Crested geckos are a popular pet, but do they eat strawberries? The answer is yes, and no. You can feed your crested geckos with strawberries but in moderation to avoid the relatively high amounts of phosphorus to calcium in these fruits. Otherwise, strawberries are a healthy treat for pet lizards.
Crested geckos can eat strawberries as long as it isn’t the only thing they’re eating in their diet. Supplement the strawberries with other foods such as insects or supplements to provide the crested gecko with a balanced diet. A sliced strawberry once a week is enough for the gecko.
Are strawberries good for crested geckos?
In the wild, the diet of crested geckos is made up of insects (49.6%), fruits (11.7%), pollen (10.3%), fruit nectars (7.52%), and seeds (1.8%). Given that strawberries rarely grow in the world, we first need to establish their qualities in relation to the nutritional needs of the crested gecko as follows:
The nutritional value of strawberries is as follows:
|Iron, Fe||0.41 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||24 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Copper, cu||0.048 mg|
|Vitamin C||58.8 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.047 mg|
|Vitamin B-12||0 µg|
|Vitamin D||0 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.015 g|
|Fatty acids, total unsaturated||0.155 g|
|Fat, total lipid||0.3 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||2 g|
|Calcium, Ca||16 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||13 mg|
|Potassium, K||153 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.14 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.4 µg|
|Vitamin A||1 µg|
|Vitamin K||2.2 µg|
A good Ca:P ratio for pet reptiles is between two parts calcium to one part phosphorus (2:1) and equal parts of calcium and phosphorus (1:1). The ratio of these minerals is important in order for the pet to stay healthy and prevent metabolic bone disease, a condition that causes skeletal deformities or lesions on bones.
For strawberries, the Ca:P ratio is 1:1.5 as shown in the table below. This isn’t a bad ratio since it’s within the required limits. It shows that strawberries aren’t bad for your crested geckos.
This ratio is calculated as shown below:
|Ca:P ratio||16/24 = 1:1.5|
The benefits of calcium in crested geckos include:
- Stronger bones and teeth.
- Prevents bone disease, such as metabolic bone disease.
On the other hand, phosphorus benefits crested geckos in several ways:
- Prevents calcium deficiency.
- Increases energy levels and kidney function.
- Helps to metabolize sugars in the body (needed for carbohydrate metabolism).
There are a lot of benefits that come with eating strawberries, but it’s important to keep them at an appropriate level. It is possible for phosphorus intake to be too high as well, which can cause metabolic bone disease or other problems such as obesity. So, make sure you monitor how many strawberries your gecko eats so they don’t get sick later on.
Amount of oxalic acid
Strawberries have 2mg of oxalic acid per serving which is a safe amount to give to your crested geckos.
Oxalic acid is a natural component of many plants, especially those in the nightshade family. The amount varies widely from species to species and even within a plant’s fruit depending on factors such as variety or season. For example, levels can be high in some varieties of green beans but low in others; they are high in immature potatoes but lower when the potato is mature enough for harvest (pink spuds).
However, oxalic acid is known to inhibit the absorption of calcium in animals including crested geckos. A low calcium level will lead to a number of potentially serious problems including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and calcification.
If your gecko is eating a large quantity of strawberries then it’s possible that they may be deficient in calcium which could lead to other health issues.
After assessing the nutritional value, Ca:P ratio and amount of oxalic acid in strawberries, you should feed your crested geckos strawberries but not as a main meal. Rather, feed them as an occasional treat.
READ ALSO: Can Crested Geckos Eat Bananas? Amount and Precautions
How to feed strawberries to crested geckos
If you choose to feed your crested gecko strawberries, it is important to be aware of the possible side effects and dangers. The fruit can cause diarrhoea, dehydration or constipation for your pet as well as other mild intestinal distress.
Moreover, some people suggest that crested geckos should not have any kind of sugar in their diet because they are prone to dental issues. However, others argue that adding an occasional sweet treat will help keep a nutritious diet balanced and prevent them from feeling deprived while also providing essential vitamins and minerals.
It’s up to you how often you want your animal friend to indulge in sweets.
How often should you feed strawberries to crested geckos?
On average, feed your crested gecko with strawberries at most once a week.
If your pet is a fruit eater, then they can eat most fruits that are safe for Crested geckos. One of the best things about feeding them fresh produce is that it also provides a lot of fiber and other nutrients for their diet. Plus, eating raw or cooked fruits will help keep their teeth worn down (to avoid overgrowth) and reduce tartar buildup in the mouth by keeping their tongue moving.
Other than that, there isn’t really any specific rule on how frequently you need to provide fresh produce; just allow them as many opportunities as healthily possible.
How much strawberries should you feed your crested geckos?
It can be difficult to determine how many strawberries you can feed your crested geckos. It can depend on their age, weight, health and activity level. Feed your gecko one sliced strawberry per feeding once a week.
You should feed the crested geckos strawberries in the following forms:
Mash the strawberries into a paste before offering them to the geckos as they’re much easier to digest in this form.
You can do this by mashing the fruit in a dish with a fork or your fingers then feeding it to them like you would any other type of food. Be careful not to make their new home slippery for safety reasons.
If mashed strawberries are too much work for you, freeze them instead so that they can be given as an ice block treat. Leave space at the bottom of each container because frozen juice may expand when it melts.
2. Mixed with other fruits
You can mix the strawberries with other fruits such as bananas and papayas. This can help to reduce the amount of strawberries they eat at one time and can also add in some extra vitamins that are necessary for their health. Make sure you don’t feed more than a full fruit per feeding session, or it could cause diarrhoea.
Slicing the strawberries can increase the surface area, making it easier for your crested gecko to eat. Ensure the slices are small enough for the gecko to easily swallow.
4. Slightly rotten
Another way to feed your crested gecko can be to give them slightly rotten fruit. Simply slice up the fruit then leave it out until it becomes slightly mushy and brown. Give it to the geckos since it’ll be soft enough to be eaten by them.
If you don’t have a preference, then, either way is fine for feeding your pet. If the fruit has been sitting out too long and it’s starting to smell bad or there are moldy spots on it, throw that piece away.
You can also try adding some powdered food supplements (specifically calcium) with water in order to help make sure they’re getting all of their nutrients while eating what may not be as great quality produce.
The size of a crested gecko can vary, but they typically grow between three and seven inches long for males and four to six inches for females. This can mean that you need more strawberries if you have larger plant-eaters in your care.
Strawberry substitutes for crested geckos
Besides actual strawberries, you can use the following strawberry-like substitutes to feed your crested geckos:
1: Strawberry jelly pots
Strawberry jelly pots can be a good strawberry substitute for crested geckos. You can make these jelly pots by boiling water with sugar and then adding fruit juice or food coloring to the mix, before putting in gelatin mixture into a mould container. These can also serve as an easy-to-make snack that is healthy for your gecko’s teeth. You can, alternatively, just buy pre-made ones from the pet shop.
As observed in the information above, strawberries can be fed to crested geckos but only as treats and not the main meals. They have a fairly good calcium to phosphorus ratio and provide a good amount of vitamins, potassium, manganese and folic acid. Besides that, they have very low calories, cholesterol, sodium and fats which makes them a great addition to the geckos’ diet.
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