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My partner and I have had many reptiles over the years (bearded dragons, snakes of various sizes etc) but our latest additions are 2 leopard geckos - we're not sure exactly what breed, but we think the younger female is a hypo, if that means anything to anyone?

They live in the same vivarium and are very friendly with each other, but we separate them when we cannot supervise them as we think him trying to mount her while still so young would stress her out unduly.

What vitamins should we be adding to their food, and is there anything in particular we should be feeding them? They currently eat morio worms, small (4ths) locusts and the occasional wax worm. The locusts and morio worms are popular, but neither of the geckos appear too keen on the wax worms. Should we be putting vegetation for them to graze on as well?

  • Welcome to Pets, and good question. One tweak you could make that would be helpful: are the geckos not keen on all the food items you mention, or just the wax worms? – toxotes Dec 20 '13 at 14:20
  • Thanks for the welcome, I'll amend the question for a bit more clarity (and yes it's just the wax worms) – Reno79 Dec 20 '13 at 14:43
  • Reno79, and it would be helpful if the title was edited to be a question that described what the problem is. It's a bit general, as written. Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Dec 20 '13 at 18:14
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Leopard geckos are carnivorous, so they probably won't even consider eating any vegetation you put in with them. If you're worried about vitamins, gut-loaded crickets are the easiest, and best, option in my opinion. If you can't purchase crickets that are already gut-loaded at your local pet store, you can gut-load whatever crickets you purchase by feeding them Fluker's cricket food (I use the orange cubes). It's a good idea to continue feeding already gut-loaded crickets this food anyways, since once the food they were given is digested, any benefits are lost.

I also dust my crickets with calcium occasionally. Just enough to help with bone growth, they require much less calcium when fully grown.

You can also put a bit of vitamin/calcium powder in some water and most leopard geckos will drink it.

I haven't heard of anyone feeding their leopard geckos locusts, but I don't see anything wrong with it. You might want to look up their nutritional value vs crickets to see where they stand. As far as waxworms go, personally, I say it's a good thing they don't like them. Waxworms are high in fat content, and their exoskeletons are difficult for reptiles to digest. So they really aren't the greatest of foods to offer.

I know this isn't really part of the question, but I separate sexes of my animals unless I want them to breed. There's nothing you can really do to prevent the male from stressing the female out, and there's nowhere for her to escape the attention in a terrarium. They'll both do fine in separate 10 gallon terrariums, and if you're worried about expenses with new lights they don't require UV lights since they've been bred in captivity so long. Although some small studies have shown that even reptiles that don't require UV light will benefit from small amounts, so I still suggest it.

  • Thanks for the info on the calcium & gut-loaded crickets. Will look into getting some of that. When I say we separate them when we're not around, we have a large terrarium (approx 3 ft on one side, and about 6ft across the front) and place a physical opaque divider down the middle. It's a custom tank I made for this specific purpose when we used to have two snakes who did not get along! I'm intrigued about the UV information too. We currently have two UV A/B lamps (that also provide heat) from the top of the terrarium. Just to be clear, that's pointless? Should I switch it for heat only? – Reno79 Dec 20 '13 at 15:11
  • Your welcome. If you prefer the locusts over crickets, or already have a locust colony started, you should be able to dust the locusts to get the same, or better, nutritional value as crickets. You might be able to gut-load locusts, but I have no idea how that would work myself. Roaches are another option too, but not many people like having them in their house. – Spidercat Dec 20 '13 at 15:18
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    I wouldn't say the UV lights are pointless. Some studies have shown that they benefit from having UV light. But they aren't going to be unable to digest their food without it like other lizards would be. – Spidercat Dec 20 '13 at 15:21
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You need to give them vegetation - but not directly :)

They are carnivores - more precisely, insectivores - so will not (and should not) eat any plant matter of its own accord. However, you need to "gut load" their feeder insects for 24 hours before offering the insects to the geckos. Just feed the insects a huge pile of goodies - carrot, lettuce, spinach, orange slices, etc. Some people recommend dry cat food (with milk powder to give some extra protein) as a good food source.

Crickets in particular have very little nutritional value without this gut-loading - they are basically just a crunchy shell. In order to feed your lizards properly you need to feed their food. When you buy the insects from the pet store or mail order they won't have been fed particularly well beforehand and you really need to stuff them full of goodies to be certain that they are... stuffed full of goodies. Google "gut loading" to find out more information - there are numerous guides out there that should be able to help you, and lots of different people recommending lots of different foods.

Dusting the insects with multivitamin or calcium supplements is a separate (and recommended) way of increasing the nutrients that your geckos get, but it is NOT to replace gutloading - they are both separate and both necessary parts of your gecko's diet.

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