Crested geckos will feed on both insects and fruits in the wild. This means that you can offer them live insects or other invertebrate prey as an occasional treat in captivity. We will discuss more about crested gecko cricket feeding guide so read further down the article.
However, most crested geckos owners do not know how to feed their geckos with crickets. Although you will find lots of articles online talking about gut-loading, dusting, and the size of cricket that you can feed your geckos. None of them explained in detail how you feed crickets to your gecko.
In this article, you will learn more about crickets for your cresties, how to gut-load and dust your crickets, and how to feed crickets to crested geckos.
Do Crested Geckos Eat Crickets?
Although crested geckos eat lots of insects and fruits in the wild, most of the crested geckos in captivity are fed commercial diets and cricket as a treat. However, a lot of crested geckos will eat crickets, and it is best not to base a diet only on crickets.
Understand Lizards & Gecko Diet
It is best to note that crested geckos, unlike other lizards like leopard geckos are not true insectivores as they consume fruit for a large portion of their diet in the wild. This means it is best to stick to a staple insect feeder while you offer others as variety.
It is suitable to feed your gecko with a powdered diet consisting of both carbohydrates and sugars and fats and protein in captivity. However, cresties will love to feed on cricket now and then, but some cresties ignore live prey as it can cause stress.
You can introduce live insects as part of your cresties diet or only give them only as an occasional treat. However, you need to gut-load and dust the insect with additional vitamins and minerals before feeding your gecko.
Cricket Feeder for Geckos
Crickets are regarded as the perfect insect choice for crested geckos. However, you do not have to limit your selection to only crickets when feeding your crested geckos. You will find crickets and other insect feeders online, or you can even culture them yourself.
However, you need to ensure that they are appropriately sized. If it is too small, it may be ignored, and when it is too big, it may lead to impaction.
It is best to provide your crested geckos with nutritious staple MRP to make up the bulk of their balanced diet before feeding with feeder insects.
You need to also consider the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the amount fed when feeding with insects. This is why you need to gut-load and dust your insect feeders to make them a healthy and nutritious delicacy for your crested gecko.
Furthermore, feeding your crested gecko with live insects every other week is a great way to treat them. Some of the cricket feeder benefits are that it offers additional protein for your crested gecko’s growth. It also improves their feeding response.
Although it is difficult to say crested geckos enjoy hunting prey, it helps to stimulate the gecko by developing their hunting instincts.
It is recommended that you feed your crested gecko with live insects at least once a week. This helps them to exercise and hunt while diversifying their diet. However, you can offer them only a complete diet mix from an early age if you don’t want to feed with insects.
You also need to ensure you catch your insects because they may be sprayed with chemicals.
The Types of Feeder Crickets
Although you will find a lot of different cricket types out there, only a few of them can be used as a feeder cricket. Some of the ones that are used for feeding crested geckos are stated below.
Common Brown Cricket (Acheta domesticus).
It is also called the house cricket. It is usually grayish or light brown in color, and it features a long antennae and has wings. They are capable jumpers and have large jumping legs.
The brown crickets are popular in the feeding industry for feeding pets, including reptiles like crested geckos.
Banded Cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus)
It is also called tropical house cricket, and it is usually smaller than house cricket. Banded cricket is light yellowish in color and has two thick black bands.
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However, banded crickets are usually more active than house crickets with a longer lifespan. They also possess lower chitin content that makes them more digestible.
Crickets Life Cycle
The cricket life cycle can be divided into three large stages: the egg stage, the nymph stage, and the adult stage.
This is the stage when the cricket lays eggs. It will take about two weeks for the eggs to hatch, and then the nymphs will come out.
Nymphs look like the smaller version of adult cricket but without wings. Larger crickets and other insects often eat nymphs. Furthermore, a nymph has an exoskeleton and goes through a process known as molting.
Molting is the process where the nymph sheds their exoskeletons, and it occurs about ten times. After molting, a new exoskeleton will be formed, soft and white at first then harden in a few hours. The nymph stage will last for around a month, and they will start to grow their wings.
During the adult stage, the crickets will try to mate and reproduce. It is in the adult stage that you will start giving crickets to your crested gecko.
However, the entire life cycle of crickets is usually around 8-12 weeks. Their life cycle will depend on their environment and several other factors like stress.
Crickets are omnivorous and will feed on both plants and animals. Moreover, crickets are not a picky eater and will eat anything available to them. They can even eat their own colony members if there is a shortage of food.
However, crickets will feed on rotting plants, fruits, leaves, insects, or bugs based on their environment availability.
Crickets are available everywhere, and you can easily buy them whenever you want. Everything you need to know about buying crickets is:
Crickets Price Range
Although it is really cheap to buy a cricket, you will need to buy a large cricket amount. However, crested geckos will only eat small crickets each month. The price of crickets is based on the number of crickets available, their size, and the quality of food they are fed.
You will also find price differences based on the region that you are staying in. However, you can budget around $5-15 for 100-1000 crickets, respectively. The price range for buying crickets in a local pet store is around $0.8-$0.12 per cricket.
However, the price range for buying crickets online is between $0.015-0.08 per cricket. But you will need to consider the shipping costs when buying online.
You will notice that the price per cricket decreases as you buy more. However, adult cresties will eat about six crickets a week, and you will need around 25 crickets per month.
Moreover, you will need fewer crickets if you are feeding your crested geckos with a commercial crested gecko diet and reduce the number of crickets you feed them.
However, if you are not sure about the number of crickets your gecko needs, you can feed them with a small number. You should also try to buy from your local pet store to buy smaller amounts whenever you want.
Where to Buy Crickets For Crested Gecko In The US
The brown and banded crickets are popularly used as feeder insects for reptiles, amphibians, and birds. This means it is widely available, and you will not have problems when looking for a cricket seller.
You can get crickets from your local pet store when buying them in small quantities. However, most pet stores sell crickets a bit higher than online stores. You can also buy crickets from a fishing bait store if your local pet stores do not have any crickets.
Some of the popular online cricket sellers in the US are Josh’s Frogs, Fluker’s Farms, etc. It is best to buy crickets from online sellers if you stay in a region that is too difficult to find crickets. You will get a great deal from them because they breed them on a large scale.
There is a need to properly house and care for your crickets if you want them to stay healthy. However, you can easily store your crickets by creating a healthy environment for them.
The first thing is to get them the largest tank that you can get as they thrive well in larger environments. You will also need to make sure the tank is enclosed, so the cricket does not jump out.
After you have gotten the tank, you then clean the tank with a mild bleach solution to remove bacteria.
You should also make sure that you do not use the chemical cleaner as it can be harmful to the cricket. After cleaning, ensure the tank is dry before introducing your crickets. Furthermore, you can provide shelter for the cricket by adding torn-up egg crates to the tank.
However, your cricket tank needs to be between 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them healthy. If the tank is too cold, the crickets may die and eat each other. At the same time, their lifespan will be shortened if their tank is too hot.
Note: dead crickets and feces can make your crickets sick. This means you need to remove any feces and dead crickets by wiping the bottom of the tank.
How long I can Store Crickets
If you can store crickets under optimal tank conditions, they will live for about 8-10 weeks.
Can You Dry Crickets?
You can freeze-dry your crickets. However, you will need to first gut-load the cricket before you freeze-dry the cricket. This helps to maintain the maximum nutritional value before you feed your gecko.
However, your gecko may not go for dead gecko because the movement helps to bring out their feeding response.
Preparing Crickets for Your Crested Gecko
Some of the ways that you can prepare crickets for your crested gecko are stated below.
You will usually buy crickets in a small container. But you will need to keep the crickets in a large tank with tall sides when you get home. This helps to keep the cricket from jumping out of the tank.
You will also need to make the tank’s side smooth, so they don’t climb out. The ideal container should have at least 24 inches tall, smooth sides, secure screen lid, and cardboard egg crates or toilet paper rolls in the tank.
You can get such a tank for $10 to $20 or just build your own container if you don’t want to spend much.
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You do not need to feed the crickets to the gecko immediately you get home. This is because crickets are usually fed with potatoes with low nutritional value. So feeding your crestie with these crickets will lead to malnutrition.
You need to gut load your crickets to provide a high nutritional value to them. Once the crested geckos eat cricket, they will then get the same value. However, it is best to gut-load the gecko in less than 24 hours before you feed your gecko.
You can feed your cricket with food like apples, carrots, oranges, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, oat, wheat bran, barley, mustard, etc.
However, you need to wash the fruit and vegetables before feeding the crickets. Although you can gut-load your cricket with real fruit and vegetables, you can also use commercial gut-loading powders. You will find budget-friendly commercial gut-loading powders that you can use.
There is a need to add supplements after gut loading. The supplements are filled with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. The supplements are in powdered form, and you will need to powder the crickets with the supplements.
You will also find different supplements available, but it is best to use ultra-fine powders. These powders are suitable for dusting as the powder will stick a lot better to the cricket exoskeleton and will not fall off easily.
Some of the vitamins and minerals included in the supplements are calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and vitamin D3.
Steps of Dusting Crickets
- Place the amount of crickets in a small cup or container
- Add a little bit of supplement and sprinkle it on the crickets
- Shake the container to distribute the supplement evenly.
Feeding Crickets to Your Crested Gecko
Some of the ways that you can feed crickets to crested geckos are
Alive or Dead Crickets Good?
If you do not like keeping live crickets in your home, you can freeze-dry your crickets. However, you cannot gut-load them, but you can still dust them. Your gecko may not eat them as they are not alive.
However, there are vibrating food dishes available for feeding this problem.
How Many Times a Week Can You Give Your Crested Geckos Crickets?
You can provide your cresties with some crickets once or twice a week. If you cannot offer crickets to your gecko every week, you can do so at least every other week. This offers you the opportunity to diversify your gecko’s diet and to improve their hunting skill.
Although crested geckos do not like many insects, crickets are their favorite insect. Cresties love crickets as other insects are very slow-moving and do not spark their interest to hunt them. Another reason to get crickets is that they are cheaper and easy to care for.
However, some geckos will eat mealworms, but you have to introduce them to your cresties at an early age.
Cricket Sizes Consideration
The size of a crested gecko head will determine the size of crickets and other insects that you feed them. You need to ensure that the crickets that you feed them are not longer than the crested gecko’s head length or width.
You can feed hatchlings and babies with about ¼ inches crickets. Babies and juvenile cresties about 3-4 months old can be fed with ½ inch crickets. However, more mature sub-adult crested geckos (over eight months) can eat full-grown crickets.
How Many Crickets Each Feeding Time?
Crested geckos hatchlings will eat 3-5 small crickets per feeding. However, an average mature crestie can eat about 8-10 crickets per feeding. However, avoid giving crickets or insects that are too small for your gecko as it can be harder for geckos to catch them.
You will also need to provide more of them to satisfy them. However, avoid putting more crickets or roaches than what your gecko can eat. Or they will hide and bite your gecko, which can cause stress for them.
How to Feed The Crickets?
Most crested geckos owners usually feed crickets to their crested geckos by putting them in the terrarium or hand-feeding their geckos. Another option of feeding cricket is by feeding with forceps.
You will use forceps to pick a cricket while you hold it near your gecko. Although feeding with forceps may not always work, it is a perfect alternative if you fear that the gecko can accidentally bite your fingers while feeding them.
Placing the Crickets in The Terrarium
If you feed your crested geckos with too many crickets, the leftover crickets will be jumping around in the terrarium. It is easy to know if cricket is alive in a terrarium as they chirp at night and disturb your sleep.
Leftover crickets can also be dangerous to your cricket as they can stress your crested geckos. They can also drown in the water bowl as you will end up with rotten cricket if it is left there. However, hungry crickets will eat almost anything in the tank.
They can nibble on the terrarium plants, whether they are live or fake and even your crested geckos. Crickets can also cause damage to the eyes and toes of the crested gecko. Moreover, a leftover cricket can even kill a hatchling crested gecko.
This means you will need to remove the leftover crickets if you notice that your crested gecko did not eat them. You do not have to wait for the crickets to die and rot away before removing your gecko from the tank.
Alternative: a Feeding Tank
You will find a lot of crested geckos owners that will feed their crested gecko with crickets in a separate container or terrarium. They will now replace the substrate with a paper towel.
Using a separate terrarium is because crested geckos are not an efficient hunter and can miss the cricket. It is also possible that they accidentally eat substrate when they jump on the cricket. It is also good to use a separate feeding tank to prevent leftover crickets.
When you leave them in your terrarium, they can hide in the substrate or foliage. And they will start eating the terrarium plants and hurt your crested geckos.
Should I force my crested to eat crickets
You cannot force-feed your crested geckos to eat crickets. However, you can hand feed them if you are worried about weight loss. But this may affect your crested gecko as they will only eat when you baby them.
Handling can also cause stress to your crested gecko.
Although many crested geckos owners and breeders feed their crested geckos with CGD because it is the most convenient way to feed your gecko.
However, you can feed your gecko with cricket, but you need to make sure that it is not larger than the distance between your gecko’s eye.