Do Geckos Eat Cockroaches

Do Geckos Eat Cockroaches? 7 Key Facts

Reptiles such as Geckos could even be more sensitive when it comes to appropriate feed matching. Should you give your gecko meat, insects, or vegetables? Which food is healthy for geckos?

  • Well, do Geckos eat cockroaches? Yes! Geckos are naturally insectivorous pets and would feed on cockroaches as much as they can. It would not be advisable to feed your geckos with cockroaches that are fetched directly from the field as they may be contaminated, poisonous, or venomous.
  • Usually, you should be able to identify the right cockroach species, especially ones recommended by the vet, when feeding your geckos.

Alternatively, you can buy commercial roaches from the nearest center or breed some at your home place. Geckos have no feeding limit, they can overheat if not controlled. 

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Related: Geckos Eat Bed Bugs?

Details: Do Geckos Eat Cockroaches?

Geckos are typically insectivorous, they feed on insects for food. Cockroaches are common insects that are mainly proteinous in nature and guarantee nutritious/whole meals for your geckos.

  • Unlike human beings, gecko hunt captures and swallows the cockroach without chewing.
  • However, for baby geckos, they usually feed on small cockroaches (between 1 to 4 inch long).

Contrary, adult geckos can eat large cockroaches without any challenges. Cockroaches contain protein, fat, fluid, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, copper, and potassium.

Upon feeding, your geckos acquire dense protein nutrients necessary for bodybuilding – building up body tissues, muscles, and replacing worn-out cells. Further, minerals such as calcium and iron will strengthen your pets’ bones – enabling them to carry their body weight.

  • Cockroach fat is a great source of energy for your geckos. However, too much of it may lead to obesity if the feeding is not monitored.
  • The cockroach wings have a strong network that acts as roughages, thus when eaten would prevent your geckos from constipation.

Commonly, geckos can be used as a biological insects control in your home place. However, this would not be good practice and geckos should not be fed on directly caught cockroaches for these reasons:

  • Open field cockroaches may have germs
  • Cockroaches may be contaminated or poisonous (consult your vet for the right cockroach species)
  • The cockroach may have pesticides, which are dangerous to your geckos
  • Roaches may have poisonous bacteria or virus

It’s therefore always necessary to pre-treat your cockroaches (those caught from open fields) before feeding them to your geckos.

In addition, you need to supplement cockroaches with enough water when feeding to avoid choking or constipation, which is very common – this can kill your geckos very fast.

Commercially purchased cockroaches (from a vet or certified outlets) are highly recommended since they are less prone to health problems – they have no or limited health risk to your geckos.

Alternatively, you can breed cockroaches at your home place for geckos – this limits chances of contamination. 

Related: Leopard Geckos Nocturnal?

What is Alternative Food for Geckos?

Apart from cockroaches, you can feed your geckos with the following meals;

1. Mealworms

Live mealworms are known to provide a great source of fat (13%), protein (20.4%), moisture (62%), and fiber, which is about 2%.

When dried, mealworms offer 53% protein, 6% fiber, and 28% fat for your geckos. When feeding your geckos with dried mealworms, it’s advisable to supplement them with water to avoid choking.

Though slightly expensive, mealworms provide a great source of energy for your geckos.

However, too many mealworms (daily feeding) will cause obesity (to your geckos) if not monitored. Breeding mealworms in your home is highly recommendable in order to lower the overall feeding cost.

2. Crickets

Crickets are a major source of meals for geckos in most places as they offer a great source of fat, necessary for energy.

  • In addition, crickets have minerals such as zinc, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, biotin, folate, and pantothenic acid.

Also, crickets are preferentially loved by geckos due to their taste and guarantee unmatched satisfaction to your pets – no health complications.

Further, crickets are rich in vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C, K, D, and E for geckos’ protection against diseases.

3. Flies

Geckos hunt for house flies largely in the house to substitute other insects such as mosquitoes – house flies are a great source of protein and fat, especially at the larva stage

  • Flies such as fruit flies are highly recommended due to their superior nutritional value in iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Moreover, fruit flies can also be purchased locally or bred at your home easily – just leave decomposition fruits hanging in your geckos’ house for a week or so (fruit flies will just come and multiply). 

Related: Lizards Have Bones?

4. Superworms and Waxworms

Superworms are rich in vitamin c (191mg/kg) and riboflavin. More so, super worms have dense protein nutrients.

  • Waxworms are best known for moisture addition (58%), fat, and proteinous nutrients.
  • Furthermore, waxworms have great calcium(243mg/kg) and phosphorus (1960mg/kg) mineral contents.

NB: When feeding your geckos with any of these meals, it’s advisable to control feeds in order to avoid challenges associated with overeating – obesity, inactivity, intestinal problems, etc.

How Much do Geckos Eat?

Generally, we may not ascertain exactly how much you feed your geckos due to varying sizes and climatic conditions.

  • However, we can always come to a common ground that your geckos should feed until their bellies/stomachs become flat.
  • Otherwise, beyond that point, your geckos will be overfeeding, which is risky for their health.

When feeding your geckos, it’s at this point you monitor how much they have eaten before their tummy/stomach got flat and then settle for that quantity as a control point.

Basically, we usually recommended that you give your geckos feeds for 10 to 15 minutes on average for two to three times a day at most. Ensure water is always available at geckos’ house.

Baby geckos should be fed regularly than adult geckos since their metabolism is high due to cell division

What Happens When You Overfeed your Geckos?

Overfed geckos have the following problems:

a. Overweight/Obsess

Geckos continuously gain weight, especially if fed with fatty food like mealworms often. The extra weight makes it impossible for geckos to move about.

b. Intestinal Problems

Your geckos will not be able to carry out normal digestion due to blockage of the alimentary canal.

This will affect the process of opening bowels as well. Further, you will notice that your geckos are either having diarrhea or constipation.

c. Inactivity

Your geckos become inactive when they overeat- they fail to walk about like others or exercise.

This condition is attributed to the fact that the extra weight becomes a burden to your gecko – it avoids dragging along. 

Related: Baby Lizards Eat?

d. Death

Overfeeding may result in the death of your geckos due to long-term inactivity.

If the obesity is not attended to in time, your geckos will suffer from skeleton/bones deformation, and destruction of internal tissues, which lead to death eventually.

What Shouldn’t you Feed Your Geckos?

The following food should never be fed to your geckos:

1. Vegetables

As highlighted earlier in this article, geckos are insectivorous reptiles and should therefore be fed on nutritious insects only.

Vegetables are not a meal for geckos – in fact, geckos won’t even eat vegetables whatsoever – unless mixed with insects, which is not the right thing to do.

2. Fireflies or Lightning Bugs

Fireflies or Lightning Bugs are dangerous and poisonous insects that lead to death in a couple of minutes when swallowed (by geckos).

Actually, the toxic chemical in fireflies (lucibufagins) paralyzes geckos before death occurs.

3. Fruits

Avoid feeding your geckos with any type of fruits whatsoever.

  • Though some geckos may attempt to feed on fruits such as berries, grapes, and melons, most geckos won’t eat them at all.

Fruits such ad starfruit, rhubarb, and avocado are dangerous for your geckos and may cause serious health conditions. 

Related: Do Cats Eat Lizards?

Why are My Geckos not Eating?

Your geckos may fail to eat due to either of the following reasons:

a. Sickness

When sick, geckos lose appetite for food, thus refusing to eat. In such a case, you will need to contact your vet to assess the matter immediately.

b. Cold Weather/Environment

Geckos are cold-blooded animals/reptiles – their body temperature is not able to vary with changes in the environment.

  • When placed in a very cold place, geckos tend to be very inactive and won’t even eat as well.
  • Most geckos seem to be hibernating during cold weather and thus fail to eat in the process.

Consider relocating your geckos to a warmer place and observing eating trends.

c. Too Much Fecal Matter

If you place a meal on feces, be sure that your geckos won’t eat.

  • The smell irritates geckos, thus making them hate the meal eventually.
  • Soiled beddings should be cleared and dried regularly before any meal is given.

Further, you should geckos’ feed in a basin and not pour food directly onto the floor.

d. Vision Impairment

If you place food and your geckos are not eating, there is a high possibility of Vision Impairment.

  • Try changing the food location and assess if geckos would locate the meal.

Your geckos may have eye problems such as retrobulbar or corneal – consult a veterinarian for treatment soonest if you notice such a problem.

e. Injuries

Any injury on your gecko instills severe pain, which may make it lose appetite.

Actually, bleeding sores and open wounds need to be dressed as soon as they are noticed in order to avoid further damages to their skin. 

Related: What Does a Garden Lizard Eat?


In summary, on the question, do Geckos eat cockroaches? The simple answer is yes. Geckos are insectivorous reptiles, which acquire nutrition from insects such as roaches.

  • Unlike human beings, geckos swallow entire cockroaches upon hunting.
  • It’s important to note that geckos have no feeding limit.

Therefore, they can overheat (as long as the food is available), which may cause problems such as obesity with time. A controlled feeding program should be followed in order to avoid such health challenges.