What Leopard Geckos can and cannot eat is always stressful and confusing to the owners. After all, there are quite a lot of insects that you can try feeding to your Leo. However, what about arachnids like spiders? Are they a suitable addition to Leo’s diet?
Leopard Geckos can eat spiders, but you should heed caution. Although spiders aren’t toxic to Leopard Geckos, the ones caught in the wild may have consumed dangerous insecticides and pesticides. Therefore, you should only give store-bought spiders to Leopard Geckos.
In this guide, we will discuss more on whether or not spiders are a good meal for Leopard Geckos, so read on!
Table of Contents
Why Leopard Geckos Can Eat Spiders
Leopard Geckos are typically insectivorous, but they can consume spiders occasionally. However, you should take care about what type of spider you’re feeding to your Leo.
As you may already know, spiders love to crawl and move around a lot! Due to this specific reason, they might satisfy the predatory instincts of a Leopard Gecko. Therefore, your Leo might love chasing around the spider and enjoy eating it.
Moreover, spiders are also protein-rich as an average spider contains 6.3 grams of protein.
Yet, wild spiders are free creatures. They may have consumed toxic insecticides and pesticides while feeding on insects themselves. So, there is a risk of toxicity if your Leo consumes this type of wild spider.
In all, you should buy spiders from a dealer to avoid any form of poisoning in your Leo.
What Types of Spiders Can Leopard Geckos Eat?
Spiders are available in various types and forms, but not all are suitable for your Leopard Geckos.
Typically, you can feed house spiders, daddy long legs, jumping spiders, wolf spiders, and even tarantulas to your Leopard Gecko.
However, note that you shouldn’t just catch spiders from outside or your house, and feed them to your Leo. Only feed store-bought spiders to your Leos.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t feed dead or poisonous spiders to your Leopard Gecko. Dead spiders may not seem appetizing to your Leo, and may also be devoid of essential nutrients.
There are a few poisonous spiders, such as Redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) and black widow (Latrodectus mactans), whose venom is dangerous.
It may act on the nerve endings of lizards like Leopard Geckos and affect them. So, it is best to keep your Leo away from such spider species.
Benefits of Feeding Spiders to Leopard Geckos
If you’re feeding store-bought spiders to your Leopard Geckos, here are a few benefits of it.
They Are Protein-Rich
Protein is an essential nutrient for Leopard Geckos. It’s the building block of all living organisms and is required for proper body growth, including that of Leos.
Therefore, you need to feed a protein-rich diet to your Leopard Gecko (Here is our leo diet guide).
One of the major benefits of feeding spiders to Leopard Geckos is that they’re quite protein-rich. To give you an example, crickets are one of the most protein-rich feeder insects, but they only contain 1 to 2 grams of protein per 10 grams.
On the other hand, an average spider (around 10 grams) contains 6.3 grams of proteins. So, you don’t have to worry about the protein component of the diet, if you’re feeding spiders to your Leo.
They Move Around a Lot
If you have a Leopard Gecko, you may already be aware that they love to feed on insects that move and wiggle around a lot! This is because they’re hunters by nature, and have predatory instincts.
Now, spiders make for an amazing hunt, as they tend to crawl and move around. So, most Leos would surely have fun trying to capture it and then feeding on it.
Although you should avoid feeding wild spiders to your Leo at all costs, you can still easily find live spiders in online stores.
Risks and Limitations of Feeding Spiders to Leopard Geckos
Keep in mind that if you’re feeding spiders to your Leo, there are a few risks here.
Risk of Toxicity
The biggest risk of feeding spiders to your Leo is the risk of toxicity. However, note that this risk only applies if you’re planning to feed wild spiders.
Wild spiders often come in contact with insecticides, pesticides, and parasites. After all, they may eat insects that may have consumed insecticides and pesticides.
Now, most insecticides and pesticides contain harmful chemicals like Hydrogen Cyanide. This can put your Leopard Gecko at the risk of developing brain-damaging symptoms too.
Therefore, don’t allow or encourage your Leopard Gecko to eat wild spiders.
Some Spider Species Are Extremely Venomous
Most spiders are venomous instead of poisonous, and may not cause any significant problem after they’ve been ingested.
However, as mentioned earlier, a few spiders like Redback and Black Widow are extremely venomous and may affect the nerve-endings of Leopard Geckos. So, if your Leo gets bitten by one of these, it may put him in danger.
Nutritional Value of Spiders Vs. Other Feeder Insects
The table given below denotes the nutritional value of spiders and feeder insects. Typically, spiders are more protein-rich when compared to other insects.
|(Per 100 grams)||Protein||Fat||Calories|
|Spiders||63 grams||10 grams||90|
|Crickets||19 grams||5 grams||121|
|Mealworms||19 grams||9 grams||206|
|Silkworms||13 grams||2 grams||123|
|Roaches||20 grams||8 grams||237|
As you can observe in the table, spiders are only pretty much rich in proteins. They don’t contain a lot of other nutrients that Leopard Geckos require.
Moreover, they are also quite high in fat content, making them unsuitable for overweight or senior Leos.
How Many Spiders Can Leopard Geckos Eat?
If you have decided to feed spiders to your Leopard Gecko, it is essential to know the quantity.
As spiders are high in fat and low in other nutrients, it’s best to just feed one spider to your Leopard Gecko once in a week or two.
Therefore, you can feed spiders to your Leo as an occasional treat, but nothing more than that.
How to Store and Feed Spiders to Leopard Geckos?
If you have decided to feed spiders to your Leo, here are a few tips on how to store and feed them.
Storing Spiders For Leopard Geckos
- Purchase spiders from stores instead of catching the wild ones.
- You can store the spiders in jars or plastic containers. Most spiders can stay alive for months.
- Spiders don’t typically eat fruits or vegetables. So, you can choose to feed them insects if you’re gutloading spiders before feeding them.
Feeding Spiders to Leopard Geckos
- You don’t have to kill the spider before feeding them to your Leo.
- Some spiders may stay in one place when they’re in front of a predator. In this case, you can poke them with a stick so they’d move.
Where to Buy Spiders For Leopard Geckos?
If you wish to include spiders in your Leopard Geckos diet, then you can purchase them from pet stores or online stores too.
Given below is a list of online stores that sell live spiders.
You can purchase various types of spiders, including tarantulas, from this online store. They’re quite cheap and come in abundance too.
Also, most reviews suggest that the spiders delivered are live and authentic. However, the website seems relatively new with very few reviews, so there’s something to consider.
Additionally, they don’t ship outside of the US. So, if you’re located elsewhere, this website might not be for you.
Although this website is a bit pricier than Joshsfrogs, it’s ideal if you reside in the UK. It offers different types of spiders such as jumping spiders and tarantulas.
However, note that this website doesn’t have any user reviews or a section dedicated to that. You can still check out its reviews on Trustpilot, where it has a good rating of 4.6 stars.
The good thing about Petco is that it offers spiders both online and in live stores. You can check out the various spider types available on the website. Additionally, you can check out the store locations on the website too.
Currently, Petco only offers Tarantulas in their live stores.
Lastly, you can check out this website as it sells a large variety of spiders, including tarantulas, jumping spiders, and many more.
According to the user reviews, the company offers fast shipping and efficient services. Yet, a few users have complained about receiving dead animals.
Better Alternatives to Spiders For Leopard Geckos
Spiders aren’t good regular food for Leos, as they won’t fulfill their dietary requirements. Instead, you should try out the below-mentioned alternatives for spiders.
If price isn’t a factor you’re considering, then you should opt for Dubia Roaches. It is an insect that is known for its abundant nutrients.
The best part is that just like spiders, they are high in protein. But, at the same time, they don’t contain as much fat as spiders. They also contain other essential nutrients that Leopard Geckos require.
Most of the time, dubia roaches are easy to handle as they don’t make a lot of noise, or fly either. You can also gut-load them with several things to enhance your Leo’s diet.
In all, they make for the perfect balanced diet for your Leopard Gecko. We explain why dubias are so good for leos here.
Both spiders and dubia roaches are on the expensive end. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, then crickets are certainly a popular choice.
Several Leopard Gecko owners consider crickets as the best feeder insect for Leos. Firstly, they are also somewhat high in protein and low in fat. They also move around a lot, which makes them more appetizing to the Leos.
Crickets are available in pet stores and on online websites in abundance.
Note that you need to gut-load crickets at least a day or two before feeding them to your Leo.
If you’d like to know why crickets are one of the best staple foods for leos, read our article here.
Mealworms are yet another popular insect to feed to your Leopard Gecko.
The biggest advantage of mealworms over crickets is that they don’t produce as much noise. Additionally, they don’t bite Leopard Geckos which is sometimes a concerning factor in crickets and spiders too.
Just like crickets, mealworms are also available for purchase online and in pet stores too at an affordable price.
Note that mealworms are high in fat and they may also move too slow to stimulate your Leo.
If you’d like to know about the pros and cons and the myths of feeding leopard geckos mealworms, read our article here.
If you’re looking only for a spider alternative to use as a treat, then waxworms are a perfect choice.
Most Leopard Geckos are fond of eating waxworms, but there are a few risks involved.
As waxworms are high in fat and low in other nutrients, they’re not good for Leo’s daily diet plan. Also, you cannot gut-load waxworms, so there’s again a lack of nutrients.
You can consider giving 3 to 5 waxworms thrice a week to fulfill your Leopard Gecko’s fat requirements.
Still, be careful, as feeding leopard geckos waxworms definitely has downsides. We highly recommend reading this article to learn more.
If you don’t want to opt for crickets or spiders, locusts are an excellent alternative. They’re rich in protein and low in fat. Moreover, their calcium to phosphorus ratio is way better than that of crickets or mealworms.
Note that locusts aren’t easily available in the US. They’re also quite expensive.
Wanna feed your leopard gecko locusts? Read our article on that here to learn why locusts are awesome!
Although spiders aren’t insects, most Leopard Geckos can still eat them.
However, you should keep in mind that you don’t give wild spiders to your Leo. They may be toxic due to the presence of insecticides/pesticides in their bodies and can affect your Leo’s health adversely.
You can consider giving store-bought spiders to your Leo occasionally only as they have high-fat content.