Recommended Diet and Nutrition for Crested Geckos

Crested geckos are also known as eyelash geckos because of the pronounced ridges around its eyes that resemble eyelashes. These interesting creatures are native to the islands of New Caledonia, but many have come to love its unusual features and have kept these geckos as their pets. Crested geckos are docile and timid omnivores that can reach an average size of about 5 to 8 inches long. They have an average lifespan of about 5 to 10 years with proper care.

These unusual reptiles have some peculiar behavior that makes them even more appealing to reptile keepers. They are a nocturnal animal, which means that they are active at night. They spend most of the day hidden in their habitat. These geckos are natural leapers. They are like frogs that can leap from one location to another with ease. But you have to be really gentle when handling them as they cannot tolerate rough handling. They get easily stressed out with this. You will also notice a crested gecko licking its eyeballs when they need to be moistened.

If your crested gecko is really healthy you will notice that it is quite active, eats regularly, has clear eyes, healthy skin, clear nose and vent, a body and tail that is perfectly filled out.

If, however, you notice some of these symptoms, you may need to have your pet checked by a veterinarian:

  • a decrease in its appetite or weight loss
  • mucus present in its mouth or nose
  • swelling in any part of its body
  • lethargy
  • bumps, sores, or abrasions on its skin
  • labored breathing
  • paralysis of limbs
  • abnormality in its feces
  • retained shed on toes

To ensure a crested gecko’s overall health, you need to provide the right diet and nutrition for it. These reptiles are fruit eater, but they eat insect prey, especially when young. In their natural habitat, they get to enjoy a wide variety of fruits, nectar, and pollen all year-round. So, if you have two good powdered diets, you will not need to offer insects to your pet to be assured that they are provided with proper nutrition. You can just offer dusted and gut-loaded insects occasionally as a treat and to stimulate those crested geckos that enjoy hunting for their prey.

Since these gentle geckos are so quite easy to feed, it is quite easy to misunderstand their diet. Before the commercial powdered diets were made available, hobbyists fed their pet crested geckos with baby food mixed with reptile supplements and crickets. This worked just fine for more experienced reptile hobbyists since they understood the need to supplement such diet to ensure that their pets are provided with all essential nutrients and vitamins to prevent nutritional deficiencies that lead to serious diseases such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

However, as many more hobbyists favored crested geckos as a pet, emerging pet owners passed on the notion that all that these reptiles needed was baby food and crickets. Calcium is given on occasion dusted on crickets and insects fed to the reptiles. This lead to the cases of MBD and other nutritional imbalances in many geckos. Such conditions can endanger the reptile’s health. Having any of these disorders can permanently cripple or kill a crested gecko.

Fortunately, there are several meal replacement powders available on the market that if mixed with water or the best crested gecko food that a pet gecko eats can prevent such health issues.

For the more experienced hobbyists, providing homemade diets may also be possible. However, you will need more time to prepare for every meal. And if the diet that you offer your pet is not at all balanced or does not provide what the reptile really needs, then you are putting your pet’s health at risk. If you opt to provide your pet with a homemade diet, it is crucial that you offer more insects to your pet to make sure that your pet will receive as many nutrients it needs to stay healthy. You also have to make sure that you offer your pet only safe and healthy foods.

Note as well that it is better to provide less than more food than what your pet crested gecko really needs. As these reptiles are ectothermic or “cold-blooded” their energy from the food they eat doesn’t have to be spent maintaining their body temperature like mammals. They can use supplemental heat and warmth from the sun (in their original habitat) or the primary and secondary sources of heat (in their enclosures). They don’t really need to eat as much as endotherms or “warm-blooded” animals.

Even then, proper nutrition is necessary for reptiles as they need calcium, vitamin D3, as well as all the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Food is only one of the essential things that should be properly provided to your pet reptile. You also need to make sure that everything in its enclosure is properly managed, such as the temperature gradient, lighting, UVB exposure humidity, water, substrate for crested geckos, as well as all other items within the cage to make sure that your pet will receive the adequate care that it needs. It is also best that you keep yourself informed of other information related to the proper care and handling of crested geckos to make sure that your pet will stay healthy and satisfied while under your care.