Fruit is a readily available food and you may consider offering your gecko some as a treat, but it’s important to ask if it’s safe for them to eat. One of the most common inquiries from gecko owners is regarding their diet. So I have decided to conduct some thorough research into the topic in which I will be sharing with you here today.
So, can geckos eat fruit? Some species of gecko do eat fruits as well as insects. These are known as Frugivorous species; and enjoy fruits such as grapes, apples and apricots. The most common species kept as pets include crested and day geckos. Other species, like leopard and African fat-tailed are exclusively insectivorous. If you want to feed fruit to your gecko, you must make sure that your pet is one of the species that can feed safely on it.
Geckos, like most lizards, are predators and enjoy a varied diet of insects. While they make excellent pets, you must know how to feed a gecko before bringing one home.
Let us now take a closer look at the topic so that you can get a better understanding as to how to best look after your lizard.
Do Geckos Eat Fruit?
The particular species, age, and activity level of your gecko will determine the type of diet that you should feed.
Most gecko species prefer a diet of juicy live insects and would never care to eat fruit; whereas other are known as frugivorous species whom love and do well when consuming fruit.
Below, we will take a look at some of the most common species of gecko that can and do consume fruit.
What Species of Gecko Can Eat Fruit?
The crested and day geckos are the most popular fruit consuming species, among a few others.
Crested geckos can eat fruit several times during the week in addition to their staple diet of insects. They like mashed fruit like bananas, peaches, and nectarines.
Day geckos mostly eat insects but occasionally eat tropical fruits like mango, papaya, and even fruit baby food.
Both species also benefit from supplemental multivitamins, vitamin D3, and calcium powder. This ensures that their diet is nutritionally complete.
What Species of Gecko Cannot Eat Fruit?
Many other commonly kept species, such as leopard geckos and African fat-tailed geckos are mostly if not entirely insectivorous.
This means that they eat a diet entirely of insects. If you are to own one of these species, you should not look to feed fruit to them. There is no benefit in doing so, and in some cases, can prove problematic.
What Fruits Can Geckos Eat?
Before feeding fruits to your pet gecko, make sure that you carefully prepare the fruit by mashing it up or putting it in a blender. You can also chop up fruits into small pieces.
Be sure to only provide a small serving at a time. This is because geckos lack the dentition and strength in their jaws to bite into solid food.
You’ll also want to consider the fruits that you are offering. Certain fruits have poor nutritional content and can even be imbalanced for the needs of your gecko; making them ill. So, not all fruits are safe and you should choose fruit wisely.
One of the main considerations as a gecko owner is the calcium to phosphorous ratio.
Your gecko’s food must have twice as much calcium as it does phosphorus. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is something every pet owner must be aware of as it can affect your gecko’s health.
Fruits like banana, nectarine, and peach have inadequate calcium to phosphorus ratio and should only be given in moderation.
Make sure that you wash all fruit thoroughly before offering it. You must make sure that you remove as much pesticide residue and bacteria as possible. If possible, always opt for fresh organic fruits.
Separate parts of the fruit that are toxic and inedible such as the pits and seeds – this includes fruits like apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and apricots.
For smaller geckos, consider grating fruit and cutting it into pieces no bigger than space in between your gecko’s eyes.
Here are some example of the best and most suitable fruit to offer your gecko. They are more balanced in terms of calcium/phosphorous and are generally easier for them to consume:
- Berries – these include raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
- Pitted fruits – these include apples, pears, and cherries.
- Tropical fruits – these include figs, pineapples, and papayas.
- Other fruits – these include melons, persimmons, and grapes.
As previously mentioned, just ensure all pits and seeds are removed and fruit is mashed up or broken down into easily consumed sized chunks.
What Kind Of Food Do Geckos Eat?
All geckos, whether they eat fruit or not, like to eat live insects.
Geckos don’t thrive eating prepared foods, so you must purchase or breed live insects for your gecko.
You must feed your gecko a wide variety of different insects, and do not rely on one type of insect as your gecko will lack all of the nutrition that they need.
Suitable insects to feed your gecko include:
- Crickets – crickets are usually at the core of most pet gecko diets. They are not necessarily the healthiest, but they are some of the easiest to breed and purchase.
- Mealworms – mealworms are often too large for many pet geckos; however, they are the staple diet for leopard geckos.
- Flies – flies are ideal for small geckos, and fruit flies are often the easiest to locate for purchase.
- Waxworms and Superworms – these insects are very rich and calorie dense. They should only be offered no more than once a week as a special treat.
Most gecko owners will find purchasing live insects troublesome, as it often requires frequent trips to the pet store.
Thankfully, you can get various different types of live insects on Amazon for great prices that are ideal for geckos. Here are the best ones available:
Thankfully, buying in bulk keeps the cost down!
When and How Much Food to Feed Your Gecko
Because most geckos are nocturnal, it is best to feed them at night to guarantee they will be awake during meal times.
Young geckos must eat every day, whereas adult geckos only need to eat every other day. Geckos need to have continuous access to clean water.
The amount of food to offer your gecko depends on their age and activity level.
You must avoid putting too many insects into your gecko’s cage as they can escape, die, and will eventually rot; leading to the growth of bacteria and germs.
Introduce bugs one or two at a time. Feed your pet as much as they are willing to eat; they should eat with enthusiasm within the first few minutes.
As your gecko’s enthusiasm for food begins to dwindle, reduce the amount you give them, looking for the moment when they want to stop eating entirely.
Some geckos will eat from long tweezers, so this could be an option for controlling the number of insects you feed your gecko.
Make sure to clear away all uneaten insects and fruit after your gecko has eaten. Both insects and fruit rot, which can create an unsanitary environment for your pet.
Some frugivorous species of gecko eat fruit. The best fruits to offer include berries, stone fruits (without the pits/seeds) and some tropical fruits. However, you should be sure to offer small amounts at a time and offer them broken up for your gecko to safely and easily eat.
Whether a gecko is frugivorous or not, all species eat insects and need variety in their diet.
Sometimes geckos can stop eating, which is a worry for any owner; but thankfully there are adjustments that you can make before rushing your gecko to the vet. Usually, a gecko refusing to eat is an indicator that something else is wrong.
If a gecko is too cold, they might stop eating. It could be a simple matter of the heat bulb being burned out or the heat pad not working – these are issues are an easy fix through simple replacing.
Secondly, if a gecko’s metabolic rate drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, they will automatically stop eating. Geckos need their environment to be at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit to eat well and be healthy.
If you suspect your gecko has an illness, then you must take your gecko to the vet at the earliest opportunity. Aside from this, be sure to clean out and optimize their enclosure.
Many diseases can prevent your lizard from eating, and in some circumstances getting immediate medical attention is the only way to rectify this issue.
Nonetheless, purchase plenty of live and nutritious insects, and some of the recommended fruits (if you own a frugivorous species) and you’ll gecko should live a long and happy life in your care.
While frugivorous spies of gecko can safely eat banana, it has a very poor calcium-to-phosphorus ratio so you should feed this fruit rarely, if at all. If you decide to do so, be sure to blend and mash it up so that your gecko can easily consume it.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.