Can Crested Geckos Eat Vegetables – Top Diet Tips
As a responsible owner you must ensure that your Crested gecko has a well-balanced diet. Part of providing a healthy diet is knowing can Crested geckos eat vegetables.
Vegetables are considered healthy and consumed often by people. But does the same go for Crested geckos? Can Crested geckos eat vegetables safely? The short answer is yes. However, not all vegetables are suitable as a staple diet.
If you want to know if you can feed your Crested geckos vegetables, first you need to be familiar with what is their diet in the wild and if vegetables are part of that natural diet.
Knowing can Crested geckos eat vegetables is not only important for their diet but also overall health as some vegetables can be dangerous if consumed by your gecko.
In this article, we will be looking at the following topics:
- Crested gecko diet in the wild vs in captivity
- What makes a vegetable safe for Crested gecko
- List of safe vegetables for Crested geckos
- List of dangerous vegetables for Crested geckos
- How to feed vegetables to your Crested gecko
Crested Gecko Diet – In The Wild vs In Captivity
Before looking at what are safe vegetables to feed your Crested geckos, it’s important to know what they eat in their natural habitat.
Not all geckos can eat vegetables as some are strictly insectivores. But what about the Crested gecko?
Native to the island of New Caledonia, the Crested geckos are known for eating the following diet:
- Insects 49.6%
- Fruits 11.7%
- Fruit nectars 7.52%
- Seeds 1.8%
- Pollen 10.3%
As Crested geckos are omnivorous, there are two diet options when kept as pets:
- Commercial diet. A commercial diet is the easiest option. The formula is designed to provide your Crested gecko with all the nutrients they need to be healthy and thrive. Therefore, they won’t need any vegetables added from a nutritional point of view
- Homemade diet. If you have decided to go down the route of homemade diet, you must do enough research into how much and how often you should feed them a variety of insects, fruits and vegetables. Providing your Crested gecko with a well-balanced homemade diet is not an easy job and it’s not recommended for beginners unless you have done extensive research beforehand
Many types of vegetables can still be part of the Crested gecko’s diet either as:
- An occasional treat. Even if your Crested gecko is on a commercial diet, you can still give your Crested geckos vegetables as an occasional treat
- Homemade diet. If you are experienced enough and have decided to go down the route of a homemade diet, then vegetables will need to be included in your Crested gecko’s regular feedings. However, only certain vegetables can be used in a daily diet as some are considered unsafe for frequent consumption due to their poor nutritional value
What Makes A Vegetable Safe For Crested Gecko
Similar to fruits, what makes a vegetable good or bad depends on the Calcium: Phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) and calcium content.
If you want to learn more about fruits and can Crested geckos eat fruits click here Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos
The factors to look at when deciding if a vegetable is safe are:
- Ca:P ratio
- Oxalic acid levels
- Vitamin A content
- Goitrogens content
With that said, safe and healthy vegetables that you can include in your Crested gecko’s staple diet and feed more often than an occasion treat will be:
- High in calcium
- Have a good Ca:P ratio of 2:1 or better
On the other hand, vegetables that have a bad Ca:P ratio can only be fed as an occasional treat. If you feed your gecko vegetables with bad Ca:P ratio too often, it can lead to the development of a well-known illness – Metabolic Bone Disease.
Can Crested Geckos Eat Vegetables
As mentioned earlier, in the wild Crested geckos eat a varied diet that includes vegetables and plants.
However, when kept as pets, you can either feed your Crested gecko a commercial diet and give them vegetables only as an occasional treat or have them on a homemade diet which includes vegetables amongst other foods.
Before including vegetables in your Crested gecko’s diet, let’s look at the benefits and negatives of feeding your Crested gecko vegetables.
- Vitamin A – This is a key vitamin that helps maintain a healthy reptile diet. Vitamin A is essential for the functions of the skin, mucous membranes, retina (part of the eye), muscles, immune system, reproductive system and more
- Source of fibre – Helps maintain bowel health
- Calcium – calcium helps maintain and develop strong bones. In addition, the heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Calcium is especially important for juveniles and gravid (pregnant) female geckos
- Source of iron – Iron helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including energy, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and help with the regulation of body temperature
- Insecticide or pesticide can residue on the vegetables which is toxic to your Crested gecko
- As you’ll be buying the vegetables from your local store, domesticated vegetables will have less vitamins and minerals
- Goitrogens – Goitrogens inhibit the absorption of iodine. The consumption of Goitrogens over a long period of time can result in the development of hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, slow growth, and can even be fatal. The goitrogens affect the thyroid and can make it difficult for the thyroid to produce the hormones that your Crested gecko needs to be healthy
- Oxalic acid – foods with high levels of Oxalic acid shouldn’t be fed to your Crested gecko
Can Crested Geckos Eat Vegetables – Conclusion
After looking at positives and negatives of can Crested geckos eat vegetables, let’s take a look at:
- Vegetables with good Ca:P ratio
- Vegetables with bad Ca:P ratio
- What vegetables to avoid feeding your Crested gecko
Vegetables With Good Ca:P ratio
Vegetables that have good Ca:P ratio can be:
- Included in a staple homemade diet
- Fed to your Crested more often than just an occasional treat
The following is a list of vegetables with good Ca:P ratio:
- Dandelion Greens – Ca:P is 2.8:1 Dandelion leaves provide a good source of Calcium, Vitamin A and K. If taken from the garden, you should avoid picking any that may have been in contact with pesticides or other chemicals. Also, you should not pick dandelion leaves that are near the roadside
- Rocket – Ca:P is 3.1 : 1. A good source of vitamin A and Calcium
- Mustard Greens – Ca:P is 2.4 : 1. Very high vitamin A, vitamin C, high Calcium and Potassium
- Watercress – Ca:P is 2.0: 1. It contains good levels of Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Folic acid, Vitamins A and C
- Endive – Ca:P is 1.9 : 1. High in Calcium and Vitamin A
- Celery – Ca:P is 1.7:1. High in calcium and low in goitrogenic compounds, celery can be a vegetable in your Crested gecko’s staple diet within your crested geckos diet
- Butternut squash – Ca:P is 1.5:1. It’s high in Vitamin A and Calcium
It’s important to note that even the most nutritious vegetables shouldn’t be given as the main source of food. The Crested geckos need additional vitamins and minerals in their diet that can’t be provided by vegetables only.
Vegetables With Bad Ca:P ratio
Vegetables with bad Ca:P ratio can’t be included in a homemade staple diet for your Crested gecko and should only be fed as an occasional treat once a month.
- Carrots – Ca:P is 0.6:1. Carrots have little calcium but have high levels of carotenes
- Chard – Ca:P is 1.1:1. This is a good source of fibre, Vitamin A, C, E, K, Calcium and Iron
- Cos/Romaine Lettuce – Ca:P is 0.8:1 good source of Vitamin A and fibre. Aside from Iceberg lettuce, most green leaf and romaine lettuces contain good amounts of vitamins & minerals. In addition, lettuces aren’t high in goitrogens or oxalates which makes them good to feed to your Crested gecko
How To Make Foods With Bad Ca:P ratio Into A Good Meal
Although, there are many vegetables that have a bad Ca:P ratio, there is a way to still make the serving of those vegetables nutritional.
The way to do that is by:
- Adding other vegetables that will provide nutritional value to the meal such as rocket or watercress
- Sprinkle some CGD powder which will add calcium and vitamins to the meal
Vegetables To Avoid Feeding To Your Crested Gecko
- Broccoli – Broccoli is best avoided as it is high in oxalates and goitrogens
- Spinach – High in oxalates and goitrogens so should be used occasionally
- Cabbage – High in goitrogens and oxalates
- Cauliflower – Too high levels of goitrogens and oxalates
- Kale – High in goitrogens and oxalates
- Avocado – Avocados are toxic to Crested geckos and should never be fed
- Iceberg lettuce – This lettuce should be avoided as it has no nutritional value
Vegetables that contain high levels of water and low nutritional value, shouldn’t be fed to your Crested gecko as they are not beneficial and can result in diarrhoea. Examples of such vegetables include iceberg lettuce and cucumber.
How To Feed Vegetables To Crested Gecko
Crested geckos have tiny teeth and can’t bite hard. Therefore, you need to feed the vegetable in a form that is easy for them to bite on and digest.
You can feed a vegetable to your Crested gecko by:
- Chopping it up fine
- Mashing it up as a puree
- Serving it as a smoothie
How Much Vegetables Can I Feed My Crested Gecko
The amount of vegetables per serving that you should feed your Crested gecko should be equal to the amount of commercial food you would serve them.
How Often Should I Feed Vegetables To My Crested Gecko
As mentioned earlier how often you should feed your Crested gecko vegetables depends on the nutritional value and the Ca:P ratio.
- Good Ca:P ratio vegetables can be given to your gecko as a part of their staple diet and more often than an occasional treat once a month
- Bad Ca:P ratio vegetables should only be given to your Crested gecko as an occasional treat once a month
Crested gecko’s natural diet includes a variety of insects, fruits and vegetables. But what about when kept as pets? Can Crested geckos eat vegetables safely in captivity?
When kept as pets you can choose between two diets:
- Commercial food. These formulas are specially designed to provide your gecko with all the nutrients they need. From a nutritional point of view, you don’t need to add vegetables to their diet. However, you can feed them vegetables as an occasional treat once a month
- Homemade diet. This type of diet requires a variety of insect, fruits and vegetables which is similar to what they are used in the wild
It’s important to remember that not all vegetables are healthy to feed your Crested gecko and some are even dangerous and should be avoided all together.
A healthy and safe vegetable for your Crested gecko has:
- Good Ca:P ratio of 2:1 or better
- Vitamin A content
- Low levels of oxalic acid
- No chemicals such as goitrogens
Vegetables with a bad Ca:P ratio can still be fed to your gecko but only as an occasion treat once a month.
Finally, a dangerous vegetable for Crested gecko has high content of the chemicals known as oxalates and goitrogens and shouldn’t be fed to your gecko.