How do wild geckos get calcium?


New Member
I was scrounging Gatorade caps off my dad to use as a calcium dish and he asked why captive Leos need calcium supplements and wild ones get along fine without. Google was of no help this time, but I'm guessing it's something they eat. Does anyone know a specific food source? Or is willing to hazard a guess?


Well-Known Member
Massachusetts, United States
It's the great circle of life! In nature, the environment is chock full of vitamins and minerals, from the soil and rocks, into the plants, into the insects that eat the plants, and then into the geckos. The geckos eat an endless variety of invertebrates with many different nutrients, including things like isopods that are higher in calcium. Some even suggest that the geckos may eat a little bit of soil now and then to get minerals.

Unfortunately, in the pet trade, this is not how it works. Most feeder insects you buy are mass-farmed on an unvaried diet that is meant to keep them alive long enough to sell rather than make them nutritious, and most owners only feed their geckos one or two types of insects. Some people gut load the insects first, but even that really isn't enough to get all the vitamins and minerals necessary.

It's nearly impossible to provide the perfect diet in captivity without needing additional supplementation. You'd have to basically devote your life to raising numerous invertebrate species on varied, natural diets meant to provide nutrition all the way up the food chain. That is why pet geckos need vitamin and calcium supplements.
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Beardie Tamer
Arcadia, FL
I would like to touch up on what indyana said about the rocks. Have you ever heard of a horse enjoying a mineral block or a salt block? In the wild, there are rocks that are naturally high in certain minerals and such. I'm not sure if this is true, but I believe that leos find these mineral rocks and lick the calcium from them. There's also sand and rocks (basically sediment) that can be filled with calcium as well. There are tons of things (like the isopods that indyana mentioned) that can have the ability to harbor the proper vitamins and minerals to sustain a leopard gecko.

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