Leopard geckos are insectivorous creatures, and they don’t eat fruit, vegetables, or even meat. As a responsible leopard gecko owner, you may be wondering what you can feed your gecko and whether they need additional vitamins to help supplement their diet.
Vitamins and mineral supplements are an important part of your gecko’s diet. This is because feeder insects that you offer your leopard geckos do not have enough nutrients that they need to stay healthy and happy. This is why you need to supplement their diet.
However, you may wonder about the type of supplement you can give your gecko and how you can add the supplement to their diet. In this article, we will help shed more light on leopard gecko vitamins, from why your gecko needs vitamins to how you can supplement your gecko’s diet.
- Does Leopard Gecko Need Vitamins?
- Leopard Gecko Vitamins: All In One Guide You Need On The Internet
- What Happens If Your Leopard Gecko Underdose Or Overdose Vitamins?
- Other Supplements You Need To Provide For Leopard Gecko
- What Happens If Your Leopard Gecko Is Lacking Calcium?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Wrapping Up
Does Leopard Gecko Need Vitamins?
Yes, leopard geckos need vitamins to grow healthy and happy. In the wild, leopard geckos eat a wide range of insects and arthropods already loaded with wild plants rich in vitamins and minerals. Leopard geckos can also lick mineral and salt deposits based on their need.
However, you will need to supplement your leopard gecko’s diet with vitamins in captivity. This is because insects do not provide all the nutrients that leopard gecko needs to grow healthy.
Leopard Gecko Vitamins: All In One Guide You Need On The Internet
You can use vitamin and mineral supplement powders to provide everything your leopard gecko needs to stay healthy and active. There are varieties of vitamin supplements out there that you can offer your gecko. It is best for beginner hobbyists to go for vitamin supplement as it contains multivitamins and minerals.
However, the two main types of supplements that leopard gecko needs are
- General multivitamin and mineral supplement
- Pure calcium, or Calcium with vitamin D3
What Vitamins Does A Leopard Gecko Need?
Your leopard gecko needs both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins to stay healthy. This shows your leopard gecko will benefit from multivitamins and mineral complex plus amino acid supplements. Leopard geckos can store fat-soluble vitamins like Vit D3 in their body.
However, they cannot store water-soluble vitamins in their body, and you will need to provide them with their food. This means you will need to dust and gut load the feeder insect before giving them to your gecko.
You can supplement hatchling and baby leopard gecko’s food with calcium and vitamin D3 3 times a week. However, you will need to dust their food with multivitamins once a week. You will need to supplement juvenile leopard geckos (5-18 months) or gravid geckos with calcium once a week.
You will then have to dust their feeders with calcium and vitamin D3 twice a week and multivitamins once a week. For adult leopard geckos, you will need to feed them 2-3 times a week. You can then gut load and dust the feeder with pure calcium once a week.
The other day, you can gut load and dust with calcium and vitamin D3. You can also supplement the feeder insect with multivitamins once a month.
Popular Multivitamin Supplements
You can use Zoomed’s ReptiVite for non-breeding and regular pet geckos. The supplement offers proper calcium to phosphorus ratio with a full amino acid complex and essential vitamins. If you want to breed your leopard gecko, you can use Repashy Calcium Plus Vitamin and Mineral Supplement.
However, if you want to use a separate product of calcium + Vit D3 and multivitamins. You can use Repashy SuperVite with all types of Repashy calcium products.
Vitamin D3 for Leopard Geckos
Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin needed by leopard geckos. Leopard geckos need vitamin D3 in their body for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus and other processes like immune function.
This shows that leopard geckos need Vit D3 in their body for the processing of ingested calcium.
How To Make Sure Your Leopard Gecko Has Enough Vitamin Sources?
You can ensure that your leopard gecko gets enough vitamins by gut loading and dusting the insect before feeding your gecko.
Do Leopard Geckos need D3 if they have UVB?
UVB light is a great source of vitamin D3 for leopard geckos. Leos are not basking reptiles, and they usually avoid the sun in the wild. However, many hobbyists use UVB light in their leopard gecko enclosure, but it is not that important for the survival of your gecko.
Leopard geckos have sensitive eyes and skin, and using UVB lights can be harmful to them. You can use the natural light in your house to help give your gecko a sense of day and night. You can ensure your leopard gecko gets enough nutrients without using a UVB light with a proper Vit D3 supplementation.
If you plan to use a UVB light for your gecko, you need to research the intensity of light that is safe for your gecko. Furthermore, leopard geckos are nocturnal animals, and you will need to turn off the UVB light in their enclosure at night.
What Happens If Your Leopard Gecko Underdose Or Overdose Vitamins?
Some of the things that can happen to your leopard gecko if you underdose or overdose on vitamins are stated below.
Symptoms Of Vitamin Deficiency
It is common for leopard geckos to have vitamin A deficiency because they cannot process Vitamin A from beta carotene. Furthermore, insects are not a good source of Vitamin A, and you will need to gut load your feeder insects with vitamins. However, most vitamin supplements usually have beta carotene as Vitamin A source.
Some of the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency in leopard geckos are improper shedding, swollen eyes, or lethargy. Leopard geckos can experience MBD and other illnesses when suffering from vitamin deficiency.
You can treat vitamin deficiency in leopard geckos by taking your gecko to an exotic vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. You can opt for supplements containing vitamin A rather than beta carotene for supplementing their food.
Symptoms Of Vitamin Overdose
Although it is rare, leopard geckos can overdose on vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 overdose occurs because vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin usually stored in the body. Leopard geckos can have vitamin D3 overdose if you are using a UVB light and adding vitamin D3 supplement in their diet.
Some of the vitamin overdose symptoms are loss of appetite, lethargy, constipation, fluid retention, and dehydration. Vitamin D3 overdose can lead to kidney damage and even death from kidney failure if not treated immediately.
You can treat vitamin D3 overdose by taking your leopard gecko to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Other Supplements You Need To Provide For Leopard Gecko
One of the most important supplements needed by leopard geckos is a calcium supplement. This is because most insects given to leopard geckos have low calcium content. However, leopard geckos need calcium to build strong bones, control muscle activity, form eggshells, and send nerve impulses.
Calcium Powder For Leopard Gecko
Calcium is an important mineral needed by leopard geckos for several metabolic processes and to ensure good bone density. In the wild, leopard geckos usually lick salts and mineral deposits whenever they need extra calcium.
However, you will need to supplement their diet in captivity to ensure they get enough calcium that they need. Most calcium supplements available usually come with vitamin D3. This is because leopard geckos need vitamin D3 to help absorb calcium.
You can avoid vitamin or mineral buildup in leopard geckos by supplementing your gecko’s food with only calcium, then calcium and Vitamin D3, and multivitamins on different days.
Zoo-Med calcium powder in the form of calcium carbonate is among the best calcium supplements that you can buy for your leopard gecko. Keep in mind that some supplement brands have high vitamin D3 levels and can cause over-supplementation.
You should check and ensure that you buy a supplement with vitamin D3 that is not more than 45,000-50,000 IU/Kg of vit D3. You can then use a pinch of the supplement for dusting the feeder insects.
How To Feed Calcium Powder To Leopard Geckos?
There are two ways that hobbyists use to supplement their gecko’s food. However, you need to ensure that you are careful with the supplementation frequencies to avoid overdosing your gecko with vitamins and minerals.
Gut loading is an important way of supplementing your leopard geckos diet since they can ingest everything present in the gut of their prey. Gut loading is the process of feeding feeder insects with high-quality nutrient-rich and supplements 24-48 hours before you give them to your gecko.
You can use multivitamin supplements, apples, carrots, dark greens, cabbage, and dehydrated cat or dog food for gut loading your feeder insect. Suppose you are concerned that you will not get the proper gut loading mix. In that case, you can also use a pre-made formula like Repashy Superload, Arcadia InsectFuel, or Repashy Grassland Grazer.
You can also feed the insect with some bee pollen granules as they serve as a natural source of extra minerals, vitamins, and micronutrients for your gecko.
You can gut load all staple insects you give your gecko, like roaches, mealworms, crickets, locusts, and super worms. You need to avoid gut loading insects like hornworms, waxworms, black soldier fly larvae, and silkworms.
This is the process of dipping the feeder insects in multivitamin powders right before feeding the gecko. This helps to cover the feeder insects in multivitamin powders, and when your gecko eats them, they will also ingest the multivitamin powders.
Most quality supplements have a fine structure which helps to stick to the insects very well. The recommended way to dust insects is called shake and bake. You can follow the steps below to dust your leopard gecko.
- Get a plastic box or jar with a lid.
- Pour the vitamin powder into the box.
- Put the insects into the box with vitamin powder and then close it.
- Shake the box up and down
- Place the insects in a feeding tray in your leopard gecko’s tank.
Note: You can spray the insects with water before adding them into a dusting tray to help the vitamin powder stick to them. You can use this method if you believe that your geckos are not getting enough vitamins.
Tips For Supplementing Leopard Geckos Food
- Avoid putting supplement powder in the water for your gecko or any other reptile to drink: the reason is, the powdered calcium you’re likely to use is calcium carbonate that requires a relatively acidic environment to dissolve. Adding it to your pet’s water, it’ll just clump up like cement and can cause impaction to your pet. Secondly, most leopard geckos don’t drink much water in a day. This means you are going to waste your supplement, and your gecko may not consume the water. Another thing is that adding vitamins to the water will make the water taste strange to your gecko.
- Avoid adding mineral or vitamin powder to vegetables that you plan to feed the feeder insects. This is because the powder may clump and even wash off from the vegetable.
- When coating the insects, you can use a dish with a high side and add pinches of powder until you are sure that all the insects are lightly coated.
What Happens If Your Leopard Gecko Is Lacking Calcium?
When leopard geckos are not consuming enough calcium, their body will start to draw calcium from the bones, which can then cause metabolic bone disease. It is important that you catch calcium deficiency early, and some of the early signs of calcium deficiency are
- Lack of appetite
- Low energy
- Twitched toes
However, if you do not treat it immediately, it can then lead to a metabolic bone disease which is partially irreversible. Some of the symptoms of metabolic bone disease are:
- Bowed legs
- Spine malformations
- Swollen jaws that cannot close properly
- Lack of appetite
- Lumps around the limbs, spine, and jaws
You can treat calcium deficiency early by adding calcium supplements to your leopard gecko’s diet. However, you can take your leopard gecko to the vet for diagnosis and treatment if detected late.
How To Remove Calcium From Your Leopard Gecko Eyelid
There are times when calcium powder can stick to your leopard gecko’s eyelid. In most cases, your leopard gecko will lick the powder from their eyes and eyelids. Before you decide to help, you should wait for some hours in order for your gecko to lick it off.
But if your gecko has tried but not been successful, you can use a clean sprayer or a syringe filled with distilled or filtered water to wash it from your gecko’s eye carefully.
Last update on 2022-10-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often do leopard geckos need vitamins?
Leopard geckos need multivitamins occasionally. This means you can supplement their diet with multivitamin powder once a week for young leos and once every other week for adult gecko. You do not even need additional multivitamins when using Repashy CalciumPlus.
What does vitamin D3 do for leopard geckos?
Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient needed by leopard geckos for absorbing and metabolizing calcium and phosphorus in their body. They also need vitamin D3 for other crucial processes like immune function. This means leopard geckos cannot process ingested calcium in their body without the presence of enough Vitamin D3.
Should I turn my leopard geckos light off at night?
Leopard geckos are crepuscular creatures and tend to be more active at night than in the day. This means you only need to turn on their light during the daytime while they are sleeping and turn it off at night when awake. All you need is to be consistent with the exact time you turn it off and on to help mimic sunrise and sunset.
Using supplements helps ensure that your leopard gecko gets all the nutrients needed for healthy growth. The two most important supplements in the leopard gecko’s diet are calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.
There is a lot of information and supplements out there, which makes supplementing leopard gecko food quite easy. If you have any questions or comments regarding leopard gecko vitamins, you can comment in the section below.