Homemade diets for crested geckos are possible, but are much more time consuming and possibly risky to your pet’s health (specifically concerning MBD) if you do not understand the balance of nutrients that they require. For this reason, I do not recommend homemade diets for the average pet owner as Repashy Crested Gecko Diet is a well-balanced food. However, experienced hobbyists and expert breeders who have the time and money to invest have successfully created a variety of homemade fruit “smoothies” for their crested geckos and other rhacs.
It’s hard to mimic the crested gecko wild diet in captivity because of all of the factors we just don’t know about yet. Natural sunlight conversion to vitamin D-3 is probably a big component in calcium uptake. In some reptiles it has been shown that vitamin D supplementation is not as effective as vitamin D synthesis from the sun’s UV rays.
Baby Food & Crested Geckos
Feeding babyfood to crested geckos may be easy, but a jar of baby food is not a balanced meal – even for human babies. Babyfood has to be carefully supplemented to be considered as part of a healthy diet. Generally, babyfood has added sugar. Even “organic” babyfood is usually skewed nutritionally towards phosphorus and does not contain enough calcium.
If you use baby food, read the below section on fruit smoothies and replace blended fruits with the babyfood to create a more balanced homemade gecko diet. Read up on proper supplementation and choose appropriate fruits to feed your crested gecko.
You MUST feed dusted, live insects when you feed baby food or any homemade crested gecko diet.
Crested Gecko Smoothies
A crested gecko “smoothie” can be used as a treat or as the fruit portion of a homemade diet. While crested geckos can survive on smoothies and gut-loaded, dusted insects, supplements need to be added to ensure they are getting what they need to live long, healthy lives in captivity. One such recipe for crested geckos is the “Hilde diet” (after a Canadian gecko breeder) – AKA the “Fruit and Yogurt” diet.
Simply blend up fresh or reconstituted dried figs, a papaya, a mango, a pear, a banana, a can of peaches in juice (not syrup) and one half cup of natural, plain yogurt with no sugars or artificial sweeteners. Whizz it in the blender or food processor, and you can store leftovers in ice cube trays and freeze. Fruits and berries can change seasonally, but avoid citrus, as it’s often cited (but not proven) that it’s bad for them. However, I think they just don’t like it. Frozen fruit is fine as well!
Just remember that it is up to you to add proper supplementation. Better yet, use this recipe once a month and feed a commercial diet regularly!
You don’t have to include yogurt in the diet, but it does provide protein and calcium in addition to live probiotic cultures. However, it is unclear that these specific bacterial cultures are beneficial to reptiles. Many so called probiotics have dubious claims, such as eliminating Salmonella. Use such products sparingly, after a round of antibiotic treatments or after a period of starvation to replenish the gut flora. I am not aware of studies showing it as beneficial as a supplement used regularly.
Many people argue that reptiles would never eat dairy products, such as yogurt, in the wild. Unfortunately, much of what we do to our captive pets is not “natural” and we need to take advantage of every nutritional and health benefit we can. It’s not necessary to include dairy yogurt; you can choose soy yogurt, although also not a “natural” food source.
Crested Gecko Treats
Treats are fine to offer crested geckos who otherwise eat a commercial diet, and many enjoy the variety it offers. Proper crested gecko treats include fruits high in calcium, the Hilde Diet, a drop of honey (warning: pure sugar!) and dusted insects.
Treats should not make up more than 10%-15% of your gecko’s diet. Generally, a crested gecko eats every other day when fed a crested gecko diet. This means about 4 meals per week. Every two weeks equals 8 feedings; 10% of 8 is roughly less than one day per that two week period. So feeding a treat no more than every other Saturday, for example, puts you in a safe range. Generally. Monthly is probably the safest option.
Insect feeders are the easiest treat to supplement with a commercial cricket dust and gut loading. For fruits, it’s best to stick to those high in calcium, such as papaya, fig and raspberries. Crested geckos eat a lot of fig-like fruit in New Caledonia!