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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18654
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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my pet leopard gecko wont eat any crickets or meal worms an

Customer Question

my pet leopard gecko won't eat any crickets or meal worms and is getting very thin?   I've tried calcium covered crickets, smaller crickets, meal worms and small wax worms, but he still isn't eating
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 9 years ago.


What type of substrate are you using?

What are your temps?

How old is the Leopard Gecko?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
we are using a sand flooring that was recommended by the pet store

Are temps have been fairly consistent at minimally 75 and we have a floor heating element

We have had the gecko since July 2007.
Expert:  Joan replied 9 years ago.


Please get rid of the sand. Leopard geckos can get a sand impaction causing them to go off their food. You can try some soaks in warm water and Pedialyte. For food mix some chicken babay food with the pedialyte and calcium powder and feed by dropping on the snout. I will give you my care sheet for you to read and if you want to discuss this further we can. The Leo. may need to see a Herp Vet. I can locate one with a city and state. Joan


The calci sand and other loose substrates can make the Leopard Gecko have an Impaction. That is one of the worst substrates on the market. The Vet will need to check him out since if this is an impaction, it will need some special treatments. Warning this link is graphic.

This is my care sheet:

Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

The Leopard Gecko is originally from Pakistan, India, and a few other countries in Asia. Leopard Geckos are terrestrial (they live on the ground) and they are nocturnal (active at night). They prefer temperatures between 82 and 88 degrees all day and night. They grow to between 8 to 11 inches. Leopard Geckos are available in a wide range of colors and patterns which are the result of selective captive breeding. These include albino, ghost, striped, jungle, leucistic and high yellow. These colors have been made possible through selective captive breeding. Leopard Geckos make wonderful pets for almost any responsible person. Leopard Geckos also make good long term pets. They can live over twenty years. Never grab by tail it will break off. Leopard Gecko Housing: A male Leopard Gecko should never be housed in the same cage as another male leopard gecko because they will fight and possibly kill one another. A male can be housed with several females without any problems. I do not advise housing leopard geckos in the same cage with any other reptiles. A single Leopard Gecko can be kept in a ten gallon tank. For a male and a few females a twenty gallon tank or larger should be used. The cage should have a screen lid on top of it to prevent any escapes. Leopard geckos need places to hide and sleep during the day so you must provide a couple of hiding spots. They need a warm hiding spot and a cold humid hiding spot. Just put one hide box on the side with the heat light and put the humid hide box on the side that does not have the heat light. For the humid hide box, put moist peat moss or moist sphagnum moss (Paper Towels work well and easily replaced) inside a hide box. You can make your own humid hide box from a small plastic shoebox. Cut a hole in one end of the box and place moist moss inside it. The humid box should be cleaned out every week and remoistened. A humid hide box is needed so that the gecko can go in it when it needs to shed. The humidity helps the old skin come off.
Substrate: There is an abundance of products on the market that claim to be safe substrates. All Loose Substrates however are not safe to use. A substrate is what you put on the bottom of the cage for the lizard to walk around on. If a Leopard Gecko ingests any of the substrate accidentally, the substrate must pass through the digestive system. Trust me they will ingest substrate, sometimes on purpose. If it does not easily pass through the digestive system compaction will occur. Compaction is an extreme blockage of the digestive tract and is often fatal. Some substrates that I consider unsafe because they can cause compaction are: sand, orchid bark, crushed walnut shells, lizard litter, gravel, aquarium gravel, and coconut fiber. The safest substrate is using paper towels or plain newspaper, non-stick shelf liner , cage carpet or ceramic tile. For any leopard geckos that are younger than six months I advise using paper towels or plain newspaper until they are at least six months old. Calcium sand is not fully digested no matter what it claims. The stuff just does not break down completely. . Leopard Gecko Heating and Temperature: The cage should be between 82 to 88 degrees all day and night. There is two basic ways to heat the cage. One is to use a under tank heater like heat tape. The other is to use a black, or blue night incandescent heat light. I prefer to use a heat light. For a 10 gallon tank a 60 watt bulb should work depending on room temperature. Place the heat light on one end of the cage. By putting the heat light on one end of the cage it keeps that side warmest and allows the gecko to move to the warmer side with the light or to the colder side without the light as needed to regulate body temperature.
NEVER EVER USE A HOT ROCK, HEAT ROCK, OR ANY SIMILAR PRODUCT. Hot rocks heat unevenly and are notorious for causing terrible thermal burns. Do not buy a hot rock and if you know anyone who uses one, tell them to throw it away. Leopard Gecko Feeding: Leopard Geckos will do very well on a diet of mealworms and crickets. I like to provide some variety in feeder insects to create a more balanced diet. Feeder insects I use are silkworms, mealworms, and crickets with the legs on one side of the body pulled off. Crickets will bite your geckos while they sleep, these bites are prone to infection, so if you pull off one side of their legs then they cannot move around the cage and get to the gecko and also this prevents the crickets from climbing out of the cage. Gut load feeder insects for at least a day before putting them in with the gecko. Feed geckos insects that are not larger than the width of the head of the gecko.
Adults can be fed superworms, though I advise only feeding a couple superworms at a time. Leopard Gecko Vitamin/Mineral Supplement: For young geckos dust the feeder insects every other feeding or place a small feeder dish with supplement in it and some mealworms in the cage. For adults and babies place a shallow dish or a plastic lid in the cage with a teaspoon of calcium powder on it. The gecko will lick the calcium powder as needed. You still need to dust feeder insects every other feeding though with a vitamin supplement for young geckos. Adults use vitamin supplement once a week. Leopard Gecko Water: Use a shallow water bowl, fill with water as needed. Remove bowl from cage and clean out weekly.

Do Not Feed Pinkies!



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thanks you but what is Herb vet as referenced in your answer?
Expert:  Joan replied 9 years ago.


It is a Herp Vet or a vet that specializes in all Reptiles and Amphibians. They are specialists. Joan

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Anyone you can recommend in the Buffalo, New York area (14224) area?
Expert:  Joan replied 9 years ago.


These are all Herp vets in NY. Joan

Alexandra Adamcak
Sheridan Animal HospitalXXXXXbr />Kenmore(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Joseph Adams
International Vet Service Clinic
185 C Route 94 N
Warwick 10990(NNN) NNN-NNNN

Jill Ascher

Animal Hospital of PittsfordXXXXXbr />Rochester 14618


Suzanne Black
German Flatts Vet Clinic
Upper Otsego St
Illion 13357(NNN) NNN-NNNN

Bridget Marie Brooke
1061 Esplanade
Pelham Manor
New Rochelle 10803

Dr. Borzio (do not see any of the other vets in the clinic for reptiles)XXXXXbr />Staten Island(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Howard Camay
SACHEM Ani HospitalXXXXXbr />Hollbrook 11741(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Companion Animal Hospital
Cornell University
Ithaca14853(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Debra Eldredge
Burrstone Animal Hospital
RD #1 Box 250
Vernon 13476(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Don Factor
Cortlandt Animal HospitalXXXXXbr />Peekskill 10566(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

* Kevin Oppenheimer
Central Catskill Vet Hospital
43380 State Highway 28,
PO Box 502
Arkville(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Linda Pesek & Alexandra Wilson
The Center for Avian and Exotic MedicineXXXXX
New York 10024(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Leonard Fox
Fine Animal Hospital
701 N. Bedford Rd
Bedford Hills 10507(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Lewis Gelfand
733 W Park Ave
Long Beach 11561(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Robert Glasser, DVM
Steinway Court Vet.
32-41 R Steinway St.
Long Island City(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Gramercy Park Animal ClinicXXXXXbr />Greenwich(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Charles Greco
Animal Medical Hospital of Centereach, P.C.
2425 Middle Country Road
Centereach 11720(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

David Halperrn, DVM
Lefferts Animal Hospital
86-37 Lefferts Blvd.
Richmond Hill(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Paul Hartman
Union State Vet HospitalXXXXXbr />Schenectady 12309

* Laurie Hess
Fine Animal HospitalXXXXXbr />Bedford Hills 10507(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Dr. Hess also works at:
Bond Animal HospitalXXXXXbr />White Plains 10606(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Heidi L. Hoefer
Island Exotic Veterinary Care
591 E. Jericho Tpke
Huntington Station 11746(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

John Hornfeck
Sunnyside Vet Hospital
36 Freemans Bridge Rd
Glenville 12302(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Lonnie Kasman
Monroe Animal Hospital
427 RT 17M
Monroe, NY 10950(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

* Jeffrey Krasnoff
Brookville Animal Hospital
Long Island(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Michael McCarthy
The Animal Hospital
2 Rocking Horse lane
Guilderland (NNN) NNN-NNNN

Tony Miele
Brooklyn Vet Group
7624 New Utrecht Ave
Brooklyn 11214(NNN) NNN-NNNNbr />***check diet and lighting info

Robert Monaco
Old Country Animal Clinic
669 Old Country Road
Plainview 11803(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

dHarry Newman
Georgetown Ani ClinicXXXXXbr />Williamsville 14221(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

New Berlin Vet Hosp
Box V
New Berlin 13411(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Mary PadillaXXXXXbr />Armonk 10504(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

* Robert Pisciotta
North Fork Animal Hospital
58605 RT 25
Southold 11971(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Paul Raiti
Beverlie Animal Hospital
17 W. Grand St
Mt Vernon 10552(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Martin Randell
Somers Ani Hospital
Route 100
Somers 10589(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Steven Ringler
Dobbs Ferry Ani HospitalXXXXXbr />Dobbs Ferry 10522(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

* Helen E. Roberts
5 Corners Veterinary PracticeXXXXX
Orchard Park, NY 14127
716-(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Jeffrey Rose, Brian Rose
Jefferson Animal HospitalXXXXX (Rt.112)
Port Jefferson Station 11776(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Gary Rothman
Quarryside Ani Hospital
6499 East Seneca Turnpike
Jamesville 13078(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

* Eileen Rowan
Bayville Animal Clinic
Long Island(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Irwin Ruderman
Animal Clinic of Staten IslandXXXXXbr />Staten Island(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Kendra Seebohm, Joy Lucas
Upstate Animal Medical Center XXXXX
Saratoga Springs 12866 (NNN) NNN-NNNN

Leigh Semilof
5483 S. Geneva Rd
Sodus 14551

Edward Spindel
Vet Surgery Center
8282 Willett Pkwy
Baldwinsville 13027(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Julius Tepper
Shirley Vet Hospital
1010 Montauk Hwy
Shirley 11967(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Dr Tomaschke
Seneca Animal HospitalXXXXXbr />East Auora 14052(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Trylon Vet Care
98-83 Queens Blvd.
Forest Hills(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Ernest Vine
Central Vet Assoc
112-49 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills 11375(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Joe Wikinski
Staten Island(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>

Ted Winkle
Southtowns Animal Hospital
154 Orchard Park Rd.
West Seneca 14224(NNN) NNN-NNNN


This is another link for Herp Vets