Can Crested Geckos Eat Oranges – Is It a Bad Idea?


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. Citrus fruits can cause an imbalance in the diet of a crested gecko and can even lead to health issues. As you might know, oranges are citrus fruits. But are they really dangerous and should you refrain from giving them?

Can crested geckos eat oranges? Crested geckos can eat oranges but should be avoided. Oranges have a good calcium-to-phosphorus ratio but have a higher oxalic acid level. It’s even possible that your crested gecko won’t like to eat oranges.

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 oranges, 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 oranges and why they’re good or bad for your crested gecko. Finally, you’ll learn how to feed them to your crestie.

Nutritional Value of Oranges

Oranges are citrus fruits and are actually a hybrid of two other types of citrus fruits, the pomelo, and the mandarin. Oranges are widely available and grow mostly in tropical and subtropical climates. They can be eaten fresh, dried, or processed.

The following nutritional data comes from FoodData Central:

NameAmountUnit
Water86.75g
Energy47kcal
Protein0.94g
Total lipid (fat)0.12g
Carbohydrate, by difference11.75g
Fiber, total dietary2.4g
Sugars, total including NLEA9.35g
Calcium, Ca40mg
Iron, Fe0.1mg
Magnesium, Mg10mg
Phosphorus, P14mg
Potassium, K181mg
Sodium, Na0mg
Zinc, Zn0.07mg
Copper, Cu0.045mg
Selenium, Se0.5µg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid53.2mg
Thiamin0.087mg
Riboflavin0.04mg
Niacin0.282mg
Vitamin B-60.06mg
Folate, total30µg
Folic acid0µg
Folate, food30µg
Folate, DFE30µg
Choline, total8.4mg
Vitamin B-120µg
Vitamin B-12, added0µg
Vitamin A, RAE11µg
Retinol0µg
Carotene, beta71µg
Carotene, alpha11µg
Cryptoxanthin, beta116µg
Lycopene0µg
Lutein + zeaxanthin129µg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.18mg
Vitamin E, added0mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)0µg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)0µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.015g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.023g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.025g

Are Oranges Good or Bad for Crested Geckos?

To determine whether oranges 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 oranges

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 raise 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, the calcium to phosphorus rate is used. The Ca:P ratio can be described as a percentage but is more often described in terms of [number]:1 or 1:[number], where the 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

NutrientAmountCalculations
Calcium40 mg40/14=2.86
Phosphorus14 mg14/14=1
Ca:P ratio2.9:1

So, the Ca:P ratio of oranges is 2.9:1, which is very good for fruit since most fruits have a bad Ca:P ratio.

Oxalic acid in oranges

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 fruits, 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 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 oranges

Oranges have a medium level of oxalic acid. Research has indicated that oranges contain 6.2 mg oxalic acid per 100 g. Compared to rhubarb, which has about 600 mg per 100 g, oranges don’t contain a lot of oxalic acids. An orange peel itself is considered to have a high level of oxalic acid.

Feeding Oranges to Crested Geckos

If you don’t want to risk harming the health of your crested gecko you should avoid giving citrus fruits such as oranges. Although there are far worse food choices to give, oranges aren’t a recommended food. It’s better to create a varied menu of fruit and make a fruit puree with safer fruits.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about crested geckos as pets, please read the following articles.

If you’re interested in getting crested geckos as pets you should also definitely read our article about baby and juvenile crested gecko care or (adult) crested gecko care.


Kevin N.

Kevin is the owner of My Crested Gecko. He wrote this blog for many years and has been a geckos enthusiast his entire life, but only became an official "geckophile" five years ago when he acquired one as a pet! Kevin knows how to care for hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and degus in addition to crested geckos which are more than happy with him every day!

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