Our leopard gecko has not eaten for a couple days now. He has continued to poop but not eating crickets or meal worms.

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Customer: Our leopard gecko has not eaten for a couple days now. He has continued to poop but not eating crickets or meal worms. The leopard gecko is a juvenile. The leopard gecko named spot the eager. Additionally, we have only had Spot for less than 14 days. WE purchased him from Pet Smart. The habitat sold to us by the pet smart contains a red calcium sand. WE keep the habitat at 80 degrees during the day. No less than 75 at night. Spot has red calcium sand as the substrate for the habitat and a night glo light. The humidity level stays at 30. Spot is about 3 inches without tail or head. This all started with a cricket that Spot regurgitated. The cricket came from Pet Smart and was supposed to be small but seemed to be a bit larger than the rest. This is the one Spot regurgitated. Since then, Spot doesn't want crickets or worms. Spot usually eats 4-7 crickets a day and we just started feeding him meal worms. Is is possible that Spot is just full still. Even though, Spot has continued to poop at least once a day. What are your recommendations and expert advice? Thank you.
Answered by Anna in 2 hours 12 years ago
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Anna
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17,050 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

Someone - probably a pet store clerk - has given you incorrect information on care. A first aid measure that may help is to give your gecko a special soak. Buy some Pedialyte (made for human infants and available in discount stores and pharmacies). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 warm water. Soak the gecko for 20 to 30 minutes. After not eating for awhile, a gecko is likely to be dehydrated. Lizards can absorb fluids through their vents, so the soaks will help with that, too.

The temperatures in the enclosure are a bit too cool. That alone can cause appetite loss. Regurgitating can also be result of being cold.The temperature gradient in the tank should be 82*F to 88*F day and night. Since geckos are nocturnal, it's important that they be warm enough at night. An unhealthy gecko is better off with warmer temperatures. The best heat source of heat for geckos is an under the tank heat mat.

You should get rid of the calcium sand. Pet stores often recommend it, but it does frequently lead to serious health problems, including impaction. It's better to use a solid substrate, such as ceramic tile or reptile carpet. If you’d like to see the results of using sand, you can take a look at the following site. The photos are graphic, so if such things bother you, you may not want to look.

Impaction

You can try soaks (twice a day) and warmer temperatures for a day or two to see if they help. If the gecko doesn’t improve quickly. it would be best to see a vet. Of course, you can do that right away if you’re too worried to wait. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

Parasites are another common causes of appetite loss. Check with one of your local vets to see if they will do a fecal flotation of a stool sample for you.

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You can use it as a checklist to make sure all the conditions are right. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your gecko will reach a full recovery.

Anna

I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You can use it as a checklist to make sure all the conditions are right. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your gecko will reach a full recovery.

Anna

Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

The Leopard Gecko is originally from Pakistan, India, and a few other countries in Asia. They actually live on hard rocky outcrops 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 age 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. I actually prefer an under the tank heater for heat source rather than a light since the geckos are Nocturnal. For the humid hide box, Paper Towels work well and easily replaced inside a hide box. You can make your own humid hide box from a small plastic shoe box or from a margarine conatiner. Cut a hole in one end of the container and place moist paper towel inside it. The humid box should be cleaned out every week and re moistened. 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 (Please note the link above) 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, bark, Calci sand, 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, roaches 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
I am appreciative of your suggestions. I am wondering what to do with the sand habitat? Should I remove the sand and replace with a eco carpet? or place the flat rocks on top of the sand? Additionally, what tempature should the humidity level show? It is at 30 degrees. Thanks for your help. I will try the pedialyte sock today.
Zoeieann
I would throw away the sand. Then use either reptile carpet or ceramic tile. Until you can get something else, use plain paper towels. There is no specific humidity that geckos need. 30% is fine, but you need to make sure he has a humid hide box, as described in Joan's care sheet above.

There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

Anna
Customer
THANK you so much! WE gave Spot a bath with the pedalyte and water this afternoon. While he was in the bath, we throw out the sand. WE rebuilt a new habitat with the eco reptile carpet. His habitat is now at about 88 to 90 degrees - we built a humid rock box retreat for him. He was really checking the place out when we put him back. HE is not eating yet but he did alot of licking when he was in the bath. Thank you so very much!
It sounds like you're doing a great job of getting everything right. Here's an idea that may get Spot to eat. Get some chicken baby food (a variety with no onions in it). Drop a small dollup of it right on the end of his snout. Many times, they'll lick it off. I hope Spot will continue to improve.

Anna
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