Crested Gecko Diet: what to feed your crested gecko

The humble little Crested Gecko 'Correlophus Ciliatus' aka - Crestie, has been, and still is a very popular reptile among new and experienced keepers today, but the best diet for Crested Geckos is not as simple as it seems. Here's what you need to know.

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Crested Gecko diet in captivity

It's widely known that cresties can live solely on premix powder foods. And live long happy lives.

But for me, the mental, visual, and physical enrichment an insect in the crestie enclosure offers just cannot be matched in any other way. So, to totally erase them from a feeding regime to me is a great hindrance to what a crestie has evolved over millions of years to need.

But in addition to the offered insects, these premixes are great. With these it's simply a case of adding water to the powder, and stirring until it forms a slightly watery ketchup-like consistency.

Also in this article: Crested Gecko diet in the wild | Crested Gecko live-food diet | What insects can Crested Geckos eat? | What kind of worms can Crested Geckos eat? | What fruits can a Crested Gecko eat? | What premix powder food brand is best for my crested gecko? | Crested Gecko not eating: how long can a Crested Gecko go without eating? | Do Crested Geckos need water?

Crested Gecko diet in the wild

As always when it comes to reptile or amphibian dietary needs, let's take a look at what they are proven to be consuming in their natural habitat in southern New Caledonia.

Below is an excerpt from a study done on the species:

"Field studies over a significant number of specimens and over an amount of time enabling to take into account seasonal variations have shown the following stomach contents for Correlophus Ciliatus:

  • Pollen aggregates 10.3%
  • Soft seeds 1.8%
  • Berries 11.7%
  • Fruit juices 7.52%
  • insects 49.6%
  • Coleoptera 9.45%
  • Caterpillars and butterflies 7.52%
  • Diptera 3.12%
  • Roaches 6.2%
  • Orthoptera (crickets and locusts) 21.6%
  • Remains of smaller lizards including their own youngs 11.4%
  • Remains of other vertebrate prey 8.68%,
  • of which young rodents 6.42%"

Saint-Dizier, H. 2007

crested gecko eating a cricketLive food is an important part of a captive crestie's diet

Crested Gecko live-food diet

As you can see above, the average studied Crested Gecko was primarily an insect eater. So let this be a good basis of which to treat your own cresties.

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What insects can Crested Geckos eat?

Personally, I always like to offer as much variety as possible when it comes to feeding my animals. And my cresties are no different.

I offer:

  • Locust
  • Black, Brown, and banded crickets
  • Snails
  • Blue-bottles
  • Stick insects
  • Dubia, turkistan, lobster, domino, banana, discoid roaches

What kind of worms can crested geckos eat?

  • Silkworms
  • Butterworms
  • Calcium worms
  • Wax-worms

This all is easily obtained via online stores such as Northampton Reptile Centre. Or private vendors in my Gecko based Facebook group

When it comes to feeder size, just be sensible. The old rule of “no bigger than the gap between the eyes” is a good rule of thumb to go by. But please remember, this rule is in regards to WIDTH of food NOT length. Reason being, it's roughly the width of the said reptile’s throat. So it's a good way to prevent unnecessary potential choking hazards.

What fruits can a Crested Gecko eat?

When you research their natural diet as above, you'll see it is made up mainly of insects. But of course fruit does still play a major part within cresties’ natural diet. So, it’s only wise to include it in your captive crestie’s diet.

Personally, in the past I’ve offered:

  • Mango
  • Pear
  • Banana
  • Grape
  • Fig
  • Apricot
  • Strawberry
  • Watermelon
  • Dates
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Blueberry

I tend to mash them up and offer in one of their standard ledge feeding bowls.

That being said, the advancement of the Crested Gecko premix formulas over the past couple of years has been amazing. So I now offer fruit, mainly as a treat, only twice a month, and I stick to offering mainly insects and the premix options.

crested gecko on someone's handCrested Geckos need both premix powder food and live food

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What premix powder food brand is best for my crested gecko?

Personally, I'm a huge fan of the Arcadia range, with EarthPro-StickyFoot Gold, and FruityInsectGold being my go to products.

As not only do these contain the likes of honey, banana, apple and flowers, but also, and importantly, insects too. Calcium worms (BSFL), silkworm, and crickets are all included in the mix. As well as two other important ingredients not found in many other mixes probiotic and bee-pollen. The latter being something they would be consuming naturally daily via the insects they eat.

Alongside the Arcadia range, I have tried pretty much every other premix option available here in the UK. But I found them either not rich enough nutritionally, or, my cresties just didn't want to eat them.

The only other brand I use with success is Pangea.

Much like Arcadia, they are great with their ingredients, and also have a couple of mixes with 'added insects’ to which I do tend to always steer towards for the reasons mentioned above.

These are the 'Fruit mix complete with insects' and the newer 'Fig & Insects'. Both are hits in my household.

They also do have a few 'fruit only' based mixes, of which the Watermelon, and the Papaya are favourites.

Crested Gecko feeding schedule: how many times a week should I feed my crested gecko?

For a crestie under 6 months old, I have always offered fresh premix food every other day, leaving it in the enclosure between the change to a fresh batch the following night. They are unlikely to eat any during the day but leaving it gives them the option to eat if they feel the need to. I'll offer live food on a weekend day and leave the other weekend day free of any food.

Juvenile and adult Crested Geckos, I feed every other evening during the week with a quality premixed powder. And unlike with the young, I'll remove any uneaten premix the following morning, as the cresties won't really venture out from their slumber to eat during the day. I then give a small variety of live food on the weekend.

Also, premix foods vary with their longevity before they harden, generally with brand. So to be safe, just remove in the morning, and replace with fresh when needed.

Then the following week I'll rotate this process, with live food twice a week and premix at the weekend.

This process works great with any crestie I have had in the past. My current two cresties have also been deemed happy and healthy by my vet.

They have blood and faecal samples taken and tested for various levels & parasites, every six months since they were six-months-old (I hatched these two myself). So I know it’s a regime that works.

crested gecko climbing up a celery stickYour crested gecko might experience a loss of appetite when moved to a new habitat

Crested Gecko not eating: how long can a Crested Gecko go without eating?

Crested Geckos can go without eating for two or even three weeks. You should consider contacting a vet after the second week.

Most of the time a loss of appetite is due to the crestie being placed in a new environment (purchased from a shop or breeder, and put in your new enclosure).

They can go two or even three weeks before finally being comfortable enough in their new surroundings to eat.

The younger they are during this period, the worse it is. But all you can really do is provide both food options discussed above, in a couple of appropriately sized feeders, and wait it out (remove any uneaten food the following morning).

And providing you are not constantly messing around, opening the enclosure etc, all should work out fine.

But after a couple of weeks of not eating, it's definitely well worth speaking to a vet for assistance. At least then they will have a note on file of any issue if any treatment is needed further down the line.

In addition, keeping a weight record is vital for any reptile and our cresties are no different.

As they don't like to sit still, and would soon be giving you a heart attack by jumping about, I find placing the crestie in a tub (cricket tub for example), and then placing the tub on scales, to be the best and safest way to weight a crested gecko.

Often, if they are gaining weight or if their weight is stable, even though you don’t see them eat, all is fine.

If you observe any weight-loss, especially rapid loss, then definitely book a vet visit; but a few grams up and down is pretty normal.

crested gecko eating an insectThere are plenty of ways to ensure your Crested Gecko stays hydrated

Do Crested Geckos need water?

Absolutely. Water should always be offered, and be constantly available in the enclosure.

Personally, I use a double feeding ledge, in which I have two feeding cups. One always has water in it and I change it every two to three days unless it’s dirty.

The other feeding ledge I use for any premix powder as already discussed here.

In addition to making water available 24/7, I also spray down my enclosures daily. Now the amount of times this is needed daily will vary depending on the enclosure’s size, décor, and the substrate used within.

My cresties are in a 45x45x60 enclosure, each. I use a natural sand/soil bioactive mix as a substrate, with real plants and wood and a couple of fake vines and soft fake hanging plants at the back.

I only need to spray once a day in order to maintain a good humidity level of around 60 – 70% (and I spray just before the heat and UVB go out).

So you may have to spray two or even three times a day.

This will often induce them to lick water droplets off the glass walls, off foliage and even off their own faces and eyes. Thus spraying helps hydration alongside the 24/7 water provided.

And at last, don’t forget that premix powder foods are mixed with water too, which offers additional hydration.

And of course, you should also be fully hydrating and gut-loading any live food offered.

It all counts towards staying hydrated.