Crickets (Acheta domesticus) are a staple part of the diet of many Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius) in captivity. But, it can be difficult to judge how many to give. So, how many crickets should you feed your Leopard Gecko?
Leopard Geckos should eat 5 to 8 crickets per meal. Portion size is controlled by the size of cricket, and the frequency that meals are fed. Baby Leopard Geckos should eat small crickets daily, whereas adults should eat large crickets 3 times weekly. Varying crickets with other insects is important.
There’s a lot more to learn about how to judge the right size of cricket and deliver the best portion for your pet.
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How Many Crickets Your Leopard Gecko Should Eat Depends On Its Size
How many crickets your Leopard Gecko should eat depends on your pet’s size and age. We’ll show you exactly what cricket size is right for your Leopard Gecko and how many crickets you should feed of that size.
Let’s start with the most popular question when it comes to cricket size:
When Can My Leopard Gecko Eat Large Crickets?
Crickets can usually be bought in 3 different sizes. Small, medium, and large. But, some stores will even provide crickets in up to 7 or 8 different sizes.
The crickets on sale are usually house/brown crickets (Acheta domesticus) or banded crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus), which are a tiny bit smaller when fully grown. Check out this helpful size table.
|Cricket Size (inch)||Cricket Age (weeks)|
To judge what size cricket is correct for your Leopard Gecko, look at the space between their eyes. This space indicates the width of their throat.
Anything that you feed them should be slimmer than this width. Otherwise, there is a risk of choking and impaction.
Impaction occurs when a bolus of food, or indigestible matter, becomes trapped in the digestive tract. It blocks it causing pain and constipation. Eventually, this becomes very dangerous and will result in death if not treated.
Another way to check if you’re choosing the right size cricket is to watch the behavior of your Leopard Gecko while it eats. If it struggles to swallow the cricket that you have offered, then the cricket is too big.
Guide To Cricket Sizes For Leopard Geckos By Age
If you’re still confused, here’s a handy guide. But remember, every Leopard Gecko is different and may not adhere to the chart perfectly. Refer to the points above to judge for your pet.
|Age of Leopard Gecko||Size of cricket||Age of cricket||Category|
0 – 4 months
|Pinhead to ¼ inch||Newborn to 2 weeks||Small|
4 – 10 months
|⅜ to ⅝ inch||2.5 to 3.5 weeks||Medium|
|¾ to 1 inch||4 to 4.5 weeks||Large|
How Many Large Crickets Do I Feed My Adult Leopard Gecko?
Large crickets are only appropriate for large, fully grown Leopard Geckos. How many crickets are correct to feed depends on the size, weight, and body condition of your Leopard Gecko.
If you are feeding crickets as the primary staple food to a healthy adult, then you should offer around 5-8 large crickets to your Leopard Gecko. You may also wish to offer 2 larval feeders or another insect, instead of all crickets.
Another popular way to decide how many crickets to feed, is to offer as many as your Leopard Gecko will take in the space of 10 minutes. This can be effective, and lets you learn about the appetite of your Leopard Gecko.
Most Leopard Geckos will not overeat drastically, especially with a staple feeder insect such as a cricket. If you find that your adult chooses to eat approximately 5-8 crickets during feeding time, maybe more or less on occasion, then this technique can work well for you.
But, if your Leopard Gecko is always ravenous and tends to overeat by a lot, you may need to enact portion control.
Conversely, if they are picky eaters, you may need to spend more than 10 minutes with them to encourage them to eat enough crickets.
How Often Do I Feed My Adult Leopard Gecko Crickets?
Adult Leopard Geckos should eat around 3 times per week. If you are feeding crickets as your main staple feeder, then you can offer them 3 times per week.
However, it is definitely better to mix up the diet a bit. You can either add some variation in using “treats” or sometimes change from crickets to a different staple feeder such as dubia roaches.
Here is what an example diet for an adult might look like if you’re feeding crickets as the staple insect:
|Monday||5-6 large crickets||2-3 medium-fat larval feeder|
|Wednesday||5-6 large crickets (dusted)||2 wax worms (every other week)|
|Saturday||5-6 large crickets (dusted)||2-3 medium-fat larval feeder|
How Many Medium Crickets Should I Feed My Juvenile Leopard Gecko?
Medium crickets, of approximately 3/8s to 5/8s of an inch in length are appropriate for juvenile Leopard Geckos.
Juveniles will change in size a lot during this time, so try to pick out crickets that are suitable for them (as above). Also, you should observe them eating carefully.
As a result of their change in size, it is difficult to recommend a diet that would work well throughout the juvenile stage. However, the recommendation of 5-8 crickets, slowly increasing in size along with the gecko, still works well.
Remember to mix in some other feeders, instead of crickets, for variation. But, we don’t recommend highly fatty treats like wax worms until the adult stage.
How Often Do I Feed My Juvenile Leopard Gecko Crickets?
Juvenile Leopard Geckos are also going through a period of change. As babies, they would eat daily. As adults, they will only eat 3 times per week.
Slowly, over the period from 4 months to 10 months of age, you need to cut out feeding days. You also need to increase their portion size for each meal.
How Many Small Crickets To Feed My Baby Leopard Gecko
Small crickets, from pinhead size to ¼ inch, are suitable for hatchling and baby Leopard Geckos. Baby Leopard Geckos can eat 5-8 tiny crickets a day. But, it would be better to wap some crickets for other insects.
Baby Leopard Geckos are growing a lot during this phase, so it’s important to monitor the increasing width between their eyes.
Observe how easily they swallow their food. Ensure to increase the size of their crickets over time, to increase the amount of food they eat.
How Often Do I Feed My Baby Leopard Gecko Crickets?
Baby Leopard Geckos need to eat daily until around 4 months of age. If you are feeding crickets as their staple food, this means you can offer them every day.
Here’s an example feeding schedule for baby Leopard Geckos.
|Monday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)||1-2 black soldier fly larvae|
|Tuesday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)|
|Wednesday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)|
|Thursday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)||1-2 black soldier fly larvae|
|Friday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)|
|Saturday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)||1-2 hornworms|
|Sunday||5-6 Small crickets (dusted)|
There Are Better Feeder Insects For Baby Leopard Geckos
However, we feel that there are better staple feeder insects to offer baby and juvenile Leopard Geckos. This is because Leopard Geckos are very low in fat, and better suited to adult geckos, where weight management is more of an issue.
As crickets have the worst calcium to phosphorus ratio of the common feeder insects, this makes them a poor choice. Other feeders such as dubia roaches would be better for babies.
Check out our article on how to feed crickets to Leopard Geckos (here), where we look into these topics in more detail.
How Many Small Crickets Can My Leopard Gecko Eat?
So, we know that small Leopard Geckos can’t eat big crickets. It could cause choking or impaction. But, can big Leopard Geckos eat small crickets?
You might perhaps want to do this if you are running out of large crickets but have many small ones available. Perhaps you are trying to use the crickets as treats, and therefore having many small ones is advantageous.
Well, yes it is possible. But, it isn’t really enough to say that 4 times ¼ inch crickets are equivalent to 1 large cricket. You should ideally weigh them to ensure that they get the same amount of food.
To do this, place a pot with a lid on a weighing scale. Tare it so the scale reads zero. Place your large crickets in the pot and record the weight.
Then, remove the large crickets and put in small crickets until the same weight is reached. Feed this amount to your adult Leopard Gecko.
Can My Leopard Gecko Eat Too Many Crickets?
Leopard Geckos can eat too many crickets in the same way that they can overeat any other food. There are three main risks to overeating:
Crickets have very low dietary fiber, which is fine for Leopard Geckos. Other insects with high dietary fiber generally contain a lot of indigestible materials such as chitin exoskeletons. However, even without this added risk, crickets can still cause impaction.
This could occur from eating too many crickets in one day. The food bolus may be too large to pass smoothly through the digestive tract.
Also, crickets tend to hop away into the substrate more than larval feeders might. When they do this, they increase the risk of your Leopard Gecko swallowing substrate while hunting.
This is a risk factor for causing impaction. Learn how to avoid this in our feature article on how to feed crickets to Leopard Geckos.
Obesity and Fatty Liver Disorder (Hepatic Lipidosis)
Overeating for a long time causes weight gain and obesity. Crickets are less likely to cause obesity than some other feeder insects, thanks to their extremely low level of fat. But, overeating crickets can still result in too many calories being consumed.
Over time, this leads to fat building up in the coelomic cavity, and overwhelming the organs. When liver function is affected, hepatic lipidosis can occur. This can be fatal.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Crickets are high risk for causing metabolic bone disease due to their extremely imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio.
If you feed too many crickets, and never vary the diet with other feeder insects, there is a likelihood that metabolic bone disease could develop.
Leopard Geckos need a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:1 to 2:1. Crickets have a Ca:P ratio of 1:9. If this is not corrected by variable diet and supplementation, the Leopard Gecko’s body will be forced to draw bioavailable calcium for his own skeleton.
This will cause weakness, deformity, fitting, and eventually death.
Don’t be too put off by these risks though. There are pros and cons to all feeder insects. Find out why we think Leopard Geckos can and should eat crickets in our feature guide.
Can My Leopard Gecko Eat Too Few Crickets?
It is possible to feed too few crickets, and the result is a malnourished and underweight Leopard Gecko. Also, bear in mind that crickets are low in fat.
So, you might be feeding plenty of crickets, but your Leopard Gecko just isn’t growing right because he doesn’t have enough calories.
In this case, you should increase the calories. But, it is very important to consult a vet if you notice that your Leopard Gecko seems underweight, malnourished, or behind in its development.
An underweight Leopard Gecko will have a narrow tail. He may be lethargic and sluggish. His eyes may be dulled or sunken. His colors will be less vibrant. The curves of his body will be concave and sunken.
A healthy Leopard Gecko should have a tail that is at least as wide as its neck. The stomach should be plump.
These are soft-bodied, rounded lizards. He should be active, responsive, and moving easily around his enclosure. His eyes should be bright and alert.
Follow the recommended feeding plans above, but if it’s not going well, try something new. If you’ve been delivering an exact number of crickets every mealtime, try feeding using the timed method instead.
If your Leopard Gecko eats many more crickets in the 10 minutes than you would usually allow, it could be you are not feeding enough.
How To Tell You Are Feeding The Right Amount Of Crickets
The best way to tell if you are feeding the right amount of crickets is to keep a food diary and monitor the body condition of your Leopard Gecko.
You should weigh your Leopard Gecko approximately every 2 weeks. You should also take measurements, especially if they are a baby or juvenile.
If you find that they are gaining weight, losing weight, or not developing properly, you will know whether you are feeding enough. You can refer to your food diary to find out what caused the changes, and what to do differently.
Though all Leopard Geckos can vary a little, this is a good baseline guide for how big your Leopard Gecko should be by age.
Bear in mind that fully grown females reach around 7 to 8 inches, while males can reach 10 or even 12 inches long. Throughout their development, females may be on the smaller end of these ranges, while males are at the top end.
|Hatchling||0 months||2 – 4 grams newborn||3 inches|
|Baby||1 month||15 – 25 grams||4 – 5 inches|
|2 – 3 months||20 – 30 grams||5 – 5.5 inches|
|Juvenile||4-5 months||25 – 35 grams||5.5 – 6 inches|
|6 – 7 months||30 – 40 grams||6 – 6.5 inches|
|8- 9 months||35 – 45 grams||7 – 7.5 inches|
|Adult||10 – 12 months||40 – 50 grams||7.5 – 8 inches|
|18 – 20 months||60 – 90 grams||8 – 12 inches|