Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and other exotics since 2003.
Leopard geckos are one of the best beginner reptiles that you can find. They're fairly small and take up very little room. They come in bright colors and have fairly simple habitat and husbandry requirements. So for the most part, if you are caring for a gecko properly, you should not have any problems. But if a gecko starts having issues with its diet or eating, it's important that you know how to properly care for your gecko in order to prevent health concerns and mishaps.
Make sure that you know the species' proper dietary requirements before you start to panic about them not eating. Maybe you're just not feeding it the right diet. Leopard geckos are insectivores, which means that they eat insects. Don't feed insects from your backyard, and make sure to buy insects from an online source, pet store, or even bait shop.
A good staple diet can consist of crickets, mealworms, or silkworms. All are nutritious feeders that leopard geckos will readily take. You may also want to consider small discoid roaches as a good staple. Waxworms and butterworms are good treats, but should never be fed on a regular basis to prevent reptile obesity. Phoenix worms are a good alternative but remember that they are pricey, so I'd recommend just keeping them as healthy treats.
Now, if your gecko quits eating, you really don't need to worry unless it's losing weight. It's not uncommon for geckos to skip a meal every now and then, so unless you see weight loss, don't panic just yet. That being said, if you are having problems getting your leopard gecko to eat, there are many reasons and solutions.
Reasons a Leopard Gecko Stops Eating
When you start to notice that the tail shows signs that it is losing mass, you then need to figure out what's wrong. There can be a number of reasons why your gecko has stopped eating which may result in a loss of tail mass.
- Temperature: Check the temperatures in the enclosure to make sure that they are the right degree. The hot side needs to be between 90 and 92°F. Measure the temperatures in the enclosure with a digital thermometer with a probe. The stick-on thermometers are NOT accurate by any means, and that includes if you place them on the floor of the tank.
- Substrate: Consider what substrate you're housing the gecko on. Loose substrates such as play sand, calci-sand, vita-sand, silica sand, wood chips, bark, potting soil, gravel, crushed corn cob, walnut shells, or any other substrate that is sold in a bag that you could find at a hardware store. Loose substrates can cause impaction, which is potentially fatal.
- Cage mates: Are you housing multiple geckos together? If so, the larger gecko may be bullying or stressing out the smaller gecko. This can occur in geckos of the same age and nearly the same size—one will always be just a little bigger than another. Remember just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, meaning most of their activity occurs at night, while you sleep.
- Changes in habitat: Have you recently changed the gecko's enclosure, added decorations, removed decorations, rearranged your room, moved the leopard gecko's cage, or anything that would involve changing the environment in or around the leopard geckos enclosure? If so, this could cause the gecko to stop eating for a few days to a week or so, depending on the gecko and the amount of change. Change doesn't affect all geckos, but it does affect some.
- Change in home: Is the gecko new to your home? New geckos may not eat for a few days and even up to a week due to the stress of changing environments.
- Feeding: What was the gecko being fed prior to you bringing it home? If you change what the gecko is used to, it might not take to the new feeder too well.
- Supplier: Where did you purchase the gecko? The most common and most convenient place to buy reptiles is the pet store, but this isn't always the best place. Pet stores commonly have ill reptiles that either suffer from parasites, bacteria, and fungus. Many times reptiles at pet stores are housed on sand or other loose substrates, which means that the gecko could come home with an impaction for you to deal with. Many reptiles at pet stores are housed inappropriately, such as too many reptiles in one enclosure, multiple males in an enclosure, sick reptiles with healthy reptiles, inaccurate temperatures, and multiple species in an enclosure. All of these things can contribute to illness.
How to Get Your Gecko to Eat
If your temperatures are 90 to 92 °F (on the hot side), then temperature is not the problem. If it's not the substrate and your gecko is housed alone, consider these other potential areas of concern.
Check for Parasites
You want to first rule out parasites or any other underlying health concerns, so take a trip to the vet. Your average cat and dog vet isn't going to be able to help you, so make sure to have a vet who specializes in reptiles. If the vet finds that internal parasites are the culprit, they will prescribe medicine to rid the gecko of its parasites.
Try New Food
If the gecko still refuses to eat, you can try a different food item. I have had one eat mealworms for as far as I could remember and suddenly stop eating them. They didn't have parasites or worms, but they drastically lost weight. I decided one day to throw in a few crickets in the enclosure, and they were quickly eaten. To this day, my two geckos prefer crickets over mealworms. I don't know what caused the change in taste buds, but something did. It could be as simple as that. Try changing to a different feeder insect.
Use a Specialized Diet
If that doesn't work, you may need to try a special leopard gecko diet. This is a formulated slushy concoction, created to help leopard geckos gain weight and get the proteins and vitamins that they're not getting by not eating. This is not a quick fix or a solution. The slushy mix, created by Marcia at Golden Gat Geckos, is only to help provide essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins to your gecko. You still need to find the problem so that you can decide on the proper solution. The slushy mix will hopefully buy you some time to figure out the problem.
Slushy Mix Recipe
I have used the slushy mixture created by Golden Gate Geckos and successfully gotten leopard geckos eating on their own again. It took some time and work to do so, but they've been eating on their own since.
Remember, this slushy mix is not a full diet and is primarily used to sustain geckos while trying to get their appetite back. It's most commonly used on geckos who are on an antibiotic or medication that is causing loss of appetite and to stimulate feeding. If your gecko has stopped eating for no apparent reason, it's most ideal that you have it checked by a vet before trying to force-feed this slushy mix.
- 1 small can of Hill's a/d pet food (available at most vets)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Ensure (any flavor but chocolate; I prefer vanilla for my geckos.)
- 1 jar of squash baby food
- 1/4-1/3 cup Pedialyte
- 2 tablets of milk thistle (herbal supplement, liver purifier, found at drug stores)
- 2 tabs or contents of 2 capsules of acidophilus (GI system probiotic, found at most drug stores)
- 1/2 tsp. calcium powder
- 1/2 tsp. vitamin powder
- 1 large handful of mealworms (I've also used crickets)
- Blend ALL ingredients in a blender or food processor, slowly adding the mealworms as you blend
- Purée all ingredients until completely smooth
- Pour into ice trays and freeze
- Store the cubes in Ziploc bags
When you use a cube, thaw it out in a small container; this is where the empty baby food containers come in handy. Use a small eyedropper, fill it full, and put a drop at a time on the gecko's nose, letting him lick it.
I fed my gecko one eyedropper twice a day to start. After a few days to a week, I decreased it to once a day. I continued with once a day, offering a full eyedropper of slushy mix for about a week or so more. Then I stopped giving it.
I would wait a day or two, the gecko not being provided food, and then attempt to give the gecko either crickets or mealworms, whichever it was used to eating. Usually, this method was successful, as the gecko had been used to eating daily and then going without food for a few days, which made it hungry enough to eat on its own.
If you decide to try another feeder insect or the slushy mix first. And the gecko isn't gaining any weight, you should DEFINITELY pay a visit to the vet before something happens to the gecko.
- Breeding Leopard Geckos
Guide to breeding leopard geckos.
- Native Habitat of the Leopard Gecko & Setting up a Natural Enclosure
Natural Enclosure and Native Habitat
- How to Set Up a Leopard Gecko Enclosure
Find tips to setting up your leopard gecko enclosure the right way.
- Treating a Leopard Gecko Dropped Tail
What to do if your leopard gecko dropped its tail.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
kelly on August 26, 2020:
my almost 1 year old, had a tail drop. she has been hiding and not eating or drinking since. it’s been over a week. it doesn’t appear infected but i’m worried she isn’t eating,
Erica on June 20, 2020:
My baby leapord gecko isnt eating and has watery poops. She is my first repile and i dont have much experience. The day after i got her i accidentally let her eat 3 mealworms a wax worm and a cricket. Thats a lot and shes tiny. Since then shes only eaten two or 3 more worms. Should i be worried?
Janette on June 09, 2013:
Thank ou soooo much for this awesome blog. I have been in tears, worried about my leo. I have been reading everything I can online about my gecko's eating problem. He stopped eating 6 days ago. What helped me most about reading this was the mention about change of atmosphere. I believe this might really be a huge possiblity and your article was the only one I read that mentioned the stress of change causing some gecko's not to eat for up to a week. I will be taking him to a vet, and thank you for providing the info on the slushy mixture and a back up. I am soooo grateful I came across this page. Thank you so much.
James on June 03, 2013:
Hi whitney, about 2-3 years ago i had a problem where my leopard gecko suddenly stopped eating. Luckily, the problem was only that i needed to change up his meal plan and add some diversity, and he began eating again. unfortunately, i'm back again, and the solution doesn't seem so easy. last friday, before leaving on a weekend trip, i gave my gecko some mealworms for a rotation ( i rotate from cricket and give about 15 meal worms every few months) when i came back, my gecko's light bulb had burnt out (unlucky) and i saw all 5 mealworms he had eaten sitting undigested in a very large clump in his normal dropping spot. he also had a bloody right nostril. i have purchased a new light, and more crickets, but he is not eating and does not leave his little enclosure. he did eat 1 meal worm which he digested and pooped normally, but nothing since then, which was about 4 days ago. what should i do?
gygugiuy on May 07, 2013:
my haven't eaten in so many days I am so worried I will follow all these rules and prey it survives
Karen Gunaratne on March 12, 2013:
i have had my geco for 13 years and he has stopped eating and im not sure what to do, i dont want him to suffer
Charmedone78 on June 23, 2012:
I have had my leopard gecko for 5 mnths and she has been eating fine now she is not eating and has not passed any stools but if she is not eating she won't pass stools her skin is very pale not like her bright colour and she keeps digging in the sand I have tried hand feeding her but she keeps turning her head away her tail is still fat she has not ate for 1 week now and have just put on cricket in the tank but she is not interested, I have calci sand in and the temp is fine the pet shop advised the calci sand I keep her moss put wet and fresh water daily what can I do I'm beginning to get worried.
cerri on June 12, 2012:
hi i got my leopard gecko from someone in the paper i knew when i saw it it was ill but didn't have the heart to leave her. she has never had a plump tail and i have tried feeding mealworms not eaten them tried waxworms she did eat them and crickets but now she not eating at all i feel although with all the best intention i think the damage is beyond repair any suggestions before i take the trip to the vets
hj on May 15, 2012:
okay so my gecko bred 10 days ago and so far there is no sign of her tail getting larger. I don't know if it's to soon or something happened but i'm positive that the mated. I have not turned her over yet because i'm not sure if it will harm the eggs because some people have said yes and some people have said no. She wont let me pick her up though and she never has. I really need help so please respond!
hj out peace
Andrew on April 29, 2012:
My brand new baby leopard gecko is always hiding, even though his cage is 84 degrees, also he won't eat. What am I supposed to do?
Terri on March 29, 2012:
my male 10 year old leopard gecko has an impaction. It was seen on x-ray. What is the best way to get it moving. Have been doing warm water soaks and feeding pumpkin from a dropper twice a day. Any other suggestions ?
Hanna 06 on March 04, 2012:
Hi my gecko is about a year old. He has always been a happy healthy little guy. Now he is having trouble shedding, its stuck over his eyes and feet and his feet are swollen. I don't know what to do I am worried.
Eileen on March 02, 2012:
My leopardgecko is about 6 months old she has been eating fine about 10 mealworms aday but for the last week or so I can hardly get her to eat anything I also noticed she has developed to small dark spots on her belly and she is having trouble shedding on her feet what can I do to help her?
turtlelover2k on January 09, 2012:
my leopard gecko named yoshi died and she had swollen joints, would not eat, wasn't
nocturnal, and had a big discussting brown lumb on her stomach.I was hoping somebody could give me some info...oh yeah she also puked up her food!
please write back please.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 27, 2011:
Make sure to keep the rescue housed be itself. You want to be able to best monitor it, so use paper towels instead of any loose bedding. Try crickets, mealworms, and any type of feeder insect to see if maybe the gecko doesn't like what it's being fed. If that doesn't work, you'll need to get nutrients into his system, so try the above mentioned slushy mix.
mommalyon on December 24, 2011:
So I have 4 leporad geckos and as far as i know all but one of them is eating. Aj is getting very skinny and i am worried as he was a resuce, and had to have a gotter removed from his thorat and now he will not eat. We got these from a man in Des moines and he said he had to be hand fed which I have been trying to do but he will not eat for me. I am worrie dany suggestions would be helpful thanks in advance
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 17, 2011:
It could just be the product of old age. You've kept your gecko healthy for so long. Just monitor the temps and overall environment.
christina on December 16, 2011:
i have a leopard gecko that is about 10-12 years old. he has always been healthy and a fat tail. in the past month his tail has shriveled. and he looks like he is losing mass. ive been trying to feed him mealworms and crickets. not interested at all. he is also moving very slow. im worried ive had him along time. what's going on.
ferny123 on November 21, 2011:
will a tail loss cause the gecko not to eat because my leopard gecko has not eating for about a week and it loss its tail
Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 15, 2011:
A few months not eating will not necessarily cause a drastic change in weight, especially if the animal is otherwise healthy. Without all the facts, it's hard to say why the gecko quit eating for those months, but since it's eating again, just ensure correct temperatures on the surface of the tank, as in most cases, reptiles will slow their eating habits when the temps get too low.
Taryn on August 13, 2011:
My gecko is like 4 years old. He's eating now, but a few weeks ago he went for I think like 3 months without eating. The weird thing is that he didn't loose any weight and his tail was still healthily plump. Any suggestions why this happened? One day he just shed and since then he's back onto his normal eating habits.
KaylaHeather on August 03, 2011:
Let's see... I got Gojira (Japanese for Godzilla if anyone was wondering) 3 weeks ago from my little cousin's friend and when we got him he was extremely malnourished with a really skinny tail. From the past 3-4 weeks of having him, his tail has grown double the size of what it had been. Today I was informed that he had to be at least 6-8 months old but he's only around 5-6 inches and from what I know, aren't they supposed to grow to be 10 inches by the first year? Also, yesterday he was eating just fine. We threw at least 6 or 7 in the cage with him and he ate all but one. When we went to feel him today, he just wasn't eating anything and just didn't seem anywhere near interested in the crickets he was being fed. I grabbed one and stuck it right in his face and he just nibbled it and let go. We just got a new log-looking hide that is basically a tunnel type thing and he barely went in it. I took a closer look at (my mom bought it and I didn't get the chance to pick it out) the log and it had a bunch of wood shavings sticking off of it from the inside. Would this have harmed him in any way when he was going for the crickets that would hide on the top part of the inside? We have a 10gal tank and were planning on upgrading to a 20gal long tank tomorrow. We put his old log that we had in there before and he went right in it. Would changing his hide be the reason he wasn't eating? Or would you recommend taking him in ASAP? Please help! I don't know what to do here...
coranado on June 29, 2011:
my gecko i hot him about 3-4 months ago he hasnt eaten in a week probably more he sheds but there are always skin peices stuck around his eyes ive tryed pulling them off but he hates it he has become more wild and i cant hold him for fear of being bitten my mom hates crickets and i cant be expensive have any advise?
jojo on June 07, 2011:
my hasnt eatin in weeks she just start picking at crickets but i havent seen her eat any i have been working on the temps but it doesnt seem to help
christina on May 24, 2011:
Where did u get that picture or the gecko from? The very last picture of the high yellow normal? It looks identical(every spot) to one of my geckos.
FishAreFriends from Colorado on April 30, 2011:
Our first gecko was brand new from a pet store (petco). He did not eat so we tried everything you listed. A couple weeks later he was put down due to a fatal and easily spreadable illness by a highly recomended reptile vet. We will never buy from that petco again. It was a tradegy to us.
My question is, since it is an easily spreadable disease, would it be safe to use the tank again for another reptile? Are there any things we should do to rid the disease from the enclosure?
Amazing Hub, Thank you for the information.
sarah on March 23, 2011:
i have 2 leopardgeckos a female and a male when i put crickets in the tank they get wide eyed and wag their tails . my geckos are pretty fat.but today when i put crickets in the tank my female just sat there and she has been ddoing that the past few days. i also noticed her tail and whole body were very very thin. and she is usaully very playful loves to crawl all over me but she just sits there and sleeps even at night
im worried HELP
Worried, please help!!!! on March 09, 2011:
Just a quick continuation of my last comment....I monitor her heat and light very closely.
Worried, please help!!!! on March 09, 2011:
Okay, I'm really concerned....I adopted my first reptile three days ago. She's a baby leopard gecko. I did tons of research before I bought her. I use reptile carpet, and she has a nice big cave to sleep and hide in. I change her water daily and she already likes to climb on my hand and crawl from finger to finger. But she hasn't eaten. At PetSmart, they said they fed her about 5 small crickets a day, but she hasn't touched her crickets (small) alive or dead since she's been here. She's a pretty laid-back gecko and she's only pooped once, and it was runny and green. (Eww, I know, but I'm giving you the facts so someone can help.) I've tried everything to get her to eat, but I'm getting worried. Help!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 01, 2011:
I would recommend it, just in case. Does the gecko seem to be in pain? I don't suggest that you try to perform and procedures on the gecko, since you're not a licensed vet.
awsome on February 28, 2011:
my adult leopard gecko is the fattest one if have but it weird that one of his teeth has become black and is sticking out of his mouth. I tried too pull it out but he hissed at me...... So, go to the vet, or what?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 28, 2011:
Clouded eyes could be an eye infection. Lethargy could be from illness or improper temps. If the surface of the tank is maintained around 90F, the outside temps generally don't matter.
James on February 27, 2011:
hey, i came here a few months ago because my gecko quit eating crickets,and the suggestion to switch to mealworms worked out great. but now i have a new problem. the last few days he has not moved out of his litle shelter. he just sits in there with his eyes open, and they are clouded, and lays there for hours. he hasn't eaten in over a week, and i only just now basically put a mealworm in his mouth, but he will only eat that one. is he dying or is there something i need to do wrong? it is winter here where a live so the temperature has recently dropped but would that cause him to be like this?
xtexterx from kent, uk on February 26, 2011:
another superb hub from you. one of my geckos stopped eating her mealworms found she got bored of them tried her on hoppers and crickets and she cant get enough of them.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 23, 2011:
Andy, I would give it a few days. It's nothing to worry about unless the gecko starts to loose weight. verify the temperatures with a digital thermometer. Try a new insect, like mealworms or superworms.
Lwhite, I'd give it a few days. It's not too abnormal fora reptile to stop eating for a few days. Keep an eye out on behaviors. It's very important to watch the temperatures, as you don't want them below 85 or substantially higher than 90. Use a digital thermomter to check the probe, as if the temps aren't right, the gecko may not want to eat.
Lwhite on February 20, 2011:
I am seriously worried about my Leo. He has not eaten in afew days and does not seem himself. He is usually pretty shy but now when I come on to check him he comes put and walks around. His temps are where they should be and humidity is okay we use reptile carpet. He has not pooped in days when he normally goes every night at about 7 p m. He usually eats 7 to 8 crickets at once at feeding time. He is about 8 months old. I am almost sure he shed a few weeks ago but he had no loss of appetite before he shed at any time he has alwaysbeen real consistent with eating and pooping. Please help
Andy Smith on February 17, 2011:
Back to square one :-(( 6 days ago she gobbled 5 crics lightning fast, then she showed no interest 2 days ago, and again today. She can see the crics, and even went close to them but did not eat. After the 5 crics last week, she had a very soft flat poop.
She is acting like a tiger in a cage going back and forth against one wall and trying to climb up.
Erica on February 14, 2011:
I have a one yr old gecko and she is not eating. The tip of her tail is turning black and flat. I am force feeding her medium meal worms. She will eat one, then 3 days later will eat one more.
andy smith on February 14, 2011:
She showed a lot of interest in her crickets yesterday and gobbled up 5 of them. I did not give her any more as she had not eaten for almost a month. Wanted to ease her back to her 8 crics every third day routine.
I am very glad - will be calling the vet anyway as she suggested I go back next week for another dose of the worm medicine. Last dose was last week -so that's a two week gap between doses.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 09, 2011:
You need a new vet. Reptiles should not have eggs in their stool and with proper medication they will be eradicated. Generally, they aren't going to be picky, but some will prefer one food over the other.
Andy Smith on February 09, 2011:
Took her to the vet last Saturday again - with a stool sample.
The vet said she saw parasite eggs in the sample, but that most lizards will have some and it is impossible to get them all out. She tube fed her and gave her some medicine - said to bring her back in two weeks for another feeding/de-worming.
She shed her skin last week and seemed to have eaten quite a bit of that and did poop - so does that mean her system is ok? and that the lack of appetite is just picky eating? I can try superworms as they are available at our petsmart - but they are about 1.5 inches - hope that's not too big for full grown leo.
Is this common for them to start being choosy about what they eat?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 08, 2011:
Depending on what you mean by the legs are bowing out, it could be metabolic bone disease or a calcium deficiency. What are the temperatures of the surface of the tank, as measured by a digital thermometer with a probe? How long have you had the gecko? What substrate are you using? How long has the gecko not been eating? What foods have you tried?
Michelle on February 07, 2011:
We have a 3month old gecko, he has recently stopped eating. He lays around his tank a lot and is nit himself. His 2 back legs seem to bow out.... What should I do??
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 05, 2011:
super worms, silkworms, dubia roaches,lateralis roaches, butterworms, etc.
Andy Smith on February 05, 2011:
She's been eating crics and mealworms over the last year and a half quite consistently. What other insect can I try?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 02, 2011:
I have never heard of soaking a leopard gecko to get out of brumation. Again, if the temps are accurate in the tank, there shouldn't be any reason that that outside temps are affecting behavior. I would urge you to try another feeder insect.
Andy Smith on February 01, 2011:
Its now been three weeks since she ate anything. The vet is a REPTILE vet and she said that since the gecko is walking around some, she is losing energy and so I need to worry about getting it to eat - hence the warm water to try and get it out of the partial hibernation state. I have read in other sites that they go through a partial hibernation or brumation when they move around slower and do not eat.
The vet told me to try and get the temp up by putting her in warm water and said that after one more week we may want to consider tube feeding.
I noticed that in the last 4 days, she has pooped a few times. She had not pooped much before that. She pretty much sleeps in the 90 degree section of the cage, so I figure she shd be warm (I have measured the cage with a digital thermometer and probe). But when I hold her, her underbelly does not feel as warm as I have felt it before.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 31, 2011:
I would recommend waiting until the gecko has adjusted. Give it at least a week. Make sure that the gecko is eating and doing well.
danny on January 28, 2011:
hi recently recieved a gecko through post and when she arrived she was freezing but shes doing really well now apart from she isnt eating at the moment is this normal as she came in the post and its a complete new envirment for her also she is very nervious and goes into her hide a lot is this ok and when should i start handerling her ?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 28, 2011:
If the enclosure is warm enough, no matter what your outdoor temps are, the gecko should not go into hibernation.
Are you using a reptile vet?
No, I do not recommend using warm water dips. There's no reason to do that.
Andy Smith on January 27, 2011:
It's been 17 days since she ate anything now. Seems to hand out in the cooler and sometimes warm regions. Moves slowly, but otherwise does not look bad.
How many days is it okay to wait - and is this hibernation that's going on as the vet suggested it might be. Should I put her in warm water to bring her out of it or just leave her be. Tried the warm water coupla times but nothing really happened? I saw one page on the web that says not to worry and it can be 3 months.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 26, 2011:
I would give it more than a few days before worrying too much.
Andy Smith on January 24, 2011:
My gecko is a year and a half old. He was doing perfectly well until we left him with a relative for three weeks. By mistake, they had the temp control on the low end and the tank was really cold. Apparently the gecko ate well during these three weeks. When we brought him home, I made sure the temp was back to normal and he fed normally twice (I feed him 8 crics every three days). Then he did not eat the next set of 8 crics and has not not eaten for almost two weeks now. I took him to the vet (a reptile vet) two days ago, and she said the gecko looked very good (she does have a nice fat tail etc.). She said it did not look impacted or have any problems. One of the exams she did was open the gecko's mouth and look in. The vet suggested that the gecko may have gone into a hibernation mode and so stopped eating. She suggested I put the gecko in warm water once or twice a day to bring the body temp up and wrap the cage in a blanky at night to keep it warm.
Though the gecko looks good, I am getting worried. Any suggestions.
Sue on January 17, 2011:
This slushy was awesome. He is now back to normal and eating crickets. I thought he was a goner. Thank you.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 11, 2011:
I wouldn't mist. Just ensure tank temps are good, and give the gecko time to adjust. He had a tramatic experience.
JJ Driscoll on January 10, 2011:
My gecko escaped for 10 days - we found him yesterday. He ate a few crickets and had some water once we put in back in his tank. He has lost weight and is sluggish. Today, he hasn't eaten. Is there anything we should do besides giving him time to recover? Should I mist him? What temp. water if yes? We have given him meal - worms, but he hasn't touched them. We had only had the gecko for a week before he escaped, so we are new to this and him. All help would be appreciated. Thanks!!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 10, 2011:
So he has unknown origin? If he stopped eating around the time he went dull, then it's going to shed and that's causing the lack of appetite. Nothing abnormal. It's also nothing to worry about if the gecko has only reduced feeding or even stopped for a few days.
If he's barely eating, it's common sense that he won't have a movement, as there isn't anything to release.
They do not feed more before shedding. They stop or slow right before.
They do get picky about a food source, not size necessarily but overall food source.
Thermostats will keep the temperature at whatever temperature you set the thermostat to. Herpstat is a great one that costs about $100 or maybe a little more.
Pat on January 09, 2011:
Thanks for responding. Where he was purchased was a reptile shop, and he was housed on reptile carpet. What confuses me is that for over a week, he would gobble up the crickets we would put in the tank. Literally hunt them down one by one in front of our eyes immediately after feeding him. Then he started to dull, and around that time we bought a new batch of crickets which seemed much smaller than what he had been fed by us for over a week. He DID shed his skin in the middle of his 'fast', but that was a couple days ago and he still shows no interest in eating. He had two or three bowel movements before all of this, and I havent noticed any since. So basically he went from gobbling up hungrily 8 crickets a day to not showing any interest at all. It does appear he is snacking on the little ones here and there, as some have 'disappeared'. It was just such a switch from a seemingly social and very hungry Gecko to a recluse who doesnt show any sort of interest in his food.
-Do Geckos get ravishingly hungry when it is about time to shed their skin? Then go to not so hungry after?
-Do they get picky with their food source...if they are used to their food being one way and all of a sudden it is not? (in our case, small crickets as opposed to bigger ones)
-Is there anything that can be done when our house temps cant assure optimum Gecko temps 24/7? We have cats and dogs and we have him in the room specifically to keep him safe.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 09, 2011:
Geckos do not generally fast. They will stop eating if the temperature isn't accurate (too hot or too cold) or if they are ill.
Since it's only been a few days, I wouldn't worry about it too much. The gecko is still fairly new to your home. He could still be adjusting.
Also, watch out for the lights and UTH. Generally likes just heat the air or provide heat, depending on why type of bulb you have. Luckily, the blue bulbs do not produce and heat and are improperly labeled as basking or heat bulbs.
As for dull coloring, it could be that the gecko may be going to shed, which can cause lack of appetite.
As for no bowel movement that could be constipation, impaction (from previous substrate, housing, or diet), or illness. Try a lukewarm soak, with the water below the neck. In some cases, the soak can entice the body to relieve itself, so to speak.
Pat on January 08, 2011:
We purchased an approx 2 year old Leopard Gecko 2 weeks ago. We have an undertank heater and also a blue bulb heat light on the top. The digital thermometer showed the warm side of the tank around 92. We have several rocks around the tank, and under his hide some moss. Reptile carpet is the floor covering.
5 days ago, I bought more crickets to feed him for the week. He had been gobbling up 8 crickets a day -covered in calcium-, and gobbling excitedly. Then, when we started feeding him the new crickets (which were noticeably smaller than previous batches given) he stopped showing any interest whatsoever. He also around this time started dulling and subsequently shed his skin. He has also become much more shy and I haven't noticed a bowel movement, either.
So in a nutshell, for 5 days IF he has eaten it has been very little, has shed his skin, his behavior has changed, and has had no bowel movement. Also, there has been a cold snap here and his tank is in the coldest room of the house. Could temperature fluctuations (house heat on in the morning before work, off during the day, back on again after work, and low at night -mind you, we keep the undertank heater and the blue light on 24/7) be to blame? Should we try a different food source? Do Geckos fast from time to time? Thanks for any help...
Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 08, 2011:
What is the temperature of the surface of the tank? I want the temperature as measured by a digital thermometer with a probe. If you do not know, then you need to go buy one. Do not guess on the temperature!!
It sounds like your gecko is overall ill which is what is causing the shedding issues.
You need to check the temperatures which is probably what is causing the problems.
If you were using sand or some other type of loose substrate, impaction is also a potential concern with the feeding issues.
mccaar11 on January 08, 2011:
My gecko seems to be having the same symtoms as BenjiL53o, he started to shed, but hasn't finished eating his skin, theres a bit on his nose and some of his toes and feet. he stays curled up sleeping in one corner of the tank for a few days not moving much and not hunting crickets. he'll make a grab for them if they come his way and eat a mealworm if its in front of him. he didnt start acting this way till i started feeding him meal worms, after the first few days of mealworms i noticed he was constipated so i stopped feeding him for a few days until he finally passed a giant stool. i dont know if the temperature of the tank is the reason he's so sluggish and wont finish shedding but im willing to try anything, even though he has never seemed bothered by the temperature of the tank. i also changed the repti-turf lining of the tank and gave him a new rock and put some damp peat moss under the rock because a website said that will help him shed. if anyone has any advice or comment id be greatly appriciative.
RYAN on December 25, 2010:
leopard geckos like moving preys mealworms dont move and dont know rather its food or nothing crickets jump and move they are harder for the geckos to eat due to jumping but who does not like a good competetion
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 24, 2010:
Check for stuck shed. The gecko may have something in the eye. You can try to rinse it with eye solution. Otherwise, just watch her to see if the eye is still closed. You may need to see a vet if it persists.
Jeremy on December 24, 2010:
thanks for that advice mayb you can help out with another one last night for some odd reason my gecko has been walking around with her eyes closed she was ok in the afternoon and had her eyes open when i held her but now they are closed and she seems to know wheres she going but she is currently resting in her water dish ive been keeping a close eye on her making sure she is ok
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 24, 2010:
I would not recommend the slushy mix unless the gecko is not eating and is recouping an illness that you've had treated.
To track what the gecko is eating, know what number of insects you put in the tank and how many you removed after about 20 minutes.
jeremy on December 23, 2010:
hi im here for my gecko zilla she has a lot of energy but i havent seen her eat much isects that i give her and i have had her for 4 months and she used to be very plump now she is looking skinny and she is losing her color i have seen her eat crickets but not mealworms she wont touch them. is there any way besides the slushy mix to get her on track with eating I only want to be able to see her grow
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 23, 2010:
ryan, generally they will sleep during the day, so it's not uncommon to see them retreat into the hide. I would try mealworms, if you don't see the gecko eating the crickets. You should be able to tell because you should know what number you put in the tank and what you remove.
brett, spinal damage should be reviewed by a vet.
brett on December 20, 2010:
my leopard gecko jumped off my shoulder about 3 weeks ago. when she jumped off my shulder i think she landed on her back and she couldnt move her back legs for like 30 mins, but when she was walking around fine not to long after that i didnt think entirely to much about it. now she wont eat and is rapidly loosing weight in her body and more so her tail. could some thing have happened to her body that made her not eat?
ryan on December 20, 2010:
my gecko is kind of shy when i enter the room when i feed him crickets he doesn't eat him i don't know if i should change my food type or hes eating when im not there but he pooped today i think he might of ate something but i need some advice right now
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 06, 2010:
Basking light is unnecessary for leopard geckos. They get their heat from the surface of the tank, as provided for by an under tank heater. Basking lights generally only provide light and not heat, unless you are using a ceramic heat bulb which will provide heat and no light.
You need to have the gecko checked out by a qualified reptile vet to rule out parasites and illnesses since the reptile wasn't housed properly and appears lethargic and ill.
B Lynn on December 05, 2010:
Hi Whitney --
We only had the stick on thermometer, so we went and bought the digital probe. We are at 90 degrees on the warm side of the tank.
I believe the main problem is the way he was living prior to 2 days ago. He was cold -- never over 70 for I do not know how long.
He had no warm/basking light either.
My husband does home inspections and first saw him on 11/30/2010. He was covered with shed at that time. We did not get permission to take him out of there until 12/03/10. I do not know how long his conditions were like that prior to 11/30 either.
We did not change his tank --- only moved the entire thing to our home -- so one less change there.
About an hour ago -- his shed started to lift - in some places. That is a first. I think it is becuase of the humidity and misting him.
He will not use his humid hide (just added on 12/4/10).
So -- I beleive the extreme conditions have caused his shed - and from what I have read --- a shed should only last about an hour.
What I am afraid of is that he has shut down for so long -- that is why he won't eat.
Not sure what to do.
Thanks for any help. Again, I will call the vet in the morning.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 05, 2010:
Your temperature is not high enough. You need the surface temperature at 90F as measured by a digital thermometer.
Plus, it's not uncommon for a new reptile not to eat for up to a week.
B Lynn on December 05, 2010:
We just resecued an adult (I think adult - he/she is about 8" long).
History: owners moved and left him at the house. His cage is a good size tank with reptile carpet. He had two hides and an under the tank heat pad. The lights were not working.
They had a thermometer on the carpet that read 70. They had crickets in the tank with him.
We got him home 2 days ago. He is shedding -- and looks thin to me. The shed is just stuck all over him.
I added red lights and a humid hide. We got the temp up to 83. I thought he was dehydrated, so have started to mist him as well. He seems to like that.
The first night -- he laid un the hammock under the light all night.
He has not eaten or gone to the bathroom since we got him.
So -- no eating and covered in a shed. Not moving around much. The vet will be open tomorrow - - so we will call first thing --- but for now, any suggestions?
Lauren on October 05, 2010:
My gecko isn't eating and shedding a lot. I'm pretty sure he is overweight, but he is getting thinner! He was never very active but now he seems so lazy. He is 3 years old. Is he on his way to heaven? I've GOT to know so I can prepare myself. I'M ONLY TEN YEARS OLD AND I'M SENSITIVE PEOPLE!
Charles on October 02, 2010:
my gecko has these symptoms but also he seems to also be missing a pupil and he has molting skin still stuck to his face should i take it off
Teacher on September 30, 2010:
My Gecko is exhibiting the same symptoms as the above mentioned: no eating, shedding a lot, and eyes closed shut. It looks so depressed. Squirt is not reacting to sound like he used to. The only thing different about his environment is a different bulb, and it seems that is when it began. Should I take him to the vet?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 23, 2010:
The substrate could be a problem. You want to use paper towels, reptile carpet, slate tile, etc. Anything that is solid and can't be eaten.
Plus changing the paper towels, will give you more visibility on stool and the overall habits of the gecko.
Depending on how old the stool is, the vet may not be able to do much about it in regards to the fecal sample. YOu really do need to have the gecko seen, though.
JB on September 22, 2010:
Curious if youve ever heard of anything like this:
So every once in awhile my Leo will stop eating for a month to as many as like 3 or 4 months. I have had him for 3 years this October.
But this recent stint of him not eating has lasted almost 5 months now. He is 90% of the time chilling in his Humid Hut that I made for him, he usually did a 40% in and 60% either basking under the red heat lamp or hiding in his T-Rex Peek-A-Boo Burrow.
The other day I noticed his tail is beginning to thin, so I am starting to worry. But the weirdest thing thats going on is that he wont open his eyes. I can hold him, bathe him, and yet he doesnt open his eyes. I tried a cotton swab with 100% saline(read something about it online) and that doesnt seem to be doing much either.
I have a mulch substrate Ive been using since about 2 years ago, usually around 90 on the warm side, 78 on the cool side in a 30 gallon long tank.
Any ideas would be appreciated?
P.S. if i take him to the vet, would it matter if a fecal sample is very old? i havent seen any fresh samples in awhile now...
brad on September 17, 2010:
my geko has not eaten for the first time ever he looks normal so what should i do?
Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 26, 2010:
I've give him some time to adjust. The temperatures got a little warm. Keep wan eye on him for a few days.
BenjiL530 on August 25, 2010:
Thanks so much for all the great advice on here! I've used it all to set up what has been, for the most part, a very successful and happy leopard gecko home. I've had my leo for about 2 months, he's about 6"long, and he's been a great eater--many crickets each day, actively hunting them throughout the enclosure. The other day I noticed that he was sitting on the cold side (not his norm) and not actively hunting. He will eat if I drop a mealworm right in front of him, or try for a cricket if it comes his way, but isn't chasing them like normal. I did notice his warm side had risen in temp to 100, so I added paper towels under the reptile carpet and brought it down to 93, but he's still not back to normal. Any advice?? Thanks!
zack on August 22, 2010:
my leopard gecko stoped eating. wen i put a criket in front of him with my tweezers he closes his eyes and turns away. can someone plzzz help!!!!! :(
Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 13, 2010:
what are your temps? what substrate are you using?
Stacey on August 12, 2010:
Hi, I have had my gecko for around 3 years now and recently she has become very weak and will not eat ever since she had trouble shreading. Once she had shreaded a lump appeared on her left knee. I have taken her to the vet and he advised it was goaut! He explained he thought it was not looking good however, I could try feeding her vitimins through a seringe I have given this ago but she still is not taking any food ie worms. I am going to try crickets but I think she is to weak to catch them. Can anyone help me pleeeease! : ( Thanks.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:
Leave the gecko alone. You just got it, so it needs to settle in and adjust.
russ on August 04, 2010:
i have had my gecko for 4 days every thinks fine i cheak him and the tank daily but he wont eat the crickets he lets my mum pick him up but he bits me every time i put my hand any were nere him
Gico on August 01, 2010:
i had my gecko and he was not eating i will try meal worms i was worried because he was looking at them but didnt eat them
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 29, 2010:
Maybe it's the stress of moving. I'm not sure. Just double check the temps. If it's just for a few days or a week, there shouldn't be any major weigh loss, so I wouldn't worry too much.
Sax on July 28, 2010:
He is feed both crickets and super worms and last time I took care of him I had no crickets
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:
Is the gecko used to eating superworms? Try crickets.
Sax on July 28, 2010:
I'm taking care of my friends gecko for 3 weeks and I got him some super worms but he won't eat them and he sees them but doesn't go after them at best he steps on them or they wind ip dead in the cage. I don't want anything bad to happen to him will I'm taking care of him and answers??
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:
Sammy, you use calci-sand. That's what's wrong. Remove it immediately. It is not digestible or safe for reptiles. Many tests have been performed on it, and the product should really be removed from the shelves. It doesn't dissolve in water or acid with the same acidity as stomach acid. It can cause impaction, which can lead to death. Remove that and treat the gecko for impaction.
Chris, Do you have a humid hide? What are you temperatures on the surface of the tank where the gecko is? More than likely, the antibiotics have caused a decrease in appetite. I'd suggest the above slushy over just the can food.
Chris on July 27, 2010:
I have a leopard gecko that is about a year old. His name is TJ. He has been having trouble shedding on his own, he's not eating, and he's losing a ton of weight.
First, both of his eyes were completely shut..I think that he had some skin in there from shedding and they got infected. I took him to the vets and got some antibiotic drops for the eyes. The vet also gave me some canned food to feed with a dropper to get some weight on him. He just doesn't seem to be himself. The eyes seem to be getting better but he could care less about crickets or mealworms. Nothing else that I can see is goin on. I'm frustrated! Please help!
sammy on July 27, 2010:
my gecko stoppped eating her crickets, so i gave her meal worms but she wouldnt eat those either, now shes lost alot of weight and she hardly even moves... I bought some of that protein food for geckos but she will not swallow that even if i hand feed it to her. The temperature is perfect, i change the water every day, i use cal-sand, so i have no clue whats wrong:( help me!!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 12, 2010:
It's normal for new geckos to not eat for a few days. It's the adjustment phase. As for staying under the hide; they are nocturnal, so this is normal. They sleep during the day and come out during the late evening and night.
andrew on July 09, 2010:
hi i got my gecko 3 days ago and he hasnt at anything.. all he realy does is sit under his little hut and close his eyes.. he dosent chase the crickets.. and dosent eat the meal worms.. what should i doooooooooooooo
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 07, 2010:
What substrate are you using? What are your temperatures?
Julie on July 07, 2010:
Hi - I have a 10month old leopard gecko who has consistantly shed/eaten and pooped but for the last few weeks he/she has not been eating/pooping much. No weight loose and still very active! - A bit worried should i take to the vets??
Any help greatfully welcome!
Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 07, 2010:
I would strongly urge you to find a vet. Check your temperatures, as well. Avoid waxworms, as they are very fatty, addictive, and bad for reptiles to eat. You don't want to offer these, not even just to get the gecko to eat. Continue trying mealworms and crickets, but definitely avoid waxworms. Also, call your reptile vet to make an appointment to have a fecal test done. You will probably need to bag up a sample to take to him.