Crested geckos are insectivorous and frugivorous. Mice are not a part of the natural diet of a crested gecko.
However, there are experiential anecdotes from many owners of pet crested geckos who feed their pets pinky mice.
While crested geckos can, with certain precautions, eat pinky mice, it is recommended that you look for insect and fruit-based alternatives of protein for your pet crested gecko.
Pinky mice should not be made a part of a pet crested gecko’s regular meals. It is okay as an occasional treat.
Can Crested Geckos Eat Mice?
Crested geckos can occasionally eat pinky mice, but you should avoid giving mice to your pet regularly.
It may be rich in protein, but its shortcomings far outweigh the benefits of high protein levels.
In the wild, when times get desperate, a crested gecko will eat whatever it can find, hunt, and forage.
This includes insects, baby mice, and even smaller crested geckos. However, the case is not so desperate in captivity.
Pet crested geckos have a regular supply of properly balanced meals that cover all their nutritional requirements.
So, being insectivorous and frugivorous, the natural diet of a crested gecko should only include fruits, insects, and crested gecko diet powders.
Baby mice, or pinkies as they are often called, are a foreign addition to the diet of a crested gecko.
Your pet crested gecko may be able to eat pinky mice once in a while, but regular feeding of pinky mice can lead to impaction, obesity, and other health problems.
Can Baby and Juvenile Crested Geckos Eat Mice?
There is not a lot of difference between what adult and juvenile crested geckos can eat. The diet remains pretty much the same.
However, the 2 parameters that need to be considered in a baby or juvenile crested gecko’s diet are:
- Calcium levels: Baby and juvenile crested geckos are in their growing phases and need more calcium than an adult crested gecko.
- Risk of impaction: Baby and juvenile crested geckos need softer and smaller foods because they are at greater risk of impaction.
Keeping these two points in mind, pinky mice may not be suitable for baby or juvenile crested geckos.
Pinky mice are not toxic for them but are practically nutritionally empty other than protein and fats.
So, feeding pinky mice to your baby or juvenile pet crested gecko will make it feel full without getting a proper balance of nutrients.
Additionally, owing to the size of pinky mice, your baby crested gecko may be at risk of impaction.
So, it is better to hold off feeding pinky mice to your pet crested gecko until it grows into an adult.
Should You Feed Mice to Crested Geckos?
You can feed pinky mice to your crested gecko if you exercise a portion and frequency control – however, you don’t need to feed pinky mice as a compulsion.
Mice do not form a part of the natural diet of crested geckos. Crested geckos eat a staple diet of insects, fruits, nuts, seeds, and leaves.
In captivity, a pet crested gecko can also eat vegetables – which are a foreign addition to the natural diet as crested geckos in the wild will almost never come across cultivated vegetables in the rainforest.
On similar lines, mice will be a foreign addition to your pet crested gecko’s diet. And when you add a foreign item to your pet’s diet, you should ask yourself:
- Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- Is it safe to feed the item to your crested gecko in the first place?
- Are there safer and better alternatives available that can fulfill the nutritional requirements that this foreign item does?
- Does your pet crested gecko really enjoy eating this foreign item?
In the case of the pinky mice, their major pro is their high level of protein while having a relatively lower level of fats as compared to other meats like chicken and beef.
Yes, pinky mice are safe to feed to pet crested geckos in a controlled amount. Pinky mice are not toxic or poisonous.
And they can serve as a protein-rich snack. But, the cons of pinky mice outweigh the pros when fed in large amounts.
The major cons are the risk of impaction and obesity.
There are safer sources of protein available for your pet crested gecko that won’t come with the risks of impaction or obesity.
So, you don’t need to feed pinky mice to your pet crested gecko.
However, if your pet has developed a liking for it, then you can use pinky mice as enrichment food.
The Benefits Of Feeding Pinky Mice To Your Crested Gecko
The major benefit of feeding pinky mice to your crested gecko is that they make up good enrichment food.
Enrichment foods are those items that your pet crested gecko enjoys eating.
It is important to have some enrichment foods fed to your crested gecko occasionally. This will ensure that your pet does not get bored with its regular diet.
Boredom with regular meals can lead to your crested gecko losing its appetite.
That’s why, every now and then, it is recommended that you give treats and live foods to your crested gecko.
Pinky mice can make for good enrichment food if your crested gecko develops a liking for it.
You can either place live pinky mice in their enclosure or use frozen and thawed mice.
The Risks Of Feeding Pinky Mice To Your Crested Gecko
There are two major risks of feeding pinky mice to your crested gecko:
Pinky mice are generally varying in size. Some pinky mice are smaller in length and easily digestible – but most pinky mice are a little bigger in length to be digestible for crested geckos. So, your crested gecko could end up being impacted by the large size of a pinky mouse. This impaction will lead to suffocation, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Pinky mice are largely only protein and fat. So, while it will be a protein-rich snack for your crested gecko, excess pinky mice will also mean excess fatty food being fed. This can put your crested gecko at risk of becoming obese.
Another uncommon albeit possible risk of feeding too many pinky mice is the nutritional imbalance that can lead to deficiency in important nutrients.
Pinky mice have only trace amounts of essential nutrients and are a poor source of calcium.
Their only significant nutritional value is in their protein content.
If you only rely on pinky mice as food for your crested gecko, it will not get enough amounts of other important nutrients.
This can lead to your crested gecko becoming malnourished and more susceptible to health problems like metabolic bone disorder.
Which Mice Species Can Be Fed to Crested Geckos?
The mice that are used as feeders for crested geckos and other pet reptiles such as snakes are bred especially in laboratories. These species are called Mus musculus.
The Mus musculus species of mice are bred in a controlled environment.
This ensures that the mice are free of toxins, parasites, and other harmful microorganisms that can cause infections in the animals being fed with the mice.
Apart from being free of toxins and contamination in general, these mice are also well-fed and sometimes injected with nutrients to ensure that they form highly nutritious meals for their predators.
Thus, the Mus musculus species of mice can be fed to crested geckos.
How To Feed Pinky Mice to Crested Geckos?
There are two ways in which you can feed pinky mice to crested geckos:
- As live food: you can provide pinky mice to crested geckos as live food in their enclosure. This will make a good enrichment food that will promote their natural predating behaviors.
- Frozen and thawed: if you are not comfortable with live mice being hunted and eaten in front of you, you can opt for frozen mice. You can purchase a packet of frozen mice, thaw them in warm water, and then provide them to your pet crested gecko.
How Often Can You Feed Pinky Mice to Crested Geckos?
Pinky mice should not be fed very often to crested geckos.
They should be used purely as treats or enrichment foods.
Feeding pinky mice once every third or fourth meal will be a good frequency to ensure your pet crested gecko gets the required enrichment while preventing risks of impaction, obesity, or nutritional imbalance.
Nutritional Value of Mice
The nutritional value of pinky mice is given below:
|NUTRIENTS (per pinky mouse)||QUANTITY|
|Average Weight||4 grams|
|Other micronutrients||Trace amounts|
The key takeaways from the nutritional analysis of pinky mice are:
- The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in pinky mice is around 1.09:1 per mouse. This is lower than the recommended minimum ratio of 2:1.
- Pinky mice have a good amount of protein and fats but are poor in other important macronutrients.
- Pinky mice have only trace amounts of essential micronutrients. This makes them practically nutritionally empty.
Pinky mice are a great source of protein for reptiles – but in the case of crested geckos, their cons outweigh their pros.
While pinky mice are not toxic or poisonous for crested geckos, they are not nutritionally balanced either.
Too much of pinky mice will put your crested gecko at risk of obesity or malnourishment.
Exercising portion and frequency control while feeding pinky mice to your pet crested gecko is key to preventing any unwanted consequences.