Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Crested geckos eat fruit and insects in the wild. However, in captivity fruit should only be given in moderation as you can do a lot wrong as a beginner. Crested geckos need a good calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and sadly most fruits have a bad ratio. But what about strawberries?
Crested geckos can eat strawberries but only as an occasional treat. Strawberries have a relatively bad calcium-to-phosphorus ratio but also have a low oxalic acid level. Strawberries aren’t that popular as a fruit for crested geckos but can be given as a treat.
When you’re new to crested geckos, you want to give a commercial crested gecko diet supplemented with insects. It’s recommended to give fruit, including strawberries, only as a treat to your crested gecko. For more experienced users that know what they’re doing fruit can play a more important part in the diet.
In this article, you’ll learn a little bit about the nutritional value of strawberries and why they’re mostly suitable as a treat for your crested gecko and not as the foundation of a crested gecko diet. Finally, you’ll learn how to feed them to your crestie.
Nutritional Value of Strawberries
Strawberries are fruit and as the name says it a berry. A strawberry is loved by most people for its fresh and sweet taste. Strawberries can be eaten fresh in a whole piece or cut in small pieces.
The following nutritional data comes from FoodData Central:
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||7.68||g|
|Fiber, total dietary||2||g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||4.89||g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||58.8||mg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||1||µg|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||0||µg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||2.2||µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.015||g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.155||g|
Are Strawberries Good or Bad for Crested Geckos?
To determine whether strawberries are good or bad for crested geckos we need to take a look at two important nutrient levels:
- the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio (Ca:P ratio)
- the level of oxalic acid
Ca:P ratio of strawberries
Introduction to Ca:P ratio
Crested geckos need calcium to stay healthy and to prevent the development of a specific disease called metabolic bone disease. Gravid females, hatchlings and juveniles have a special need for calcium because they need the calcium to grow and to form eggshells (in the case of gravid females).
Calcium and phosphorus have a special relationship. When the calcium levels rise the phosphate levels are lowered and when the phosphate levels rise, the calcium levels drop. This means that, for crested geckos, foods should contain a lower amount of phosphorus than calcium.
A widely used tool to determine if a food is suitable for crested geckos is the calcium to phosphorus ratio. The Ca:P ratio can be described as a percentage but is more often described in terms of [number]:1 or 1:[number], where 1 is the mineral that’s the lowest of the two. To calculate the calcium to phosphorus ratio this way you’ll need to bring back the lowest number to 1. So, the ratio is calculated by dividing the largest number by the lowest number.
Research has shown that good calcium to phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) is between 1:1 and 2:1. For crested geckos, it’s recommended to have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1 or better.
Calculating the Ca:P ratio
So, the Ca:P ratio of strawberries is 1:1.5, which is considered a relatively bad ratio. This doesn’t mean that strawberries are bad, but you should be aware that they aren’t that beneficial for crested geckos as for example papayas.
Oxalic acid in strawberries
Introduction to oxalic acids
Oxalic acid is a compound that’s found naturally in living organisms such as vegetables and fruits. It can be sometimes tasted in food when the amount of oxalic acid is very high. Textbook examples of plants that have a level of high oxalic acid are rhubarbs, star fruit, and spinach.
Oxalic acid is associated with the inhibition of calcium and the formation of kidney stones in humans. Crested geckos also need to avoid eating food that has a high level of oxalic acid. The compound will be bound with minerals such as magnesium and calcium and form oxalates (tiny rectangular crystals).
Since calcium is essential for crested geckos, it’s recommended to stay away from foods that have a medium level of oxalic acid and to avoid foods with a high level of oxalic acid altogether.
Oxalic acid level of strawberries
Strawberries have about 2 mg of oxalates per serving and are considered a low oxalate food.
Strawberries as a treat
A crested gecko diet needs to have a good Ca:P and should be low in oxalic acid. Strawberries won’t give your crested gecko the necessary nutrients but can occasionally be given as a treat.
Feeding Strawberries to Crested Geckos
How many times to feed strawberries?
There are some gecko owners that give their own balanced diet consisting of insects and fruits to their crested geckos. However, there exist enough good commercial diets that offer all the nutrients needed.
If you’re a new crested gecko owner and don’t have experience with balancing the diet of a crested gecko, your crested gecko will benefit the most from a meal replacement powder that has a high nutritional value and add strawberries or even better a fruit mash as a treat once or twice a month.
How many strawberries can you feed?
If you make a mashed fruit puree you can fill a shallow dish with the same amount as a normal meal replacement powder. If you give fruit as a treat you should give it in small pieces. Give only one strawberry and slice it into small pieces.
How to feed strawberries to crested geckos?
Crested geckos can’t bite hard so you need to be careful that the food you give can be eaten. Fruits are often mashed in a puree to make them edible. When you feed strawberries to your crested gecko you’ll need to do the same. You can also slice the strawberry into very tiny pieces so your crestie can easily eat and digest it.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about crested geckos as pets, please read the following articles.