Would You Feed Your Reptile Gel Food?
Image courtesy of Liam Edwards
Several well-known exotic pet brands have come out with gel food for omnivores and carnivores. It’s packaged food with balanced nutrition.
But just because you can feed your reptile from a package doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Does it provide everything your pet needs? Is it a replacement for feeding insects or mice to your animal? And will your pet even eat it? In this article, I answer questions about this new feeding option.
What is gel food for reptiles?
Popular brands like Mazuri, Hikari, and Repashy now sell packaged mixes that can either be fed directly from the package or be cooked with water to form a gel. The gel (or gel powder mix) is made from a variety of protein, vegetable, and fruit sources. The exact ingredients depend on the brand and which specific animal it is for.
Which animals can eat gel food?
Most gel foods are designed for omnivorous lizards, like geckos, skinks, and bearded dragons. That being said, there are a few varieties available for carnivorous lizards, like monitors, and snakes.
Does gel food provide complete nutrition?
In general, these prepared foods are designed to offer complete nutrition to your exotic pet. They should contain the right ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Additionally, the food is made to contain all the essential nutrients in a form that your reptile will like.
Can I make gel food my reptile’s primary nutrition source?
If gel foods contain everything your pet needs, that sounds like you could just feed it the gel and not have to worry about other foods. But that’s not really how it works.
You’re still going to need to feed live or frozen food to your reptile, and omnivores will still need fresh vegetables. Gel foods can safely be fed often, but they should be considered a supplement, not a staple.
In addition to being healthy and palatable for your pet, natural foods like insects also keep them active in ways that a stationary, processed food cannot.
How do reptiles react to gel food?
Some lizards respond really well to gel food, like the ones in this video:
But other animals just don’t get excited about food that doesn’t move like prey. It really depends on your pet. Gel food can be convenient for an animal that is sick or recuperating from an illness or injury. And if you really need to get them to eat gel food, there are ways to entice them. In general, however, there’s no reason to force gel food if your animal doesn’t have a taste for it.
The bottom line is that gel food is a great substitute to provide variety and ensure your lizard is getting balanced nutrition. But you still need to feed it insects and fresh vegetables.
If you want to add a little convenience to feeding time, here are some gel foods that we carry for lizards:
- Hikari Herptile CrestGel Reptile Food
- Hikari Herptile LeopaGel Reptile Food
- Hikari Herptile DragonGel Reptile Food
- Repashy Veggie Burger
- Repashy Grub Pie
- Repashy Grassland Grazer (for tortoise and uromastyx)
As the names imply, each food from Hikari is mixed specifically for a particular type of lizard — crested gecko, leopard gecko, or bearded dragon.
You can also send a message to our team on Facebook if you have questions about gel food.