While having your favorite fruits, you may think of sharing them with your favorite- Leopard Gecko. This is a common scenario where owners do try to feed their Geckos fruit. Even though it’s a common situation, have you ever thought if the Leopard Geckos can eat fruits or not?
Leopard Geckos cannot eat fruits because they lack the enzymes that are required to digest fruits. Moreover, the digestive tract of Geckos is short and alkaline in nature with an absence of functioning caecum (necessary to digest cellulose). A small and robust skull is another reason why Leopard Geckos are unable to eat fruit.
If you are looking for more information regarding the fruit-eating to not eating situation, stick till the end to know more!
Leopard Geckos are insectivores which means they prefer insects and also their stomach is not designed to digest fruits or any vegetables as well. There are other reasons as well:
- Lack of digestive enzymes
- Absence of functional caecum
- Digestive tract components
- Small and less robust skull
Lack of digestive enzymes
The stomach of the Leopard Geckos does not contain digestive enzymes that are necessary to digest fruits and vegetables. Thus, when they consume these items, it can lead to impaction even if these are digestible by other organisms, such as herbivores.
Absence of functional caecum
Between the small and large intestines, there is a pouch-like structure called the caecum. This component is extremely important for digesting any indigestible food and cellulose as well. Cellulose is a major component found in fruits and vegetables. Hence your Gecko cannot digest the fruits and vegetables at all.
Digestive tract components
The digestive tract of the Leopard Gecko is made of alkaline and it is short in structure. Unlike herbivores that have more acidic and large intestines in structure. The lack of an acidic digestive tract does not allow the Geckos to eat and digest fruit and vegetables.
Small and less robust skull
The Leopard Geckos have small and less robust skulls that do not allow the chewing of food properly. Since fruits and vegetables need to be chewed for pre-digestion, as they contain cellulose and fibers, Leopard Geckos cannot do this task properly.
Thus, giving fruit to them is equivalent to giving them indigestible matters.
Even after being so cautious, if you end up giving fruits to your Gecko, it will cause a lot of harm to them. This includes:
- Improper digestion
- Plaque formation
- Metabolic bone disease (MBD)
- Hypovitaminosis and Hypervitaminosis
- Toxicity or metabolic stress
Leopard Gecko’s digestive tract does not have –
- Functional enzyme and caecum
- Acidic situation
- Robust and big size
These are the main reasons why your Gecko won’t be able to digest any fruits or vegetables and prefers insects more. If you feed your Gecko fruits, it will end up having impaction, which can ultimately cause death as well.
Sugar is very harmful to any Geckos, especially those found in fruits. The sugar can cause plaque formation and may lead to Ulcerative Stomatitis. In this situation, if your Gecko’s mouth remains untreated, it can cause death to your Gecko as well.
Metabolic bone disease (MBD)
The metabolic bone disease is very common in Geckos and it really affects their whole life cycle. This disease mainly occurs when there is a calcium deficiency or imbalance in the calcium to phosphorus ratio in your Gecko’s foods.
Normally fruits contain less calcium than phosphorus which ultimately makes your Gecko a victim of this disease. Lack of calcium and high amounts of phosphorus will not allow your Gecko to digest the calcium and thus will lead to metabolic bone disease.
Hypovitaminosis and Hypervitaminosis
Both of these diseases can really cause a negative impact on your Gecko’s health. Hypovitaminosis is a situation where your Gecko can have a deficiency in vitamin intake. You can actually help your Gecko in having vitamins by dusting or gut loading the insects for your Gecko’s food.
Hypervitaminosis is a situation where your Gecko’s body has a toxicity buildup due to certain vitamins in its body. These two situations can cause extreme issues in your Leopard Gecko’s health.
Toxicity or metabolic stress
Some fruits and vegetables can cause certain toxicity and metabolic stress to your Geckos due to the presence of parasites, pesticides, or components of their own.
If you provide any fruits and veggies that contain these toxic materials, it will definitely not affect your Gecko at once. But slowly the toxic buildup will increase and negatively affect your Gecko.
You should not also use these fruits and vegetables to gut load the insects.
Apart from safe and unsafe fruits and veggies, Leopard Geckos can have toxicity from certain insects as well. Such as – bugs that can light up such as some fireflies are toxic for leopard Gecko as these bugs carry toxic chemicals.
Wild insects are also not a good source of food as they may contain parasites or pesticides in them. However, they can be a good source of nutrition too.
Gut loading insects is a procedure where you can feed the insects ( food for Geckos) with the nutrients you want. Thus, when your Gecko consumes the insect, it will actually feed on most nutrients for its development.
For gut loading, you need to start the procedure 24-72 hours before you feed the insects to your Gecko. However, the most preferable timing is the 12 hours gap between feeding your Gecko and gut-loading insects.
There are many insects, especially worms such as mealworms, silkworms, crickets, etc. that can be fed to your Gecko.
Crickets can be a great source of nutrients as they can consume many fruits and vegetables which can provide enough nutrients to your Gecko. But do change the food of your crickets to avoid mold formation.
Mealworms love carrots and you can gut load them with this vegetable so that this nutrition goes directly to your Gecko as well.
The gut loading process is similar to other insects as well. This gut loading thus provides a good source of nutrition to your Gecko and their deficiency for all vitamins and minerals gets fulfilled.
This is another method or you can say, an alternative to gut loading of insects. Or you can do both of them together to ensure the right consumption of vitamins and minerals to your Gecko.
The diet of your Gecko can be fulfilled when you dust the feeder insects with multivitamin and calcium or phosphorus powder.
For dusting, you can take a sandwich bag where you need to put the powders and the insects together. Then shake the bag until you feel the dusting is required.
Calcium is a very important nutrient for Leopard geckos as it helps to prevent bone diseases. The calcium supplements also contain vitamin D3, a source of vitamin that helps prevent metabolic bone disease in Leopard Gecko.
Feed the insects as soon as possible so that the powders do not leak or move away from the insect’s body.
You can actually offer fruits or vegetables to your Gecko only when the vet recommends you to do so.
Sometimes your reptile’s vet might ask you to make a smoothie when your Gecko is recovering from any illness. But the fruits should be safe for your Gecko, otherwise, they will cause more harm to it.
Even though your Leopard gecko cannot eat fruits and veggies, you can still feed the insects ( foods of Geckos) with proper and safe fruits. Unsafe Fruits can cause digestion and other health issues in Leopard Gecko.
|Unsafe fruits and veggies||Safe fruits and veggies|
|Avocado||Potato ( normal and sweet both)|
Leopard Geckos are insectivores which clearly means that they are into insects and do not prefer anything except them. The other Geckos can eat fruit but unfortunately, Leopard Geckos cannot due to a lack of digestive enzymes and more.
However, you can try gut-loading insects with safe fruits so that they can be consumed by your Leopard Gecko. Dusting your insects with the nutrients is another option as well. Make sure to always keep in contact with a vet for proper safety.