Leopard Gecko Supplementation
Leopard Gecko Supplementation is the process of introducing additional nutrients to your leopard gecko. Many owners don't realize that their leopard gecko isn't getting a complete diet just from the insects they are being offered. This is especially true for those owners that limit the amount of feeder prey to one or two species. Diversity in the selection and offering of feeder prey certainly helps balance out the nutritional intake that the leopard gecko is receiving, but there is so much more that can be done to ensure the leopard gecko is getting all of the vitamins and minerals it would receive if it were wild.
There are 2 ways to supplement your leopard geckos diet. Both of these methods should be practiced regularly to ensure your geckos health is optimal. This section will describe both techniques for supplementing your leopard gecko, the frequency in which your leopard gecko should be supplemented, and we will have a section dedicated to listing the supplements most commonly used by enthusiasts.
Supplementation - Feeder Prey Dusting
In addition to gut loading your feeder prey, you should also be using them as a transport method for carrying your calcium and vitamin supplements to your leopard gecko.
Coating your feeder insects with the supplement you are using is very easy and doesn't take a great deal of time. The simplest approach is to have a small jar dedicated to be used as your supplementation container. Place a small amount of the supplement being used into the jar and simply add the feeder insects. Close the jar and lightly tumble the insects in the container so they become coated with the supplement. Now remove them and toss them in to be fed to the leopard gecko. Coated insects can be placed in a feeder dish or allowed to run around the enclosure. This will be dependant on how you feed.
By dedicating a single jar to be your supplementation container, you can simply close the jar up after the process has been completed and use the jar again at the next feeding which requires supplements. This allows you to conserve any supplements that may still be present in the jar.
Supplementation - How Much
I have found that the best formula for supplementation is to combine 1 part vitamin-mineral supplement to 2 parts calcium supplement. Offering an excess of vitamins at too often a frequency can actually cause more harm than good. By offering this mixture of supplements, you will only require a single jar dedicated for this purpose. Those that offer their vitamins and calcium independently and on rotating days are spending more time supplementing than they need to.
Supplementation - How Often
I supplement my adults on a bi-weekly basis for 2 feedings. When they are being bred, I alter their supplementation schedule and offer them supplements 2 times a week during the breeding season. Each of my hatchlings are supplemented 3 times a week until they reach 12 weeks of age. At that point, they are cut back to 2 times per week for the next 4 weeks and then begin the bi-weekly schedule the other geckos are on. This has been my routine now for the past 8 years and it has worked very well for me.
Supplementation - Calcium Dish
A shallow dish of calcium should be offered at all times. Leopard geckos will intermittently eat the calcium in the dish on an as needed basis. This does not take the place of dusting the feeder insects with the calcium and vitamin supplement. This should always be offered in addition to dusting.
There are many different supplements available on the market today. It can be confusing for new enthusiasts to decipher which supplements are best or which are the most often used by other enthusiasts. Here is a short list of supplements that are used within the industry. There are more options out there, but listing them all is not practical.
· Calcium Supplements
» Rep-Cal Calcium - No D3 - No Phosphorus - Green Label (Authors Choice - Linked)
» Jurassi-Cal - No D3 No Phosphorus
» Zoo Med Repti Calcium - No D3 No Phosphorus
» T-Rex 2:0 Calcium
· Vitamin - Mineral Supplements
» Rep-Cal Herptivite (Authors Choice - Linked)
» Zoo Med's Reptivite
» Fluker's Repta Vitamin