What Do Crested Geckos Eat? The Balanced Diet

Crested Geckos are among the best lizards for beginner and experienced reptile keepers. They come in different morphs, have easy care requirements, and are affordable.

In this article, I will discuss what Crested Geckos eat in the wild and captivity. How we as responsible owners should feed them, and what to do when they stop eating.

What Do Crested Geckos Eat In The Wild?

Crested Geckos are omnivores meaning they eat insects and vegetation. They’re also nocturnal reptiles so they are active during the night instead of the daytime.

Although Crested Geckos were rediscovered in 1994, few studies have been conducted on their hunting habits.

In the wild, it’s known they eat roaches, crickets, moths, spiders, worms, caterpillars, and other small insects for their protein source. Simply put, they eat whatever insect they can fit in their mouth.

For their vegetation source, Crested Geckos eat a mixture of fruits such as mangoes and flower nectar.

What To Feed My Crested Gecko?

Red-Crested-Gecko-In-Leaves

Crested Gecko keepers feed a diverse diet of insects, vegetation, and commercially prepared powders. 

Crested Geckos can thrive solely on commercially prepared powders. If you’re squeamish and don’t want to use live insects, this is an option for you. (If you’re squeamish though, I don’t think a reptile is the right pet for you).

I recommend feeding a mixture of commercial powders and live insects because your crestie benefits from the stimulation it gets from hunting its meals.

Crested Gecko Safe Food Table
InsectsFruits
CricketsMango
MealwormsWatermelon
GrasshoppersStrawberries
RoachesNectar
WaxwormsPollen
SilkwormGrapes
NightcrawlerFigs

Fun Fact: Crested Geckos were once thought to be extinct. They were discovered in 1866 but were not seen again until 1994.

Hatchling Crested Gecko Diet

Baby Crested Geckos won’t typically eat until after their first shed. This takes place 2-4 days after hatching. I recommend offering them food 24 hours after hatching as a precaution in case they want to eat.

Offering them a commercial powder mix alongside crickets is great for hatchlings. It offers all the nutrients they need for healthy growth.

You should feed them one to two small crickets every other day no larger than the size of your cresties head. 

Then offer them Pangea or Repashy powder mix every day until they start transitioning to juveniles at around 6 months of age.

Juvenile Crested Gecko Diet

Your crestie will transition to a juvenile around 6 months of age. You’ll need to reduce the feeding days to 4 days a week, and keep providing a mix of powder mix and live insects.

I have outlined a four-day feeding schedule in the table below with a treat meal available on the weekend if your Crested Gecko is underweight.

Juvenile Crested Gecko Feeding Schedule
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridayWeekend
Live insects and fruitsPowder MixNo foodLive insects and fruitsPowder mixFeed a treat meal if required

Adult Crested Gecko Diet

Crested Geckos are adults around 18 months of age. The diet for adult Crested Geckos is like a juvenile’s, with the difference being one less feeding day. Instead of feeding them 4 days a week, you’ll need to reduce it to 3 days.

Adult Crested Gecko Feeding Schedule
MondayWednesdayFridayWeekend
Live insects and fruitsPowder mixLive insects and fruitsFeed a treat meal if required

How To Feed A Crested Gecko

Preparing Feeder Insects For Crested Geckos

All the insects you feed your Crested Gecko must be gut-loaded with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables 24 hours before being fed to your crestie. You’ll also need to dust the insects with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements 3 meals per week.

Feeding Crested Geckos Feeder Insects

When feeding your Crested Gecko live insects, you’ll only want to add in a small number at a time. This is because any insects left over will bite and irritate your crestie.

This will differ for many Crested Geckos because of this you’ll need to learn the amount of insects your pet needs. 

This can be done by feeding them enough insects they can eat in a 15-minute window. After 15 minutes have passed, remove any insects left over by your crestie.

Preparing Commercial Powder Food For Crested Geckos

The preparation process for powder mix is as simple as adding water and mixing until you get a pasty consistency.

I recommend mixing all powder products as outlined in the manufacturer’s instructions as different products may differ.

Feeding Crested Geckos Commerical Powder

Once you’ve made the mix add the paste into your Crested Geckos enclosure in a shallow dish for no longer than 24 hours.

I recommend feeding your Crested Gecko powder mix overnight as this is when they’re most active so the meal will be eaten when it is fresh. 

How Often To Feed Crested Geckos?

The feeding schedule depends on the age of your Crested Gecko. Here is a table showing how often to feed your Crested Gecko.

Crested Gecko Feeding Schedule
Baby Crested GeckoEveryday
Juvenile Crested Gecko4 days a week
Adult Crested Gecko3 days a week

Why Is My Crested Gecko Not Eating?

Tiger-Crested-Gecko-On-A-Branch

It’s worrying when our pets stop eating the meals we’ve provided, however, this is usually a sign we’re doing something wrong when caring for them or they’re telling us something else.

Here are the 4 most common reasons why your Crested Gecko is not eating.

Incorrect Enclosure Environment

Crested Geckos are ectothermic, meaning they need external heat sources for their bodies to function. This is why they have specific requirements for their environments.

Because of them being ectothermic if their habitat is too cold or too hot, they’ll be unable to digest their meals and be unable to eat. If their habitat remains at incorrect temperatures for periods they can become fatally ill.

As responsible owners, we need to check and maintain the correct environment our pets need to thrive.

You can check your Crested Gecko’s habitat environment with temperature and humidity thermometers. 

Your Crested Gecko Is Unwell

Like humans, when Crested Geckos become unwell they’ll lose their appetite. 

Some of the common causes of a loss in appetite are:

  • Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are caused because of poor hygiene. This is an easy fix, we need to ensure we’re cleaning our pet’s enclosures regularly. 

Conduct spot checks daily for feces and spoiled substrates, and full cleans every 2-4 weeks to keep your Crested Geckos environment hygienic.

  • Impaction

Impaction is when your Crested Gecko’s intestinal tract becomes blocked. This can be fatal and requires veterinarian attention if you suspect this is what your crestie is suffering from.

Crested Geckos can become impacted by meals being too large, swallowing substrate, and if the enclosure isn’t hot enough.

This can be avoided by feeding insects no larger than the gap between your cresties eyes. Not using loose particle substrates like sand or gravel. Ensuring the temperatures remain in the correct ranges.

  • Mouth Rot

Mouth rot also known as stomatitis is a contagious affliction caused by your Crested Gecko’s immune system becoming weakened.

If mouth rot goes untreated it can spread to the esophagus and inevitably the lungs. If you suspect your crestie is suffering from mouth rot, seek veterinarian advice immediately to treat the issue.

Symptoms of mouth rot are:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow pus
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black shading on teeth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Favoring one side of their mouth

Your Crested Gecko Is Stressed

When Crested Geckos become stressed they’ll lose their appetite. Because our cresties can’t talk it’s difficult to know what’s stressing them out.

I recommend providing extra hiding spots, reducing the amount of handling you’re doing, and preventing other pets and small children from disturbing your crestie. Doing these things will help reduce stressful situations and hopefully improve their appetite.

If your cresties appetite doesn’t return after 7 days, I recommend contacting your vet for expert advice and guidance.

Your Crested Gecko Is In Mating Season

During mating seasons male and female Crested Geckos may begin to refuse food. 

This is because males will be more interested in finding a mate and breeding than they want to eat. 

Females will begin to lose their appetite after mating and eggs are beginning to develop making it harder for them to eat.

How Long Can A Crested Go Without Eating?

Crested Geckos can survive without eating for two to three weeks. If your crestie hasn’t eaten for 7 days or more I recommend contacting a vet immediately for advice.

FAQs

How Do Crested Geckos Hunt?

There is no strategy for how Crested Geckos hunt, they simply eat whatever they stumble upon in the wild. The same is true for captive cresties, when you place insects into their enclosure they’ll chase after them until they catch it.

Do Crested Geckos Need Water?

Yes, Crested Geckos need water to survive. Cresties don’t always drink in the ways we would expect, they’ll likely lick water droplets off the glass in their enclosure or the leaves from plants. 

You should always provide a shallow water dish in the enclosure, even if you don’t see them drinking from it.

Summary

Feeding Crested Geckos is pretty straightforward once you know what to feed them and how often to do it.

You can create a diet plan for your Crested Gecko easily to suit you and your pet with the amount of food available for them and the simple nature of preparing their meals.