Leopard Gecko Feeder Prey
This section, Leopard Gecko Feeder Prey, is an introduction to feeding leopard geckos. By understanding how diet affects the leopard gecko, what insects you can offer, and how the content of the feeder insects food impacts your gecko, you will be better equipped to provide a nutritional and fortifying diet.
The key to longevity in all species of animal is variety. In captivity, it is our responsibility to ensure that our leopard geckos are receiving proper supplementation as well as a varied diet of properly gutloaded feeder prey. This section will discuss the varying prey items available on the market, the concept of gut loading the feeder insects prior to feeding them to your gecko, and will include links to sections of the site that will explain how you can breed these feeders at home.
Gut Loading Feeder Insects
Just about everyone has heard the saying "You are what you eat". Well this is also true for your leopard gecko. Feeding a varied diet, and supplementing your leopard gecko is only a portion of offering your leopard gecko a nutritious diet.
Feeder insects purchased online and at petstores are fed an unknown diet. We also are not made aware of when they were last fed. As a rule, it is always best to feed the prey you intend on feeding your leopard gecko for at least 24 hours before they are fed. This ensures that the feeder insects are thoroughly gut loaded and contain the maximum amount of nutrients that they can hold. In feeding them nutritious and vitamin enriched foods, those nutrients will then get passed on to your leopard gecko. This is where the term "gut loading" has come into play. Essentially, you are loading the feeder insects gut with vitamins and minerals that will be passed on to your leopard gecko when it is consumed.
The food items used to gut load your feeder insects will be dependant on the species of insect being fed. Waxworms and crickets have different dietary needs as do mealworms and silkworms. As a result, it is important to know the dietary requirements for each species so that you can adequately provide them with a nutritious gut loading prior to feeding them to your leopard gecko.
The following list is a compilation of feeder insects commonly used as feeder prey for leopard geckos. Each resource includes additional information on the species as well as information on how you can breed them at home.
Feeder insects are to be purchased or bred. They are not to be collected outside. The insects found in your yard, the woods, or outside in general are not free food for your leopard gecko. In fact, each time you offer a prey item you collected outside, you are gambling with your leopard geckos health and life.
The difference between feeding captive prey and that collected outside is that those purchased are bred and raised in captivity. Wild caught food items have a much higher risk of carrying parasites that can be passed on to your leopard gecko. This can result in a heavy parasite load that can diminish the health of your leopard gecko and even kill it. In addition to parasites, insects collected outside have a high chance of having chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides on them. Just because you don't use chemicals to treat your yard or garden does not mean that the neighbor 5 houses down doesn't. Insects, like every other animal, travel around. While you may have collected it from your backyard, it may have spent the previous hours in a neighbors yard that was treated with a chemical. In turn, feeding this prey item that shows no signs of having a contaminant on it will essentially be poisoning your leopard gecko. It is a horrid and ignorant practice and should never be looked at as a feasible and cheap replacement for purchasing or breeding feeder insects.