Can Leopard Geckos Eat Fruit? What To Feed Your Little Lizard

Anamika Balouria
Feb 29, 2024 By Anamika Balouria
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
read if leopard geckos eat fruit and vegetables
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.4 Min

Leopard geckos are commonly kept as pets and should be fed proper food such as insects.

Leopard geckos should not be fed fruits as they might not be able to digest the food. Leopard geckos are insectivorous reptiles that are not frugivorous like other geckos.

Leopard geckos were first described by a zoologist named Edward Blyth in 1854. The scientific name of leopard geckos is Eublepharis macularius. Leopard geckos belong to the kingdom of Animalia, the class of Reptilia, the family Eublepharidae and the genus Eublepharis. Leopard geckos are terrestrial lizards that inhabit the dry grassland and desert areas of Asian countries, including India, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Leopard geckos are nocturnal lizards and adult geckos can be seen living their lives in solitude. Leopard geckos are very devious predators who mostly prey on small insects and worms such as waxworms, hornworms, mealworms, bugs, roaches, and crickets. Apart from insects and worms, reptiles of this species also feed on food such as small rodents such as baby mice and other amphibians such as frogs.

The feeding of leopard geckos needs to be punctual as they might turn into cannibals if not fed properly. Leopard geckos make good pets if kept in the right environment and fed with healthy foods, especially insects. Most geckos, such as day geckos, mourning geckos, crested geckos, and chahoua geckos eat fruits. Leopard geckos cannot eat fruits because the acidic content in fruits makes them feel heavy in the stomach causing digestive problems.

If you enjoy reading this article about can leopard geckos eat fruit, then do read some interesting and surprising fun facts articles about how big leopard geckos get and if horses can eat bananas.

Can leopard geckos eat fruit and vegetables?

No, leopard geckos cannot eat fruit and vegetables, unlike other geckos such as day geckos, mourning geckos, or crested geckos. Leopard geckos eat insects as their food and are insectivorous. Many times, they are confused with being frugivorous.

Leopard geckos, named after having skin like a leopard, are insectivorous geckos who enjoy eating insects rather than fruits. Insects such as waxworms, mealworms, roaches, bugs, hornworms, crickets, and small baby rodents are sufficient to provide needed vitamins and fulfill calcium requirements in their bodies. Always remember not to feed your leopard gecko fruits and vegetables, as they can be toxic to these geckos.

These reptiles, leopard geckos, are known to be aggressive geckos if their feeding routine is not followed properly. The pet leopard gecko must be fed good vitamins and a healthy food diet of crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. Most reptiles, such as tortoises, iguanas, and Chinese water dragons, and other geckos are known to eat fruits as part of their diet. Unlike those reptiles, a leopard gecko, whether in the wild or in captivity, should not be eating fruits or vegetables.

A leopard gecko cannot eat fruits because fruits can be toxic for them. A leopard gecko eats as often as it can but is only limited to insects and worms. It is advised that if you force-feed your leopard gecko with fruit instead of insects, it might either turn aggressive or this reptile might fall sick with an upset stomach or other digestive issues. So, never force-feed your gecko with fruits or vegetables.

The leopard gecko has 100 small, sharp-pointed teeth which make it easy to feed on small insect diet foods. The adult leopard gecko is a very opportunistic and smart gecko that preys easily on insects and digests treats of worms, bugs, and dubia roaches. It's important to be aware of the fact that a leopard gecko might gain weight and get fat if you keep feeding it frequently. This would not be a healthy option as a diet for this reptile species.

What are the risk factors involved in feeding fruits to a leopard gecko?

An upset stomach, sickness, bloating, and regurgitation are often evident in leopard geckos after fruit feeding by their owners. They can not eat human food either.

As far as we know, leopard geckos are unlike other gecko species and are not frugivorous. Not only geckos, but many other reptiles are insectivorous or carnivorous. The leopard gecko is categorized as insectivorous. The healthy diet food of this reptile species is insects and not fruit. Fruits should be avoided by a gecko's owners, and a vet consultation is a must if you have a pet gecko at your home.

A leopard gecko should not have fruits as part of foods served to it, because eating fruit creates gut problems for the reptile after it gulps it down. Though they should be fed often, frequent eating might end up causing weight and fat gain. The young or baby gecko has a high metabolism in comparison to the adult gecko. The baby leopard gecko digests food at a faster rate as baby geckos are in a growing or development stage.

The leopard gecko would never deny or turn its head to say no to most foods. If you have geckos that aren't leopard geckos, you can feed your geckos fruits. Geckos eat the whole fruit put in front of them because of their eagerness towards eating, especially baby geckos. Adults, at times, might turn down a fruit if they are not that hungry.

The ideal diet food for a leopard gecko is creatures from the insect species, including worms such as dubia roaches, mealworms, crickets, and bugs. It is also believed that the leopard gecko has weaker jaws in comparison to other geckos, which makes it difficult for it to eat or swallow fruit. So, feed your leopard gecko with insects.

Leopard geckos are small in size. Their digestive tracts are alkaline, shorter, and not as strong as digestive tracts in other geckos such as crested geckos. Fruits are acidic and might cause bowel problems in geckos. The leopard gecko lacks caecum, a part of the digestive system which aids geckos in digesting cellulose found in fruit. This lack of caecum creates issues with a leopard gecko feeding and digesting a fruit treat.

The leopard gecko might face diarrhea, choking, bloating, regurgitation, and indigestion. As fruits are acidic and the leopard gecko has an alkaline digestive tract, diarrhea is commonly faced by leopard geckos because they become intolerant of the acidic food, but diarrhea can also be caused due to dehydration. Choking is evident when leopard geckos find it difficult to swallow the food and it can't get to their gut.

If the fruit is hard to swallow, then it might cause choking. Regurgitation might also be seen in this reptile species because, due to difficulty swallowing, they are not able to get food down through the gut. Fruit foods treat might cause indigestion, causing their stomachs to bloat which can lead to a leopard gecko throwing up. So, it is better to feed a leopard gecko a diet suitable to its body type.

Leopard gecko sitting on a brunch.

What species of geckos can eat fruit?

Day geckos, mourning geckos, crested geckos, and chahoua geckos are some species of geckos that are known to eat fruits.

Leopard geckos' bodies digest foods such as mealworms, crickets, and hornworms. It is important to never feed your gecko, specifically the leopard species, fruit. A leopard gecko might develop fat in its body along with developing digestive issues. Unlike the leopard gecko's diet, crested geckos also feed on fruits as well as insects. They feed on soft fruits which are high in calcium and low in phosphorus.

Certain citrus fruits might harm the health of geckos. Feeding papaya and figs are considered the best fruits for crested geckos. Mourning geckos are known to be omnivorous and can do well on the same diet as crested geckos. Mourning geckos also feed on wildflowers, living off their nectar. Bananas, mangos, berries, pears, guavas, grapes, apples, figs, and apricots, among other things, are considered safe foods for geckos.

It is often suggested that before you feed fruits to geckos, there are some precautionary measures which should be taken into consideration, such as before feeding geckos fruits, you must remove the pits and hard flesh so that your pet is easily able to eat and digest the food. You can also use fruit puree which will be easier for them to eat.

In adults as well as young geckos, always add a small amount of a phosphorus-free calcium with D3 reptile supplement, and this must definitely be done while feeding bananas. Be very cautious when feeding your pet gecko bananas due to the high amount of phosphorus. Always use calcium D3 supplements along with bananas. Try to blend all the different types of fruits together, and before feeding, fruits should be washed to remove any germs.

African fat-tailed geckos, Binoe's geckos, house geckos, flying geckos, cave geckos, frog-eyed geckos, and Nephrurus species are similar to leopard geckos in their eating habits. They also mostly eat small insects such as crickets, mealworms, and they eat small, wild rodents. Even while feeding fruits to frugivorous geckos, the calcium level should always be balanced.

What food is toxic to leopard geckos?

A few wild insects, such as stink bugs and fireflies, are inedible to leopard geckos. Apart from this, leopard geckos cannot eat plant-based products as they are toxic to them.

Now, after reading this article, you must be well acquainted with the fact that leopard geckos have alkaline and short digestive tracts in comparison to other geckos. So, this species of gecko is more comfortable eating crickets, worms, and bugs. Even among bug and insect species, there are some exceptions, such as fireflies and lightning bugs, which are toxic to leopard geckos.

Leopard geckos lack the digestive enzymes which are present in other geckos to digest cellulose. Before feeding insects to geckos, a few vegetables such as potatoes and carrots can be fed to insects to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the food for geckos. Wild insects should be cut out from the diet of your geckos as they might be ingested with some harmful parasites and pesticides which could further infest your pet.

Ants would also not be an ideal food for your leopard gecko, nor would small house spiders. You, as the owner, should choose the right size and amount of food according to the size of your gecko. Choose the right insect after consultation with the vet. Even if you are feeding them crickets, worms, or other insects, the amount these geckos should eat and how frequently should be your priority.

It is advised to not feed almost all geckos with high-oxalic acid food. Oxalate is known to affect the processing of calcium and magnesium. Oxalic acid, found in many fruits, binds the calcium molecules and generates calcium oxalate which is very difficult to absorb or digest.

If you make your gecko eat an oxalic acid-rich diet, then it will naturally cut down on the calcium absorption from food and will result in diseases like metabolic bone disease and floppy tail syndrome. This is the reason why a vet always recommends low-oxalic acid food. Fruits such as kiwi, oranges, strawberries, and cranberries should never be fed to a gecko.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can leopard geckos eat fruit, then why not take a look at can hamsters eat tomatoes or gecko fun facts for kids?

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Written by Anamika Balouria

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

Anamika Balouria picture

Anamika BalouriaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated and enthusiastic learner, Anamika is committed to the growth and development of her team and organization. She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English from Daulat Ram University and Indira Gandhi Institute for Open Learning respectively, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Amity University, Noida. Anamika is a skilled writer and editor with a passion for continual learning and development.
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