How Often Should I Feed My Leopard Gecko?

By Frank Miller •  Updated: 10/05/23 • 

Leopard geckos require proper nutrition for their bodies to develop properly. Food in adequate quantities is also vital to ensuring your pet builds a strong immune system and maintains a healthy muscle tone, fat reserve, and energy level. If you are intent on upholding a healthy feeding schedule, a question you may find baffling is: how often should I feed my leopard gecko?

You should feed baby leopard geckos daily, juveniles every other day, and adults 2 to 3 times weekly. The age and size of your pet will determine the size of feeder insects to serve. Moreover, the ideal feeding frequency may be subject to change when you bring a new Leo home, during brumation, or when dealing with a gravid leopard gecko.

Keep reading as we analyze the ideal frequency for feeding leopard geckos in different life stages. We will also break down how often to feed a leopard gecko after a hunger strike to ensure your scaly friend makes up for those days she’s gone without eating.

Do Leopard Geckos Need To Eat Every Day?

Like many reptile species, leopard geckos don’t need to eat every day. Adults usually go on hunger strikes and survive 10 to 14 days without food. The fat storage in their tails is sufficient to see them through even more extended periods of hunger as they undergo brumation.

Leopard geckos have slower metabolic rates than conventional pets like cats and dogs. Based on their body size, they can ingest and digest substantial amounts of food at once. Although they can survive weeks without food, it doesn’t mean they should, especially in captivity.

Getting your pet reptile into a comfortable and predictable feeding schedule is essential. Also, ensure your scaly friend has fresh water available at all times. Change the water daily, and don’t forget to deep-clean the water bowl each week.

Here are three main factors that influence how often your leopard gecko should eat.

1. Age

The first factor you must consider when determining the right feeding frequency for a leopard gecko is age. Hatchlings or baby Leos need more frequent meals to pack their bodies with the nutrients required for proper development. Juveniles can start skipping meals to prepare them to eat less when they become adults.

2. Size

The size of a leopard gecko has much to do with how much food she can eat in one sitting. Unlike hatchlings that only eat 6 to 8 small insects daily, adults can feast on up to 20 sizable insects in one sitting.

Also, bigger leopard geckos have high body fat and muscle mass percentages to refuel their bodies during more prolonged hunger strikes. When deciding the number of times to feed an adult Leo weekly, you must note that larger, more muscled reptiles have slower metabolisms and may not need to eat as often as a leaner adult.

> Recommended Reading: Leopard Gecko Size Guide

3. Environmental Conditions

A leopard gecko’s environment is crucial to maintaining a healthy, fit, and functional body. It’s no surprise that lighting, humidity, and temperature can all influence how much food the reptile eats. Even if you have an excellent vivarium setup, your scaly companion will still eat less during the cold season.

How Often to Feed Leopard Geckos Based on Age

Creating a suitable feeding schedule for a leopard gecko may seem complicated, but it’s not. Generally, Leos have varying dietary needs based on their age. The ideal feeding frequency changes as a hatchling mature into a juvenile and then into an adult.

If you know your pet’s age, establishing the best feeding routine and ensuring her growth is on the right track should be a breeze.

1. Hatchlings (Baby Geckos) — Age: 0 to 6 Months

Leopard gecko hatchlings weigh between 2 and 5 grand and typically measure 1.5 to 3 inches long. Because these tiny fellows grow so fast, you should feed them 5 to 6 small insects daily.

Getting into a consistent feeding routine will help ensure your pet grows into a strong and healthy juvenile. Past the 3-month mark, you should continue feeding daily but increase the food quantity to between 6 and 10 small insects.

2. Juveniles— Age: 6 to 12 Months

The juvenile stage begins at 7 months, and your leopard gecko should weigh 25 to 60 grams and measure 5 to 8 inches. Because juveniles don’t grow as rapidly as hatchlings and their metabolism is not as fast, you should begin feeding your pet every other day. Also, increase the food quantity and provide 8 to 12 medium-sized insects per serving.

You must not make abrupt feeding schedule changes when weaning your juvenile leopard gecko off the daily feeding routine. Start by skipping one day per week and slowly skip more days until your pet is comfortable with having roughly 4 meals weekly.

3. Adults—Age: 12 Months+

Leopard geckos reach sexual maturity at around 9 to 12 months but continue to grow and add muscle. However, their growth rate slows down and stops at approximately 18 months. Because adults mainly feed to maintain a healthy weight, 2 to 3 meals per week will suffice. Also, increase the food quantity to between 14 and 20 insects per serving.

Irrespective of your Leo’s age, the best time to serve food is in the evening. Your scaly friend will be more thrilled to stalk and hunt her food after dusk because this is when leopard geckos in the wild feed. Remember to keep the meals varied to prevent your pet from getting bored with her food.

0 to 6 monthsDaily
6 to 12 monthsFeed Every Other Day (Roughly 4 times weekly)
12 months+2 to 3 times Weekly


> Recommended Reading: These are The Best Worms to Feed Your Leopard Gecko

How Often Should I Feed My New Leopard Gecko

If you have just brought a new leopard gecko home, expect her to ignore your food offerings for as much as two weeks. No matter your pet’s age, going on a hunger strike after being introduced to a new setting is expected. Leos are sensitive to their surroundings; some can take up to a month to adjust to their new home.

During the transition period, ensure your pet has a constant supply of clean drinking water. Also, be sure to maintain comfortable conditions within the vivarium. After a week or so, entice your scaly friend with a tasty treat like a waxworm. Be patient as your Leo learns to trust you and her surroundings.

Once your pet takes her first bite, you can now work on establishing the usual feeding schedule. Consult your vet if your Leo takes longer than expected to adjust to her new home and start eating.

> Recommended Reading: Why is My Leopard Gecko not Eating?

How Often Should I Feed My Leopard Gecko During Brumation?

You should not feed your leopard gecko during brumation. When the temperatures drop in winter, these reptiles go into brumation (similar to hibernation) and spend most of their time asleep. As a responsible pet parent, you must note seasonal changes and stop feeding your Leo about 10 days before winter.

Your pet will not need food during the brumation period because she will mainly remain inactive. Any food in the digestive tract will rot and cause inflammation, bloating, or other infections.

Although your scaly friend will be on hunger strike, she will spend a few hours awake each day. You must continue providing a constant water supply to reduce the risk of dehydration.

After brumation, your Leo will have lost weight, and her tail will seem thinner than usual. You’ll need to twitch your feeding schedule and offer food more frequently to help your pet replenish the dwindling fat reserves. Wait until she starts drinking more water and returning to normal activity before you offer the first meal.

> Recommended Reading: Leopard Gecko Brumation Guide

How Often Should I Feed My Gravid Leopard Gecko (Female Laying Eggs)?

You should feed your gravid leopard gecko daily. Like layer hens, gravid Leos need a lot of calcium, proteins, and nutrients to lay eggs. Although the gecko may refuse to eat, especially when her belly grows bigger, and she prepares to lay her eggs, offer food daily anyway. Stick to a predictable routine and remove any uneaten insects after 15 minutes.

It is normal for females laying eggs to refuse to eat. This is expected because the growing eggs fill their bellies, making large meals uncomfortable. Offer 2 to 4 insects several times daily, and don’t panic if your pet refuses your food offering or only accepts a small portion of the meal.

Your leopard gecko may have difficulty hunting her food, depending on how big the belly gets. You can make life easier for her by hand feeding or offering injured insects. Resume the normal feeding routine once she lays eggs and returns to her usual self.

Is My Leopard Gecko Growing At A Healthy Pace?

Leopard geckos are small lizards that weigh roughly 2 grams as hatchlings. Hatchlings or baby lizards should eat more often to support their drastic growth and development. Your scaly companion should weigh around 30 grams when she is a juvenile. Adults typically weigh between 60 and 90 grams, depending on gender.

Hatchling2 to 5 grams3 to 4 inches
One Month15 to 20 grams4 inches
Two Months18 to 30 grams5 inches
Six Months25 to 60 grams5 to 6 inches
Eight Months +40 to 90 grams8 to 11 inches


Is My Leopard Gecko Underweight?

Underfeeding or overfeeding a leopard gecko can cause nasty health concerns. You can tell your scaly companion is underweight if she weighs less than 40 grams when fully grown. In this case, the head will look considerably bigger than the rest of the body. The tail will also seem smaller and thinner than usual.

Here is how to twitch your feeding schedule to help your skinny or underweight leopard gecko add healthy pounds.

If your otherwise healthy leopard gecko is quickly losing weight, you must investigate the underlying cause and make any necessary changes. One of the biggest culprits of causing loss of appetite and drastic weight loss is stress. Leopard geckos are sensitive creatures, and even unsuitable enclosure temperatures and wrong pairing can make it difficult for your pet to gain weight and grow.

> Recommended Reading: Leopard Gecko Stress Signs & Common Causes

Is My Leopard Gecko Overweight?

Leopard geckos are considerably chunkier than other pet lizards, and most pets in captivity weigh between 60 and 90 pounds. It is also not uncommon for some to hit roughly 120 grams but maintain a streamlined and masculine appearance.

An overweight leopard gecko will develop a fat roll. The pet will look unfit and show the typical signs of obesity, like sausage-shaped arms and a sagging tummy. One of the easiest ways to tell your Leo is overweight is if her tail is wider than the head.

Here are tips to help your obese leopard gecko lose weight.

> Recommended Reading: A Comprehensive Guide to Feed a Leopard Gecko

Final Thoughts

Feeding the correct quantity of food at the right frequency facilitates healthy development and metabolic functions. Establishing a consistent feeding schedule for your leopard gecko can also help you avoid the risk of providing excessive or inadequate nutrition. Both underfeeding and overfeeding can trigger scary health concerns, such as obesity and metabolic bone disease.

So, how often should I feed my leopard gecko? It depends on your pet’s life stage and the environmental conditions.

We hope this guide offers in-depth information to help you establish a personalized feeding schedule based on your pet’s nutritional needs. Don’t hesitate to ask your vet for additional guidance if you are unsure of your Leo’s unique dietary requirements.

Frank Miller

Frank Miller is the Founder of Lizard Advisor and owns several pet lizards, from leopard geckos, bearded dragons, crested geckos, chameleons, and others. The mission of this website is to make owning a pet lizard very easy for everyone, but mostly beginners. And each year, he continues to help more people learn more about lizard care and much more.