Geckos are carnivores. They mainly rely on insects for their food. In the wild, geckos eat various insects such as spiders, worms, centipede, locusts, bugs and even scorpions. But just because geckos eat various insects in the wild, you should not offer them anything you see crawling. It will not be safe for your gecko because these insects may spread infection.
It is not healthy to let your gecko eat dried mealworms. Geckos only eat alive and moving mealworms. You should not offer them dead mealworms as they can be harmful to their health.
Are Mealworms Good for Leopard Geckos?
Mealworms are the preferred diet for leopard geckos. They are nutritious, contain water contents, and geckos like to eat mealworms. Along with mealworms, crickets are preferred for geckos, and they both are the food of choice for pet leopard geckos. Both these foods are readily available from the market.
Mealworms VS Crickets in Gecko Diet
Many people argue that crickets are a complete diet for geckos, and your gecko should entirely rely on crickets. However, crickets have their downside, and it makes the space for mealworms to replace the crickets. However, it is entirely your choice to feed your gecko either crickets or mealworms, as they both have their fair share of pros and cons.
Crickets have been the insect of choice for geckos because of their easy availability, dynamic behaviour and nutritional benefits. It is an excellent food of choice for those who don’t have any problem with their disadvantages. Let’s discuss some advantages and disadvantages of crickets.
Advantages of Crickets in Gecko Diet
- Crickets are readily available from pet stores.
- Crickets are active insects, and therefore they increase the feeding response in geckos.
- Crickets are more nutritious than mealworms.
Disadvantages of Crickets in Gecko Diet
- One of the most annoying disadvantages of crickets is their smell. The ones that are left after the meal produce an awful odour that can’t be masked.
- Crickets produce chirping sound that also increases the nuisance value. In addition, they are an escape artist.
- Your gecko gets disturbed with crickets when they nibble on their toes and tail.
- If you purchase crickets in bulk, they are more time consuming and challenging to keep alive.
- It is believed that crickets are more likely to spread disease as compared to clean and calm mealworms.
Mealworms are a better option for many pet keepers, though they have their disadvantages.
Advantages of Mealworms in Gecko Diet
- Mealworms are not very active insects; it makes them easy prey. Therefore, your gecko does not have to make much effort to eat.
- In addition, you don’t need to worry about offering mealworms; you need a dish to put mealworms, and your gecko will eat at his ease. They won’t go away or hide.
- Mealworms are calm insects; they don’t nibble on your gecko. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about escaping mealworms. It is like mealworms present themselves as easy prey to your gecko.
- Mealworms are easy to handle. If you purchase mealworms in bulk, you can quickly refrigerate them, and they will go dormant. You don’t need to provide them with food.
- They make no noise or have an awful odour.
Disadvantages of Mealworms in Gecko Diet
- Mealworms are comparatively less nutritious than crickets
- They have a hard exoskeleton covering outside the body, which is hard to digest.
- Mostly mealworms don’t run away and make suitable prey for leopard geckos. However, if they somehow escape from the dish, they burrow and will be hard to find.
- They don’t show much motion. They are very less active and less stimulating prey. Some geckos may have problems with them being less active prey.
As I mentioned that the choice of feeding your leopard gecko solely depends on you. Crickets are more nutritious, so if you don’t have a problem with their disadvantages, you should choose crickets. However, if you can’t go along with cricket’s awful smell and nibbling on your gecko, you should feed mealworms to your gecko. Mealworms are easy to manage, less annoying and easily stored.
How to Prepare Mealworms for Leopard Gecko
Mealworms keep you and your gecko at ease. They are straightforward to be stored and fed. You can put them in the refrigerator, and they will not need to eat or drink. However, when you want your gecko to eat them, put mealworms out of the refrigerator 24 hours before presenting them to your gecko. Keep the mealworms at room temperature till they start moving.
Offer them a piece of apple, carrot or other vegetables to eat. They will eat the vegetables till your leopard gecko eats them.
You can present them in a reptile feeding dish or any other plate with a deep bottom.
You should always provide a good vitamin powder to your gecko on the prescription of your veterinarian. You can add some powder to the dish or roll the mealworms in the powder so that your leopard gecko can eat the powder along with the mealworm.
After thorough research, it is concluded mealworms and crickets both have their advantages as well disadvantages. Both these foods are tested for geckos and don’t have any problem. Therefore, besides choosing between two foods, you can offer your gecko a mixture of these two insects.
Your gecko may not like the same food over and over again. Therefore, you should offer crickets and mealworms alternatively to your beautiful lizard.
Experts say that mealworms and crickets are both food of choice for geckos. You should not compare mealworms with crickets but rather offer both foods to your gecko. You can offer mealworms and crickets alternatively, and your gecko will not get bored from eating the same diet over and over again. Offering both the foods will add taste and a variety of nutrients to your gecko’s diet.