Updated: December 14, 2021 by Jennifer Munsell
As a new reptile owner, you need to know what crested geckos eat so you can provide your crestie bestie with the healthiest and most nutritious diet possible.
There are three main ways you can feed your crested gecko. First, you can choose to only use prepackaged food. There are many prepackaged crested gecko powders that are well-balanced and contain a mixture of insect protein, fruit, and other added nutrients such as calcium. For most commercial prepackaged foods, all you need to do is add water.
Alternatively, you can choose to carefully craft your crested gecko’s diet and prepare fresh fruits and insects daily. With this method, you need to be extra careful about the percentages of different nutrients in each item, such as calcium, phosphorus, and oxalates.
The best method, and the one that we recommend, is to use a prepackaged diet as the base of your crestie’s diet and use fruit and insects as toppers or treats to boost their interest in their food and also boost nutrition and hydration. Read on to learn more about these methods and what your crested gecko should be eating to stay happy and healthy.
There are many prepackaged diets on the market that you can find online and in your local pet shops. These are designed to include a variety of fruits, insects, and other nutrients your gecko needs to thrive.
Some of the most recommended brands by enthusiastic reptile hobbyists are:
There are a few different formulations of these prepackaged foods. The main types are powdered, pellets, and gummies.
This type of prepackaged crested gecko food comes in a powdered form. Most of them, such as Repashy’s Crested Gecko MRP Diet, are designed for you to mix the powder with a small amount of water to hydrate it and make it suitable for your crested gecko to eat.
These prepackaged meals are full of nutrients that are specially designed for your crested gecko. They are a combination of insect protein and real fruit in the proportions that are suitable and healthy for cresties.
In addition, they are fortified with additional nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, beta carotene, and folic acid. These are all things that your crested gecko needs in their diet.
Some prepackaged meals are also fortified with probiotics. These probiotics are specific to reptiles and are there to support your gecko’s gut health. They also help prevent diarrhea and constipation.
The mixing ratio is generally one part powder to two parts water. You mix the powder and water together and let it stand for a couple of minutes, then mix again and serve to your crested gecko to eat. If you find the mixture is too dry or too wet, or maybe your crestie prefers it a certain way, then simply adjust the amount of water that you add.
These prepackaged diets come in many flavors with different kinds of fruit added to them, which makes eating a bit more interesting for your pet. Your crested gecko’s food is something you have to pay attention to.
Other types of prepackaged food are formulated as pellets. Some are designed for you to mix with water so they become a paste, while others can be served dry to your crestie. While these pellet foods aren’t as common, certain geckos prefer them to other formulations.
Try out a variety of different types of food to see which your gecko prefers, and then go from there.
The soft chewy pellets or gummies have the consistency of a soft fruit snack. Like the powder and pellets, they are also packed with nutrients, and crested geckos generally adore them. They are softer than dry pellets and smell very good to geckos.
However, keep in mind many gummy foods are very high in sugar. Excess sugar in a crested gecko’s diet can lead very quickly to obesity and other health issues. Obesity places a huge strain on the internal organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys and can lead to organ failure and death.
High sugar foods can also lead to tooth and mouth rot. This happens when the soft pieces get stuck in your gecko’s teeth or mouth, and they begin to ferment and rot, in turn causing tooth decay and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.
While powders and pellets can be the staple pre-packaged item in your crested gecko’s diet, most types of gummies should only be given as top-ups or treats. Be sure to check the nutritional content and ingredients in any food you offer to your gecko.
Safe Fruits to Feed Your Crested Gecko
Crested geckos are omnivorous, which means they can eat both fruits and insects. Fruits are filled with vitamins and water. However, they are also filled with sugar, so fruit shouldn’t be the main staple in your gecko’s diet!
You can feed your crested gecko fruits twice a week in addition to their normal staple prepackaged diet. You can include the fruit in their food dishes, or you can place it on different ledges for your crestie to ‘hunt’ around for. This makes feeding time a bit of a game, which provides enrichment and mental stimulation.
Uneaten fruit should never be left in your crestie’s enclosure for longer than 12 hours. Put the fruit in the enclosure when you feed your crestie in the evening, and remove any uneaten fruit by the next morning.
Fruit should always be cut into pieces that are smaller than the width of the space between your crested gecko’s eyes. Fruits that are larger than this can cause choking or impaction. Impaction is a blockage of the digestive tract, and severe cases often need surgery to fix. Any kind of surgery is always risky for your gecko and should be avoided whenever possible.
Safe fruits include:
- Honeydew melon
Safe Insects to Feed Your Crested Gecko
Insects are an important part of any crested gecko’s diet. They are packed with protein and other minerals such as calcium.
You should offer your crested gecko insects three times a week with their normal meal. However, while you can place the prepackaged diet and fruit in the enclosure and leave it overnight, you cannot do that with insects. Uneaten insects will need to be removed from your gecko’s enclosure immediately after they’ve finished eating, as insects can bite your gecko when they are trying to sleep and generally create a mess in your pet’s enclosure.
You need to supervise your crestie when they are eating insects so you can track how many they have eaten and ensure none get loose in the enclosure.
Like with fruits, any insects you feed your crestie should not be larger than the space between their eyes. If the insect is too large for them to comfortably and safely eat, then there is a serious risk of choking and impaction.
As a general rule, offer your crested gecko as many insects as they will eat in a single 5 to 10-minute sitting.
Crickets are one of the most common feeder insects used by crested gecko owners. They are cheap and readily available online and in local pet stores. It is also relatively easy to set up your own cricket farm, too. However, crickets are not the only option for healthy feeder insects. Variety is key, so be sure to switch things up from time to time.
Other safe insects are:
- Phoenix worms (also known as NutriGrubs or black soldier fly larvae)
- Dubia roaches
Crested Gecko Feeding Schedule
Crested geckos should be fed once a day. Their food should be placed in their enclosure late in the afternoon or early evening. This is because they are primarily nocturnal animals, and these times are when they are the most active.
Prepackaged food and fruit can be left in their enclosure until you feed them the next evening. No food items should ever be left for more than 24 hours in the enclosure.
You can offer your crested gecko a few pieces of fruit twice a week in addition to their normal meal of insects and powdered food. You should always cut the fruit so it is no larger than the space between your crestie’s eyes.
Additionally, you should offer your crested gecko insects three times a week with their normal meal. Feed them as many insects as they will eat in a 5-to-10-minute period. Do not leave any uneaten insects inside the enclosure with your crested gecko.
Like I touched on earlier, leaving insects inside the enclosure can cause your crestie serious stress, as sometimes the insects can bite your crestie’s eyes, tail, and other sensitive areas. Additionally, if you leave insects in the enclosure, they can get into all the nooks and crannies, poop everywhere, and cause bacteria to spread, in which case you will need to do a full enclosure cleanout.
What About Water?
Crested geckos are a little like chameleons in that they do not always recognize standing water as water at all. They mainly get their hydration by drinking water droplets off the side of their enclosure or off of the leaves and branches they perch in.
There are a couple of ways you can ensure your gecko gets enough water every day.
- You can mist their enclosure manually twice a day with a spray bottle while concentrating on some of the leaves or a specific side of the enclosure wall so that water droplets form.
- You can install an automatic misting system that is on a timer that will help maintain humidity in the enclosure. The misting system will mist the enclosure for you so you do not need to stress if you forgot to mist that day. Although this option is more expensive than misting manually, it is very convenient.
- The third way is the one I recommend most. You can buy a small dripping system or make one yourself (it’s very easy) and install it in your crested gecko’s enclosure. This will slowly drip water down the side of the enclosure or onto leaves or branches throughout the day. Financially, this is a good middle ground between manual misting and an elaborate automatic misting system.
Correct hydration is essential for crested geckos, as they are native to very humid rainforest environments and are used to high humidity and having plenty of water droplets to drink from. Cresties can become dehydrated very quickly, which leads to problems such as shedding issues, organ failure, and death.
Your crestie should have access to fresh water every day so they can drink whenever they need to. Remember, crested geckos are arboreal (tree-dwelling) and rarely come down to the bottom of their cage. This means if their water is only available at the bottom of their enclosure, they may not notice it. Keep this in mind when you are misting or installing a dripping system.
Unsafe and Toxic Foods for Crested Geckos
Some foods are unhealthy for crested geckos because of their nutritional content, while others are outright toxic and can cause death. Here are the main foods you should avoid when feeding your crested gecko.
Worms such as waxworms and butterworms are very high in fat. Feeding too many of these worms to your crestie can quickly result in obesity. However, a small amount of these “treat insects” is fine a few times per month, provided your gecko is within a healthy weight and is otherwise healthy.
Additionally, any insects that glow, such as fireflies or glow worms, are toxic to reptiles and will cause serious harm and death.
Fruits that have pips, seeds, or stones in them need to have all of these carefully removed. Seeds can cause choking or get lodged in your gecko’s digestive tract and cause impaction, which is painful and often fatal.
Other unsafe foods include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc.), rhubarb, and avocados, as they are toxic to reptiles and will result in serious injury or even death if eaten.
FAQs About Crested Gecko Food
My crested gecko won’t eat the prepackaged powder I bought. What can I do?
Prepackaged crested gecko diets come in many different flavors. It might be a case that your crestie just does not like the watermelon flavored powder, for example. Try feeding them something else like the tropical, papaya, or the apricot flavors! This way, you’ll get a better idea of what your gecko likes and dislikes.
Additionally, your crested gecko might not like the consistency of the powder. Try adding a little more water to the mix and see if your gecko eats it. Alternatively, you could also try adding a little less water and see if they prefer a drier consistency.
Finding what foods your gecko loves is all about trial and error, and it will take some time for you to fully understand all of their likes and dislikes.
Where do I put my crested gecko’s food?
Crested geckos are arboreal lizards. This means they rarely go down to the floor of their enclosures. If their food is down on the floor, they might not eat it because they do not feel comfortable.
Place your crestie’s food in a cup or bowl that can be securely placed on one of their ledges. Alternatively, you can put a suctioned feeding ledge on the wall of the enclosure and just change out the cups.
Make sure the suction cups are secure and that the feeding ledge is not too far away from one of their perches so they can feed in comfort.
Crested geckos are one of the most popular gecko species to own as pets for experienced and first time reptile owners alike. Understanding what crested geckos eat is thankfully fairly simple because thanks to the wide variety of prepackaged diets on the market as well as fresh fruits and feeder insects you and your gecko can choose from.
We recommend using a prepackaged diet as the primary day-to-day staple food for your crested gecko. Use other foods like gummies, fruit, and insects to add value to their diet and add enrichment to their lives.