Do Crested Geckos Need Live Food? (Pro & Con of Live Food)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Crested geckos are low-maintenance pets and are relatively easy to feed. As a new crested gecko owner (and even as an experienced one), the best choice is to provide a crested gecko a prepared diet. But do crested geckos also need live food?

Crested geckos don’t need live food. You can feed a crested gecko only a prepared diet, such as a meal replacement powder diet. You don’t need to give a crested gecko live food to stay healthy. However, adding live food such as insects to their diet can benefit your crestie if you do it correctly.

While crested geckos can live perfectly fine without live food, you can give it in moderation. But, you do need to be careful when you feed insects or worms to your crested gecko.

Live food only contains few nutrients and needs to be gut-loaded and dusted before feeding it to your crested gecko. If you do this, you can give live food as a treat to your little crested gecko.

In this article, you’ll learn why crested geckos don’t need live food and can live on prepared food. You will also learn what benefits and disadvantages live food has.

Prepared Crested Gecko Food

Crested geckos eat insects and fruit in the wild. Therefore, it would be normal to feed your crested gecko with a balanced diet of both insects and fruit.

Creating such a balanced diet isn’t easy for new crested gecko owners and it requires a lot of knowledge on the nutritional requirements of crested geckos.

If you do it wrong, you risk that your crested gecko gets sick or dies. Besides that, it also requires gathering many different supplies and taking time to prepare the diet.

Luckily, a lot of different brands have a prepared crested gecko diet nowadays.

What is a prepared crested gecko food?

Most commercially available crested gecko food comes in a powder that needs to be mixed with water to form a paste. Some brands also have granulated or pellet food for crested geckos. However, I would highly recommend you get a powder diet, also known as an MRP diet.

Meal replacement powder diets such as Repashy and Pangea are recommended by almost every crested gecko owner I know. As I already said, these powders need to be mixed with water to form a paste. The entire process takes less than a minute and the paste is ready to feed to your crested gecko.

Does a prepared food contain all nutrients?

Not all meal replacement powders are all-in nutrition for crested geckos. Some need to be supplemented with live food to give enough protein and nutrients to your crested gecko.

However, the most popular powders (Repashy and Pangea) are well-balanced diets and don’t require you to add live food, although it is often recommended to do so.

The quality powders contain all nutrients (including vitamins and minerals) to benefit your crested gecko. They are being used as a single source of food for a lot of crested geckos without problems.

One little remark that needs to be made is that research (for example, research paper of Atamian Seza) and anecdotal evidence show that crested geckos fed only a prepared food will gain less weight than those fed with live food.

Live Food

Crested geckos can eat various insects and worms as live food. You won’t need to feed them mice or other live food.

Although live food isn’t necessary if you feed a quality MRP diet, your crested gecko can still benefit from live food. As mentioned above, a crested gecko will gain weight faster, indicating that live food has some extra benefits.

Pros and cons of live food

You choose whether or not you want to feed your crested gecko live food. There are both benefits and drawbacks to feeding live food:

ProsCons
adds extra nutrientsneeds to be gut-loaded
stimulates natural behaviorneeds to be dusted
extra supplies needed
can bite your gecko

Alternative to live food

If you keep live food to feed your crested gecko, you will need to keep them in a container, feed them (gut-load), and dust them (with vitamins and minerals).

You might not want to have the time, space, or interest to keep crickets or other insects in your home. An excellent alternative to live food is freeze-dried or canned insects and worms. They are ready to feed to your crested gecko and last longer than live food.

Some crested geckos might not eat freeze-dried or canned food, but you can feed them with a feeding tong like live food. Another way to feed them is by using a vibrating feeding dish to stimulate a moving prey.

The Vivicator (Exo Terra) is the only dish I found that does this, but it does have some bad reviews for being too loud, expensive, and impractical. I would recommend that you try feeding with a tong if you give dried insects and worms.

Meal replacement powder diet

Different brands have meal replacement powder in their product range. The most popular brands are by far Repashy and Pangea. In recent years, I see that most crested gecko owners feed Pangea to their crested geckos.

Pangea

Pangea has a wide range of powders with different flavors (ingredients). It comes in very colorful and pleasant-looking packages. 

The different flavors allow you to give some variation in the diet of your crested gecko. But sometimes crested geckos can be picky eaters and are hard to convince to eat another taste. So make sure that your crested gecko eats. You can also mix different flavors to reduce this risk.

Below you can find the different flavors of Pangea:

FlavorRemarksBuy On
Fruit Mix with InsectsBasic MRP DietAmazon
Fruit Mix WatermelonSecond Most PopularAmazon
Fruit Mix ApricotLess Sticky FormulaAmazon
Papaya Fruit MixHigher Fat ContentAmazon
Fruit Mix Fig & InsectsNon-Banana FormulaAmazon
Growth and BreedingJuveniles / BreedersAmazon

Tip: Get a large package (1/2 lb) of the Fruit Mix with Insects and a few smaller packages (2 oz) of the other flavors so you can give some variation to your crested gecko diet.

Repashy

Repashy is an established brand and Allen Repashy (the creator) is also a well-known author and breeder in the community. The Repashy diet comes in a bottle instead of a package.

Some crested geckos will prefer Pangea over Repashy, but most will like both. If you or the breeder raised your crested gecko with Repashy, I recommend sticking with Repashy or gradually changing to Pangea (mixing both). Always see what your crested gecko likes most!

Below you can find some of the different flavors of Repashy:

FlavorRemarksBuy On
Banana MRP Basic MRP DietAmazon / Chewy
Mango SuperblendMango as Main FruitAmazon / Chewy
Grubs ‘N’ Fruit30% Insect / 50% Fruit Amazon / Chewy
Classic MRPRemix Classic FormulaAmazon / Chewy
Mulberry MadnessLimited Edition BlendAmazon
Banana Cream PieTreat MixAmazon

Live and Freeze-Dried Food

You can buy insects and worms from different sources. If you only got one crested gecko or don’t feed it a lot of live food, you want to get a small amount of insects/worms. You can also choose freeze-dried insects and worms that last longer.

If you want to learn more about the different kinds of live food that crested geckos can and can’t eat, you should read the following articles.

My recommendations for live and freeze-dried insects and worms can be found in the table below.

ProductBuy On
CricketsAmazon
Wax WormsAmazon
Freeze-Dried CricketsAmazon
Gourmet CricketsAmazon
Freeze-Dried MealwormsAmazon
Gourmet MealwormsAmazon

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.

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