Crickets are among the most common feeder insects to give leopard geckos due to their nutritional value and affordability. Their agility stimulates your leos’ appetites. But can they eat or hurt your geckos?
Although crickets are unlikely to eat or seriously harm your leopard geckos, they can hurt them through tiny bites on their soft parts. The resultant wounds are painful for your geckos and can act as entry points for disease-causing microorganisms.
This article explains more about how and why crickets can hurt your leos, and also provides you with bonus tips for tackling each situation.
Table of Contents
Crickets Can’t Eat Your Leopard Geckos but They Can Hurt Them
Brown crickets, Acheta domestica, and black crickets, Acheta assimilis, are omnivorous insects with strong jaws and teeth. Although crickets are smaller than your geckos, they can bite on their soft parts such as the toes and tail tip, hurting your pets.
This video shows a cricket putting up a fight against a leopard gecko, and causing some wounds in the process:
These bite wounds hurt and stress your leos and make them more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
Where are Crickets Likely to Bite Your Leopard Geckos?
If you suspect your leopard geckos are suffering from cricket bites, check their tails, toes, and eyelids. Crickets often bite your geckos when they’re asleep. Hungry crickets can also attack your leos.
How to Identify Bitten Spots on Your Leopard Geckos
It is essential to conduct regular physical examinations on your leopard geckos and get acquainted with their normal structure. This will help you identify abnormal developments in bitten areas.
Since cricket bites are small and they may be difficult to spot, keeping a magnifying glass is a great idea. You can use the magnifying glass for all observations you need to make on your leos.
How to Care for Cricket Bite Wounds on Your Leopard Geckos
For severe bite wounds, gently pour lukewarm water onto the wounds to clean them. Then pat them dry, apply some ointment, and book an appointment with the vet for further observation and treatment.
Vetericyn Plus reptile wound care is a safe and effective treatment for bite wounds, as well as other kinds of skin irritation in reptilian pets.
Can Crickets Kill A Leopard Gecko?
A cricket can’t kill a healthy leopard gecko in a one-to-one fight. However, a sick or baby leopard gecko might be overwhelmed if they are left with too many crickets.
These can cause painful wounds and immense stress. Prolonged exposure to such conditions can have detrimental effects on your geckos’ heath, even leading to death.
There are also some reports of large numbers of crickets attacking house geckos, and possibly killing them (this rather graphic YouTube video below explains one such account).
So, although crickets killing geckos is not a common occurrence, it is certainly a possibility and a concern for small or unwell geckos.
How to Prevent Crickets from Injuring your Leopard Gecko
Of course, preventing cricket bites is better than having to treat them! Here are some tips for keeping your leopard gecko safe from its prey.
Note: If you’d like to learn how many crickets you should feed your leopard gecko, read our article on that here.
Choose brown crickets rather than black ones
Although meatier, larger, and slower, black crickets are more aggressive than brown crickets. Many leopard gecko keepers avoid black crickets because of their aggression and tough exoskeleton.
Don’t Give Excess Crickets to Your Leopard Geckos
When feeding your leos, avoid giving them too many crickets. Give four to eight crickets to your baby leopard geckos, or six to ten to the adults. Remove leftover crickets before they have a chance to start biting your pet.
Never Leave Crickets in the Tank
You should never leave crickets in the tank after feeding your leopard geckos, as they’ll soon get hungry and begin biting your pet.
One cricket isn’t much of a threat to your geckos, but a group of crickets can overwhelm them with numerous painful bites.
Avoid Feeding Your Leopard Geckos on Huge Crickets
Large crickets can be aggressive and attack your geckos. Plus, your geckos probably won’t be as interested in eating them as smaller ones.
As a general rule, always feed your leos with crickets that are smaller than the space between their eyes. Feed your baby gecko on ¼-inch crickets, ⅜-inch crickets for the juvenile, and small adult to adult-size crickets for the adult gecko.
How to Make Crickets Safer for Your Leopard Geckos
It is impossible to make crickets completely docile. However, you can remove their hind legs. This will slow them down a bit so that your geckos can catch them promptly and without any harm being caused.
An alternative is to put them in the fridge for 20 minutes to slow their metabolism and make them more sluggish – but don’t keep them in there for longer, or they might die!
And of course, you can choose the more meticulous method – holding the crickets by their mouths using tongs and feeding them one after the other to your leopard gecko.
A Well-Fed Cricket is Less Aggressive
When we think about preparing crickets to be fed, we often think of the process of dusting with calcium powder or gut-loading, so that they are more nutritious for our pets.
But there’s another benefit to feeding your crickets before you put them in with your leopard gecko. A well-fed cricket is far less likely to nibble on your gecko’s skin or feces.
While the latter might not seem like a big deal, it could potentially make your leopard gecko sick. Many creatures carry a low level of parasites, reptiles included, passing eggs or cysts in the feces.
When the cricket eats the feces, and the gecko then eats the cricket, the number of parasites in the gecko’s digestive system increases and may get out of control.
To ensure your crickets make a savory choice of snack, you can place pieces of apple, carrot or potato in the tank for them to feed on.
Although crickets can bite your leopard geckos, they provide better nutritional value and activity than other feeder insects.
You shouldn’t deny your leopard geckos this adventurous prey; you can easily manage them and prevent harm.