Help – My Lizard Won’t Eat Crickets!
Sometimes a bearded dragon, gecko, chameleon, or other lizard will suddenly stop accepting crickets. This is actually a fairly common occurrence in domestic lizards. There are many reasons why this happens. One reason is that the lizard is simple tired of eating crickets. If you have been feeding nothing but crickets or mostly crickets to your pet for a long time, it may have gotten sick of that boring diet. Yes, reptiles get bored with boring diets, just like you or I would get bored if we had to eat the same thing almost every day. In this case, I would just recommend that you stop trying to force crickets on the gecko.
If you have been breeding crickets when your pet suddenly stops eating them, you may choose to sell your current crickets to friends or neighbors or anyone who may have reptiles, and do this for a short while until your lizard is accepting them again. Sometimes all it takes is a little change for a while. Try offering the lizard superworms or roaches or any other variety you would like to try. Mulberry Farms (U.S) offers silkworms, butterflies, hornworms, and other less common feeders. You may prefer to order a small quantity of a few different types to test to find out what your gecko, beardie, or chameleon will eat. Then keep offering this variety to your gecko for a few weeks. After a few weeks, see if you can sneak crickets back into the animal’s diet. If he or she eats it, then you’ve succeeded. If not, then the lizard may need more time eating the other variety.
There is, of course, also a possibility that a gecko, bearded dragon, chameleon, or otherwise insect-eating lizard may just decide that it never wants to eat a particular insect again. Perhaps it just doesn’t like crickets (yeah, different lizards have different food preferences just like humans). However, more than likely, it will just need a longer break from crickets. I believe most lizards will return to eating crickets again, after they’ve had a sufficient taste of another insect for a while. Then they’ll get sick of that insect and be ready to take crickets again. There are no guarantees, but it seems to work that way. Since every animal is different, there is no telling how it will behave when you change its diet.
The best way to prevent a insect-eating lizard from growing tired of a certain insect, is to vary your feeding as much as possible. Try to offer at least two different types of feeders such as “crickets and mealworms” or “crickets and roaches” or “roaches and superworms” or whatever combination works for you. In fact, the more different types of insects you can feed, the less likely your pet is to tire of one particular insect. Try using two different types of insects as the staple of the diet, and then choose one or two to use as a treat sparingly. Waxworms and butterworms make good treats. Roaches and crickets make great staples, but mealworms can also be good staples as long as you take caution not to overfeed since there is a risk of impaction.
Remember, a lizard would never eat only one type of food in the wild. Therefore, in captivity, we should aim to provide as much diversity as possible. This will not only help prevent the animal from refusing certain insects, but it will also prevent malnutrition that can come from an imbalanced diet.
Filed under: Feeding Lizards and Frogs