Why Won’t My Leopard Gecko Eat Crickets? & Ultimate Solution (2023)

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Leopard geckos are voracious eaters and won’t eat anything that doesn’t fight back. Because crickets are active insects, they make great food that many geckos have a hard time resisting. If your Leo doesn’t eat crickets, you may have a problem. This article will help you find possible reasons for the problem.

Leopard geckos may refuse to eat crickets if they have cage problems, health problems, or cricket problems (too large or inactive). Leopard geckos may also depend on other insects. These factors may occur simultaneously or independently, so it is important to analyze each.

This article provides a comprehensive analysis of why leopard geckos do not eat crickets. It also provides valuable tips on how to stimulate the gecko’s appetite for crickets.

Will My Leopard Gecko Survive Without Crickets?

Yes, your leopard gecko will do just fine as long as its diet doesn’t include crickets.

Cricket food is packed with nutrients and their erratic movements stimulate the hunting reflex, but many other insect options are available for your pet. Their quick movements also encourage young Leos to forage. When Leos reach adulthood, new insects are usually introduced into their diet.

Some individual geckos decide, after trying, that they prefer other insects to crickets. Crickets are notorious for their very loud calls that annoy reptile owners. These owners are usually very happy that leopard geckos don’t like crickets.

However, other insects may not be as readily available as crickets in certain areas, and some owners may insist on including crickets in a gecko’s diet, even if their pets do not eat them.

What Are The Reasons My Leopard Gecko Won’t Eat Crickets?

Feeding problems

These are issues related to the general diet of crickets, other insectivores, and Leos.

  • Your gecko won’t eat stuck crickets
    Leopard geckos are predators that feed on insects that live in their natural environment. Caught Leos will not eat dry or dead crickets. Providing life, moving crickets should mimic their natural diet.
  • Your Leo has changed taste preferences
    In the wild, geckos eat a wide variety of insects. While some pet geckos like to eat crickets forever, some owners report that their Leos seem to get bored with repeated meals. In cases like this, they usually whet their appetites when they offer variations.
  • Crickets are too big for your Leo
    If you offer a large cricket, the Leos will refuse. It is important to feed crickets that are smaller than the gecko’s eye spacing. A large cricket can crash into Leo’s gut.
  • You gave too many crickets
    Your Leo will not eat more than he is full. A baby leopard gecko can only eat 5-7 crickets a day, while an adult eats 6-7 crickets every other day.

Habitat problem

Geckos may refuse to eat crickets if habitat conditions are unfavorable.

(Video) 5 Reasons Your Leopard Gecko Isn't Eating - Picky Geckos

  • Vivarium temperature and lighting too low
    Geckos require high temperatures to properly digest their food. Cold temperatures prevent geckos from properly digesting their food. Therefore, they do not eat the crickets provided.
  • Humidity in the breeding room may be lower than necessary
    Leopard geckos will not eat crickets or other food if the humidity in the enclosure is too low. The ideal humidity is 30-40%, never below 20%.
  • Your gecko dwelling is unfavorable
    If the gecko doesn’t eat the crickets, check the enclosure. Dwellings should primarily be modeled after natural habitats. Build a vivarium horizontally with a wider area than vertically.

Health concerns

Underlying health issues can also cause Leos to avoid grills and other foods.

  • Your gecko has poor eyesight
    Visual impairment is a common problem in injured or aging leopard geckos. Temporary blindness can occur due to incomplete molting due to low humidity. In these conditions, Leos cannot hunt crickets, so they can be fed with tongs or given slow-moving insects like mealworms.
  • Your Leo may be suffering from a collision
    Collision is a common condition in leopard geckos. This is a partial blockage of the digestive tract caused by a Leo swallowing large amounts of food or non-food.
  • Metabolic bone disease (MBD) can be a problem
    Geckos that suffer from MBD are unable to catch crickets because their bones are weak or deformed. MBD is caused by calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies and the presence of excess phosphorus.
  • Your Leo May Have a Parasite
    Pinworms are common intestinal parasites of leopard geckos. However, pinworms can overwhelm and weaken captive geckos more easily than wild ones. Pinworms especially reduce Leo’s appetite and can be eliminated with prescribed treatment.
  • A molted gecko cannot be eaten for several days
    Molting is a common behavior of reptiles. Leopard geckos are notorious for consuming their molted skin to replenish their nourishment. Geckos do not eat crickets or other food for several days before and after molting.
  • Your Leo may refuse to eat during bloomers
    Bruising resembles hibernation. It is a period during the cold season (often from December to February) when your leopard gecko enters a deep sleep to reserve energy. During this time its activity level is minimal, and it may not feed.
  • Pain can Prevent Your Leopard Gecko from Eating
    Mouth rot, also known as infectious stomatitis, is a painful bacterial disease affecting the mouth, gums, and teeth. It can spread all over your Leo’s body if not treated.
  • A Gravid Female Leo often Loses their Appetite
    After mating, a female leopard gecko gets pregnant and lays eggs 16 to 22 days later. As the egg grows, the abdomen may swell and the appetite may decrease.
  • Your leopard gecko may be traumatized
    Some leopard geckos refuse to eat prey insects if they have had a bad experience in the past. If your Leo has been bitten by a cricket before, repeat the experience. Instead, he may find himself refusing to eat it.

How To Get My Leopard Gecko To Eat Crickets

  1. Moving crickets
    Do not feed the gecko’s fixed or stored crickets. Because they are visual predators, there is no incentive for creatures to eat them, as there is no need to “catch” them. When introducing insects to the gecko habitat, make sure they are alive and moving.
  2. Choosing the Right Size Crickets
    Leopard geckos need food that is appropriate for their weight. Baby geckos only eat small crickets that are less than 1/4 inch in length. Larger, mature geckos can catch larger prey, but still, need to be sized to fit between the gecko’s eyes. Try smaller prey and work towards a larger diet.
  3. Make sure it’s the correct type of cricket
    There are many types of crickets, and not all are suitable for leopard geckos. The most common breeds are bred commercially by cricket breeders and sold in pet stores.
  4. Don’t feed freshly caught crickets in your garden unless you’ve bred them yourself and know exactly what they’re eating.
    It can infect leopard geckos with parasites fed at dawn or dusk. Leopard geckos are most active in the dark and may not eat crickets offered during the day. Try to feed early in the morning or early evening when the sky starts to darken, during the natural hunting season.
  5. Don’t feed too many crickets
    Leopard geckos lose interest when their hunger is satisfied. Feeding times are typically about 10-20 minutes. You ignore the rest of the creatures you place in the habitat. Instead of having crickets fly around and annoy your pet, pull them out. Biting the legs of a sleeping gecko can cause serious injury.


Even as pets, leopard geckos retain their wild hunting instincts. They are carnivores and one of their staple foods is crickets. But you could have tried offering crickets but they just turned away. Is it sick or your pet is telling you you are doing something wrong? How to get lions to eat crickets.

If your leopard gecko refuses to eat crickets, you need to make sure the crickets are alive, pollinated, and of the proper size and species. You should also make sure that the tank conditions are within the optimal range and that the leopard gecko is healthy.

(Video) Leopard gecko cricket feeding FAQ

Why Won’t My Leopard Gecko Eat Crickets? & Ultimate Solution (1)

Martin Rodriguez

Leopard Geckos are awesome!

(Video) Reasons Why A Leopard Gecko Won’t Eat

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What do you feed a leopard gecko that won't eat crickets? ›

The best insects to feed your Leopard Gecko are crickets and mealworms. However, you can also feed him waxworms, butterworms, silkworms, tomato hornworms, beetles, sow bugs and cockroaches. Waxworms and superworms should be fed as a treat as they're high in fat.

How do you force feed a gecko that won't eat? ›

Try feeding your gecko some of the following foods to stimulate its appetite: Safe insects include crickets, mealworms (not for the main diet because of lack of nutrition and hard exoskeleton), waxworms (treats only, very addictive), silkworms and dubia roaches.

How long can a leopard gecko go without eating crickets? ›

Many adult leopard geckos can go without food for ten days to two weeks because of the fat storage in their tails. It is completely normal for leopard geckos to go without eating for long periods. Unlike mammals, reptiles do not require food every day to survive, particularly during the winter.

Why is my leopard gecko not eating but very active? ›

If you see a leopard gecko not eating it may be because they are missing calcium in their diet. They should be fed supplements to prevent calcium and mineral deficiencies. Symptoms of calcium deficiency include: Gradual reduced feeding over several days.

Why is my leopard gecko not interested in crickets? ›

Your leopard gecko may refuse to eat crickets if there are cage issues, health issues, or cricket issues (too large or inactive). Your leopard gecko might also be addicted to other feeder insects. It is essential to analyze each of these factors, as they can occur concurrently or independently.

How do you force feed a leopard gecko? ›

You can do this by holding the insect a few inches from its mouth and waiting for them to come for it. Alternatively, you can hold your leopard gecko with your non-dominant hand and hold the insect near its mouth using the dominant hand.

How do I get my picky leopard gecko to eat? ›

Offer A Varied Diet Of Fast-Moving Prey

There are plenty of staple feeder insects that move in fast and exciting ways. These are likely to pique the interest of your picky eating Leopard Gecko. What is this? Try offering grasshoppers/locusts, dubia roaches, and even flying insects such as moths!

Will leopard geckos starve themselves? ›

A leopard gecko will not starve itself to death. It might refuse to eat when it has stored enough energy in its tail but will start eating again when that energy is used up. Leopard geckos that refuse to eat even though they are starving are usually sick or suffering from an incorrect tank setup.

Is it OK if my leopard gecko is not eating? ›

Leopard geckos will often go quite long without eating during shedding or brumation. However, if you notice that your gecko is losing a lot of weight in a short period of time, then this is often a sign of a more serious underlying issue.

Is it OK to feed leopard gecko only mealworms? ›

Baby Leopard Geckos should be fed 5-7 small crickets or mealworms every day until they reach about 4 inches. Larger food should be offered every other day until they become full grown in about 10-12 months. Adults can be fed 6-7 large crickets or mealworms 2 to 3 times a week.

Should I leave bagged crickets in my leopard geckos tank? ›

While crickets cannot seriously harm your leopard gecko, they can spread pathogens or start biting your lizard, which can cause an injury and potentially an infection. Be sure to monitor your leopard gecko's eating habits and feed it as many crickets as it can eat and remove the leftovers after that.

Can leopard geckos survive without crickets? ›

Crickets are a viable option for many people, but for those who do not want to deal with the smell, noise, and other disadvantages of crickets, a mealworm-exclusive diet may be the way to go! As a quick fact, the majority of leopard geckos who hold longevity records have been fed nothing but mealworms!

How can I tell if my leopard gecko is dehydrated? ›

Help! I Think My Reptile Is Dehydrated!
  1. Dry, wrinkled or puckered skin.
  2. Loss of skin elasticity and flexibility.
  3. Sunken, receded eyes.
  4. Weakness and lethargy.
  5. Sticky or dry membranes.
  6. Flaky skin or trouble shedding.
  7. Constipation or infrequent defecation.

What temp should heat be for leopard gecko? ›

Temperature and Lighting

Ideal temperatures Leopard Geckos range from 75-80°F on the cool side and 80-85°F on the warm side. Provide a 90-95°F basking area on the warm side.

Why is my lizard not eating crickets? ›

The most common reason that a bearded dragon or other lizard will stop eating crickets is simply because they have gotten tired of crickets. If you've been feeding your pet crickets for a long time, and it's always accepted them before suddenly rejecting them, then this may be your issue.

How often do leopard geckos need crickets? ›

Leopard geckos feed primarily on live, moving insect prey. An appropriate diet may consist of commercially-raised crickets with smaller numbers of silkworms, roaches, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, and other live insects. Juveniles should be fed every 1-2 days and adults 2-3 times per week.

How do I keep crickets alive for my leopard gecko? ›

The two biggest factors to successfully keeping your crickets alive, are humidity, and feeding. High humidity kills crickets very, very rapidly. It is entirely possible to wipe out a colony in less than an hour by leaving them in a high humidity environment.

Why do geckos struggle to eat? ›

A tank that is too cool can result in refusal to eat, as well as a general lack of activity. Also, it can cause a lizard to regurgitate partially digested – or undigested – food items. This is the first and the easiest thing to check when your leopard gecko acts lethargic and weird is the temperature.

Do leopard geckos get bored of food? ›

Leopard geckos do not get bored. Leopard geckos aren't like humans. They don't need constant entertainment or attention to feel satisfied. They're happy to just eat, be healthy, and live in a safe and comforting environment.

How do I know if my leopard gecko is eating enough? ›

The most obvious sign that a leopard gecko is eating enough is when it has a plump tail. Other signs include keenness to eat and drink, plumping of the body, basking under heat, and having healthy-looking skin.

Why do I have to hand feed my leopard gecko? ›

Hand-feeding your Leopard Gecko is a positive way to build a trust relationship and work on handling. It is also necessary to aid Leopard Geckos who are sick or blind. But, hand-feeding is not as enriching as allowing your Leopard Gecko to hunt and deprives them of exercise and natural behavior.

How do I know if my leopard gecko is in Brumation? ›

  • Less active than usual.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Hiding for weeks at a time.
  • Preferring the cool side of the enclosure.

What not to do with a leopard gecko? ›

Geckos can drop their tails if they think a predator has a hold of their tails, or if they become startled. Never pick your gecko up by its tail. Avoid making your gecko feel cornered or threatened. If it doesn't feel like being handled and keep running away from your hand, take a break from trying to pick it up.

Do leopard geckos enjoy water? ›

Water Recommendations for Leopard Geckos

Offer fresh water daily in a water dish large enough for the lizard to soak its entire body in. Additional soaks in shallow warm water for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a week are helpful, especially during a shed.

What humidity should a leopard gecko be? ›

Dry environment: leopard geckos need a relatively dry environment. Measure the humidity at the cool end of the tank with a hygrometer - it should be between 30 and 40%.

What sickness do leopard geckos get? ›

Cryptosporidiosis is a common intestinal infection of leopard geckos caused by the one-celled parasite Cryptosporidium varanii (also know in older references as Cryptosporidium saurophilum).

Can I feed my leopard gecko anything other than insects? ›

Unlike some other common pet lizards, leopard geckos will eat live insects only. They won't accept canned or dried reptile food or meat. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are very uncommon. Feeder insects are bred in captivity to feed pet reptiles and some birds.

Do leopard geckos get tired of the same food? ›

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, although leopard geckos are insectivores, they're still built to eat a variety of different foods. If you've been feeding your gecko the same one or two types of feeder insects for a while, it's possible that they've simply become tired of getting the same-old-same-old.

How do I know if my leopard gecko has parasites? ›

Symptoms include regurgitation/vomiting, loss of weight/condition (often geckos' tails become much thinner if they have parasites as it's one of the places they store fat) loss of appetite and lethargy. Your specialist reptile vet maybe able to prescribe a worming treatment or medication to eliminate them.

What time of day should you feed a leopard gecko? ›

The best time to feed a gecko is in the early evening (7-9 pm) when it becomes active after its daytime snooze. Feeding can typically take 10-20 minutes - the gecko will know when to stop and will not 'over indulge'. For some owners, this is the most rewarding part of having a leopard gecko as a pet.

Is sand or carpet better for leopard geckos? ›

One of the most popular substrates for its ease of use, reptile carpet is a safe and attractive substrate for leopard gecko tanks.

How many crickets should I put in my leopard gecko tank? ›

A great rule of thumb for gecko feeding is: 2 appropriately-sized bugs per 1 inch of your leopard gecko's length. Generally, this amount can be consumed in 15 minutes. Juveniles should be fed daily, and young adults fed every other day/every 3 days. Adults whose tail is fatter than their neck can be fed every 5 days.

Can you leave mealworms in a leopard gecko tank? ›

The gecko needs to be offered fresh bugs every day twice a day and he needs to be monitored while he eats to make sure he's getting enough. He will also need to get his calcium and vitamins. Plus, if you just leave him a big fish of mealworms, he will gorge himself and later regurgitate which is not healthy.

Can I feed my leopard gecko only wax worms? ›

When using supplements such as waxworms, or Calciworms® Leopard Geckos should be fed 3 to 5 worms 3 times a week. Waxworms are intended to be used to add fat to a geckos diet or the occasional treat, Leopard Geckos will quickly become spoiled on waxworms and may refuse other foods so use them sparingly.

Can leopard geckos eat anything other than insects? ›

Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning they only eat bugs. Their bodies aren't even designed to digest fruits, vegetables, or any other kind of meat. Just insects.

What is the best food for picky leopard geckos? ›

Offer A Varied Diet Of Fast-Moving Prey

There are plenty of staple feeder insects that move in fast and exciting ways. These are likely to pique the interest of your picky eating Leopard Gecko. What is this? Try offering grasshoppers/locusts, dubia roaches, and even flying insects such as moths!

How do I get my leopard gecko to eat crickets? ›

Get those crickets moving

Don't feed immobile or preserved crickets to your gecko. Being visual predators, there's no incentive for the creature to eat them since it doesn't have to 'catch' them. Make sure the insects are alive and moving when you put them into your gecko's habitat.

How many wax worms should I feed my leopard gecko a day? ›

What is this? Since wax worms are high in fat, low in calcium, and addictive to leopard geckos, adult geckos should only eat 2-5 worms once a week at most. Leopard geckos under four months of age should not eat any wax worms to maintain a good appetite for healthier feeder insects.

What do wax worms turn into? ›

What do waxworms turn into? Waxworms are the larvae of the wax moth. If left to their own devices they will pupate and turn into wax moths, which are small moths that don't live very long and are still edible for your animal if wanted to feed them off.

What is a leopard gecko eating habits? ›

Leopard geckos (also known as Leos) go crazy for a succulent mixture of worms and “gut-loaded” crickets — that is, live crickets that have been fed the vitamins geckos need. Adult Leos only need to eat four to five times a week, which makes them a relatively low-maintenance lizard.

What do leopard geckos need in their tank? ›

Humidity & Water

In their natural habitat, geckos will burrow and seek moister and cooler environment when they need it, and having a humid spot is a way to replicate that. A humid spot is also necessary for the geckos to shed their skin properly.

Can you feed leopard geckos dead insects? ›

Feeding leopard geckos dead crickets is not recommended for several reasons. Dead crickets have little to no moisture or nutritional value. Besides that, dead crickets attract parasites and bacteria that can harm your gecko's health.

What temp should leopard gecko cage be? ›

The temperature should be kept between 77-90 degrees (25-32 degrees Celsius). Heat rocks should be avoided as they may become too hot and burn the gecko. The relative humidity should be 30-40%. Lighting: Leopard geckos are crepuscular, so special UV lighting is not required.

Why do leopard geckos refuse food? ›

The number one reason why leopard geckos stop eating is that they are too cold. Perhaps your heat bulb burned out, perhaps the heat mat stopped working, perhaps there's a draft going into the cage, or maybe you never had a heat source for your leopard gecko and now it's just gotten too cold.

What is a geckos favorite food? ›

Most varieties of geckos (including leopards, African fat-tailed, tokays, house, flying, cave, and frog-eyed) are insectivores and prefer a diet of crickets, waxworms, earthworms, mealworms, fruit flies, moths, or grasshoppers offered every two to four days.


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