We all know of the benefits of bananas: rich in potassium, fiber, and antioxidants, they’re an important addition to a heart-healthy diet. But can the same be said for crested geckos? Can crested geckos eat bananas?
The answer to this question is yes, crested geckos can eat bananas but only in moderation.
Nutrition-wise, bananas don’t contain enough calcium and protein to meet a crusted gecko’s dietary needs. They’re also quite sweet, so they’re best suited as an occasional treat more than anything else. Bananas must be fed once or twice a month to prevent diseases like metabolic bone disorder (MDB).
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about feeding bananas to crested geckos. We’ll cover topics such as how to feed bananas, what to mix them with, and other fresh fruits crested geckos can eat.
Is It Safe for Crested Geckos to Eat Bananas?
Crested geckos can eat bananas so long as they’re fed in moderation. In excess, bananas can negatively affect the gecko’s health, leading to diseases like metabolic bone disorder. Bananas should be given as an occasional treat and nothing more.
When determining whether a food is healthy for a crested gecko, you need to look at its calcium to phosphorus (Ca:P) ratio.
Calcium and phosphorus play important roles in a crested gecko’s health. These minerals contribute to the gecko’s neuromuscular and brain function, enzyme activity, and blood clotting. Calcium is essential for bone growth and maintenance, while phosphorus maintains cell integrity.
In the context of crested geckos, the best Ca:P ratio is between 1:1 and 2:1.
Bananas have a Ca:P ratio of 1:4.4, which is far from the proper range a gecko needs. This ratio doesn’t indicate that bananas are toxic, but it’s certainly not a food a gecko should consume on a daily basis.
For crested geckos, the best thing about bananas is that they’re low in oxalates. Foods with high levels of oxalic acid, like raspberries, oranges, grapefruit, and avocado, impede the absorption of calcium in the gecko’s body and must thus be avoided.
Crested geckos require lots of calcium to prevent the risk of MBD, a common reptile disease that can lead to fragile bones, fractures, and bone deformities. A gecko’s diet should contain at least 1% calcium. Bananas have calcium, but not enough to satisfy the 1% mark. This is why they should only be given as an occasional treat.
How to Calculate the Calcium and Phosphorus Ratio of Fruit
Calculating the Ca:P ratio of fresh fruit is simple. You’ll only need to divide the percentage of calcium by the percentage of phosphorus. For bananas, the calculation looks like this:
- Calcium in banana: 5 mg
- Phosphorus in banana: 22 mg
- 5/5 = 1
- 22/5 = 4.4
Remember: crested geckos should eat a diet with a Ca:P ratio of 2:1, 1:1, or 1:0.5.
Foods with a high or moderate Ca:P ratio can be fed more than those with a low Ca:P ratio. Low Ca:P ratio foods aren’t necessarily forbidden, but they should be fed in minimal amounts to prevent poor mineralization.
Fruits with a Ca:P ratio of 2:1 or better include prickly pears, figs, and papayas.
How Many Times Can I Feed Bananas to Crested Geckos?
Bananas should be given as a treat twice a month maximum, preferably once every two weeks.
When feeding a banana to your crested gecko, make sure to wash it after peeling as the peel may contain trace amounts of pesticides. Then, mash a slice or two of banana and mix it with other food items, like fruit, crickets, CGD, and more.
Mixing the banana with yogurt and papaya makes up for the lack of adequate calcium found in the fruit.
If you want to give bananas as a standalone treat, mash a slice with a fork and place them in a bowl. Crested geckos may find banana slices too intimidating and avoid them, so you should always mash the banana when feeding it to your reptile. One or two thin slices should be plenty.
What Other Fruits Can I Feed Crested Geckos?
Crested geckos benefit from high calcium, low phosphorus fruits. Some of the best fruits to feed crested geckos are as follows:
Do note that these fruits are all high in sugar and must thus be fed in moderation. Like bananas, mash the fruit into a soft puree and mix it with other food items, like cricket or gecko meal replacement powder.
What Fruits and Vegetables Should Crested Geckos Avoid?
Crested geckos should avoid citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruits, and pineapples because their digestive systems can’t absorb their vitamins. Moreover, the vitamin C in citrus fruits may cause diarrhea.
They should also avoid tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other nightshade veggies due to their high phosphorus and oxalic acid levels, which can be harmful when fed in excess.
You shouldn’t feed your crested gecko avocados either, as they contain trace amounts of persin. Persin is a fungicidal toxin that, while harmless to humans, can be incredibly toxic to reptiles. A high enough dose of persin can be lethal for geckos.
Crested geckos can eat bananas but only in moderation. Bananas, while high in potassium and fiber, don’t contain enough calcium to meet a gecko’s nutritional needs. Feed your crestie banana only once or twice a month, and mash it up before serving it.
Instead of feeding your crestie banana, opt for other fruits like mangoes, papayas, and apples. These fruits have a high Ca:P ratio, which is important in maintaining your gecko’s health.
Regardless of the fruit you feed your gecko, make sure that you overindulge. If your crested gecko is on a commercial diet, you won’t need to feed him bananas or any other fruit because he’ll get all the nutrition he needs from the pre-formulated food.