Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) are adorable reptiles and ones that make wonderful pets (particularly for people looking for an animal that’s independent). These reptiles have very laid-back temperaments and chill demeanors, which makes them mostly easy to handle. But when it comes to care, leopard geckos need very precise maintenance—part of which is their diet.
When choosing to keep exotic pets such as Leopard Geckos we recommend ensuring you have access to an exotics veterinarian for any treatment and advice you may need. Not all areas have vets who specialize in reptiles.
Leopard geckos are insectivores, which means they eat insects rather than greens or fruits. That makes mealworms and crickets popular foods for these pets. But what about Dubia roaches? Can leopard geckos eat those? They can, and they’re quite good for these reptiles! It should be noted that your leopard gecko should eat a variety of insects and not just Dubia roaches.
Benefits of Dubia Roaches
How are Dubia roaches good for leopard geckos? The primary reason these insects are excellent for these reptiles is their high protein level. Dubia roaches (when properly raised) can have up to 20% more protein (and calcium) than other feeder insects. And this protein helps to keep your leopard gecko healthy and active. Dubia roaches also contain less chitin, making them simpler to digest.
They are also unique in that they can store a large amount of food compared to other feeder insects and can take 3 days to digest it meaning they hold on to their nutrients from gut loading for longer.
As for other benefits, these insects aren’t capable of jumping, so there’s less chance of them escaping into your home. Plus, they don’t make noise, nor do they have an odor.
Feeding Your Leopard Gecko With Dubia Roaches
As a leopard gecko owner, you already know that the insects you typically feed your gecko should be gut loaded, and Dubia roaches are no different. So, at least 24 hours before you plan to give your leopard gecko any Dubia roaches, you need to gut-load these insects with nutritious food. The simplest way to do this is by placing the Dubia roaches in a container with a piece of fruit or vegetable such as fresh banana or carrot and if necessary gut-loading flakes.
It isn’t just gut loading that is important for the insects you feed your leopard gecko, though! Insects fed to your pet should also be dusted with mineral and vitamin supplements. This can be accomplished by placing the Dubia roaches in a bag with the supplement powder and gently moving them around to coat them. Naturally Dubia roaches do not have the correct calcium:phosphorus ratio and so need to be dusted to provide proper nutrition.
As for how often your leopard gecko should be fed, it depends on its age. Leopard geckos under the age of one should be fed daily to ensure good growth and body weight. After they reach the age of one, though, feedings can move to every other day.
But how many of these insects should you feed your gecko at a time? A good rule of thumb for feeding leopard geckos is to give them two insects for every inch of the gecko’s length. So, if your gecko is 5 inches, it would get 10 Dubia roaches every other day.
Are There Insects Leopard Geckos Should Not Eat?
Absolutely! There are a couple of insects you should never give to your leopard geckos because they could cause significant damage to your pet. The first to avoid is wild insects (any insect found in your home or outdoors). Since you have no clue what these insects have gotten into—chemicals, bacteria, etc.—you certainly don’t want to risk your leopard gecko eating one and becoming ill.
Then, there are fireflies (or any insect that lights up). Insects that light up are poisonous to geckos, so if your leopard gecko eats one of these, there could be serious trouble.
Leopard geckos can eat Dubia roaches and likely will enjoy them immensely. Just be sure to gut load these insects and dust them with supplements like you would any other. How many you should feed your leopard gecko and how often depends on your leopard gecko’s size and age. Geckos over the age of one should be fed every other day, and two insects should be given for every inch of your leopard gecko’s length.
Featured Image Credit: mynewturtle, Shutterstock