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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Not eating

A friend needed to rehome their leopard gecko a few months back, so i jumped at the chance having had them as a kid. This was nearly 4 months ago now, and the lizard has not eaten anything since. It is 12 years old, and i believe they get stressed quite easily, now i'm concerned that the lizard has used up the last of it's fat reserves from its tail, and just will not eat. It seems interested in food, will chase after a hopper but when it licks it (!) turns away and lets it go on its merry way! Has anybody got any ideas as to how i can get it to eat something? Or what i should do? i do not know of any reptile vets near me, and am running out of ideas.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 05:11 PM
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Where are you located? There has to be a vet somewhere! It would be one thing if the gecko hadn't eaten in a few weeks but four months is serious.

What sort of set-up do you have it in and what are the temperatures? What types of insects have you tried (I would try mealworms, superworms, waxworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, etc.)? Where is the tank located in the house? Do you handle him/her?

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 05:16 PM
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What are the temps in the cage (on both the warm and cool sides?)? What substraight? How many hides do you have? What foods have you tried feeding?

I got a new leopard gecko in August and it took her a few weeks to start eating with me. I finally tempted her into eating with wax worms, then got her to take meal worms and crickets. She still refuses super worms, which is what I was use to feeding my other leopard gecko, but I'm just happy she's been eating now!

Do you mean grasshoppers? Did that gecko eat those before? What did your friend feed it before you got it?


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Question

The temperature is about 70 - 75 degrees, 75 on the warm side, there is sand substrate, but i've mixed some of his normal sand that was given to me from his previous owners with some calci-sand so that if he is eating it it dissolves and gives him a bit of nutrition. He has two hides and some fake plants. I've tried him with baby locusts (this is what he was eating before), crickets and wax worms, though i haven't tried the wax worms for a few weeks.

the tank is at the back of our dining room, and since we've hadhe we've only handled him 3 or 4 times because i wanted him to settle in a bit first and start eating! He had a VERY fat tail when we got him, which is why his non-eating didn't concern me too much to start with.

I've tried to keep everything as close as possible to how it was in his last home.

we're in Torquay in Devon. there are plenty of vets, but i don't know of any reptile specialists nearby, and when i was younger i had tree frogs which fell poorly and the vet didn't have a clue.

Is it possible the temperature is too cold? he also struggles with shedding his skin sometimes, but i put that down to age. could the eating and skin shedding be related?

thank you for responding so quickly! and for the welcome!
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 02:35 PM
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Hi again,

First of all, your temps sound too cold to me. I keep the warm side of my tanks around 85*-90*F. The cool side of the tank should be around 75*-80*. I use an under tank heater on the warm side only, and keep my tanks in a warmer room where there are no drafts. Make sure to measure temps. at the level of the sub-straight, since this will be where the gecko will be hanging out. I would warm the warm side of your tank up as soon as you can. If the temps are too cool, they can't digest their food correctly. It's the most common reason why they will stop eating.

For hides - it's best to have a warm hide, a cool hide, and a humid hide. The warm and cool hides are easy to figure out - one on the warm side of the cage and one on the cooler side. The humid hide is to help with shedding. You can use whatever for the hide, but then put in some moist moss or coconut fiber or damp paper towel. The higher humidity helps to soften their skin and makes it easier for them to shed.

Any sand substraight, even calci-sand, can cause impaction if they eat too much of it. But if your gecko is still active it doesn't really sound like impaction - plus I'm not sure he'd live 4 months with an impaction.

I'm not sure of any reptile vets in that area, but until you find one fixing his temperatures is going to be a good start. Is he still active and moving around and all that?

Good luck! 4 months is a long time for him to go without eating but hopefully he'll eat for you soon!


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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I've got a thermostat on there that is up to the max, but won't go any higher so, i've unplugged it for now and plug the heat mat straight in, so hopefully that'll warm it up a bit there. Unfortunately by house doesn't stay warm well, there is many drafty bits and it usually feels cold even with the heating on.

He is active in the respect that he'll get up and have a wander every evening, have a drink and watch his food before going back to bed, though only for a little while.

Just a thought, he is still pooing, though not sure what he is pooing. I presume this is a good sign?
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 05:16 PM
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Are you sure he isn't eating during the night? My male Haku will eat right in front of me but my newer gecko Aurora is shy and will only eat at night when it's quiet and no one is around.

How much weight do you think he's lost? Is his tail really skinny now compared to when you first got him?

If he's still pooping then he must be eating something. Unless what your seeing is urates, which is usually white. Urates are pretty much the gecko equivalent of pee.

If he is eating but still losing a lot of weight, maybe he has some kind of parasites or something. A vet could check for them with a poo sample.


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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure he is not eating at night, i count the food in there and in the morning just to see. he has lost a fair bit of weight too, his tail was very fat when we got him, but now is much skinnier. some of it is white, but some of it isn't, though not sure what it is, it may be some of the sand?
do i assume i'm right to not handle him too much until he starts eating? i feel like i'm almost neglecting him because i just feed, water and clean the tank. i don't give him any attention.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 04:08 PM
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Yeah reptiles don't really need the type of attention pets like cats or dogs do - handling them can stress them out and since he already isn't in the best shape I would leave him alone. I very rarely handle my geckos and they're fine -they don't feel neglected the way that other types of pets might.

Did you raise the temperatures? Has that had any kind of effect?

I would guess if your sure he's not eating that the poop you see might just be from him eating sand? Do you keep a dish of calcium powder in his cage? I use the lid of a peanut butter jar and put in some calcium powder (calcium only, not the type with Vit. D3) so my geckos can lick up the calcium if they need it. Something like that would be better for him than eating the sand, if that's what he's doing.


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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I have raised the temperature, but because i'm not home in the day time i have to put the thermostat back on then. It's about 80 i there at the moment though, he is out and about having a drink, but he has a baby locust sat on his back and he's ignoring it!

I hadn't thought of that! I'll pop down the pet shop first thing tomorrow and get some powder. will he go for that rather than the sand? it's worth a try though!
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 05:33 PM
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You should not leave the food in with him 24/7. Live food has been known to bite the animal they are meant ot be eaten by causing injury and sometimes death.

Letting food run around 24/7 might also be stressing him out. Try removing all food and only feeding him 1 or 2 at a time.

I would suggest removing the substrate and using paper towel or news paper and as Michelle suggested leaving a cap full of calcium powder. If they feed the need for more calcium they will eat the powder.





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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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I have to admit I didn't realise i shouldn't leave the food in there, though I have only kept one or two in at a time and then removed and replaced as they have got big. How long i leave them in there?
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 07:47 PM
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I would personally only put as many as he could eat in a certain amount of time, but since he is not eating that would be hard.

What size prey are you feeding him?? Try going a size smaller and then a size bigger. Offer super worms, crickets, roaches, wax worms, silkworms etc... Even a live pinky mouse.





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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2009, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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i've tried locusts, crickets and wax worms. These are the things that are readily available around here! i think they sell meal worms too, actually there is somewhere else i could try. I'll have to ring them and ask what they sell i think. Thanks for all your advice everybody, i hope something gets him started.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-18-2009, 08:24 AM
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I know nothing about geckos, but I just wanted to say good luck!

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