protein, but have a hard exoskeleton that is difficult to digest. Crushing mealworms can aid in digestion and reduce the risk of impaction.
Honey: Yes, but only sometimes. Crested Geckos love honey due to its sugary sweet nature. You should not feed honey frequently as it contains high levels of sugar.
Kiwi: No. Kiwis are a citrus fruit and are not safe to feed. The high levels of oxalic acid can be dangerous for their long-term health.
Tomatoes: No. Tomatoes are closely related to citrus fruits and should never be fed. They are considered dangerous.
Vegetables: Some. Crested Geckos do not eat vegetables frequently in the wild, but certain vegetables like okra and squash can be healthy for them. These vegetables have lots of vitamin A, fiber and iron. Be careful feeding vegetables with high goitrogens as they can lead to thyroid issues.
Avocado: No. Avocados contain persin which is a fatal toxin to reptiles. They are not safe for any reptile to eat.
Blackberries: Yes. Blackberries are perfectly fine to feed and are loved for their sweet flavor.
Cherries: Yes. Cherries are another great fruit. They are soft, easy to eat, and full of calcium. Just make sure you remove the pit and cut them up before feeding.
Freeze Dried Crickets: Yes. Freeze dried crickets can be fed, but Cresties might not always eat them. They usually prefer their insects alive and will not eat already dead insects. Freeze dried crickets are best blended up and added to blended fruit as a supplement.
Dead Crickets: No. They will often refuse to eat them. Movement usually provokes a feeding response in lizards and frogs that eat live prey.
Pumpkin: Yes. Pumpkin makes a good fruit and can help with digestion problems.
Pears: Yes. Pears are a great fruit for Crested Geckos. It is very soft when ripe and easy for them to eat.
Dragon Fruit: Yes. Dragon fruit is actually a type of cactus fruit. All cactus fruits are safe and great to feed them. These fruits have a high calcium ratio and are soft and easy to eat.
Spinach: No. Spinach has high levels of goitrogens and oxalates which are not healthy for these lizards.
Cucumber: No. While it won’t harm your gecko, cucumber is not a good option as it has very little nutritional value.
Pomegranate: Yes, but only sometimes. Crested Geckos can eat pomegranate, but they have a low calcium to phosphorus ratio. Pomegranates are also expensive and other fruits are usually easier to eat.
Rhubarb: No. Rhubarb has high concentrations of oxalic acid and should be avoided. Feeding rhubarb can be dangerous for their long-term health.
|Food||Can Geckos Eat|
|Baby Food||Yes, but only sometimes.|
|Freeze Dried Crickets||Yes, but only sometimes.|
|Pomegranate||Yes, but only sometimes.|
|Superworms||Yes, but only sometimes.|
Crested Geckos are omnivores that eat a wide variety of different fruits, vegetables and insects.
Feeding a variety of fruits in their diet helps to keep them happy and also adds enrichment to their life. Some great fruits for Crested Geckos include things like mangos, raspberries, papaya, cactus fruit and strawberries! For insects you can try crickets and roaches.
It is important that you feed fruits with a high calcium to phosphorus ratio. This will help your pet lizard avoid health issues like metabolic bone disease.
You should never feed dangerous foods like citrus fruits, avocados and rhubarb. Knowing what to feed, how much to feed and how often is the key to a happy, fulfilled Crestie.
What is your Crested Gecko’s favorite food? Let us know in the comments!